The Cobia are in the Chesapeake Bay, without a doubt, but the season for keeping them doesn’t begin until June 15. Early in the season like this, chumming works very well for the big fish. Use plenty of chum to get a good slick going and be prepared to tangle with sharks as a by-catch. Sight casting is very popular also, but many of the charters that specialize in sight casting will ramp up their efforts once the season begins.
The big Red Drum are also invading the Chesapeake Bay. Sightings and catches are on the rise in the lower bay. Encountering large schools of Drum can happen anytime, anywhere. The same jigs that work for Cobia, work well for Drum.
Some extra-large Sheepshead are being caught in and around the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel area. Cut crab is a good bait to use for these guys. Many of the large Sheepshead are caught by those targeting Drum either on or near structure.
Spadefish have been caught just inside the Chesapeake Bay, but the Chesapeake Light Tower is where many are still being caught. Spadefish are structure-oriented fish. Wrecks, bridge pilings, and piles of rubble, or hard cover are the places where they often suspend. Clam is the preferred bait—fresh clam, especially. Clam chum is good to use also.
The inlets and rivers are producing many varieties of fish now. Puppy Drum, Speckled Trout, and Spot are some of the more popular sought-after species. The Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers are doing well with these species mentioned. But the inlets like Lynnhaven and Mobjack Bay are good places, too. Rudee Inlet is often better on weekdays when there is decreased traffic.
Most of the piers along the coast are yielding multiple species for those putting forth the effort. Ocean View, Virginia Beach Pier, Buckroe, and Sandbridge piers have been excellent for Spot, Puppy Drum, Whiting, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, and Cobia. Folks are finding the Spanish in the lower Chesapeake Bay, but catches are increasing in spots around the middle bay, too—like at Windmill Bar, for instance.
In the Outer Banks, the inshore boats are finding plenty of Spanish Mackerel. The Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum action is excellent inside the sounds right now. The surf fishing has been a little slow, with some scattered catches of Sea Mullet and Bluefish occurring. The Outer Banks Pier is reporting Bluefish and Sea Mullet, along with a good run of some keeper Sheepshead for those fishing close to the pier pilings. The water temps have been in the low 70s.