Virginia Beach is the Striped Bass Capital of the World
But outside of striper season, anglers are hauling in the mightiest of tuna, flounder, amberjack, wahoo, mackerel, red drum, tautog and much more. There is a fish for all seasons. Virginia Beach’s “reel” claim to fame is its year-round superior sportfishing and diversity of species – resulting in some of the best sport fishing in the world.
With two inlets (Rudee inlet and Lynnhaven inlet) visitors can embark on half–day and full–day inshore and offshore charters to chase everything from marlin to mahi mah. For landlubbers and fishing fanatics who left their sea legs at home, Virginia Beach has four fishing piers offering tackle rental and bait. For more serious fisherman, the resort city hosts a bounty of sport fishing tournaments offering cash and prizes. Whether it’s a fishing trip with the buddies or a family adventure, Virginia Beach is where anglers live the life.
While the flowery spring season marks the retreat of Old Man Winter, Virginia Beach visitors welcome the April showers and May flowers because of the scores of Atlantic mackerel that begin migrating to the resort city’s coastal and offshore waters. Bluefish are popular here too, emerging from mid–April through July. Spring also begins seasons for tautog, croaker, black drum, red drum, flounder, kingfish and trout.
Tuna – bigeye, bluefin and yellowfin – are the most sought–after and bountiful summer fish in Virginia Beach. Kingfish (roundhead and whiting), Spanish mackerel and small gray trout frequent the city’s coastal waters while dolphin, blue marlin and sailfish can all be found offshore. The Chesapeake Bay teems with black drum, red drum, croaker and cobia. Flounder and large gray trout (a.k.a. weakfish) are known to congregate around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel, while coastal wrecks and reefs harbor amberjack, spadefish, triggerfish, mackerel and crevalle jacks, especially around the Chesapeake Light Tower. Large and small bluefish are reeled in from all waters. Many of these fish peak during summer, but continue their season into autumn.
Reel in tuna, white marlin, swordfish and wahoo offshore. King and Spanish mackerel and little tunny frequent both types of water and often can be found in the Chesapeake Bay. Flounder and spot migrate out of the Chesapeake Bay in the fall and are easily landed from piers. Light tackle aficionados find speckled trout and puppy drum in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. Most notably, fall opens the striped bass season and they’re bountiful through the end of the year.
About 80 percent of East Coast striped bass, or rockfish, are spawned in the Chesapeake Bay and are so abundant that Virginia Beach is known as the “Striped Bass Capital of the World.” Tautog, another year–round fish, begins to peak in December and can be spotted in the bay near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge–Tunnel and around wrecks and reefs off the coast. Winter also has seen a renaissance for black sea bass that tempt offshore anglers during the cooler months.