From a pier or from the surf, on the bay or in a lake, if you’re “angling” for a great catch, Virginia Beach is sure to please.
Situated at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and on the shores of the Atlantic, where several channels and currents collide, Virginia Beach is home to one of the most extensive varieties of fish on the East Coast. The many different species that migrate here and that are stocked in the area’s inland lakes have contributed to its reputation as a year-round fishing locale.
While the vast assortment of fish is appealing, several local favorites remain popular year after year. Inshore, these favorites include speckled trout, gray trout, tautog, puppy drum, spot, croaker, spadefish... The list goes on, but a few species really make a splash. Among these is the bluefish. The smaller class of this fish is plentiful all summer long, but larger blues “run” in the spring and fall. Cobia are also plentiful throughout the summer. Dwelling in the open bay and around piers and pilings, cobia can exceed 100 pounds and can grow to six feet in length, making them a true prize for any angler. And who can forget the flounder? One of the most sought-after eating fishes, the summer flounder, or fluke, can be caught from the surf before it migrates to deeper waters for the winter months. Spanish mackerel is another inshore favorite, but as the weather begins to turn, it’s the striper that anglers most desire, and many enter fall with a bad case of striper fever. Also known as rockfish in this area, stripers abound from mid-October to February and can weigh in at 25- to 50-plus pounds.
While inshore fishing has its own appeal, few anglers can resist the “lure” of a deep-sea challenge, and Virginia Beach’s offshore waters will give them exactly that. Yellowfin tuna can be found here in the spring, summer and fall. Dolphin and wahoo are popular as well, but one of the most thrilling catches on the high seas remains the blue marlin.
Most abundant June thru Sept., marlin have been known to break the surface and the hearts of those who have yet to tame their impressive power. Many a fish story has featured this massive creature of the mighty Atlantic, and anyone who dares tango with it had better prepare for a ride in the fighting chair like no other. In addition, white marlin are as plentiful here as anywhere on the East Coast at the height of their season, which peaks August through September.
Also contributing to the area’s variety are numerous fishing venues, including the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and several parks, lakes and reservoirs, most of which have public boat ramps. Even the islands and pilings of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel do their part to enhance the ecosystem, and anglers consider it one of the more suitable spots to search for their next catch.
Discover your own spot by booking an all-day charter, taking a cruise on a head boat, casting from a pier or using one of the public boat ramps to launch your own vessel. For more information on fishing in Virginia Beach, including license fees, call one of the local piers, marinas or tackle shops, or check out www.virginiabeachsportfishing.com.