That’s Meredith Barrineau with a nice cobia caught on a recent trip along the coast with family and friends.
Full disclosure, she is married to my wife Ellen’s nephew Paul. Not sure what that makes she and I, but she’s a great gal, new mom and she wears a leetolliveroutdoors facemark when required.
And to David Bunn, give her a shout out for the advertising plug for the hat she’s wearing.
Meredith and the crew she was fishing with on the Mega Byte also caught red drum and got in the water for a little spearfishing for spadefish.
Just goes to show you that right now, smack in the heart of the billfish tournament season that there are lots of other things to do.
Don’t get me wrong, tournament time is one of the most exciting few weeks of the year, but it’s not for everybody.
But tournament time it is.
Currently taking place is the Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament out of Manteo, which immediately followed the Alice Kelly Memorial Women’s Only Tournament out of the same marina. The ladies event was won by the crew on the Grand Slam 2, captained by Dave Grubbs. They caught and released six billfish.
With today (Aug. 13) and tomorrow left on the plate in the main event, there have been 277 billfish caught and released – 20 blue marlin, 22 sailfish, 1 spearfish and 234 white marlin.
Uno Mas and Capt. Books Smith was leading the 83-boat field heading into today’s fishing.
Anglers recently enjoyed the wildly popular Virginia Beach Invitational Marlin Tournament, the Virginia Beach Tuna Tournament and the White Marlin Open – just to name a few of the events taking place in the mid-Atlantic this time of year.
Shout out to Matt Wagner for his WMO dolphin division win, bringing the team on Capt. Steve Richardson’s Backlash $20,000 for his 73.5-pound whopper of a Mahi.
Next up is the ladies-only Crushin’ and Fishin’ Tournament this weekend. And if you aren’t into big bluewater events, Long Bay Pointe Marina is holding the Hooked on Hope Virginia Beach Spanish Mackerel tournament on Saturday.
The Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament follows next week.
Whew! That’s a lot of tournament competition.
But just like Meredith’s day on the water shows, there is plenty of action out there for everybody.
If you can’t find a species that interests you this time of year, stay home and watch a fishing show on TV. All of our summer species are in the mix and the action for some of them has been fantastic.
This might go down as one of the best summer speckled trout seasons anyone can remember. Catches throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay and creeks that flow into it have been producing good numbers of quality fish – as have the three southside inlets. Fishing at night under a partial moon, especially using topwater plugs, has given ample opportunity to escape what likely is going to be the hottest summer on record.
On the same front, anglers are finding good numbers of puppy drum throughout the region.
Larger red drum are plentiful throughout the lower bay and along the coast, and more and more of them are spending time on the surface and showing themselves for sight-casters.
Same thing for cobia, right Meredith?
Look for plenty of spadefish throughout the area, with fish being taken from along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and at nearly all navigational structures inside the bay and along the coast.
Look for sheapshead along the CBBT span.
Flounder also can be found there, as well as the other two bridge-tunnel spans and at many coastal wrecks and artificial reefs.
Spot and croaker are available, but there isn’t much size. Most are being used for cobia bait.
Tarpon and shark are cruising the backwaters of the Eastern Shore barrier islands, especially around Oyster.
Along the coast, in addition to reds and cobia, anglers are finding plenty of bluefish, ribbonfish and some of the biggest Spanish mackerel seen in years.
And, yes, sharks are plentiful throughout the area.
Bluewater trollers, whether in tournaments or not, can expect mostly white marlin, but some blues, wahoo, dolphin and scattered tuna.
Deep droppers are finding black bellied rosefish, tilefish and sea bass.
Beaches and piers are yielding some pups, specks, croaker, spot and sea mullet. Crabbing has been OK.
NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Billfish are attracting most of the attention, largely because of recent tournament competition.
White marlin are providing most of the action, but as you read about the Pirate’s Cove event, other species are cooperating.
Trollers also are finding lots of dolphin – some relatively close to the coast – along with wahoo, and some king mackerel.
Wrecks along the coast are producing a nice mixed bag of action.
Anglers working coastal waters are finding Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ribbonfish and some kingfish.
As in Virginia waters, the coast and sounds are producing some fantastic action for speckled trout and puppy drum. Some specks topping 30 inches have been taken.
In the inlets and sounds, also expect to come across some flounder, sea mullet, spot, croaker, pigfish, trout, puppy drum, bluefish, striped bass and small shark.
Surf and pier anglers are finding much of the same.
This is the toughest time of the year for freshwater anglers, since the extremely hot water makes most species slow and unwilling to cooperate.
That’s why most action is best very early in the morning when water temperatures will be at their coolest.
That ain’t saying you can’t catch fish.
Largemouth bass continue to show in the lakes, ponds, tidal systems and in Back Bay grass beds. Topwater frog imitations have been one of the top producers.
Crappie will be found in the deepest structure.
Sunfish like bluegill and shellcracker will be found along deeper shorelines, with the bigger fish holding in water around 10 feet deep.
Catfish are a great summer night species and will be found in deeper holes in tidal systems. Anglers also will find some in the water supply lakes when bottom fishing for other species.