Go To The Homepage
Features
Hot Spots

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA STRIPERS

When cold weather finally drives the striped bass to their wintering grounds at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is definitely the place to be for folks looking to follow the migration.
By Eric Burnley
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA STRIPERS

Big ‘rockfish’ may be found anywhere from Cape Henry to False Cape with trolling the top technique. The Chesapeake Bay striper season closed as of December 31, so the only legal area is the 3-mile strip that runs east from shore or from the demarcation line at the mouth of the bay. That line runs from Cape Charles to Cape Henry and does not include the famed Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

The two most popular trolling lures are the Stretch 25 or 30 and the MOJO. Both are pulled slow and low in areas where life is spotted. Life will be pods of bunker, anchovies or other small baits usually marked by diving birds and whales. At times the gannets will be diving from on high and swirling like a small tornado while gulls and pelicans work closer to the surface. Throw in a few whales breaching with bait dripping from their mouths and you have a sight that by itself is worth the drive down.

Another rig that has worked well for me is a 3-1/2 or 4-1/2 Drone spoon. These are trolled on braided wire line with a large drail. The 50-pound mono leader from the drail to the spoon has to be at least 30 feet long. The drail is connected to the wire with a ball bearing snap swivel tied on with a figure eight knot. I use another ball bearing snap swivel to connect the leader to the other end of the drail. A perfection loop is a good knot for connecting the leader to the snap. Always tie the leader directly to the ring on the front of the spoon. I use a clinch knot for this job.

I suggest running out of Rudee Inlet from the free Owl’s Creek Ramp off of General Booth Boulevard. From here it is a short run up the coast to the rips off of Cape Henry or the 4A Buoy a few miles further north. The Ramada Inn is another good spot just short of the rips.

Heading south, the Radar towers at Dam Neck get attention then it is down to Sandbridge and the water tower known as the Golf Ball. False Cape is as far as you can go in Virginia. If you run further south you will need a North Carolina fishing license.

You will need a Virginia Saltwater Fishing License and FIN; both are available online at www.mrc.virginia.gov/FIP or bay calling 800-723-2728. Hotel rooms in Virginia Beach are very reasonable in the winter, and most have indoor pools so the whole family can enjoy the trip, even while you’re out chasing stripers.

Get more information on dining, accommodations and local events at www.visitvirginiabeach.com.

Explore Product Partners: