Inshore fishing on Virginia Beach charter boats may include trips for striped bass, sea bass, and both red and black drum while offshore fishing charters target tuna, sharks, dolphin, billfish and other species. The area is world famous for its saltwater fishing.
One well known fisherman is Captain Keith Harlan who fishes the Mega Bite out of Virginia Beach. He has fished local waters from the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia Beach to Cape Hatteras for over 30 years. Captain Keith’s vast fishing experience also includes the waters of Barbados, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Key West.
In the summer months, offshore fishing from Virginia Beach is excellent. Captain Keith described Virginia offshore fishing saying, “Nothing is etched in stone with fishing around here but chasing yellowfin tuna thru much of the summer is our main activity”. These tuna like deeper water for the most part, often being caught in water from 30 to 100 fathoms. “We watch the satellite shots to get a general idea of how far north or south the tuna are” explained the Captain.
Fishing spots include the Norfolk Canyon, Cigar, Weather Buoy, Wayne’s World and others. These hotspots range up to 75 miles out of Rudee Inlet. In addition to yellowfin tuna, anglers catch bluefin, bigeye, skipjack and longfin albacore tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo, billfish and sharks.
Of interest to many anglers are the trips that reach the Norfolk Canyon. Just before reaching the canyon walls are slopes that are often very productive areas. Near the canyon walls, the bottom becomes steeper and rockier. Fish congregate along the drop offs to catch food that is caught in the hard running current. Along the edges are lobster traps which are marked by orange buoys or “lobster balls”. The buoys attract dolphin fish which in turn attract the larger marlin, swordfish and sharks which feed on them heavily. A trip by a buoy can be uneventful, or one or more lines might be attacked by mahi mahi, tuna, marlin or other fish.
Late August and September often feature the best fishing with anglers seeing larger numbers of tuna as well as an influx of wahoo and bull dolphin. Offshore fishing continues into October, when windy weather and falling water temperatures make fishing less productive.
After the offshore season winds down, Virginia anglers enjoy excellent striped bass fishing. Known locally as rockfish, these delicious fish migrate down the East Coast and congregate in the lower Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters from November thru March. Anglers sometimes catch monster rockfish, exceeding 50 lbs. The Virginia state record rockfish has been broken many times recently, with some of the biggest fish being caught out of Virginia Beach Virginia.
These beautiful gamefish love cold and windy weather and feed in immense schools along the coast. Local charter boat captains such as Captain Keith of the Mega Bite keep watch on local fishing and are usually able to find the fish reliably when a winter weather window of opportunity becomes available.