This winter, massive schools of rockfish, also known as striped bass, will lure anglers to Virginia Beach. Approximately 80 percent of East Coast rockfish are spawned in the food-rich Chesapeake Bay, creating a firestorm of activity in both the bay’s waters and those of the mighty Atlantic Ocean earning Virginia Beach the nickname “Striped Bass Capital of the World.”
With the magnitude of striped bass in Virginia Beach’s waters, it is the perfect location for winter fishing tournaments. The annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout is one of the largest striped bass tournaments in the country. This year, the tenth annual shootout will be hosted out of Virginia Beach’s Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets from January 3-5, 2013. Last year the total tournament payout was more than $174,705 in cash and prizes. This year, if participants are registered prior to December 28, they will be entered in the “Nobody’s a Loser” drawing for three $1,000 cash raffle prizes. For more information, visit www.midatlanticrockfishshootout.com.
Virginia Beach boasts a diverse amount of winter fish besides rockfish including tautog. Tautog is another year-round fish that 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. The winter months also bring larger schools of black sea bass that tempt offshore anglers during these cooler months. Additional species popular off the coast include cobia, speckled trout and black drum.
Fishing in Virginia Beach rewards anglers of all ages and skill ranges. From traveling out to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream to surf-fishing directly from the beach, anyone can enjoy a day in Virginia Beach casting and reeling. For a day-long trek to deeper waters, the city has two inlets for fishermen. Rudee Inlet at the south end of the Virginia Beach resort area opens directly into the Atlantic Ocean. The city offers plenty of charter boat rental options including Fisherman's Wharf Marina, the Rudee Inlet Station Marina and the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, which boasts the largest charter fleet on the coast of Virginia.
Just a few miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Lynnhaven Inlet offers the chance to go after a different array of fish species. At Marina Shores Marina, Lynnhaven Marine, Long Bay Pointe Marina, Dockside Fishing Center or Bubba's Marina, anglers can launch their own boat or charter for a day on the water. For an added treat, several local restaurants, including Waterman’s Surfside Grille, will cook your fresh catch on the spot for a tasty and delectable end to a successful day of fishing.
For fishing tips and up-to-date coverage on how the fish are biting in Virginia Beach, visit www.visitvirginiabeach.com. The site includes contact information for local marinas, boat ramps and fishing locales. Additionally, visitors can read local fishing expert Mike Halperin’s posts on the Virginia Beach ShoreLines blog. Halperin, a Virginia Beach resident and Virginia state record-holder, writes of the biggest catches, best bites and brightest tournaments coming down the pipeline in Virginia Beach.