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Virginia Beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with its beautiful, sandy beaches, boardwalk, and plethora of other beach-town activities. For those who enjoy fishing, Virginia Beach is a true cornucopia of options. With miles of coastline, inshore and offshore waters, and a large variety of species, Virginia Beach offers a wide range of fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Read on for info about inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing in Virginia Beach, top species to catch in virginia beach, how to catch them, where to catch them, and what techniques to use.

Rockfish in virginia beach

Inshore Fishing in Virginia Beach

Inshore fishing in Virginia Beach consists of fishing the tributaries of the Chesapeake bay, namely the James and the York river and their various creeks and inlets. Inshore fishing is a great option for those who want to stay closer to home and enjoy a more relaxed fishing experience while still getting out there and getting on em. Inshore fishing is also great for families with children or beginners who are just starting out because you can get some fishing done in as few as 4-5 hours.

VA Beach is home to a variety of inshore species, including striped bass, flounder, croaker, spot, redfish, and bluefish. Striped bass, also known as rockfish in the Bay area, are one of the most sought-after fish in the bay. They can be caught using a variety of techniques, including trolling, jigging, and live bait fishing. The best time to catch striped bass in Virginia Beach is from April to June and from September to December. During these times, striped bass are migrating in and out of the bay, providing excellent fishing opportunities.

Virginia Beach redfish

Flounder is another popular species that can be caught in the Chesapeake Bay. Flounder can be caught using a variety of techniques, including bottom fishing with live bait or artificial lures. The best time to catch flounder in Virginia Beach is from May to September.

Croaker and spot are also common inshore species that are often caught by bottom fishing with bloodworms or squid. Bluefish can be caught using the same techniques as striped bass, and they are often caught in the late summer and early fall.

Nearshore Fishing in Virginia Beach

VA Beach nearshore fishing takes place in waters that are closer to shore than offshore fishing but a little further out than the creeks and inlets. Nearshore fishing is typically done within a few miles of the beach and is great for those who want to catch larger fish than what can be caught inshore. Nearshore fishing can also be done year-round, making it a great option for anglers who want to fish during the shoulder seasons or winter.

One of the most popular species to catch nearshore in Virginia Beach is the cobia. Cobia can be caught using a variety of techniques, including sight fishing, live bait fishing, and trolling. Sight fishing for cobia involves cruising along the beach and looking for cobia swimming near the surface. Once a cobia is spotted, anglers can cast a live bait or lure in front of the fish and reel it in slowly. Live bait fishing for cobia involves using live eels, croaker, or spot and fishing them near structures such as buoys or wrecks. Trolling for cobia involves using artificial lures and slowly trolling them near structures.

virginia beach cobia

Spanish mackerel and king mackerel are also common nearshore species that are often caught using trolling techniques. Spanish mackerel can be caught year-round, while king mackerel are more commonly caught in the summer and fall.

Offshore Fishing in Virginia Beach

Offshore fishing in Virginia Beach takes place in waters that are farther from shore than nearshore fishing, and as a result is usually a longer trip, often a full-day of fishing. Offshore fishing is typically done in waters that are at least 20 miles from shore and can be done year-round, although the best time to fish offshore is typically from May to September for better weather and more fish in the area.

virginia beach offshore

Offshore fishing in Virginia Beach is a great option for those who want to catch larger and more challenging fish. Offshore waters are home to a variety of species, including tuna, marlin, wahoo, and mahi-mahi.

Tuna is one of the most sought-after species for offshore anglers in Virginia Beach. Yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and bigeye tuna can all be caught offshore. Tuna are often caught using trolling techniques with artificial lures. The best time to catch tuna in Virginia Beach is from May to September.

Marlin is another popular species that can be caught offshore in Virginia Beach. Blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish can all be caught using trolling techniques with artificial lures or by live bait fishing. The best time to catch marlin in Virginia Beach is from July to September when the summer bite is hot and the weather is nice. Anglers can also deep drop for swordfish if they want another year-round shot at a billfish.

virginia beach swordfish

Wahoo is another common species that can be caught offshore in Virginia Beach. Wahoo can be caught by high-speed trolling with lures or live bait - they’re fast! The best time to catch wahoo in Virginia Beach is from May to September.

Mahi-mahi can be caught by trolling with artificial lures or live bait, but because mahi are often caught near floating debris, such as seaweed or logs, they can also be caught on light tackle and spinning rods.

Where to Fish in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, there are plenty of great locations to fish depending on what type of fishing you are looking to do. Here are some of the top locations for each type of fishing:

Virginia Beach Inshore Fishing Locations:

  • Lynnhaven Inlet
  • Rudee Inlet
  • Back Bay

Virginia Beach Nearshore Fishing Locations:

  • The Chesapeake Light Tower
  • The Triangle Wrecks
  • The South Tower
  • The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
  • The Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Virginia Beach Offshore Fishing Locations:

  • The Norfolk Canyon
  • The Washington Canyon
  • The Cigar
  • The Hot Dog
  • The Fingers

Virginia Beach Fishing Techniques and Tips

There are a number of ways to get the results you want around the Virginia Beach area but here are some general tips and techniques for each type of fishing and some tried and true practices for getting your next PB:

Virginia Beach Inshore Fishing Techniques:

  • Use light tackle, especially when targeting species such as croaker and spot.

  • Use a bottom rig when fishing for flounder, croaker, and spot.

  • Use a popping cork when fishing for speckled trout and red drum.

  • Use live bait, such as bloodworms, squid, or live minnows, for best results.

Virginia Beach Nearshore Fishing Techniques:

  • Use trolling techniques with artificial lures or live bait when targeting species such as cobia, Spanish mackerel, and king mackerel.

  • Use bottom fishing techniques with live bait or artificial lures when targeting bottom-dwelling species such as black sea bass and tautog.

  • Pay attention to water temperature and structure when fishing for specific species.

Virginia Beach Offshore Fishing Techniques:

  • Use trolling techniques with artificial lures or live bait when targeting species such as tuna, marlin, wahoo, and mahi-mahi.

  • Use chunking techniques with live bait when targeting tuna.

  • Use high-speed trolling techniques with lures or live bait when targeting wahoo.

  • Pay attention to weather and sea conditions before heading offshore.

Fishing Regulations in Virginia Beach

It is important to be aware of fishing regulations and limits when fishing in Virginia Beach. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) sets regulations for recreational fishing in Virginia Beach. These regulations include size limits, bag limits, and season restrictions for various species. It is important to check these regulations before heading out on a fishing trip to avoid any fines or penalties.

Here are some of the fishing regulations for Virginia Beach:

  • Striped Bass: The minimum size limit is 20 inches, and the possession limit is two fish per person per day.

  • Red Drum: The minimum size limit is 18 inches, and the possession limit is one fish per person per day.

  • Cobia: The minimum size limit is 40 inches, and the possession limit is one fish per person per day. Flounder: The minimum size limit is 15 inches, and the possession limit is four fish per person per day.

  • Bluefin Tuna: The size limit and possession limit vary by season and location. It is important to check the regulations before fishing for bluefin tuna.

Redfish in virginia beach inshore

Get Out There

Fishing in Virginia Beach offers a variety of opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. Inshore, nearshore, or offshore fishing can offer unique experiences and a chance to catch a variety of species.

Some of the top species to catch in Virginia Beach include striped bass, red drum, cobia, Spanish mackerel, tuna, marlin, wahoo, and mahi-mahi. Each type of fishing requires different techniques and strategies to be successful, but no matter what you do you’ll be sure to have a great day on the water.

If you’re worried about having a great time on the water, hiring a guide in Virginia Beach can greatly enhance your fishing experience. A fishing guide can provide you with valuable knowledge of the local waters, including where the fish are biting and what techniques are working best. They can also provide you with all the necessary equipment, saving you the hassle of bringing your own gear. Additionally, a fishing guide can help you navigate the complex fishing regulations and ensure that you are in compliance with all the rules. Overall, hiring a fishing guide can make your trip more productive, enjoyable, and stress-free.

With its beautiful beaches, abundant fishery, and a variety of fishing opportunities, Virginia Beach is a great destination for anglers looking for a memorable fishing experience. So whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler, grab your fishing gear and head to Virginia Beach for some of the best fishing on the East Coast.