Virginia saltwater fishing becomes more than just a pastime when May brings the spring weather back – it becomes a way of life. In the month of May, the anglers at and around Chesapeake bay begin to rejoice and congregate as the large game fish specimens begin to filter into the largest estuary in North America in numbers that seem like an impossibility. Most of the saltwater fishing anglers are looking to the south, where red and black drum are returning from winters in southern waters. However, there are still a number of individuals anxiously awaiting the migration of striped bass from the north to infuse the Bay with their great numbers.

Having just completed their yearly spawning rituals in the upper reaches of the Bay tributaries, this species return in mass quantities and sizes reaching 40 inches that make anglers giddy with anticipation. Of course, there are severe restrictions through the first six weeks of Virginia fishing for striped bass that make the early season difficult to comply with, considering the itchy feeling anglers get at the thought of reeling in a huge catch. From May 1st through the 15th, there is a Virginia fishing mandate on the stripers, limiting the catch to one fish per person with a minimum length of 32 inches. From the 16th through the 15th of June, the limit per person is two fish between 18 and 28 inches or one of this size accompanied by one fish at least 32 inches in length.

Fishing in Virginia in the early season is particularly good in the Smith Point area, located at the uppermost portion of Virginia’s western shore. This is a peninsula referred to as the Northern Neck, which is perfectly situated for the interception of the infuse of fish returning from the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and Maryland’s bay waters after their spawning is completed. Interestingly enough, because of the setup of licenses for Virginia saltwater fishing and Maryland fishing, when the waters are cooler and striper don’t return to the southern waters as soon as normally expected, anglers from Virginia are allowed to fish the waters of Maryland, which are already quite productive in terms of quantity of striped bass available.

Trolling tends to be the most popular and productive method of saltwater fishing for striped bass, since they are moving rapidly and not holding in one place for long. Menhaden are the preferred bait, as well, and if fresh fish cannot be found, use lures that imitate these, including bucktails and spoons in similar sizes. Preferred coloring is white or chartreuse. You might first try the main shipping channel down the bay, where the water is warmer, trolling along the edges at staggered depths between the surface and twenty feet, though this is simply a suggestion and not a guarantee of productive Virginia saltwater fishing for stripers.

By: Daniel Eggertsen

About the Author:

Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is commited to providing the best saltwater fishing information possible. Get more information on Virginia saltwater fishing here:

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