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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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The Fishing Line with Billy Pipkin

by Captain Billy Pipkin

Henry Smith III and Troy Smith of Urbanna and Mike Smith and Jon Paul Weedon of Chesterfield enjoyed a day of Bay fishing on June 28 and brought back a 7-foot shark. Henry Smith hooked and reeled in the shark, and with the help of everyone else finally got the big fish into the boat.
Virginia’s Northern Neck is alive with excitement. This month we will find anglers heading to the water for the most diverse fishing of the year.

The diversity of species is amazing as anglers spread out over the Chesapeake Bay and rivers to catch Spanish mackerel, bluefish, cobia, spadefish, flounder, whiting, speckled trout, grey trout, spot, croaker and more.

Trolling action will land mackerel and blues in good numbers this month. These two species are often found schooling together in close proximity to shore. This offers an opportunity for small boat anglers to get into the action. Windmill Point, Smith Point and Coles Point are all near shore areas that hold these fish.

Our rental boats at Ingram Bay Marina catch both mackerel and blues by trolling at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River.

For best results, I recommend using a small #0 Drone or Clark spoon either in chrome, gold or a variety of colors including hot pink and chartreuse. Use a 15-foot-long  #20 leader with a good quality swivel in the center behind a #2 planer or light in-line sinkers to keep the baits down below the surface.

Bottom fishing will gather the greatest variety of fish with a simple bottom rig donning two hooks. Squid strips, shrimp and bloodworms are all good choices for bait. For those anglers who prefer jigging and casting lures, the Berkley Gulp baits are producing results on a variety of species. The swimming mullets and the jerk baits are most popular. Bloodworm offerings are yielding good numbers of spot  on in-shore oyster beds. Grass beds in skinny water are the home for speckled trout, puppy drum and larger croaker. Locations holding the best populations are Mobjack Bay, both the North and East rivers, the Piankatank River,  Dividing Creek and Ingram Bay.

Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy’s Charter Service in Wicomico Church. 804-580-7292.

Chumming is popular for gathering catches of bluefish, cobia and spadefish. For blues and cobia, the standard grind of menhaden chum will suffice, yet the spadefish prefer a clam chum.
Blues can be found on any of the numerous artificial reefs including Windmill Point, Asphalt Pile and Northern Neck reef. The S.W. Middle Grounds off Smith Island hold good numbers as well. Spadefish frequent structure such as lighthouses, wrecks and reefs. Cobia are more free swimming and can be drawn to the boat with chum and take live offerings such as spot and eels.

Fueling your pleasure

The cost of fuel has moderated this summer and, with this, boating activity has significantly increased. With more activity, there has been increased awareness as to the effects of the new ethanol fuels on boat engines. It is estimated that boaters statewide are spending millions of dollars in repairs each year from the effects of ethanol on their gas engines. Humidity and water mix with the alcohol and create phase separation which destroys carburetors. Several marinas around the state have continued to use non-ethanol gasoline. Although the cost is a few cents higher, we still carry the non-ethanol mid-grade gasoline at Ingram Bay Marina located on Towles Creek at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. Customers come from all over the Bay to buy this preferred product. We can only hope that legislation will change to eliminate the less efficient, damaging ethanol product.

Beat the heat

One way to beat the heat of summer is to spend time on the water. The temperatures on the water are always cooler than on land. Our gentle, refreshing Northern Neck breeze should be patented. During August the stinging nettles die off and many anglers split their time with other activities such as swimming, water skiing and just plain cruising.
No matter what activity you prefer,  it’s great to be on the water.
Until next time…Fair winds.

posted 07.30.2009

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