Virginia: Saltwater

Despite living just a few hours from Virginia saltwater opportunities, I had never paid any attention to them.  But, after catching my trophy sand tiger shark in Maryland and my trophy bluefin tuna in Massachusetts, I started to do more research into saltwater options.  These are the saltwater citations I have so far.  Hopefully one day I will be a Virginia saltwater Master Angler, which requires 25 citations in at least six species with no more than one entry per species per year.

Striped Bass

After my very successful trophy saltwater trips in Maryland and Massachusetts, I decided to play the hot hand and headed to Deltaville, Virginia to tangle with some truly impressive striped bass.  During the season, Wes Crump catches better striped bass in a week than I have seen in my life.  And that isn't an exaggeration.  My trip with Wes produced my biggest ever striper at 49 inches and 47 pounds, my second-biggest striper ever at 45 inches and 43 pounds, and my fourth-biggest striper ever at 46 inches and 39 pounds.  It was absolutely unbelievable.  Stripers are, by far, my most fished for species.  I have fished for or caught stripers in 16 states and have caught trophies in four of those states.  Yet, on one morning with Wes, I casually shattered my previous personal bests.  Wes is a fantastic guide who knows the best techniques and locations for producing citation stripers.  This was my first Virginia saltwater citation, and it is safe to say that I am officially hooked on saltwater fishing.

Virginia citation striper
Virginia citation striper
Virginia citation striper

Red Drum

After getting my first Virginia saltwater citation in December, I returned to the Chesapeake in July to target one of my favorite saltwater fish, the red drum.  It had been over 10 years since the last time I fished for red drum.  Trophy red drum are catch-and-release only in Virginia and they get quite big.  I chose Tom Ritter because of his reputation for finding citations.  We sight-fished the whole day and I landed two massive red drum.  The first was a 46.25", 33-pound citation and the second was an enormous 46.5", 48-pound bull, which eclipsed my personal best from Mississippi many years ago.  I also caught a half dozen cobia and just missed a citation in that species as well.  I had a fantastic time with Tom and first mate Jordan and I can't wait to go back.

Virginia citation red drum
Virginia citation red drum