Virginia Fishing
Virginia Beach FishingVirginia Beach FishingVirginia Beach Charter BoatVa Beach Fishing RatesVirginia Fishing ReservationsContact Virginia Fishing CharterVirginia Deep Sea Fishing

Virginia beach Fishing - Sport Fishing Species

Popular Sport Fishing Species of Virginia. As you can see when it comes to Virginia Beach sport fishing there are many great big game species including big billfish. When you make the trip to Virginia Beach for your fishing vacation you will certainly have a chance at catching one or more of these pictured species. So check out the fish, book your charter vacation, and get ready to hook up with one of these magnificent sea creatures on your next Virginia Beach fishing trip.

Virginia Beach Blue Marlin fishing

Blue Marlin
Other Names: Aguja Azul
Physical Description:

The Atlantic and Pacific specimens are nearly identical in appearance. The back and upper portions of the body are dark, cobalt blue in color, including the first dorsal fin. The lower portion has a silver-white color. In many cases, there are up to 15 vertical stripes, consisting of small dots and narrow bars, with a light cobalt blue color. The principal way to distinguish blue marlin from their relatives is to examine the shape of the dorsal fin tip, which is more pointed on blue marlin. In addition, the spots found on the fins of most marlin are absent on the blue marlin.


Blue marlin can be found in tropical and warm temperate waters around the globe, mostly in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is the most tropical of the billfish and is often found in waters near the equator.

Feeding Habits:

Blue marlin feed primarily near the surface, though they occasionally dive to deeper water to feed, depending on where their prey is found. Their diet consists mostly of fish and other sea life found near the surface and is highly dependent upon location. This diet can include tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus and any number of fish species indigenous to the environment.

Sporting Qualities:

Most believe Blue Marlin are the most sought after of all the ocean sport fish. A super strong and powerful bill-fish, blue marlin will fight hard and run fast for many hours on end, especially when you are hooked up to a very large marlin. They can suddenly dive to deep water and can make wild jumps like some type of fish acrobatic. With impressive endurance, it is not uncommon to see a hooked fish make up to 40 or more spectacular jumps. This fish can be a tough test of an anglers deep sea fishing skills.


Very little is known about the biology of the blue marlin including their migrations and spawning habits. They are known to be a highly mobile species that travels the warm ocean currents with the seasons in search of comfortable water temperatures. This species inhabits depths up to about 600 feet and water temperatures between 70 and 86 F. They are primarily an offshore species found along the edges of continental shelves, near oceanic mountains, underwater canyons, especially near a warm ocean current.

Costa Rica Blue Marlin

White Marlin
Other Names: Spikefish, Aguja Blanco
Physical Description:

Similar in color to the Blue Marlin but proportionately lighter in body, white marlin can be distinguished from small Blues by the rounded tips of dorsal, anal and pectoral fins.
Averages 40-70 pounds, 100-pounders not too uncommon; maximum less than 200. World record 181 pounds, 14 ounces; Florida record 161 pounds.


Highly migratory, white marlin seek warm offshore waters in the Atlantic Ocean. They move from area to area in order to stay within temperatures from 68 and 84 F, which leads them to higher latitudes during summer and lower latitudes during winter. They are abundant in the temperate and subtropical areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Feeding Habits:

White marlin are aggressive, opportunistic feeders that seem willing to eat whatever is available in their environment. Their diet is likely dependent on their location and the availability of food sources. They seem to do most of their feeding during the day, feeding in both deep and shallow water, especially near underwater canyons, shoals and other areas with steep drop offs. Like other marlin, they use their long spear to stun their prey. The majority of their diet consists of fish such as herring, jacks, mackerels, triggerfish, dolphin fish and flying fish. However, squid and crabs can make up a significant portion of their diet.

Sporting Qualities:

White marlin are the most commonly encountered marlin along the Atlantic Coast of the United States and share the reputation of other marlin as a good-fighting trophy fish. They combine hard strikes on several natural baits and artificial lure with fast runs, deep dives and acrobatic jumps when hooked. This combination makes the fish a thrilling challenge on light tackle.


Preferring the deep, blue, temperate to tropical water above the ocean thermocline, white marlin normally roam the ocean at depths between 300 and 500 feet. They are well adapted to areas of low oxygen levels and high salinity. They also seem to congregate near currents with speeds between one and 3 miles per hour. While they are primarily deep-water fish, white marlin will frequently come into water as shallow as 50 feet, especially around debris or floating weeds. They sometimes travel in small schools of 5 to 12, especially when feeding on baitfish, but usually travel alone or in pairs.


Atlantic Sailfish
Other Names: Spindlebeak, Pez Vela
Physical Description:

The Atlantic sailfish’s most prominent feature is their first, sail-like dorsal fin, commonly referred to as its “sail dorsal.” Coloration of the body is dark blue to dark blue-green on top, brown-blue on the sides fading to silver-white underneath. The upper body has light and dark blue spots scattered about, while the sides have blue-gray vertical stripes that are often broken. The body of an Atlantic sailfish is slender and they are extremely fast swimmers, having the ability to swim at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. There is an obvious lateral line that runs over the pectoral fin and back along the flanks. The body is covered with embedded scales that become less numerous and more variable in shape as the fish ages.


Atlantic sailfish migrate extensively throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The full range is from about 40 degrees north to 40 degrees south latitude in the western Atlantic, roughly from Maine to Venezuela. They are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

Feeding Habits:

Favored feeding areas are near schools of baitfish in areas where there is a temperature change. They may form small groups of 3 to 30 members that forage together. It is possible that, like the Pacific sailfish, they may cooperate to capture their prey, using their fins to create a trap that prevents fish from escaping and taking turns to feed. They attack prey with their fins and spear and then consume the stunned fish headfirst. Their favored food is other fish, including mackerel, tuna, herring, ballyhoo, needlefish and mullet.

Sporting Qualities:

A highly popular target for sportfishermen, especially off the coast of Florida, Atlantic sailfish are a prized trophy species. Their popularity is a result of the challenge of catching one using light tackle, their penchant for dramatic leaps out of the water, and their stunning beauty. Due to declining numbers resulting from overfishing, most Atlantic sailfish are now caught and released, though this is not as common off the coast of Mexico and Central America.


Although they traverse the vast ocean waters, Atlantic sailfish favor areas near the Gulf Stream current. They stay at mid-range to surface depths above the thermocline, in waters with temperatures between 70 and 85 F. Despite being caught on the surface, most of their feeding appears to occur in mid-level depths near areas with underwater structures. Compared to their Pacific counterpart, they usually stay in deeper water year round, going to depths as great as 600 feet.

Yellowfin Tuna fishing in Costa Rica

Yellowfin Tuna
Other Names: Thunnus Albacares - (Scientific Name)
Physical Description:

Yellowfin tuna have a muscular, streamlined body like a swimming torpedo and like all tuna they can swim fast as lightning. A tuna's color is dark blue to black on the back and tail fin, yellow and silver on the side and belly. The second dorsal and anal fins are yellow and very long in older fish. Finlets run down the back and belly from these two fins to the tail fin and are a bright, canary yellow with black edges.


Yellowfin tuna are found worldwide in tropical and some subtropical waters. These bodies of water include all three warm oceans Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and all warm seas except the Mediterranean.

Feeding Habits:

Various baitfish, crustaceans and squids make up the bulk of their diet. They will hit chunks of cut up fish, (called chunking). Drift near a school, cut up your bait fish into halves and use for chumming while you place a fish head or half a fish on your hook. Toss out your line, no lead, and work it back into the chum pieces you throw over the side. A tune may hit the bait right near the surface. The feed most often at or near the surface and are often active at night.

Sporting Qualities:

Yellowfin tuna are considered an excellent food and sport fish and are highly sought after by anglers and commercial fishermen alike. After hitting a lure or bait, they often go deep and will fight with great power and tenacity.


Though they can withstand cooler water, yellowfin tuna prefer warm water and are found mainly in waters between 62 and 80 F. Yellowfin tuna, particularly young fish, usually school below the surface but over deep water, often several hundred feet. They avoid depths because of their intolerance for low concentrations of oxygen.

Va Beach and NC fishing for Wahoo

Other Names: Peto, Ono
Physical Description:

Long, slender body marked with zebra-like stripes of white and deep blue or black. Mouth is elongated and narrow, and equipped with razor-sharp teeth.


Wahoo are present in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in clear, tropical and subtropical waters. Heavy seasonal concentrations occur off the Pacific coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Baja California in the summer. Offshore of all Florida coasts, especially the Keys, but for more plentiful in the Bahamas and many Caribbean Islands.

Feeding Habits:

While the wahoo is perfectly capable of biting chunks out of large fish, it primarily feeds on whole small fishes, such as sardines, scads, mackerel and squid. They are frequently solitary feeders, but they may sometimes be found in small, loose groups. Wahoo are sub-surface hunters that hang several feet below the surface and shoot up to attack prey with tremendous speed. Although they feed at all times, they tend to be more active in the morning and evening hours.

Sporting Qualities:

May strike a surface bait in spectacular, greyhounding fashion, but seldom jumps after being hooked. Wild fight is characterized by several sizzling runs, usually at or near the surface. One of the fastest of all gamefish.


Roams the deep blue water, but anglers can find them by working dropoffs, seamounts, weedlines and other favorable feeding locations.

Dolphin, aka Dorado or Mahi Mahi

Other Names: Mahi Mahi, Dolphinfish, Dorado
Physical Description:

The body of the dolphin is quite slender but fairly deep, with a noticeable tapering from head to tail. The male of the species is distinguished from the female by its high, vertical head. The anal fin has approximately 30 soft rays and stretches over half of the length of the body. The distinctive dorsal fin is long, covering almost three-fourths of the body, and has around 60 soft rays. The caudal fin is deeply forked and contains no spines. -- A blaze of blue and yellow or deep green and yellow when in the water, and sometimes shows dark vertical stripes as well when excited. Small dark spots on sides. Dorsal fin extends nearly from head to tail. Head is very blunt in males (bulls); rounded in females (cows).


While the greatest concentrations of dolphin are believed to be in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific, they are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters and warmwater currents. All offshore waters of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Feeding Habits:

Dolphin are known as voracious predators. While their favorite prey is the flying fish, they also consume squid, shrimp, crustaceans and even smaller dolphin. Using a keen sense of eyesight the dolphin locates most food near clumps of floating vegetation and objects.

Sporting Qualities:

The dolphin is considered one of the top offshore game fish and is highly targeted by anglers around the world. It is famous for its leaps and flips over the surface when hooked. Because of their speed and agility, dolphin provide for an exciting catch as they run long and jump often.


Dolphin are a warm-water fish usually found in deep waters, close to the surface. While sometimes found in coastal waters, they often concentrate in the open ocean around floating objects such as buoys, driftwood and seaweed clusters. They are considered to be the most surface-oriented of all big-game fish.


More available species mostly caught while fishing Virginia Beach inshore waters.

Chesapeake Bay striper aka rockfish


Striper - Subject to Restrictions - The 2006 Spring Trophy Season begins April 15 and goes to mid-May. It is not uncommon to catch fish over 40" during this season. During the Summer and Fall seasons you are allowed two Striped Bass over 18" per person. Big Striped Bass can also be caught in late October through November.

SIZE: Averages 10 pounds - Some fish over sixty pounds have been caught.
FOOD VALUE: One of the most popular fish of the Chesapeake Bay, with white fluffy meat.
GAME QUALITIES: Great fun on light tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Usually caught casting small articficial baits or trolling large lures at different heights of the water column.
FISHING STYLE: Trolling, Bait-casting.
MORE INFORMATION: All coastal inshore and Chesapeake Bay waters (tidal waters) have school-size fish; Chesapeake Bay tributary rivers, Eastern Shore bayside creeks south to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel have best concentrations of fish. Large fish most often found along CBBT, main portion of Chesapeake Bay and off the Virginia Capes at the mouth of the Bay. Assateague surf in late fall and early spring
January - December; peak for large fish in November and December along the Virginia Beach coastal waters; peak fishing for school fish generally in spring and fall - 10 - 50 plus pounds.



Bluefish (large)
Artificial lures (spoons, tube eels, metal squids, surface plugs) cut bait (fresh menhaden, mullet, herring, spot) whole balao or boston mackerel
Trolling, casting or jigging to schools of fish with artificial lures; surfcasting with cut bait or lures; chumming while using cut bait; bluefish can be taken on streamer flies with a fly rod
Offshore and coastal waters; Chesapeake Bay; Eastern Shore barrier island surf
Middle April - July; October - November
8 - 16 pounds
25 lbs., 4 oz.; caught at Bluefish Rock in Chesapeake Bay in 1986 by Gayle E. Cozzens

Bluefish (small)
Artificial lures (small spoons, feather lures, metal squids, surface plugs) and cut bait
Trolling or casting to schools of fish with artificial lures; surfcasting and bottom fishing with cut bait; surfcasting with artificial lures
Chesapeake Bay, coastal ocean waters, ocean surf, inlets
May - October
1 -5 pounds



Live Bait (eels, spot, menhaden, mullet); artificial lures (large spoons, white bucktails, plastic eels, swimming plugs); cut bait (menhaden or spot)
Cast, drift or slow troll live baits around buoys, underwater obstructions and schools of fish swimming on the surface; anchor, chum and fish live baits, fresh dead baits and cut bait in chum slick and on bottom; cast and troll lures around buoys, obstructions and to schools of bullfish (rays) or schools, pods or individual cobia swimming on surface
Buoys in lower Chesapeake Bay, at the mouth of the Bay and along coastal beaches; CBBT; Bluefish Rock off Hampton, Cabbage Patch and Kiptopeake areas off Cape Charles, and Your Spit area; coastal buoys and wrecks; Chesapeake Light Tower; Latimer Shoal
June - September; peak mid-June - mid- September
20 -50 pounds
103 lbs., 8 oz., Mobjack Bay in 1980 by Edward K. Brown



Pieces of fresh mussels and clams; pieces of jellyfish
Fish visible schools of fish around obstructions (buoys, towers, etc.) with small (#5 or #6) double strength hooks
Coastal ocean waters and the lower Chesapeake Bay; Fish consistently found at the Cell, Plantation Light, York Spit Light, and Tiger wreck, 4A-buoy, Chesapeake Light Tower
June - September
3 - 8 pounds
13 lbs.; caught at the Cell in 1988 by Otis Tribble

Virginia Beach Sport Fishing Species

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Wahoo
  • Dolphin
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Bluefin Tuna
  • Amberjack
  • Barracuda
  • Bigeye Tuna
  • Blackfin Tuna
  • Mackerel
  • Shark
  • Striper
  • Bluefish

When fishing in Virginia Beach you are subject to catch any number of a multitude of saltwater species that are available. Although our trips usually are for larger fish like marlin, tuna, or wahoo there is still the possibility of hitting another popular species while fishing for something entirely different. That is what is great about Virginia Beach fishing, there is always something available so if one fish isn't hitting then we can change up and target another species entirely.

Print PagePrint Page
Virginia Beach fishing charters
Va Beach Fishing Reservations

Ready to reserve your Virginia Beach sport fishing charter that you will remember for a lifetime? Use the link below to reserve now.
 Reserve A Charter

Fishing Charter
Check your Virginia Beach Beach Fishing Forecast
fishing guide
fishing guide
Site Design By:
FinTalk Fishing
Marine web site design
Web Resources Go to top for Virginia Beach Beach fishing charter
HOME | Charter Boat Captain | Virginia Beach Fishing | Virginia Fish Species | Charter Boat & Gear
Rates | Book a Charter | Directions | Weather Report | Fishing Reports | Gallery | Fishing Sites | Contact Us
Search Engine Optimization by Tight Line Website Designs
Charter Fishing Services - (c) Copyright Contact