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Fishing in Chincoteague

Chincoteague is a paradise of the outdoors. With its wild horses, sandy beaches, shallow flats, and untouched wildlife reserves, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and get back to the important things in life. Chincoteague fishing charters will let you delve deep into this watery wonderland and head home with a literal boatload of delicious fish.
You could spend a year of your whole life exploring these waters and still only scratch the surface of what the area has to offer. Monster Red and Black Drum lurk in the bays, while “Rockfish” (Striped Bass), Bluefish, Tautog, and “doormat” Flounder fight for space around rocks and wrecks. Head further afield, and you could hook into monster Sharks, Tuna, and even Marlin. With so much going on, your only regret will be having to leave at the end of your trip!

Chincoteague Fishing Spots

Chincoteague Island fishing charters take you to a huge range of habitats, searching for pretty much every species found on the Eastern Seaboard. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and chances are you won’t be able to fit everything into one visit. Don’t worry, once you’ve got a taste of the area’s fishing, you’ll always be back for more. Here are some of the spots you can hit, just to whet your appetite.

Chincoteague Bay

Whether you’re cruising around the bay itself or exploring the many channels and creeks that feed it, Chincoteague Bay fishing offers incredible light tackle action. Flounder, Trout, Red Drum, Bluefish, Croaker, and a variety of smaller Sharks can be caught here. What’s more, it’s within easy kayaking distance of town!

Blackfish Banks

Also known as “the Subway Cars” or “the Boxcars,” these banks hold some of the best Flounder bite in the state. During the heat of summer, you would be hard-pressed not to hit your limit here. And it’s not just Flounder. Triggerfish, Tautog, Black Seabass, Speckled Trout, and Spadefish can all be found swimming around these waters.

26 Mile Hill

Leave the shallow waters behind you and head offshore and you will be very well rewarded. Tuna can be caught out here, as can Wahoo and Mahi-Mahi. This spot is best known for its awesome Shark action, though. Expect Tigers, Makos, Threshers, Duskies, Blacktips, Hammerheads, and more!

The Parking Lot

The Parking Lot is great for a ton of species, but there’s one big, tasty reason anglers make the trip here - Tuna. Bluefin, Yellowfin, and Bigeye Tuna all spend their summers in this spot. Anglers from Virginia’s Atlantic Coast to get in on the action. You really need to empty the freezer before you head out here!


Monster Makos and big Bluefin not enough for you? Are you craving some world-class big game action? Washington, Norfolk, and Poor Man’s Canyons are home to some of the top names in deep sea sportfishing, including Blue and White Marlin, Bigeye, Bluefin, and Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and a ton of Sharks. It may take several hours to get here, but it’s well worth the journey.

Chincoteague Fishing Pier

If all you’re after is a bit of fun and some tasty fish to show for it, you don’t need to look further than the local fishing pier. You can catch a variety of species from the local piers, including Striped Bass, Bluefish, Flounder, Croaker, Black Seabass, Blue Crab, and much, much more. You may not break any records, but you’ll certainly feed the family!

Fishing Techniques

If you want to make the most of Virginia’s fleeting Trophy Striped Bass season, hit the bridges and rocky structure in early May and get ready for the fight of your life! Spinning gear usually works best when targeting Stripers, but you can take your pick of what you use with it. Cut Bunker or Mullet are great, as are lures like Crippled Herring and Calcutta Flashfoil. Let’s be honest, Stripers aren’t known for being fussy!
Head to shallower waters, and you can enjoy awesome light tackle action for trophy Red Drum, using swimbaits, topwater plugs, or live Finger Mullet, Shrimps, and Clams. Speaking of Clams, the Black Drum bite in Chincoteague is out of this world, and nothing brings these brutes in better than fresh shellfish.
Flounder are one of Virginia’s top inshore species, and with good reason. Monster “doormat” Flounder are taken all summer long using top-and-bottom rigs with live Minnows and Squid strips. If you prefer using artificial baits, GULP! lures are the worst kept secret in Flounder fishing. Swimming Mullets, Crabs, Shrimps, whatever you use, hungry Flounder will “gulp” them up before you know it!
The early Tuna bite often focuses on trolling, but by the middle of summer, many boats have switched to chunking. Butterfish and Sardines will create a feeding frenzy to rival anything the Outer Banks can offer. Monster Shark hunts use a similar tactic, chumming the water with oily Bunker, then throwing in live Bluefish to get Makos, Threshers, and other alpha-predators swarming your boat.

Need to Know

You don’t need a fishing license aboard registered Chincoteague fishing charters. If you are fishing on your own, you will need to buy a recreational saltwater fishing license for everyone aged 16-64. 
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Chincoteague Fishing Seasons

The winter months can be slim pickings along Virginia’s coast, but there are always some tasty treats if you know where to find them. Tautog and Tilefish are just that, and are around all year.

Black Seabass are open for a short winter harvest in February. You need a special permit to fish for them this month, but there are always Tautog about if you don’t have one.

The first few Flounder start to show up in March, as do the first Striped Bass. Add in even better numbers of tasty Tautog and you won’t even notice that Seabass are closed for harvest.

The season really gets going in April! Tautog hit their peak and Flounder start biting harder and harder. Offshore, the first few Sharks and Tuna start to show up around spots like the Parking Lot.

The Chincoteague Seafood Festival has been getting people uncomfortably full for half a century and is well worth a visit. May 1st-15th is trophy Striped Bass season.

Take part in the Chincoteague Flounder Tournament for your chance to score a huge, winner-takes-all prize! Even if you don’t top the list, you’ll still have some delicious flatfish.

The Chincoteague Pony Swim is the biggest event of the year. Wild horses are brought across to the mainland for their yearly auction, and locals gather to celebrate these majestic creatures.

The warm waters bring a staggering range of species to town in August. Tuna, Sharks, Mahi Mahi, and more show up offshore, alongside huge Amberjack, Tilefish, and much, much more.

The Shark bite drops off by fall, but that just means less chance of something eating your catch! Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna are still around, as are Flounder, Redfish, Seabass, and more inshore.

If you fancy trying a dozen different ways to enjoy shellfish, the Chincoteague Oyster Festival is for you. If you don’t, Trout, Flounder, and Seabass are all in season. Yellowfin are still biting at the Canyons.

Many species drop off by November, but not all of them! Striped Bass are in their prime, as are Black Seabass and Tautog. You can sometimes find Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna offshore.

The annual Christmas Parade brings the town to life, with marching bands, floats, and plenty of seasonal cheer. Join in or escape onto the water to battle big Striped Bass.

Chincoteague Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Chincoteague

Bass (Striped)

Bass (Striped)



Shark (Blacktip)

Shark (Blacktip)



Shark (Bull)

Shark (Bull)

Seabass (Black)

Seabass (Black)

Shark (Hammerhead)

Shark (Hammerhead)

Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout