The deep sea fishing Virginia has on its doorstep is, in a word, epic. From big game trophies like Marlin, Tuna, and monster Sharks to bottom dwelling delicacies, you’ll find it here. The local fishing grounds are just as varied as the fish themselves, including wrecks, deep trenches, and vast underwater canyons with colorful nicknames. It’s almost worth coming aboard just so you can say you’ve cast a few lines at “Lumpy Bottom,” “the Cigar,” and “the Boxcars!”

When to Go Deep Sea Fishing

Virginia’s deep sea fishing season runs from April through October, with decent opportunities lasting as late as November when the weather allows.

The season kicks off with Flounder in early spring, followed by Black Seabass and Tautog. By early summer, bigger fish start making an appearance offshore, including Marlin, Mahi Mahi, King Mackerel, Cobia, Amberjack, and large Mako Sharks.

June marks the start of Tuna season, when Yellowfins, Bluefins, and Bigeyes pay a visit to the east coast. Norfolk Canyon and “the Cigar” more than 60 miles offshore provide some of the best local Tuna fishing. By August, the hottest fishing grounds are up by Chincoteague, at the fishing grounds known as the “Parking Lot” and “Lumpy Bottom.”

Many big game fish reach their peak in late summer, including Blue and White Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo. Come fall, a few will still be biting, albeit farther from shore.

By October, wrecks and reefs offer the most productive deep sea fishing Virginia has left for the season. The Blackfish Banks (also called “The Subway Cars” or “The Boxcars”) near Chincoteague are a hot spot at this time of year, when anglers bring home coolers full of Flounder, Tautog, Seabass, Triggerfish, Spadefish, and more.

Virginia Deep Sea Fishing Methods

Anglers catch fast swimming pelagic species like Marlin, Tuna, and Wahoo by trolling. By mid summer, many choose to chunk for Tuna instead of trolling, often using Sardines and Butterfish as bait. Chumming with oily Bunker and throwing live Bluefish into the water will catch the attention of Sharks like Threshers and Makos.

Bottom fishing will bring you a wide variety of species near wrecks and reefs, such as Flounder, Tautog, Tilefish, Seabass, and Triggerfish. Mullet, Minnows, Crab, Shrimp, Squid strips, and even GULP! lures make effective baits.

If you decide to book a local deep sea fishing charter, you can expect the captain to provide fishing licenses, tackle, bait, and everything else you need. Many trips runs out of Virginia Beach, Hampton, Norfolk, and all along the eastern shore up to Chincoteague. So, take your pick and come catch a fish to remember!

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Top Targeted Deep Sea Fishing Species in Virginia

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Marlin (White)

Marlin (Blue)

Top Deep Sea Fishing Charters in Virginia