Catching rays while nabbing fish on your beach vacation

Outdoors Bound

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — We are in the heart of the summer vacation season, and for many in our region, it means a trip to the beach.

When planning your vacation, you might be looking for fun activities. Fishing is one many consider but might be intimidated by because they’ve never fished saltwater before.

Here’s the good news. It’s relatively easy, and there are plenty of fish biting.

One good way to explore fishing options is to charter a trip on a head boat. For a reasonable fee, you can reserve a place on a boat, and the captain will take you out for a half-day or full-day trip. Many boats provide gear and bait, others require you to bring your own. The boats often take dozens of angler out, so it can get crowded. However, it’s a great way to learn techniques, and because the captains financial success depends on their reputations for catching fish, they usually know where the fish are and what they’re biting.

But, if you’d rather skip the charter and fish from shore, you still have good options. There are public access locations at most ocean destinations. You have options of fishing in the surf from the beach, from fishing piers, and in inlets.

Gathering information is the first order of business. That means checking in with local bait and tackle shops or fishing piers for information on what’s biting, and what they’re hitting. Also check with them about the gear and rigs you’ll need.

In most cases, it can be as easy as fishing a bottom rig, which is basically a hook attached to a line with weight.

Popular baits to use this time of year include bloodworms, clams, shrimp, squid, and Fishbites, which are a scented artificial bait that you can buy in strips and then cut into pieces.

A young angler holds up a small sea bass caught at Chincoteague Island

At this time of year, smaller saltwater panfish like croakers, spot, and whiting (kingfish) can provide fast action. They’re also very tasty, so if you’re looking to fill a cooler to take fish home for a fish fry, you’ll be in luck.

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