As cooler spring conditions yield to the warmer days of early June, schools of enormous bluefish introduce the Chincoteague sport fishing offshore season, followed by several species of sharks. While mako sharks are in highest demand, blue, tiger, thresher, bull, and even hammerhead sharks frequent the deep waters around Chincoteague.
Bluefin and yellow tuna also arrive in June, but prefer cooler water and spend most of their time below 20 fathoms, so are caught by trolling. The best game fish arrive with July and the height of Chincoteague's tourist season. Wahoo, which can swim at up to 50 mph; mahi mahi (dolphin fish), which are terrific eating; and marlin now come to join the fray.
White marlin, which normally run between 40 and 60 pounds, blue marlin, which can weigh as much as half a ton, and swordfish converge on the underwater canyons between 40 and 70 miles off Chincoteague Harbor. These canyons are also excellent lobster hunting rounds. Mahi mahi flock to the orange buoys attached to the lobster traps, and marlin flock to the mahi mahi!
One word of caution: it's a nearly universal (and expected) practice of Chincoteague sport fishing to release both blue and white marlin.
The Chincoteague sport fishing trip of a lifetime would be a nighttime excursion in search of the greatest of all game fish, the swordfish. Swordfish have the stamina to fight a line for hours, and commonly grow to weigh several hundred pounds. That's several hundred pounds of truly delicious fish!
During daylight, however, swordfish feed in the deepest waters, approaching the surface only after dark. On overnight swordfish runs, Chincoteague sport fishers cover their bases by setting lines with glow sticks attached to their leaders at several depths. Mackerel and squid are popular baits.
As autumn sets in, Chincoteague's second run of flounder arrive, along with more tautog and sea bass. By late October, it's time for the red drum and striped bass, and the end of the offshore Chincoteague sport fishing season.
The striped bass, however, are kind enough to stick around all winter. Thanks to them, Chincoteague sport fishing is available all year long!
That’s right! If you are a fisherman of any level or stripe, Chincoteague Island has unlimited, year-round opportunities to enjoy this rewarding pastime. Chincoteague is truly a sport fishing paradise!