Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay encompasses over 2200 square miles of salty and brackish tidal water and touches over 3000 miles of shoreline. The Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Its entrance is marked by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT). The CBBT is over 20 mile long, has four man made islands and thousands of concrete pilings. This structure is one of the greatest fish magnets in the world, attracting and holding fish throughout all seasons of the year.
The Bay also has natural structures including grass beds, oyster bars, sand bars, and deep water cuts over 200 feet deep. Add the man made structures like buoys, shipwrecks, and artificial reefs and you have an incredible complex of fish habitat.
The Bay is the breeding or nursery ground for dozens of species. Large adult cobia and striped bass enter the Bay annually to spawn. Other species like flounder spawn offshore but depend on the Bay to nurture their offspring.
Fish like cobia and red drum can reach 100 pounds and tax the skill of the best anglers. A Chesapeake Bay ‘Grand Slam’ is a red drum, black drum and cobia caught on the same outing. Some experienced charter captains know how to set up for a Grand Slam outing, but even then, it takes skill and a little luck to make it happen.
Virginia is ‘striper central’, boasting a world class salt water striped bass fishery. The fall/winter fishery begins in October and runs through January. Fish over 30 pounds are common and monsters approaching 70 pounds are sometimes landed. A Virginia Charter Boat Association captain can show you where to find the big ones or lead you to a few smaller fish for a good dinner.
If you don’t care about fishing the Bay still has a lot to offer. Portions of the historic Captain John Smith Trail are in the Virginia portion of the Bay and the naval bases, Jamestown, and scenic seaside communities make a site seeing excursion an experience to cherish. Dolphins are common and occasionally a whale shows up in the Bay!
In short, the Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that deserves to be experienced in a boat. And a professional captain has the boat and expertise to provide that experience for you.