As an angler, you know that the adventure of fishing is as much about the experience as it is reeling in the a big one. If you’re used to one fishing (or fish), you’ll love the variety that awaits you in Sandbridge Beach, Virginia.
Cast your line in both fresh- and saltwater for a chance to land a trophy catch… or just a delicious fish dinner. This relaxed coastal retreat is truly a fisherman’s paradise, where fishermen (and women) of all ages and skill levels will find plenty of challenging fun.
Little Island Pier at Sandbridge Beach
Looking for a laid-back way to fish with family and friends? Head to Little Island Pier at Little Island District Park, just north of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This popular pier juts out 400 feet into the Atlantic Ocean, so you’re sure to find a comfortable spot to set up your cooler and tackle box.
You don’t need a license for Little Island Pier fishing, and the season extends year ’round. But hours are limited to day and evening: from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., April 15 through October 31; and from 7 a.m. until posted closing time, November 1 through April 14.
There’s also a modest fishing fee to cover the costs of upkeep. Sandbridge residents pay $8 per day; non-residents pay $10. Weekly fishing passes are available, too – just $25 for residents, $35 for non-residents. You can even get an annual pier fishing pass at a greater discount for residents and non-residents. Kids 9 and under always fish free, provided they’re with a paying adult. And sightseers can enjoy the pier for a minimal daily fee – $1 for residents, $2 for non-residents.
Visitors agree the pier-fishing experience more than justifies the modest charge. From spring through fall, the sparkling Atlantic teems with croaker, flounder, and other saltwater favorites. Even in the dead of December, you just might reel in a prize striped bass. (They run in these waters year ’round.)
When you’ve finished fishing, you can clean your catch at the pier’s free cleaning station. Then cook it on one of four charcoal grills at the nearby Little Island Picnic Area… and enjoy a luscious, fresh-caught meal with all the fixin’s and trimmin’s.
After dinner, you can work off the calories with a fun-filled family game of pickleball, volleyball, or basketball. Or stroll along the 775-foot sandy beach to collect shells, watch the gulls, and wade in the warm, foamy waves.
Little Island District Park provides picnic shelters, public restrooms, a playground, seasonal snack concessions, plus handicapped access to the pier and main beach. Paved parking is available for a minimal charge.
Surf-Casting from Sandridge Beach
For a little more challenge and excitement, try fishing from the Atlantic shoreline. It does require a license, but you can get one at minimal cost – $10 for a 10-day permit (for both residents and non-residents). Local tackle shops, sporting-goods stores, and even a nearby Wal-Mart issue these temporary licenses.
The rewards are well worth it. The coastal waters are especially deep right along Sandbridge Beach, so you can cast your line for some of the most sought-after saltwater species, including red drum, black drum, puppy drum, gray trout, speckled trout, and mahi-mahi (also known as dolphin fish).
Never surf-fished before? Don’t know how to gear up? No problem. Several area outposts offer equipment rentals – everything from rods, reels, and lures to beach chairs and tackle boxes.
Freshwater Fishing at Back Bay Watershed
Looking to land some tasty freshwater fish? Just south and west of Sandbridge Beach, you’ll find the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, home to a wide range of scavenging seabirds – as well as the fish they feed on.
Here you can cast your line for bluegill, white perch, largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, and other species that thrive in fresh and brackish waters. You can even charter a Back Bay fishing excursion or launch your own boat from one of the state-owned ramps at Mill Landing Road or Back Bay Landing Road. Just be sure you have your freshwater fishing license, available for just $8 (one day) or $21 (five consecutive days).
World-Class Offshore Fishing at Sandbridge Beach
Own a bass boat, cruiser, convertible, or similar sport fishing vessel? Launch it from one of the local ramps for some of the finest offshore fishing in the world.
From May through October, prized sportfish abound in these deep coastal waters – wahoo, striper, mackerel, marlin, sea bass, tuna, shark, tautog, and more. It’s seventh heaven for novice anglers and veterans alike.
No boat of your own? Charter one. Several Virginia Beach companies offer customized fishing excursions, with expert anglers on hand for guidance and support. Who knows? You could reel in a giant drum or mako shark… or even a bluefin tuna weighing several hundred pounds.
An Unforgettable Family Experience
Whether you’re pole-fishing from the pier or trolling for trout and bass, you’re sure to have the time of your life… and make memories you’ll cherish forever.