The Best of Dr. Ball | Outdoor Life

The Best of Dr. Ball

I had a few days off and the weather was just gorgeous along the Virginia coast. As my buddy, Ben, and I worked our way toward the third island near Virginia's Bay Bridge Tunnel, we swung in to search for some black drum. I asked some nearby anglers if they minded if a made a few casts in their vicinity. Ben handed me his little spinner with one of my 5-inch swimming plastics tied on, and I tossed it at one of the schools of fish. Hooked up!

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I battled the fish for about 10 minutes, and we drew a crowd of boats looking on. Ben expertly guided me after the black, which took both of us to pull into the boat. It was hooked in the mouth- cool. We took a few pics and revived the fish.

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That's about when we realized that we were completely slimed- that was one exceptionally slimy fish! So, we proceeded to hose off. No big deal, but Ben decided to get creative with the camera and photographed the "shower scene." Hmmm, interesting.

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Just then, Ben noticed our drum floating belly up. Let's go! Ben donned his snorkeling gear, and jumped in!

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I followed Ben around the third island with the boat as he guided the black until he was good to go.

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Saturday, my buddy Capt Steve Wray gave me some gouge that he caught his limit of nice 7- to 8-pound spades at a nearshore wreck the day before. I smelled a record, and with the sporadic spade action this year, I wasted no time.

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It took all day, and I threw back over a dozen small fish, broke off at least two dozen, but managed to get six fish to the boat that pushed over 7 pounds. Most fish took about 10- to 15-minutes to net.

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Before coming in, I couldn't resist dropping a live bait on the wreck to see if anyone was home. I pulled up a big flounder, and into the box he went.

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Back at the local IGFA weigh station, Long Bay Pointe, only one of the six fish made the mark, whew!

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I am submitting the paper work to the IGFA as a pending 4lb Line Class World Record. The fish tipped the scales at 7-pounds, 6 ounces.

To see other images of Julie in action, click HERE

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Ball with a 50-inch redfish taken in July 2004 aboard the Spoiled Rotten.

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Amberjack are infamous battlers and can wear out even the most hardened anglers.

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When Virginia's offshore yellowfin bite catches fire, you can bet that Dr. Ball will be there to get in on the action.

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An ace of spade(fish), Dr. Ball heft another Citation entry.

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In mid-May, Ball headed for the Eastern Shore shoals and got on a big time drum roll-both red and black drum to be precise. This stud black drum tipped the scales at 72 pounds and was released.

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Next up was Julie's awesome 48-inch redfish.

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Who says that flounder fishing is boring? This huge Citation doormat topped out at 11 pounds.

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While you were enjoying your Memorial Day barbecue, Julie was deep-dropping for blueline tilefish. The two biggest fish went better than 17 pounds.

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Another Citation tilefish comes alongside.

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Julie looks none the worse for wear after her tilefish deep-drop considering it sometimes takes baits two full minutes to hit bottom.

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Not too many anglers scoff at sheepshead when they come up this big.

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What can be better than catching a few Citation-worthy spadefish? Doing so with your mom!

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Proud anglers with a couple of smoker kings.

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Julie with an armful of king mackerel.

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Ball making short work of an amberjack. To see Dr. Julie Ball's weekly fishing reports and more visit: drjball.com

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Everyone caught seabass, and Joshua was especially proud of his catch. He'll be a great angler someday!

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With a week of easterly winds, the water along the Virginia Beach Ocean front were finally a pristine emerald green color. This is what I call "king mackerel" water! So we grabbed my kingfishing rods, and headed out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center in Rudee Inlet, and took a right to head south along the beach. After chasing off a few pesky sharks, including a baby hammerhead, my bunker baits were swimming perfectly. All of a sudden, I saw the rod tip bounce. I ran to pick up the rod just in time to see the fish drop the bait. I dropped the bait back, and twitched it a little. He then he came back and slammed it! Fish on!

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The fish skied clear out of the water, and I could see it was a nice cobia. We chased the fish for about 20 minutes as I fought the fish on light king rigs. The cobia was released at 50.5 inches for a Virginia state citation.

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I had plenty of pretty live bait for flounder, so we decided to hit some of the local hangs for some flatfish. I managed some decent fish for the freezer.

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The following day was a short one, so we again tried our luck for flounder. We found some small flounder and a surprise, when hefty triggerfish ate live bait 4-times larger than their mouths!

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What a beauty!

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Julie Ball continued her assault on the IGFA record book by picking up a fly rod and targeting spadefish in her home waters of Virginia.

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Though they may resemble angel fish, spadefish are anything but angelic. These tough battlers provide great sport on light tackle.

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Ball hooks up with a spade that fell for a yellow fly.

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A rather slow fishing day last weekend was topped off with a fat sheepshead caught near the Cheseapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

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This roe-laden sheepshead tipped the scales at 10 pounds and was released.

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We headed out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, Virginia Beach looking for triggerfish and flounder. Our first stop was a wreck loaded with big triggerfish. I proceeded to bail over 60 triggers up to about 3.5 pounds. These are aggressive fish with small, but adequate teeth. They are also hard fighters and provide great table fare. The bait of the day was squid on a double-hook rig.

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The next stop was for a chance at an elusive Virginia trophy citation flounder. I stripped a bluefish fillet, and hooked a strip onto a flounder rig. Bluefish is a well-known flounder favorite. As we positioned just up-current of a wreck for a drift, I dropped my rig to the bottom and almost immediately hooked a flounder that was just short of a keeper.

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On the second drop, I hooked into what I thought was the wreck at first, but I was able to work it up a few feet. Then I realized I had something nice and called for the net. A few minutes later, the 26.5-inch flatfish glided to the surface, and into the net. This was a nice fish, but to ensure a citation, I released the fish to grow even bigger!

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Next it was out to the Norfolk Canyon with some fishing buddies for a bit of bluewater fishing. We left the dock at 4:30 am and headed out about 65 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach.

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We had a full spread out, hoping for billfish, dolphin and tuna- and were not disappointed. At about noon, we had our first big hit. And a big hit it was.

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After about a 20 minute battle, and an incredible aerial display, we had a beautiful 300-pound blue marlin alongside the boat.

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We revived the marlin, and off he swam to fight another day. Cheers and high-fives all around.

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We finished out the day with a couple of nice dolphin for the fish box.

CHECK OUT MORE DR. JULIE HERE:

Calm Before the Next Storm

An Ace of Spadefish

What's Up Doc?

The Fish Doctor

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My brother Chris was visiting from Florida, so I decided to show him some Fall Virginia fishing. With a gorgeous forecast on the horizon, we planned an offshore deep-dropping trip, which has become very popular off the coast of Virginia. We also took my fishing buddies Darren and Danny with us.

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We pulled out at 4:30 am and headed east about 65 miles, and started fishing in about 300 feet of water. I think my brother was in shock getting up that early. Danny and I dropped first, and hooked into something big. We each hoisted up huge snowy grouper. Off to a great start!

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Snowy's are great fighters.

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Next, Darren and Chris dropped. Darren hooked up immediately with a big wreckfish. Next, Chris hooked into another nice wreckfish. We were allowed one more to fill our limit, so Robin dropped by himself. As soon as his bait hit the bottom, he hoisted up another big wreckfish.

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We moved to a different spot, and dropped for some blueline tilefish. Once again, our rods doubled over with monster tiles. After tiring of bluelines, we took a run to the south in search of golden tilefish.

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We began dropping in over 800 feet of water. My brother was not pleased with this. But, he was a good sport, and managed his first ever golden tilefish. An added bonus was a by catch of oversized blackbelly rosefish. These are strange-looking little orange fish that are excellent table fare.

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Danny added a tile to our tally as well.

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Chris also hooked his prize catch, a little chain dogfish shark, a small shark that lives in deep water.

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They generally don¿t grow bigger than a pound.

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He also befriended a little stow away bird looking for a place to rest. We had so much fish in our forward fish box that our boat was sitting a foot lower in the water. My brother had a great introduction to offshore deep dropping, Virginia style. He was worn out and sore, but he wants to know when we can go again.

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The doctor is in! Virgina's Dr. Julie Ball may not look like an "Old Salt," but she most definitely is one. Ball, a United States Coast Guard dentist is regarded in many circles as one of the top saltwater anglers on the East Coast- and she's got the honors to prove it. Here are some of her many trophy fish...