Enjoy the Annual Mathews Market Days, a hometown celebration along the Chesapeake Bay that welcomes the harvest season. But the crop isn't sweet corn it's Blue Crab! Get a lesson in crabbing so you'll be able to tell the difference between a jimmy and a sook! Experience a blitz of birds that takes you right to the fall stripers. And when you've worked up an appetite, enjoy the bounty of the Bay at a crab feast.

We took a clue from the frenzied seagulls snatching baitfish on the surface, that the stripers, or rockfish as they're known locally, were busy feeding just underneath. As the rockfish chase the bait they come to the surface seeking a way out but become easy prey for the hundreds of waiting gulls. In the Chesapeake Bay food chain, being a minnow is a no-win situation. Robin and I were casting 9' 8 weight Thomas & Thomas Vector Series rods. The Vector Series has a progressive fast action taper which allows rapid acceleration of the line. When fast and frantic casting is called for, this feature is very important. The 8 weight also had enough backbone to deliver the heavy flies we were using.

The reels we used were a size 8 Quick Series by J. Ryalls. These reels have a large line capacity for holding a lot of backing in case you need it for a big fish. They also have a quick retrieve which is very helpful when trying
to reel in slack line.

Robin used a floating line with a white bucktail popper to try and entice fish to the surface. I used an intermediate sinking line with a fly known as surf candy designed by Bob Popovic for the fish active just under the surface. We both used 7' 15lb. test fluoroflex leaders.

PRIME TIME: April - November
GETTING THERE: 1.5 hour drive from Richmond
or Norfolk airports
LODGING & DINING: B&B's, Campgrounds,
small motels, variety of local restaurants
ACTIVITIES: water sports, bird-watching, Gwynn's Island Museum, biking tours, lighthouse trips
THINGS TO REMEMBER: binoculars, light raingear

The Chesapeake Bay is a truly diverse eco system that offers equally diverse vacation opportunities. It can be enjoyed year round, depending on what you want to do. Winter is a perfect time to enjoy bird watching, as many species of song birds and water fowl make their winter home along the Bays 8000 miles of shoreline.

For fishing, sailing, and crabbing, you'll want to visit from April through November. A variety of fish either live in the Bay or travel through on their annual migration runs. Crabbing season begins April 1st and runs through November. So whether you want to catch your own or buy them from a local vendor, it's the prime time for fresh crabs.

Sailing is best in the spring and fall, as the winds tend to be more favorable during those times. Getting to the Bay is easy. You can fly into Norfolk, Newport News, or Richmond then rent a car. If you prefer an old fashioned road trip, the entire Bay area is easily accessible by car.

Depending on your preference for lodging you have everything from the big chain hotels to a variety of small, locally-owned motels and Bed and Breakfasts to choose from. It just depends on whether you want an urban or rural setting.

When it comes to dining, what can I say - it's seafood! And crab is king!

General Information on Mathews
Mathews County Visitor and Information Center

Recommended Lodging & Dining
The Inn at Tabb's Creek Landing
Port Haywood, VA

Southwind Café
Mathews Historic Courthouse District
Specialty pizzas, sandwiches, and salads compliment the homemade desserts.

Things to see and do
The New Point Comfort Lighthouse is an amazing historic site you should explore. Check out the website at

Bring your bicycle, or rent one, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the County. The Nature Conservancy has set aside a portion of marshland to observe the abundant waterfowl and other creatures that inhabit this tidal area.

Mathews County is rural America at its best. But remember, it's just a short drive from many popular Virginia attractions, such as Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Virginia Beach, and more!