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FISHING NEWS


Offshore, the billfish bite continues to roll along. It will slow down soon but we probably have a couple more weeks of good billfish action. White marlin are the main catch. Good numbers of blue marlin and roundscale spearfish are around and some sailfish are still being caught. Boats overnighting and some deep-dropping during the day are having good success with swordfish. The swordfish action should remain good through the fall even after the other billfish have moved out. Dolphin catches remain strong. More wahoo are being caught and that bite should be just continue to improve through October. As the billfish action slows down the tuna bite should pick up. Right now, there are some yellowfin tuna and bigeyes around but not enough to make a day on them.

Offshore bottom fishing remains excellent for blueline tilefish. There are big sea bass mixed in with tilefish and on the ocean wrecks. You will have to throw them back. Sea bass is closed Sept. 22-Oct. 21. The wrecks are holding excellent populations of flounder and some big triggerfish. Spadefish are still on the wrecks though they are a challenge to catch this time of year.

This is a good time of year to try for jack crevalle and amberjack at the Chesapeake Light Tower though I have not heard of anyone trying them. If you are in the area catching flounder at the Tower Reef or trolling for king mackerel, it might be worth our time to drop a live croaker or spot down around the legs of the tower. There are some big king mackerel and some snakes being caught along the oceanfront and around some of the wrecks. Spanish mackerel are also being caught though they will be leaving soon.

Cobia are still here and there were some nice catches (and releases) this past week. Big red drum are being caught in good numbers at the CBBT, around the shoals and along the oceanfront.

Puppy drum and speckled trout action is good. There seem to be a lot of small red drum and speckled trout around which holds a lot of promise for next year if we can have another mild winter.

If you like to fish for spot, this is the time of year to do it. Croaker catches remain strong so expect to catch plenty of them as you go to fill up your coolers with spot

The speaker at the Tuesday, Sept. 20 PSWSFA meeting is local fishing legend, Jimmy Kolb. He will be talking about taking advantage of this fall’s run of speckled trout and puppy drum. Meetings are free and open to the public: www.pswsfa.com/meetings.htm

The Grafton Fishing Supply Club Spot Tournament is September 24 and 25. There will be a weigh-in, club picnic and awards at Dare Marina on the 25th at 2 PM. You need to be registered prior to fishing the tournament. All club members can attend the picnic.

Sept 18, Wes Blow fished the CBBT for sheepshead. He weighed in a limit of citation-sized sheepshead to 13 pounds 5 ounces.

Sept 18, we ran the Healthy Grin out to the Norfolk Canyon for an overnight trip: 3 swordfish, 3 white Marlin, 1 yellowfin, 1 skipjack, 1 wahoo, 2 hammerheads, about 15 dolphin divided between gaffers, slingers and bailers. We started out with our normal jumping off, missing white marlin. We managed to catch a couple. It was not red hot but should have caught a half dozen. Got hit by gaffers twice out in the open holding on to 4 each time. Just about dark, put out a bigeye trolling spread and immediately hooked up…white marlin…pulled the hook. Then we got the tuna bite, got excited thinking bigeye but it was a yellowfin. Not big but in the box. Then we went to the drift so I could nap. That did not work. Had action most of the night. 9 swordfish bites we're pretty sure of resulting in 3 slashed baits and 6 hookups including a double. JT Hale pulled the hook on the bigger one while Stan Simmerman caught the smaller one. It may have been barely legal but we decided to let it go. Of the 6 hookups, we caught 3. We pulled the hook on one quickly when Chris Boyce went all Roland Martin hookset on it. JT fought a nice one for a bit. Stan had a monster just smoking the 80 before the hook pulled. We're pretty sure of the 9 sword bites but there was a 10th that we were sure was a sword. We did catch 2 big hammerheads but they were obviously sharks. The one that fooled us was JT's second "sword". When he got it to the boat, it was a nice wahoo. JT's first ever hoo. That one did fool us but who is expecting a wahoo to eat a drifted strip bait in the middle of the night? Preston Sparrer caught the biggest sword, a 50 something inch fork length that we kept. I gave up on the napping, decided there was room for a 4th rod right beside the boat. I rigged up a 50, put the bait down about 30 feet straight down and had a sword on in about 5 minutes. There was some arguing about this one. Hungry people said it was the size of Preston's and we should keep it. I said it was the size of Stan's and we should release it. Hungry people decided they wanted to bring it in and measure it. They could have just opened the tuna door and drug it in but instead, Chris kept trying to grab it's sword and the fish kept trying to cut Chris's hands off. It was amusing to watch. The fish won and was released. We put the rod back out and the wahoo ate it. In the morning we went back to jumping off/missing marlin managing to hold onto 1 and picked up some more dolphin.

Sept 14, Charles Southall and Gerald Abraham fished their boats out of Hatteras Inlet. Between the two boats, they caught 11 blackfin tuna and 3 dolphin. They did not catch any of the wahoo that they were after.

Sept 14, Wes Blow fished the CBBT catching 3 nice sheepshead. The two largest each weighed in a bit under 10 pounds.

Sept 11, Danny Forehand trolled the oceanfront for king mackerel. They did not catch any kings but they did catch Spanish mackerel to 3.5 pounds.

Sept 10, we ran the Healthy Grin out in search of Young of the Year bluefin tuna for Dr. John Graves. We started trolling little spoons on the 10-Fathom Hill inside of the weather buoy. There was nothing there. At the weather buoy, we caught some kinds of jacks. From there we started picking up frigate tuna, a lot of frigate tuna and some baby false albacore. We would circle wherever we found little fish, gradually trolling our way NE to a bit south of the Norfolk Canyon, in about 700 fathoms, where the boats were having a good marlin bite. We caught a single blackfin tuna, a handful of dolphin and a whole bunch of frigate tuna on the little spoons but no bluefin tuna. We got out to the marlin bite late in the day…frigate tuna and little dolphin were out there also. For the short time we were there, the action was good. We caught 3 white marlin missed a half-dozen others. No bluefin tuna but we did collect a DNA sample from each white marlin. We had a healthy blue marlin screaming drag on a big rod but the hook pulled before we were able to clear everything and get after it. The last white marlin we caught was on the last bait in the water. Gabe Sava was cranking in the last rod, one of the big baits, when a lit-up white came in and crushed it. It was a bit sporty out there.

Aug 28, Ric Burnley trolled the oceanfront in rough conditions for hours without any action then in an hour's time they caught 2 big red drum, a nice cobia and a 43 pound king mackerel.

Aug 26-28, Capt. Jorj Head, (757) 262-9004, experienced a continuation of the fantastic cobia summer he has had. They caught multiple fish each day with 10 in the 50 to 60 inch range plus many smaller fish over the three days.

Aug 27, we ran south to get in on the sailfish action of the previous several days. Within 10 minutes of getting lines in, we were hooked up to our first sailfish. It was going to be a great day. A sailfish has been on Charles Southall's bucket list for a long time. We got that taken care of and shortly had another sail attacking a big bait. It would not switch off to a smaller bait and we did not get that one. That was pretty much it for the day. We caught dolphin and got covered up by false albacore several times. There was a good marlin bite about 20 miles north of us but I stuck with the sails. We can "always" catch a marlin. Boats were calling in their catches of the last day of the Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament. One boat had 3 blue marlin, 5 white marlin, and a spearfish. There were a number of slams being caught with roundscale spearfish being the final leg. There are a good number of roundscales around. Dr. John Graves was at the Mid-Atlantic Billfish Tournament going on at the same time as the VBBT. He said that most of the white marlin weighed in were actually roundscales. Where we were, the top boat caught 5 sailfish, well short of the double-digit catches of the previous two days. The sailfish were there. We saw then jumping and cutting up the water most of the day but we only got the two bites. We stopped at the B Tower on the way in and caught some jacks.

Aug 24, Capt. Zack Hoffman, of Salt Treated Sport Fishing, has had a great summer of cobia catching. This day he caught a special cobia. It was a 51-inch cobia that was sporting one of Dr. John Graves' satellite tags. They released the fish with its tag.

Aug 20-21, Milton Hudgins fished out of Hatteras 2 days. They caught 2 wahoo, 30 blackfin tuna, 3 bonito and dolphin to 55 inches long.

Aug 17, Capt. Jorj Head, (757) 262-9004, took out Dr. John Graves to deploy satellite tags in cobia. They caught 9 cobia placing tags in 51 and 50 inch fish.

Aug 17, Wes Blow chummed for cobia. He caught 2 cobia with the largest being 55 inches long. Being in the area, Jorj Head and John Graves ran to Wes and placed a satellite tag in the fish prior to release.

Aug 16, Stan Simmerman trolled spoons and plugs inshore. He caught 6 Spanish mackerel, 7 dolphin, several bluefish, a barracuda, and he jumped off a king mackerel and got bit off by another.

Aug 13, I took Tricia, Cameron and his girlfriend, Haley out fishing. We left at the crack of 1, 1:30 or so. That is as in the afternoon 1, 1:30 or so. We ran all of 100 yards and put out some spoons. They cranked in bluefish and Spanish mackerel until they said that the long day was done, about 2:30 or so.

Aug 11, Capt. Larry Lusk ran out to the Fish Hook for a half-day trip and loaded the fish box with gaffer dolphin.

Aug 6, Danny Forehand trolled the ocean for king and Spanish mackerel. They caught Spanish mackerel and bluefish. They bridled up a couple of the bluefish and trolled them a bit and caught a 50-inch cobia.

Aug 6, JT Hale chummed for cobia and caught a nice one after a long day under the hot sun.

Aug 6, we ran the Healthy Grin to the Norfolk Canyon. It was a slow day for us. We caught a couple hammerhead sharks and Wes Blow caught a nice sailfish that he jumped in the water with. There were some white marlin caught around us and a few boats had blue marlin encounters.

July 31, we ran out to the Norfolk Canyon. The ride out was beautiful. When we got there, the wind picked up and rain moved in. It stayed that way most of the day. It not matter, fishing was great. We tried the live-baiting thing again. We caught chub mackerel, bridled them up, and trolled them around. We ended up catching 8 white marlin, jumped off about as many, and I do not know how many encounters we had. We caught one that did not have a bill. We collected fin clips for a genetics research project at VIMS and recorded hook location to see if the circle hooks are behaving the same as previous studies done with trolled ballyhoo. We have only tried this a few times and have had success each trip. A difference this trip is that we did not catch a single shark. That was a nice change.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

E-mail Ken Neill with fishing news.

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