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FISHING NEWS


Boston mackerel are running like the "good old days". They are anywhere from right off of the beach on out to the Chesapeake Light Tower area though most are not having to run that far to get them. Find them on your fish-finder, drop your mackerel rigs down and load up. The Virginia Beach head boats are running trips for them (again, like the good old days) for as long as they are here.

Tautog are active on the coastal wrecks and artificial reefs. Both the Tower Reef and the Triangle Wrecks have been very good. Some nice sea bass are also being caught on the wrecks, even the inshore wrecks as the water never got cold enough to push them out. You have to throw the sea bass back though as we were regulated out of that wintertime fishery some time ago. The water is warm enough that tautog should be active on structures inside the bay.

Offshore bottom-bouncers are dealing with a multitude of spiny dogfish. Some nice catches of both blueline and golden tilefish are being made when you can keep your baits away from the dogfish long enough. Again, the sea bass that you catch with the bluelines have to be thrown back.

Anglers looking for bluefin tuna off of Virginia have been running into schools of rockfish. Last week, the rockfish went missing. They are being caught up in the rivers already so it looks like they are moving towards their spawning grounds.

Anglers looking for bluefin tuna out of Oregon Inlet are finding some beasts. Bluefin tuna to nearly 1,000 pounds have been captured. Yellowfin tuna are also available but with the giants around, most are targeting bluefin. Boats fishing out of Hatteras are having an excellent time jigging up blackfin tuna.

Regulations will be changing so you will need to keep informed. A new stock assessment is in for black sea bass showing the stock to be in excellent shape. The commercial quota will go up. Recreational regulations will likely see no changes. It is hard to see just what it will require to get our wintertime fishery back. Managers say that striped bass are in better shape than they thought. This may be a surprise to most recreational anglers. Regulations will likely be relaxed for the recreational fishery and an increase in quota for commercial fisherman. Tilefish regulations will change sometime in the near future when federal blueline tilefish regulations are enacted for waters off of Virginia on north. Expect decreased bag limits and closed seasons. Virginia will have to change the state's tilefish regulations that we are currently fishing under. Flounder will probably see an increase in the minimum size from 16 to 17 inches with the bag limit remaining the same.

Then, there is cobia. I have absolutely no idea what VMRC will do with the cobia regulations this year. Cobia is closed in federal waters. North Carolina decided to keep their cobia fishery open with a season of May 1-August 31. They increased the minimum size to a 36 inch fork-length. They have a 1-fish per person limit with a 4-fish boat limit. Virginia will decide on its season at the March 28 VMRC meeting. There is a mandatory (free) permit along with mandatory reporting of cobia catches (and even of non-catches) required for Virginia's cobia anglers this year. Stay tuned and be involved if you fish for cobia in Virginia.

To raise money for cobia research and to aid in data gathering, the PSWSFA will host a Cobia Bowl out of Dare Marina this summer. Dependent on regulations, the captains meeting will be on June 22 with June 23 and 24 as fish days. Boats will be able to enter one or both fishing days.

Captain Russ Kostinas, of the charter boat Top Notch, will be the speaker at the March 21 PSWSFA meeting. He will be talking about catching those monster bluefin tuna that are out there.

Feb 18-19, we hit the wrecks both days. We caught tautog and tagged and released some really nice sea bass. We did have to steer around the Russian spy ship parked off of our coast. We had one tog that weighed a bit over 9 pounds and had a handful of others over 8 pounds.

Jan 25, Wes Blow ran out after tautog. He caught 4 to 21 inches long.

Jan 21, we ran out to the Triangle Wrecks. The tautog bite was a bit slow but we ended up catching 18. Small sea bass were plentiful and we caught a good number of cunner. We caught a half-dozen togs with tags already in them and we tagged others. We had Bobby Kostinas from the charter boat "Top Notch" with us. He had never caught a citation tautog before. Now he has three. We weighed in four citation tog. Bobby caught three of them including the largest at 14.5 pounds.

Dec 21, Hunter Southall went eeling for rockfish. He caught a 51-inch, 44 pound 11 ounce rockfish.

Dec 21, Capt. Rick Wineman fished for rockfish. They caught one about 38 pounds and lost a big fish due to a broken circle hook.

Dec 11, Wes Blow did some offshore bottom fishing. They caught a limit of sea bass and blueline tilefish. They caught a single triggerfish and a couple of bluefish to over 14 pounds.

Dec 11, Phillip Neill fished the cut channel. He caught a 45.2 pound rockfish.

Dec 11, Scott Elford fished the Cut Channel. They caught a 47-inch rockfish.

Dec 4, we ran out and did some bottom fishing. We caught a single flounder, sea bass to maybe 3 pounds, a hake, and multiple bluefish in the 33-inch range. We spent most of our time fishing for golden tilefish. We caught about a dozen…if you count the head that was all that was left of a little one Johnny Boyd along with a bluefish. The surprise catch was a mako shark that hit Wes Blow's bottom rig as he was reeling it up for another drift. The monofilament held up and after a number of jumps, we were able to land the shark.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

E-mail Ken Neill with fishing news.

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