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FISHING NEWS


Striped bass regulations are changing. The ASMFC decided to reduce the commercial and recreational harvest of striped bass by 25% along the coast and 20.5% inside of the Chesapeake Bay. The commercial reductions are pretty straight forward as they are under a poundage quota so just reduce the allowed pounds. The coastal commercial quota will be reduced 25% in 2015. That does not mean that there will be a 25% reduction in harvest however. In fact, there could actually be an increase in commercial harvest in 2015. The quota was not caught last year. If the new, reduced commercial quota is caught in 2015, the harvest would actually increase by about 11%. So, the actual commercial catch may increase or decrease in 2015. The maximum possible catch has been reduced.

This is actually true for the recreational fishery as well. There will be regulation changes designed to reduce the catch but if there are fish inside of the 3NM line this winter, Virginia's recreational catch will increase over the past couple of years no matter what the new regulations are. For Virginia and North Carolina, our best coastal striped bass fishery starts at the very end of December and runs through February. They don't even collect recreational catch data during January and February so nobody has a clue what our coastal recreational catch is. Really, all we know about our recreational coastal catch is through anecdotal fishing reports and we can look at trends in the citation program. That is all they have.

Anyway, this is what is going to happen with the recreational striped bass regulations. Nothing is official yet but there really are not other options. We will fish under the current regulations through the end of the year: 2 fish at least 28 inches along the coast and 2 fish 18-28 with one of your two allowed to be over 28 inches inside of the bay. On January 1, 2015, the bay season will close (as normal) and the coastal bag limit will be reduced to 1 fish per person of at least 28 inches long. There are other options but they have to go through a re-approval process at the ASMFC. The earliest these options will come to VMRC is March so for this winter season, we will be fishing at 1 fish, 28 inch minimum. The other coastal options that could be in place by April 1 include: 2 fish per person at least 33 inches long, 2 fish per person with 1 fish 28-34 inches long and the 2nd fish at least 36 inches long, or 2 fish per person with 1 fish 28 to 36 inches long and the 2nd fish at least 38 inches long. We are going to get 1 fish of at least 28 inches for January and February 2015 so we will get to see if we want to stay at that or go to one of the other options. Currently, there is support for one of the slot-limit options from some of the charter boat operators.

In the bay, the dates of all of our seasons will remain the same with the main change being that the minimum size will increase to 20 inches. That will be pretty straight forward except that our rather complicated spring trophy fishery will be more complicated. This is technically a "coastal" fishery as it is targeting large coastal migrants. May1-15, the "trophy" regulations apply both in the coastal waters and inside of the bay. It will remain at a bag limit of 1 fish but the minimum size will increase from 32 inches to 36 inches. May 16, the "coastal" season reopens in the ocean while the "trophy" fishery will continue in the bay through June 15. These "trophy" fish always have had to be reported but starting in 2015, you will need to have a special license to participate in the spring trophy fishery. It will be free but will allow managers to know who is fishing. Holders of this license will be required to report their catches and their lack of catches. Commercial anglers are used to monthly reports whether they fished or not. It will take some time for recreational anglers to get used to this. My guess is that this very lightly participated fishery will have even less interest to anglers in 2015. The spring bay season will run from May 16 through June 15 with a 2-fish bag limit of fish 20 to 28 inches long. One of your two fish could be 36 inches or larger if you have a trophy striped bass license. This trophy striped bass permit only applies to the spring trophy season. The fall bay season will be October 4 through December 31 with a 2-fish bag limit, 20-28 inches long with one of your two fish allowed to be greater than 28 inches. There you go; what you can expect for your 2015 striped bass fishery.

Vic Sorensen will be the speaker at the December 16 meeting of the PSWSFA. He will be speaking to us about cold water fishing safety. www.pswsfa.com/meetings.htm

I will be the speaker at the December 1 meeting of the CVSFA. We will be discussing wintertime wreck fishing. www.cvsfa.com/index.php/contact-us/meeting-location

Striped bass action has been pretty good on school-sized fish. Most of the fish are being caught at the area's crossings like the CBBT, JRB, Coleman Bridge, HRBT, MMMT and at any other structure with lights on it at night. More fish are being caught in open water and there has been some bird action. There have been a few 40-plus pound fish caught at the CBBT at night and on the bayside of the Eastern Shore during the day, primarily on live eels. This fishery should get better each day. There is still a good bite up the bay in Maryland waters and up the coast off of New Jersey. Those fish are headed this way.

Speckled trout are being caught in the York and Back Rivers and inside of Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. The best bite and where most of the trophy trout are being caught is in the Elizabeth River. This is the time of year when some big specks can be caught at the HRBT and at the CBBT. Puppy drum are being caught inside of the inlets and in the Elizabeth River.

Tautog fishing is very good at the CBBT and on other structures in the bay. The wrecks in the ocean are holding sea bass and triggerfish. The larger sea bass are being found from the Triangle Wrecks and on out deeper. Big bluefish are holding around some of the wrecks. Some good flounder catches are being made around some of the wrecks like those at the Triangle Reef.

Offshore bottom fishing is good for blueline tilefish and some other critters. As the season progresses, this fishery will get tougher due to a multitude of spiny dogfish moving in. There have been rumors of rumors of bluefin tuna sightings off of out coast. Yellowfin tuna fishing is good to our south, out of Oregon Inlet.

PSWSFA members need to mark Feb. 27 on their calendars. That is the evening of our Awards Banquet. Adult meals will be $15 while the children's meal will be free. Look for details and menu selection in the Chum Line soon.

Nov 19, Wes Blow and Hamish Small fished the Elizabeth River. They caught a dozen nice speckled trout up to 26 inches long including 4 large enough for citations.

Nov 16, we fished the Triangle Wrecks. We were looking for big bluefish. We caught small bluefish, keeper sea bass, and 7 flounder.

Nov 16, Wes Blow and JT Hale did some wreck fishing. They caught a limit of nice sea bass and 11 triggerfish.

Nov 16, Capt. Rick Wineman wreck fished. They caught a limit of sea bass and they caught numerous bluefish including 7 that they registered for release citations.

Nov 12, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River. He tagged and released speckled trout up to 26 inches long.

Nov 9, we fished some wrecks to the south. We caught hake, porgy and a bunch of small bluefish. We had a really nice catch of big sea bass, keeping our 75-fish limit and we caught a bunch of triggerfish. We weighed in three triggerfish for citations. Dr. Hamish Small caught the largest at 5 pounds. Stan Simmerman hooked something big on his sea bass rig that would not come up. He thought it was a monster ray. I told him that I thought he had a big sand tiger on. We never found out as he broke it off after a grueling fight. Stan switched over to a jig and he was soon hooked up to something big again. This time, he was able to bring the big sand tiger shark to the boat for a release. Wes Blow has a thing for catching big sharks. He put away his sea bass stuff and came out with a long and heavy piece of piano wire leader with a big hook on the end. He baited up with a big slab of false albacore and proceeded to show that you cannot have too big a bait or hook for a sea bass to eat. After catching a few sea bass on his oversized baits, he did hook up on a shark but the hook pulled. He kept at it and hooked another one. We ended up pulling off the anchor and chasing this one around a bit. When he finally got it up, we had that heavy straight-wire to deal with without any wireman's gloves. They tried to lip-gaff the shark to aid in getting the hook out/cutting the leader close to the shark. That sort of worked. After the release, nobody else wanted to tangle with another one of those beasts and fish box was full so we headed in for a couple of hours of fish cleaning.

Nov 9, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished out of Quinby. They had a great day catching a limit of sea bass and some trigger fish to over 5 pounds. On the way in, they ran into big bluefish and caught several to over 19 pounds.

Nov 8, we fished the Triangle Reef for big bluefish and flounder. We caught little bluefish, some medium sea bass, a few ribbon fish, and some flounder. The largest flounder was Jody Linthicum's first-ever flounder citation and it was his sixth different citation this year, earning his Expert Angler award. His doormat weighed in at 8.5 pounds. While flounder fishing, Bernie Sparrer hooked something that was not a flounder. I thought that we had found the big bluefish until 10 feet of thresher shark comes flying out of the water. They are funny looking sharks anyway but they really look strange when flying. That fight did not last too much longer after that. The hook pulled.

Nov 5, Wes Blow fished the Triangle Wrecks catching sea bass.

Oct 31, Jody Linthicum fished Back River Reef. They came in early with a 3-man limit of tautog.

Oct 29, Larry Lusk did some kayak fishing with his sons at the Outer Banks. They caught a number of big red drum.

Oct 27, Stan Simmerman cast lures to the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT. He did not catch any rockfish but he did catch about 20 bluefish.

Oct 27, Wes Blow wreck hopped all the way out to the Norfolk Canyon. He caught a variety of bluefish, sea bass, triggerfish, and hake. He said the only big fish he caught were some very impressive conger eels.

Oct 25, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras and they caught a wahoo.

Oct 25, Steve Martin fished his boat out of Hatteras and he caught a 55.5 pound wahoo.

Oct 24, it was a rough day at Hatteras but Charles Southall managed some inshore trolling. They caught 2 king mackerel.

Oct 23, it was too rough for the guys down at Hatteras to get out so Gabe Sava went surf fishing. He caught a 45-inch red drum.

Oct 27, Jody Linthicum fished in Back River out of his kayak. He caught 7 speckled trout in the 18-21 inch range, 2 bluefish, and a striped bass.

Oct 21, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras. They caught 2 dolphin, 3 king mackerel, 4 amberjack, a false albacore, and a 41-pound wahoo.

Oct 20-21, Steve Martin fished his boat out of Hatteras. They caught 3 dolphin and a wahoo.

Oct 20, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras. They caught 2 blackfin tuna, 2 dolphin, 1 false albacore, 1 king mackerel, and 1 wahoo.

Oct 20, I fished off of my dock in Chisman Creek and caught small speckled trout and bluefish.

Oct 20, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished some wrecks out of Quinby. They caught a 7 pound 3 ounce sheepshead, a bunch of nice triggerfish, some flounder and small sea bass.

Oct 20, Dave Young fished the CBBT. They caught several gray trout in the 16 to 18 inch range, a couple 21-22 inch flounder, 7 bluefish and a couple of nice red drum to 42 inches long. They had a larger red on that they lost due to a straightened hook.

Oct 18, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished out of Quinby. They caught a couple of trout, a porgy, 28 pigfish and a dozen large spot to 12.5 inches long.

Oct 15, I have been catching fish around my dock light most every night and morning. This morning, the catch was speckled trout, gray trout, and bluefish. No striped bass catches yet.

Oct 10, Lee Williams fished out of Hatteras. They caught a wahoo and some dolphin. They lost a second wahoo. Their bites were in 30 fathoms and came on their planer rod.

Oct 10, we ran back out after wahoo in the Cigar area. We caught 3 blackfin tuna including our largest out of Virginia so far (about 20 pounds), 2 false albacore, and a barracuda that we thought was going to be our wahoo. We did not have any wahoo bites. A couple of other boats fishing south of the Triple 0s managed to catch a few 'hoo up to 57 pounds.

Oct 9, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys did some clamming out of Quinby. They then did a little fishing and caught 20 pigfish, 10 big spot, some sea mullet and a couple black drum.

Oct 5, I ran down to the Cigar with Phillip Neill, Chris Wayman, and Stan Simmerman. We had about 15 wahoo bites and only managed to land 3. They were all nice fish with the smallest weighing in at 45 pounds, the largest at 85 pounds. We trolled a little spoon for a bit to see if there were any baby bluefin around for Dr. John Graves. There were baby blackfin. Phillip caught a big false albacore that managed to escape overboard from Stan's hands before we could measure it so no release citation for Phillip. The rest of us each weighed in a citation-size wahoo. These were the first-ever citation wahoo for both Stan and Chris. At 85 pounds, Stan started out big.

Oct 5, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the Cigar area. They lost 4 wahoo and caught a big false albacore.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

E-mail Ken Neill with fishing news.

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