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FISHING NEWS


The tautog bite is exceptional at the CBBT and on other structures in the bay. The action on the nearshore wrecks is also very good and good number of cod are also being caught. Wrecks further offshore, like those at the Triangle Reef, are also producing catches of cod. The tautog bite is slower out there than inside the bay but that is where the largest tog are being caught. The tog season closes at the end of April. The offshore wrecks are holding big sea bass but that fishery remains closed until further notice. Further notice will come at next week’s VMRC meeting. Barring some unexpected changes at the federal level, the opening of the sea bass season will be May 15.

The Spring Trophy Striped Bass Season opens May 1. Maryland’s springtime trophy season is a very popular and productive fishery. Virginia’s version is not much of a fishery with few anglers participating and even fewer “trophy” striped bass caught. There will be more interest when the spring bay season begins on May 16 when smaller, resident fish may be kept. If you are going to participate in the spring trophy fishery there are a couple of changes this year. The minimum size has been increased to 36 inches. In addition to the normal reporting requirements of any trophy fish kept, this year you will also need to have a Spring Striped Bass Trophy Permit. This is a free permit and may be obtained online at: www.webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/permits

We are still waiting to hear what the federal government is going to do with our offshore bottom fishing. It is expected that we will see emergency regulations in place soon that are close to Virginia's current landing regulations for the offshore bottomfish. Blueline tilefish has been shut down to our south but for right now, we are still allowed 7 tilefish and 1 grouper per angler combined species. Both blueline and golden tilefish are being caught around the Norfolk Canyon. Tuna are becoming more accessible to Virginia's offshore fleet as warmer water has moved into the Cigar-Norfolk Canyon area but still the best action is closer to the Oregon Inlet boats.

Bluefish are in our coastal waters and some good catches have been made inside Rudee Inlet where some puppy drum are also being caught. Both bluefish and puppy drum activity will be increasing inside of the bay. Big red drum and medium-sized black drum are being caught in the surf of the Eastern Shore.

Flounder fishing is picking up with fish caught inside the seaside inlets, at the mouth of Back River, and on Hampton Bar this week. Croaker are being caught in the York and James Rivers and catches were made off of the fishing piers this week. A 32-inch red drum was caught (and released) from the Buckroe Pier.

"The Pirate", Pete Bregant, will be the speaker at the May 19 meeting of the PSWSFA. He will discuss techniques for catching trophy-sized red drum. The Bishop Fishing Supply Triple Threat Tournament continues through the end of July. The fish are red drum, black drum, and cobia with the winners being determined by the combined length of length of the three species. Be sure to contact Rick Wineman to join the tournament prior to fishing.

April 22, Wes Blow fished Fisherman's Island for red drum. He did not have any luck with that. On the way in, he stopped at Back River Reef and caught some tautog.

April 19, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished for tautog out of Quinby Inlet. They did not catch any. What they did catch were cod. They ended up with 13 cod up to 27 inches long.

April 19, we tried one wreck for tautog and caught some really nice sea bass that had to be released. We moved inshore and caught tautog and cod.

April 19, Gabe Sava fished an inshore wreck. He caught tautog, keeping his limit and releasing the rest. He also caught several cod.

April 18, David Brabrand and I fished an inshore wreck. We kept a limit of tautog and released others with tags. We got DNA samples from each fish. We were back in the inlet for

April 13, Wes Blow went back out after tog. He had Ken Westerfeld with him. Ken caught tog of 17 pounds 13 ounces and 11 pounds 10 ounces. Ken caught the pending world-record tautog earlier this year: 28 pounds 13 ounces.

April 13, Hunter fished the CBBT and the bite was hot. He was not sure how many tautog he caught but he got DNA samples from 20 of them and he did not get samples from each as he was too busy fishing. He kept his 3-fish limit and released the rest.

April 12, we fished an ocean wreck. We caught some big tautog with five weighing in the double-digits. I managed to catch one of those. Dr. Hamish Small, from VIMS, had never caught a citation-sized tog before. Now he has four. His largest fish weighed in at 15 pounds 8 ounces. JT Hale caught a cod. We caught some lesser tog and a few nice sea bass that were released. The tog we weighed in were: 11.5, 12.5, 13, 14.5, and 15.5 pounds. Fish were caught on clam and a variety of crabs. We got DNA samples from each tautog caught, we kept 6 tog (we each took home one fish for dinner)-those carcasses went to the VMRC Sportfish Collection Project, the rest were tagged and released.

April 12, Brandon Honeycutt fished the CBBT. They caught about 40 tautog. They kept their limit of nine and came home.

April 12, Capt. Rick Wineman fished some ocean wrecks yesterday for togs but all we could catch were large sea bass. They ran out to the southern wall of the Norfolk Canyon where they caught blueline tilefish to over 10 pounds and they caught a 27-inch flounder.

April 12, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished for tautog out of Wachapreague Inlet. They did not catch any tautog but they did catch seven cod between 22 and 25 inches long and a few smaller ones.

April 5, There will be a new tog leader in the state. It will be Wes Blow, replacing Wes Blow. Wes and Wally Veal caught 4 citation-sized tog. The "small" fish weighed in at 12 pounds 11 ounces. Wes' largest weighed in at 18 pounds 13 ounces. Wes currently leads the state at 16 pounds.

March 29, Chris Boyce fished out of Hatteras. They caught 15 blackfin tuna, 1 yellowfin tuna, and all the false albacore they could stand.

March 25, Wes Blow and Beth Synowiec wreck fished. They caught and released some nice sea bass and caught some tautog up to 15 pounds 6 ounces.

March 9, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the Get Anet out of Oregon Inlet. The Wicked Tuna boats were fishing around them and they saw a few fish caught. The Get Anet did not get a bite.

March 9, Wes Blow tried for tautog and tilefish. He caught (and released) big sea bass and a lot of dogfish.

March 1, when I got to the boat, Hunter Southall was using a snow shovel. The rest of the guys were beating on the deck with 5 gallon buckets, trying to break up the ice. We left Rudee Inlet in the direction of the Triangle Wrecks. It was too rough running in that direction so we turned south to an inshore wreck. We got anchored up, in the sleet, and proceeded to catch nothing until the anchor broke free. We re-anchored and did more of the same. By the third time the anchor came loose, the seas were settling down. Since we were not catching anything where we were, we headed to a wreck further offshore and re-found the rough seas. It was too rough to try and anchor so we made a few drops while I tried to hold the boat over the wreck with the engines. The guys did catch and release some nice sea bass but no tautog. We gave up on that and were going to head further out to catch some tilefish but the rain picked up and the water-in-the-fuel alarm went off. Enough was enough; we pointed the boat down sea, drained the water from the filters and headed home.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

E-mail Ken Neill with fishing news.

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