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FISHING NEWS


Until Virginia decides what to do with its cobia fishery, cobia will remain the main fish story. Cobia fishing will close in federal waters on June 20. It remains to be seen if Virginia and North Carolina will follow suit with closures in state waters. This would be much more problematic for Virginia as the closure would occur just about the time the cobia season begins to heat up here. Virginia will decide at the May 24 VMRC meeting. This is one you may want to attend if cobia fishing is important to you.

In the meantime, there will be a meeting on May 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk, NC where the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will try to explain just how we have arrived at this situation with cobia. Also, beyond this year, work needs to be started on cobia management for 2017 and beyond. Stakeholders (us) will have the opportunity to ask questions and to provide comments. If you cannot attend this meeting in person, you can attend via webinar. For more information visit:  http://safmc.net/CobiaQandAMeeting_05092016 .

The first cobia have been caught out of Hatteras. The first Virginia cobia will be caught in about 3 weeks, likely by some angler targeting drum. Both red and black drum are being caught on the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Flounder action is picking up in the seaside inlets and more will begin to target them in the lower bay as the very good tautog bite is closed as of May 1. Some flounder have been caught up in the York and Back Rivers. Speckled trout are being caught in the normal speckled trout locations but not hot and heavy yet. The best reports have come from inside of Rudee Inlet and in the York River. The croaker bite continues to pick up in the rivers in the western side of the bay. Small bluefish are in the bay with some nicer blues being caught inside Rudee Inlet and on Poquoson Flats. The sea bass season will finally reopen on May 15 to give us something to fish the ocean wrecks for. The trophy striped bass season opens May 1. This is not a fishery that generates much interest in Virginia as most of the "trophy" fish are not here but there can be some caught at the CBBT and on the Eastern Shore sometimes. Smaller striped bass are being caught by anglers looking for speckled trout. There will be more interest in these fish when the spring bay season opens on May 16.

Offshore action has been mainly out of the Outer Banks where there have been good catches of yellowfin tuna, dolphin, and wahoo. There have been bluefin tuna caught in the canyons to our north. With tuna to the south and north, there should be something offshore of Virginia to catch but there hasn't been any effort yet, largely due to a long run of windy weather. Tilefish will become a more attractive target after the seabass season reopens as blueline tilefish and sea bass are often caught in the same area.

Capt. Jorj Head will be the speaker at the May 17 meeting of the PSWSFA. His topic, of course, will be cobia.

The April issue of Sport Fishing Magazine has an article on Virginia titled: "An Embarrassment of Riches". It covers inshore and offshore fisheries. The PSWSFA is prominently featured with a number of us in it along with Congressman Rob Wittman. There is the "Special Kate", the "Healthy Grin" and the "Get Anet" in there. VMRC and VIMS programs are also featured. Somewhat ironic is a main section on "Chesapeake's Prevalent Cobia" that talks about this great fishery we have June-September.

The PSWSFA’s big tournament, the “Flounder Bowl” will be back this summer with a new “weather rule”. Last year, the weather forecasts moved the tournament to the following (July 4) weekend. This created difficulties for many anglers and tied up Dare Marina for two weekends. To avoid that happening again, the Flounder Bowl will be held June 25-26 with a captains meeting on Friday, June 24. Anglers will still just fish one day but they will get to choose to fish Saturday or, those that declare Saturday a lay day, can fish Sunday. The party and awards presentation will be held after the weigh in on Sunday. It will now be the teams’ choice as to which weather day is best for them. This event is only possible through sponsor support. Sponsors for this year’s tournament are being signed up now. If you are interested in sponsoring the Flounder Bowl, you can contact the tournament director at:  flounderbowl@verizon.net

April 25, Hunter Southall fished out of Oregon Inlet and the action was slow. They did catch a wahoo and a yellowfin.

April 23, Hunter Southall fished the CBBT for tautog. They caught a dozen or so before the approaching thunderstorms sent them back to port.

April 18, Martin Freed fished inside the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore for an hour. He caught 3 flounder then he went clamming and loaded up a bucket.

April 16, Jody Linthicum fished his kayak inside of Rudee Inlet. He had a nice catch of bluefish.

April 11, Bernie Sparrer fished out of Oregon Inlet for bluefin tuna. They caught 3 mako sharks to 64 inches fork length. Boats near them caught some yellowin tuna and dolphin. They did not hear of any bluefin tuna.

March 30, Wes Blow fished for tautog. They caught togs up to 12 pounds.

March 16, Wes Blow went back out after tautog. They caught fish to 12 pounds 9 ounces.

March 13, we stayed close to the beach and fished about half a day. We caught a total of 27 tautog with the largest being about 22 inches long. DNA samples were collected from each fish. Tags were placed in released fish. We caught one fish that already had a tag in it.

March 13, Wes Blow fished for tautog and caught fish to 18 pounds 3 ounces.

March 13, Hunter Southall fished out of Oregon Inlet. They caught a 130 pound bluefin tuna.

March 9, Wes Blow went after tautog and caught a couple of big ones up to almost 17 pounds.

March 7, Hunter Southall fished an inshore wreck and caught tautog up to about 20 inches.

Feb 28, we ran out to the tilefish grounds. It was a bit sporty out there. We had Congressman Rob Wittman with us again. It always seems to a bit sporty when the Congressman fishes with us. We had to weed through the dogfish but we ended up with a nice catch of tilefish to 12 pounds. We also caught a lot of really nice sea bass that we pointed out that we would be able to keep if the federal government would give us back our wintertime sea bass season.

Feb 21, we went back after tautog. We caught some big ones. The largest one we kept weighed in at 21.5 pounds. Stan Simmerman caught that fish. It was the same length as the current state record but did not have the girth of that fish. The largest that we released was about 15 pounds. Wes Blow had a release device that he had gotten from the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program to try out. It releases the fish at a set depth. It seemed to work well. He also released one about 13 pounds so there are some big togs out there with tags in them. DNA samples were collected from each fish and tags were placed in the released fish.

Feb 21, Capt. Rick Wineman fished two wrecks catching tautog to around 15 pounds. They also caught some big sea bass. They then ran offshore to fish for blueline tilefish. They caught a couple of them and a whole bunch of dogfish.

Feb 19, we fished for tautog at the Triangle Wrecks. We caught tog up to 14 pounds 8 ounces. We got a DNA sample from each fish. We caught one tautog that we had previously tagged. We caught more sea bass than tautog, released, and a couple of spiny dogfish.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

E-mail Ken Neill with fishing news.

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