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
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
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
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
Dec 11, Scott Elford fished the Cut Channel. They caught a
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.
Ken Neill with fishing news.
Ken Neill with
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