Tautog is closed as of May 1. The Spring Striped Bass Trophy
Season is open as of May 1. To participate in this fishery,
anglers are required to have a special permit (free) and it
requires reporting. Another of the recreational fisheries
requiring a special permit with reporting is the tilefish/grouper
fishery. Changes in blueline tilefish regulations have been
expected for some time. So far, they have not been enacted so we
are still fishing under last year's regulations: 6 tilefish
(combined species) per angler per day. Sea bass is another fishery
with regulation changes pending but for now, that season will open
on May 15. The recreational bluefin tuna bag limits have been
increased. The trophy fishery remains closed. As of April 30,
recreational vessels will be allowed to retain two school bluefin
(27 to less than 47 inches) and 1 medium (47 to less than 73
inches) per vessel per day.
The Eastern Shore drum bite has really taken off. Big red drum
and medium black drum are being caught along the seaside surf.
Flounder fishing has also picked up on the shore with limits of
flatfish being caught. Some flounder are being caught on the
western side of the bay, up in the rivers and on the flats but the
best early bite has been out of places like Wachapreague.
Tautog fishing remains excellent on structures inside of the
bay but you can keep any as of May 1. More croaker are being
caught and there is a good showing of sea mullet. Speckled trout
and puppy drum catches have been very good inside of Rudee and
Lynnhaven Inlets and more are showing up on the flats and in the
rivers on the western shore.
Offshore Virginia, it is mostly bottom fishing for tilefish
while we wait for some good tuna water to move in. There will be
more interest in tilefish after the sea bass season opens back up
on May 15.
Yellowfin tuna catches are good out of Oregon Inlet. A few
Virginia boats have made the run to the action during the rare
weather window. Out of Hatteras, when boats can get out over the
bar, fishing has been very good for blackfin tuna and more dolphin
are showing up. Inshore boats are still making good catches of big
red drum and the cobia fishery got off to an early start this
One of these cobia spent August 26, 2016 on the surface for 21%
of the day. She made it down as deep as 85 feet and her average
depth was at 34 feet for the day. She was one of the cobia tagged
last summer by Dr. John Graves and Douglas Jensen of VIMS. The
tags pop off and transmit their stored data to a satellite. Data
transmission is never 100%. To get all of the data, the tag must
be recovered. Three tags did not deploy from their cobia. Those
fish are likely off of Hatteras right now so while you are chasing
those cobia around down there, keep an eye out for these tags. You
cannot miss them if you catch the right fish. This summer, more
tags will be deployed in Chesapeake cobia. Around 35 of these
high-tech tags will be deployed so we can get a better
understanding into the life of a cobia.
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. 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. To learn more about the Cobia Bowl, visit it on
Facebook and for entry forms and sponsorship information, visit: www.pswsfa.com/CobiaBowl_17.htm
To directly donate to support cobia research: VIMS
Foundation Game Fish Research Fund.
Daniel and Keith LeGrande of LeGrande Slam Sportfishing Charters
will be the speakers at the May 16 PSWSFA meeting. They will be
getting us ready for the opening of the cobia season. Meetings are
free and you do not need to be a member to attend: www.pswsfa.com
April 26, Capt. Rick Wineman and crew had an epic evening
catching red drum at Fisherman's Island. They caught, tagged, and
released 21 red drum from 40 to 49 inches long.
April 22, Rick Wineman and Wally Veal made it back over to
Fisherman's Island with better results. They caught 4 big red drum
to 47 inches long.
April 20, It's just drum fishing. No names have been changed to
protect the innocent...because there are no innocent when it comes
to drum fishing on the Eastern Shore. We had a Cobia Bowl planning
meeting last night. While there, Rick Wineman was getting updates
from Wally Veal and Ricky Higgins who were drum fishing in Smith
Island Inlet on the Eastern Shore. They had had one run that did
not stay hooked-up. They had a dead battery and were waiting for a
tow boat. At the end of our meeting, I asked Wineman if the guys
were back in yet. Nope, the tow boat broke down on the way to get
them. They were waiting on a second tow boat, still no fish. I
woke up this morning with a text from Wineman waiting for me. The
second tow boat kept running aground trying to get to them, gave
up, called the Coast Guard, and went home. From very similar
personal experience, the Coast Guard just is not coming over there
to get you unless you are in imminent danger and apparently, being
in amongst breaking surf is not imminent danger. They will want to
talk to you on the radio every 15 minutes. To be fair, there is no
safe way to get through the shoals, bars, and breakers in the dark
without current intimate knowledge of the area. If you are over
there fishing in the slop, you are on your own...unless you have
very good friends. Rick Wineman and Mark Terwilliger (owner of
Grafton Fishing Supply & Seafood), got an extra battery,
launched Rick's boat and ran across the bay in the middle of the
night. Rick said that it was a sketchy operation at best working
through the breakers in the dark but they made it into them and
all made it home safely. Wineman was planning on drum fishing this
evening but last night was enough fun for a while. He figures that
he'll be good to go by Saturday. I bet it would be sooner if the
guys had been catching fish.
April 9, Danny Forehand and Keith Blackburn fished a wreck
inside the bay. They caught 20 tautog.
April 9, we went tautog fishing….sort of. I got up early and
walked down the dock and checked the crab pots. In addition to
crabs, there were 2 flounder. The flounder were released, the
crabs went fishing. We hit 2 coastal wrecks and caught sea bass.
No tautog but we did not give it too much of a try. It was really
calm, so we buzzed on out to 50 fathoms where we caught a nice
mess of blueline tilefish and a flounder. Dogfish are still an
issue but they seem to be thinning out.
March 26, Hunter Southall fished out of Oregon Inlet. They
landed a 72-inch bluefin tuna.
March 26, we fished the Triangle Wrecks. We caught 8 tautog
that were tagged and released. We also caught some nice sea bass,
also tagged and released.
March 25, Hunter Southall fished out of Oregon Inlet and fought
a bluefin tuna all day. The fight lasted 9 hours before the hooked
pulled. They saw the fish numerous times and estimated it at
around 1000 pounds.
March 9, Hunter Southall spent his Spring Break from ODU
fishing for bluefin tuna out of Oregon Inlet. When the wind
allowed, they had success catching bluefin to over 500 pounds.
Feb 27, Deven Simmerman fished on the Miss Kaylee out of Oregon
Inlet. They boated a 103-inch bluefin tuna.
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.
Ken Neill with fishing news.
Ken Neill with
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