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:
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
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: email@example.com
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
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
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.
Ken Neill with fishing news.
Ken Neill with
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