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
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
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
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
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.
Ken Neill with fishing news.
Ken Neill with
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