Striped bass regulations are changing. The ASMFC decided to
reduce the commercial and recreational harvest of striped bass by
25% along the coast and 20.5% inside of the Chesapeake Bay. The
commercial reductions are pretty straight forward as they are
under a poundage quota so just reduce the allowed pounds. The
coastal commercial quota will be reduced 25% in 2015. That does
not mean that there will be a 25% reduction in harvest however. In
fact, there could actually be an increase in commercial harvest in
2015. The quota was not caught last year. If the new, reduced
commercial quota is caught in 2015, the harvest would actually
increase by about 11%. So, the actual commercial catch may
increase or decrease in 2015. The maximum possible catch has been
This is actually true for the recreational fishery as well.
There will be regulation changes designed to reduce the catch but
if there are fish inside of the 3NM line this winter, Virginia's
recreational catch will increase over the past couple of years no
matter what the new regulations are. For Virginia and North
Carolina, our best coastal striped bass fishery starts at the very
end of December and runs through February. They don't even collect
recreational catch data during January and February so nobody has
a clue what our coastal recreational catch is. Really, all we know
about our recreational coastal catch is through anecdotal fishing
reports and we can look at trends in the citation program. That is
all they have.
Anyway, this is what is going to happen with the recreational
striped bass regulations. Nothing is official yet but there really
are not other options. We will fish under the current regulations
through the end of the year: 2 fish at least 28 inches along the
coast and 2 fish 18-28 with one of your two allowed to be over 28
inches inside of the bay. On January 1, 2015, the bay season will
close (as normal) and the coastal bag limit will be reduced to 1
fish per person of at least 28 inches long. There are other
options but they have to go through a re-approval process at the
ASMFC. The earliest these options will come to VMRC is March so
for this winter season, we will be fishing at 1 fish, 28 inch
minimum. The other coastal options that could be in place by April
1 include: 2 fish per person at least 33 inches long, 2 fish per
person with 1 fish 28-34 inches long and the 2nd fish at least 36
inches long, or 2 fish per person with 1 fish 28 to 36 inches long
and the 2nd fish at least 38 inches long. We are going to get 1
fish of at least 28 inches for January and February 2015 so we
will get to see if we want to stay at that or go to one of the
other options. Currently, there is support for one of the
slot-limit options from some of the charter boat operators.
In the bay, the dates of all of our seasons will remain the
same with the main change being that the minimum size will
increase to 20 inches. That will be pretty straight forward except
that our rather complicated spring trophy fishery will be more
complicated. This is technically a "coastal" fishery as
it is targeting large coastal migrants. May1-15, the
"trophy" regulations apply both in the coastal waters
and inside of the bay. It will remain at a bag limit of 1 fish but
the minimum size will increase from 32 inches to 36 inches. May
16, the "coastal" season reopens in the ocean while the
"trophy" fishery will continue in the bay through June
15. These "trophy" fish always have had to be reported
but starting in 2015, you will need to have a special license to
participate in the spring trophy fishery. It will be free but will
allow managers to know who is fishing. Holders of this license
will be required to report their catches and their lack of
catches. Commercial anglers are used to monthly reports whether
they fished or not. It will take some time for recreational
anglers to get used to this. My guess is that this very lightly
participated fishery will have even less interest to anglers in
2015. The spring bay season will run from May 16 through June 15
with a 2-fish bag limit of fish 20 to 28 inches long. One of your
two fish could be 36 inches or larger if you have a trophy striped
bass license. This trophy striped bass permit only applies to the
spring trophy season. The fall bay season will be October 4
through December 31 with a 2-fish bag limit, 20-28 inches long
with one of your two fish allowed to be greater than 28 inches.
There you go; what you can expect for your 2015 striped bass
Vic Sorensen will be the speaker at the
December 16 meeting of the PSWSFA. He will be speaking to us about
cold water fishing safety. www.pswsfa.com/meetings.htm
I will be the speaker at the December 1 meeting of the CVSFA. We
will be discussing wintertime wreck fishing. www.cvsfa.com/index.php/contact-us/meeting-location
Striped bass action has been pretty good on school-sized fish.
Most of the fish are being caught at the area's crossings like the
CBBT, JRB, Coleman Bridge, HRBT, MMMT and at any other structure
with lights on it at night. More fish are being caught in open
water and there has been some bird action. There have been a few
40-plus pound fish caught at the CBBT at night and on the bayside
of the Eastern Shore during the day, primarily on live eels. This
fishery should get better each day. There is still a good bite up
the bay in Maryland waters and up the coast off of New Jersey.
Those fish are headed this way.
Speckled trout are being caught in the York and Back Rivers and
inside of Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. The best bite and where most
of the trophy trout are being caught is in the Elizabeth River.
This is the time of year when some big specks can be caught at the
HRBT and at the CBBT. Puppy drum are being caught inside of the
inlets and in the Elizabeth River.
Tautog fishing is very good at the CBBT and on other structures
in the bay. The wrecks in the ocean are holding sea bass and
triggerfish. The larger sea bass are being found from the Triangle
Wrecks and on out deeper. Big bluefish are holding around some of
the wrecks. Some good flounder catches are being made around some
of the wrecks like those at the Triangle Reef.
Offshore bottom fishing is good for blueline tilefish and some
other critters. As the season progresses, this fishery will get
tougher due to a multitude of spiny dogfish moving in. There have
been rumors of rumors of bluefin tuna sightings off of out coast.
Yellowfin tuna fishing is good to our south, out of Oregon Inlet.
PSWSFA members need to mark Feb. 27 on their calendars. That is
the evening of our Awards Banquet. Adult meals will be $15 while
the children's meal will be free. Look for details and menu
selection in the Chum Line soon.
Nov 19, Wes Blow and Hamish Small fished the Elizabeth River.
They caught a dozen nice speckled trout up to 26 inches long
including 4 large enough for citations.
Nov 16, we fished the Triangle Wrecks. We were looking for big
bluefish. We caught small bluefish, keeper sea bass, and 7
Nov 16, Wes Blow and JT Hale did some wreck fishing. They
caught a limit of nice sea bass and 11 triggerfish.
Nov 16, Capt. Rick Wineman wreck fished. They caught a limit of
sea bass and they caught numerous bluefish including 7 that they
registered for release citations.
Nov 12, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River. He tagged and
released speckled trout up to 26 inches long.
Nov 9, we fished some wrecks to the south. We caught hake,
porgy and a bunch of small bluefish. We had a really nice catch of
big sea bass, keeping our 75-fish limit and we caught a bunch of
triggerfish. We weighed in three triggerfish for citations. Dr.
Hamish Small caught the largest at 5 pounds. Stan Simmerman hooked
something big on his sea bass rig that would not come up. He
thought it was a monster ray. I told him that I thought he had a
big sand tiger on. We never found out as he broke it off after a
grueling fight. Stan switched over to a jig and he was soon hooked
up to something big again. This time, he was able to bring the big
sand tiger shark to the boat for a release. Wes Blow has a thing
for catching big sharks. He put away his sea bass stuff and came
out with a long and heavy piece of piano wire leader with a big
hook on the end. He baited up with a big slab of false albacore
and proceeded to show that you cannot have too big a bait or hook
for a sea bass to eat. After catching a few sea bass on his
oversized baits, he did hook up on a shark but the hook pulled. He
kept at it and hooked another one. We ended up pulling off the
anchor and chasing this one around a bit. When he finally got it
up, we had that heavy straight-wire to deal with without any
wireman's gloves. They tried to lip-gaff the shark to aid in
getting the hook out/cutting the leader close to the shark. That
sort of worked. After the release, nobody else wanted to tangle
with another one of those beasts and fish box was full so we
headed in for a couple of hours of fish cleaning.
Nov 9, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished out of Quinby. They
had a great day catching a limit of sea bass and some trigger fish
to over 5 pounds. On the way in, they ran into big bluefish and
caught several to over 19 pounds.
Nov 8, we fished the Triangle Reef for big bluefish and
flounder. We caught little bluefish, some medium sea bass, a few
ribbon fish, and some flounder. The largest flounder was Jody
Linthicum's first-ever flounder citation and it was his sixth
different citation this year, earning his Expert Angler award. His
doormat weighed in at 8.5 pounds. While flounder fishing, Bernie
Sparrer hooked something that was not a flounder. I thought that
we had found the big bluefish until 10 feet of thresher shark
comes flying out of the water. They are funny looking sharks
anyway but they really look strange when flying. That fight did
not last too much longer after that. The hook pulled.
Nov 5, Wes Blow fished the Triangle Wrecks catching sea bass.
Oct 31, Jody Linthicum fished Back River Reef. They came in
early with a 3-man limit of tautog.
Oct 29, Larry Lusk did some kayak fishing with his sons at the
Outer Banks. They caught a number of big red drum.
Oct 27, Stan Simmerman cast lures to the 3rd and 4th islands of
the CBBT. He did not catch any rockfish but he did catch about 20
Oct 27, Wes Blow wreck hopped all the way out to the Norfolk
Canyon. He caught a variety of bluefish, sea bass, triggerfish,
and hake. He said the only big fish he caught were some very
impressive conger eels.
Oct 25, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras and
they caught a wahoo.
Oct 25, Steve Martin fished his boat out of Hatteras and he
caught a 55.5 pound wahoo.
Oct 24, it was a rough day at Hatteras but Charles Southall
managed some inshore trolling. They caught 2 king mackerel.
Oct 23, it was too rough for the guys down at Hatteras to get
out so Gabe Sava went surf fishing. He caught a 45-inch red drum.
Oct 27, Jody Linthicum fished in Back River out of his kayak.
He caught 7 speckled trout in the 18-21 inch range, 2 bluefish,
and a striped bass.
Oct 21, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras. They
caught 2 dolphin, 3 king mackerel, 4 amberjack, a false albacore,
and a 41-pound wahoo.
Oct 20-21, Steve Martin fished his boat out of Hatteras. They
caught 3 dolphin and a wahoo.
Oct 20, Charles Southall fished his boat out of Hatteras. They
caught 2 blackfin tuna, 2 dolphin, 1 false albacore, 1 king
mackerel, and 1 wahoo.
Oct 20, I fished off of my dock in Chisman Creek and caught
small speckled trout and bluefish.
Oct 20, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished some wrecks out of
Quinby. They caught a 7 pound 3 ounce sheepshead, a bunch of nice
triggerfish, some flounder and small sea bass.
Oct 20, Dave Young fished the CBBT. They caught several gray
trout in the 16 to 18 inch range, a couple 21-22 inch flounder, 7
bluefish and a couple of nice red drum to 42 inches long. They had
a larger red on that they lost due to a straightened hook.
Oct 18, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished out of Quinby. They
caught a couple of trout, a porgy, 28 pigfish and a dozen large
spot to 12.5 inches long.
Oct 15, I have been catching fish around my dock light most
every night and morning. This morning, the catch was speckled
trout, gray trout, and bluefish. No striped bass catches yet.
Oct 10, Lee Williams fished out of Hatteras. They caught a
wahoo and some dolphin. They lost a second wahoo. Their bites were
in 30 fathoms and came on their planer rod.
Oct 10, we ran back out after wahoo in the Cigar area. We
caught 3 blackfin tuna including our largest out of Virginia so
far (about 20 pounds), 2 false albacore, and a barracuda that we
thought was going to be our wahoo. We did not have any wahoo
bites. A couple of other boats fishing south of the Triple 0s
managed to catch a few 'hoo up to 57 pounds.
Oct 9, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys did some clamming out of
Quinby. They then did a little fishing and caught 20 pigfish, 10
big spot, some sea mullet and a couple black drum.
Oct 5, I ran down to the Cigar with Phillip Neill, Chris Wayman,
and Stan Simmerman. We had about 15 wahoo bites and only managed
to land 3. They were all nice fish with the smallest weighing in
at 45 pounds, the largest at 85 pounds. We trolled a little spoon
for a bit to see if there were any baby bluefin around for Dr.
John Graves. There were baby blackfin. Phillip caught a big false
albacore that managed to escape overboard from Stan's hands before
we could measure it so no release citation for Phillip. The rest
of us each weighed in a citation-size wahoo. These were the
first-ever citation wahoo for both Stan and Chris. At 85 pounds,
Stan started out big.
Oct 5, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the Cigar area. They lost 4
wahoo and caught a big false albacore.
Ken Neill with fishing news.
Ken Neill with
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