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Angler of the Year



That was an impressive run of unfishable weather that we just went through. Prior to all of that, fishing was pretty good. Now, we will just have to get out there and see what is going on. The fishing piers were mostly able to stay open except for the very worst of the weather. As long as people were able to get on the piers, fish were being caught. Spot are still being caught in the bay and inside the inlets so the weather did not end that bite yet. From Virginia Beach on down through the Outer Banks, pier anglers have been catching big red drum. Decent numbers of speckled trout are also being caught. Most are too small to keep but there have been some nicer fish in the catches. Pretty much every dock with a light on it is holding little speckled trout, gray trout, silver perch and striped bass. Most of the striped bass have been smaller than the 20-inch minimum keeper size but some keepers are being caught from local docks. Anglers making it out into the York and James River systems since the blow are finding decent striped bass action on fish up to around 30 inches. This is a good time of year to hit the coastal wrecks for flounder and triggerfish. Sea bass is still closed until Oct. 22. There were still big red drum at the CBBT at the end of September during the lone fishable day. There should still be some there. Small bluefish are everywhere with the big choppers due to arrive on the ocean wrecks next month. Tautog fishing will be good at the CBBT and on other bay structures as boats get back out there. Offshore, there is good looking water at the Norfolk Canyon but nobody has checked it out yet. Wahoo and tuna fishing should be good.

The extended run of bad weather caused the Spot Tournament/picnic to be cancelled. The spot were cooperating but the weather did us in.

Oct 3-7, I have fished with little jigs off of my dock each evening. I've caught striped bass, speckled trout, silver perch and gray trout each night. All of the fish are small with the largest striped bass being about 18 inches long.

Sept 30, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the only fishable day for about 2 weeks. They started out catching 4 tautog at the CBBT then moved a little and caught a 46-inch red drum.

Sept 20, Wes Blow fished the CBBT until the wind drove him home. He caught a sheepshead, tautog and triggerfish. His largest trigger weighed 4 pounds 2 ounces.

Sept 19, Danny Forehand fished the oceanfront. They lost a big king mackerel at the boat. They caught false albacore and Spanish mackerel.

Sept 19, Charles Southall fished the CBBT. Thy caught flounder, tautog, bluefish and triggerfish. His largest triggerfish weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces.

Sept 19, we are helping with white marlin research projects being done at Dr. John Grave's lab at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. One project involves pop-up satellite tags that Dr. Graves received at the end of August. There is a little urgency in that Dr. Graves would really like the tags deployed this season. So we fished an overnighter yesterday to try and get tags deployed while the fish are still here. The marlin are caught, brought into the boat, fin clip taken (for a molecular genetics study), fish tagged, revived and released. While trolling for marlin, we put out a small spoon to try for young of the year bluefin tuna for yet other studies. We did not catch any bluefin. The spoon caught blackfin, skipjack, and frigate tuna. We put them to use as bait during the night, catching a swordfish and some impressive sharks. During the daytime, marlin fishing was good. We caught 8 white marlin. We got a DNA sample from each and released each with a satellite tag. The swordfish was large enough to keep but we released it. In addition to the science we were trying to do, the grad student collected remoras for more research and took a silvery fish that we could not ID back to VIMS where it was identified as a Caribbean pomfret. Stan Simmerman caught the swordfish which was his 6th different citation for the year and 25th overall earning him both Virginia Expert and Master Angler awards.

Sept 18, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished around the oceanfront. They caught false albacore, triggerfish, croaker, bluefish, sea bass and flounder.

Sept 17, Brandon Honeycutt fished for sheepshead again. They caught 8 citation sheepshead to 12 pounds 6 ounces.

Sept 16, Brandon Honeycutt fished for sheepshead. They caught 10 with one being large enough for a citation.

Sept. 16, Wes Blow fished the CBBT. They caught a couple of big sheepshead, a half-dozen tautog, and some triggerfish.

Sept 15, Brandon Honeycutt fished a wreck inside the bay. They caught triggerfish, tautog, and big sheepshead. They registered 5 citation sheepshead up to 12 pounds 14 ounces.

Sept 15, Stan Simmerman fished the Chesapeake Light Tower area. He caught false albacore to 34.5 inches long, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, an amberjack and a jack crevalle.

Sept 15, Martin Freed and Amy Mallette fished for triggerfish and caught a bunch, up to 4 pounds 7 ounces. They also caught a nice flounder, croaker, sea bass, porgy, and pigfish.

Sept 13, Hunter Southall and Wes Blow fished the CBBT for Sheepshead. They caught 5 big sheepshead. These were Hunter's first and he started large weighing in 3 citations.

Sept 11, Wes Blow fished the CBBT for red drum. He caught 2 big reds and hooked into something that he never slowed down.

Sept 9, Wes Blow fished the CBBT for sheepshead. It was rough. He did get one big sheep boat side where it escaped.

Sept 7, we went back to where we left them on our last trip and found some fish. We ended up catching 3 white marlin and jumped another one off. We missed a couple of others but overall, did not see the numbers of fish that we saw on our last trip. Boats around the Triple 0s were seeing more. We caught plenty of dolphin and got bit off by a couple wahoo. We got pop-up tags placed and collected DNA samples from each of the marlin. Dr. Graves had a graduate student on another boat. They caught a couple getting a tag out on one.

Sept 5 and 6, Wes blow went chumming for cobia during a strong NE blow. They caught sharks and a half-dozen cobia.

Sept 4, Milton Hudgins fished out of Hatteras. They caught 2 wahoo.

Sept 4, we went out to catch white marlin. We are actually helping with two projects being done at Dr. John Graves' lab at VIMS. White marlin are considered a single stock but with the bite going off at Virginia, Venezuela and other locations at the same time, there may be separate stocks that should be managed separately. We're collecting DNA samples here and others are collecting samples elsewhere in the Atlantic so that the molecular genetics can be compared. The other thing being looked at is the effect of removing the fish from the water has on post-release survivability. The marlin are caught on circle hooks, brought into the boat for various amounts of time and a pop-up satellite tag is placed. The fish is revived and released. Post release mortality will be compared with 60 circle-hook caught white marlin released at boat side in a previous PSAT study. We saw plenty and managed to catch 5. We should have caught more but 5 is good. One of them turned out to be a roundscale spearfish. We collected DNA from each of the fish but only placed PSATs in the 4 white marlin. While marlin fishing, we caught a dozen or so dolphin.

Sept 3, Milton Hudgins fished out of Hatteras. They caught 3 wahoo.

Sept 3, Mac McCormick went out after cobia and caught a 45 pound fish.

Sept 1, Danny Forehand caught a bunch of spadefish at the CBBT. They then checked out some buoys and hooked two cobia. They broke one off and caught one.

Contact Ken Neill with fishing news.

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