Jan 24 2015

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

There’s a lot of grumbling among Virginia anglers right now. I suppose if you are accustomed to the exceptional local winter fishery of years past, that’s understandable. But if you consider the winter options our neighbors to our North experience every year, things could be worse. But for now, the verdict is in. Coastal striped bass are missing in action, again. One local charter captain suggested that perhaps the migration pattern of these fish has changed over the past few years, completely circumventing the inshore Virginia coastline. Regardless of the reason, they are not within reach for legal fishing….at least not yet.

Although some catch and release rockfish opportunities with some sizable fish may be available inside the Chesapeake Bay, not many are interested. And although wreck anglers and deep droppers are intercepting large schools of big stripers meandering 10 to 20-mlies offshore, targeting these fish outside of three-miles of land is illegal. As for bluefin tuna, they are also anyone’s guess. Some bluefin continue to provide some action off Carolina, but the schools of big bluefin tuna are also successfully evading anglers this season.

DocsTrout1But the winter fishing action is not a complete bust, as inshore anglers seem somewhat content. Speckled trout have not forsaken us, and although some days are better than others, most folks are experiencing decent catches of keeper specks, mostly from the Elizabeth River. The majority of fish are coming from “the cove” area, with most trout ranging from 21 to 24-inches, with a few fish pushing to around 28-inches recently. The best bites are occurring on live bait floated under bobbers, but casting with Mirrolures or Gulp Shrimp is also worthy of mention. Other lower Bay inlets are also providing some limited trout results, along with some puppy drum action.

Mostly due to limited striped bass availability, tautog are becoming more intriguing to anglers, but the bite is hit and miss. Moving to deeper water is key, with both mid-range and deep water wrecks a good choice. Recently, a few good days of folks experiencing limits of fish averaging up to around 15-pounds at the Triangle Wrecks area are encouraging. Finding suitable bait can be a challenge right now, so plan ahead if you organize a trip. Jumbo seabass are also available on these same wrecks, but the season is closed.

With the non-existent inshore rockfish bite, anglers are also beginning to show more interest in deepwater species. The Canyon and its edges are a good place to look for deepwater bottom dwellers such as blueline and golden tilefish, grouper, and blackbellied rosefish. Dogfish are becoming a nuisance in these deep water areas, which is making these catches more challenging.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/01/24/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-17/

Jan 22 2015

Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Our saltwater fishing options are a bit limited out of Virginia right now. There are still a few reports of catch-and-release fishing for striped bass inside the bay, particularly near the deep-water area on the eastern side of the bay. Striped bass have been a no-show in the open coastal waters. Some have been encountered outside the 3 NM line by anglers searching for bluefin tuna but they do not seem to be thick out there either. Some monster bluefin tuna are being caught out of Morehead City. One weighing over 1000 pounds was landed last week. What have not shown are those 100-200 pound fish that often can be found wintering north of those giants, somewhere from Virginia to North Carolina. So far, the boats looking for them have not been able to find them.

Blackfin tuna are being jigged up off of Hatteras. When boats can get out, some yellowfin tuna have been caught out of Oregon Inlet in the area of the Point. Between the weather and the shoaling of Oregon Inlet, it has been tough to get to the tuna grounds.

jodyVirginia’s offshore boats are primarily targeting bottom fish and there have been good catches of blueline and golden tilefish. Sea bass are more than plentiful on the offshore wrecks but by regulation, we cannot keep any of those. The inshore wrecks are providing our most predictable fishery right now. Wrecks right off of the beach on out to 30 miles off of the coast are producing good catches of tautog.

Some very impressive speckled trout continue to be caught in the Elizabeth River. A few puppy drum are also being caught in the Elizabeth.

This past summer, George Poveromo was here again to film another of his TV shows out of Virginia. I believe that this is his 7th Virginia show, he must like fishing in Virginia. On this trip, he fished with Capt. Zack Hoffman for cobia. Zack’s episode will first air: January 28 (Wednesday), 2:00 p.m., on NBC Sports. For other air times, visit: www.georgepoveromo.com/tv_schedule.php

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/01/22/peninsula-saltwater-sport-fisherman-weekly-6/

Jan 17 2015

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Fishing reports continue to sound more like weather reports, but this past week the weather offered a brief break allowing boats to get out on the open water to check out the bite.

During the fishable weather this week, a few hopeful anglers combed the oceanfront in search of striped bass. But since the close of the Bay season at the end of December, the New Year has not offered much promise to an already sluggish start to the 2015 ocean rockfish season. But even if boats find fish, harsher regulations are a bit disheartening at one fish per angler at a minimum of 28-inches. A few offshore boats are still encountering schools of rockfish while on the hunt for other species well outside the legal 3-mile demarcation line for legal fish. In the Bay, catch and release options can offer some action if these fish begin to cooperate again. But as of this week, rockfish in the Bay are not making any headlines, either.

Wrecks and structures beyond the Chesapeake Light Tower are beginning to draw some interest for tautog since the ocean striper bite has yet to develop. A few reports indicate that coastal and offshore tog catches are still scattered, with the average fish pushing to around 20-inches, with a few tog topping 24-inches lately. Remember you can keep up to three tautog per person at a minimum of 16-inches. Bluefish and big seabass are still a possibility in these same locations, but the seabass season is closed right now.

specks-lynnhavenInshore, speckled trout and puppy drum are pretty much the only game in town. Anglers fishing the Elizabeth River this week are finding mixed results. Boats sitting in the Cove with live bait are catching fish, with s few trophies mixed in with 20-inchers. In the River, lures worked with a slow retrieve are enticing the most strikes right now with some respectable fish. A few specks are also still hitting in both Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, but this action is sporadic. Right now anglers can keep up to five fish per person measuring a minimum of14-inches, with one of those fish exceeding 24-inches. Plenty of school-sized rockfish and puppy drum are also hitting the same lures in these areas.

Boats venturing out to scour the deeper ocean floors this week found nice blueline tilefish in around 300-feet of water. Other species such as golden tilefish, grouper, and blackbellied rosefish are also providing some variety in deeper water along the Canyon walls.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/01/17/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-16/

Jan 17 2015

Menhaden Making a Comeback, Managers Are at a Crossroads

With Menhaden Making a Comeback, Managers Are at a Crossroads

Peter Baker at The Pew Charitable Trusts released an encouraging article this week about our menhaden stocks.

“It appears that we may soon get some promising news about the fish that’s sometimes called the most important one in the sea—the Atlantic menhaden. These small forage fish constitute a key part of the marine food web, and now the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is nearing completion of a new assessment of the stock ……. Read More At Their Website



Chesapeake Bay Foundation Issues Statement on New Menhaden Stock Assessment

Disagrees with industry backed analysis

(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Fisheries Scientist Bill Goldsborough issued this statement following the release of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) menhaden stock assessment yesterday. Already, industry-backed groups are suggesting that harvest restrictions imposed in 2012 were unnecessary……. Continue Reading Here

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/01/17/menhaden-making-a-comeback-managers-are-at-a-crossroads/

Jan 16 2015

Virginia Marine Resources Commission News

January 9. 2015:  Recreational Summer Flounder fishing management alternatives for 2015 will be discussed at a public hearing on January 14, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the VMRC Headquarters, 2600 Washington Avenue, Newport News, Va. 23607, 4th Floor Commission Hearing Room. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries is leading this hearing to discuss regional management options for 2015 and a coast-wide or conservation equivalency option (FMP status quo). Coast-wide means uniform management across all 9 participating states, whereas conservation equivalency means that states could have the option to form voluntary regions or states could set state-specific regulations to constrain the state’s harvest to the state’s share of the Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL), which is based on the 1998 allocation. This procedure was in place from 1999 through 2013. In 2014 the ASMFC mandated regional management. Information for where to send written comments is included in the attached document.


Contact Sally.Roman@mrc.virginia.gov for additional information.

January 7, 2015: The VIMS Virginia Marine Advisory Services is accepting proposals for the 2015 Fisheries Resource Research Grant program from January 5 through January 31, 2015. Grants are used to help those directly involved with fishing and aquaculture to undertake experiments and studies of innovative methods for enhancing or protecting fisheries in Virginia. For more information, see


or contact Tom Murray at 804-684-7190 or tjm@vims.edu.

January 5, 2015: The Commission has added a web site feature that displays information regarding pending and complete permit applications submitted to our Habitat Management Division. For more recent projects you can view permit applications, the project status, a project description including dimensions, site photos and see an aerial photograph. This web feature will provide the public with easy way to access habitat permit application information and locations.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2015/01/16/vmrc-news/

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