Dec 20 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown

julie7

By Dr. Julie Ball


The Christmas Holidays may spread good cheer to all, but the improving winter striped bass fishery is spreading good cheer among the many anglers who venture out to claim their share. And with more and more 40 and 50-pound rockfish hitting the docks each day, anglers are finding it difficult to think about targeting anything else lately.

Most of these massive stripers are coming from the fleet of boats drifting with eels off the Eastern Shore, especially near buoys 38 and 40 recently. As this bite continues to heat up, boats are still returning home with mixed results. Some boats are returning with a handful of big fish pushing to over 40-pounds, while other boats are returning empty-handed. But you can’t catch one if you don’t go. So, hurry if you want to keep one of these brutes, as the Bay season closes at the close of the year. Boats can also still find school-sized stripers ranging from 22 to 38-inches along the lower Bay bridges and tunnels, and under working birds in open Bay waters. Some rockfish activity is also developing along the ocean side off the Eastern Shore this week.

tThe decent speckled trout bite will likely continue into the Holiday Season, with the best trout catches still coming from the Elizabeth River, where many boats are scoring with dozens of nice fish up to around five pounds or more. Live bait is the preferred offering lately, especially in the Cove area, but several anglers are also finding good luck while casting Mirrolures and grubs. The speck run in Lynnhaven has slowed, but Rudee Inlet is still giving up some larger fish, along with puppy drum.

Although tautog are still available on lower Bay structures and wrecks, most folks are too busy chasing big rockfish to notice. Limits of keeper-sized tog are coming on offerings of crab on several inshore structures this week. Offshore wrecks will become more attractive to tog hunters as the waters cool and other species become less available. These offshore wrecks are hosting plenty of jumbo seabass, but move quickly, as these tasty bottom fish become off limits at the close of the year. A few lingering flounder, along with big triggerfish are also present on many of these same structures. Chopper bluefish are likely on the move, but a these fish can be intercepted on offshore structures for a while longer. Bluefin tuna are also a possibility, but be sure to check the regulations before you target these massive tuna.

Deep dropping can be very good this time of year, but dog fish will move in soon, hindering fishing efforts. Blueline tilefish are hitting well, with scattered grouper and big seabass also in the mix. Moving to deeper waters over 300 feet will offer a chance at nice black bellied rosefish, and perhaps some golden tilefish.


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Dec 19 2014

Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman Weekly

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By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA


Some impressive rockfish are being caught as the bay season winds down. Many fish over 40 pounds have been caught over the past week with some being close to the 60 pound mark. Most of these big fish are being caught on the eastern side of the bay though there have been a few big fish caught in the York River. School-sized rockfish are being caught in the middle-bay, in the York and James Rivers and from Bluefish Rock to York Spit. The ocean fishery has not really developed yet though there have been some good catches between Wachapreague and Ocean City. Hopefully, by the time the bay season ends, the bite will pick up along the oceanfront.

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Tautog are still active inside the bay and on the nearshore wrecks. The offshore wrecks are loaded with big sea bass and your time is running out to catch them. The sea bass season will close at the end of the month and you will have to release any that you catch until it reopens in May. Blueline tilefish will continue to be available around the 50-fathom curve throughout the winter but there will be increasing numbers of spiny dogfish to deal with.

There should be bluefin tuna out there but I have not heard of any catches yet. Big bluefin have been caught in the Cape Lookout area for weeks now. There should be bluefin somewhere from the Triangle Wrecks to the Fish Hook and in that general area. Big bluefish are likely in the same area. There will be some bluefin searchers out there this week.

The speckled trout bite remains very good inside of the Elizabeth River. It is still possible to catch a speck in some of the other wintering over locations but it is in the Elizabeth River where that vast majority of gator trout are being caught.


Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/12/19/peninsula-saltwater-sport-fisherman-weekly-2/

Dec 13 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown

julie7

By Dr. Julie Ball


Many anglers are getting into the Christmas spirit as they hit the water this Holiday season, with some decent options available to satisfy most angling wishes. With the weather always a challenge, folks are making the best of each fishable day.

Right now, the Bay water temperatures are in a good range for optimal striped bass action. Although each day is different, for the most part the striper fishing is good, with some really big fish are around. This week, many fish tipped the scales in the 40 to 60-pound range! Several techniques are effective, but most boats are heading to the Cape Charles area in hopes of hooking a big rockfish while drifting with live eels. This year, most boats are suspending eels under big bobbers or using planer boards as they work the edges of channels and shoals, especially near buoys 38 and 40, but the Plantation Light and Kiptopeke areas can also be productive. Often trolling in these same areas can pick up the slack when the eels just don’t do the trick. School-sized rockfish are also available to anglers casting along the pilings and artificial islands of the all the lower Bay bridges, but this action was hit and miss last week.

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Shallow water anglers are still faring well with good speckled trout action in many protected areas. The Elizabeth River continues to carry the best number and size of trout, although Rudee Inlet is also giving up some respectable catches lately. Big specks are hitting both grubs and Mirrolures, with many fish pushing to over 5-pounds reported lately. Anglers working the Cove in the Elizabeth River are still scoring regularly with nice trout ranging from 22 to 27-inches on live bait. Some puppy drum are still hitting within Rudee Inlet, but this action slowed up some this week.

Although weather is limiting wreck fishing trips lately, when anglers are able to get out, folks are still finding nice tautog ranging to around 2 to 6-pounds on several lower Bay and coastal structures. Anglers targeting offshore wrecks are also finding a few keeper tog, but the seabass competing for your bait on the same wrecks are making this task a challenge. Most seabass are averaging around 3-pounds, with a few jumbos in the mix on mostly deeper wrecks, but seabass become off limits at the end of the month. Trigger fish and chopper bluefish are also a possibility on these same structures, along with some wreck flounder.

Bluefin tuna are still an unknown right now, but a few sightings have trollers hopeful for a confirmed hook-up soon. Between blows, deep droppers are still finding good numbers of nice blueline tilefish and blackbellied rosefish in depths of 300 feet of water or more near the Norfolk Canyon.


Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/12/13/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-11/

Dec 11 2014

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Citation Sizes Set for 2015

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By Dr. Ken Neill III – The VSWFT Committee met this week. All minimum qualifying sizes for citations will remain the same in 2015. The one change is the addition of golden tilefish to the citation program. Starting in 2015, a golden tilefish weighing at least 30 pounds will be eligible for a trophy fish citation. The committee reiterated the requirement that to be eligible for citations or state records, fish must be caught in waters open to fishing to the general public. An example of this is striped bass where you can earn release citations inside the bay when the season is closed (but catch and release fishing is legal) but not in the EEZ where even catch and release fishing for striped bass. Other examples are a variety of special exempted permits or commercial licenses that allow some to keep fish during closed recreational seasons. Even if it is legal for these fish to be kept, they are not eligible for recreational citations or records because the general public is closed from the fishery.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/12/11/virginia-saltwater-fishing-citation-sizes-set-for-2015/

Dec 11 2014

Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman Weekly

pen-wht2

By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockfish action is either terrible or pretty good depending on who you talk to. The tournaments that have been held so far have shown that fishing is better this season than the past couple with fish in the 50 pound range being required to win. Last winter, if you could just find a fish to weigh in, you won. The eastern side of the bay is where most of the big fish being caught with fish pushing the 60 pound mark caught this week. Big fish are being caught by trolling lures and by fishing with live eels. There are good numbers of small to medium size fish being caught in the middle bay. The CBBT and coastal bites have been very slow so far.

Tautog can still be caught on structures inside the bay and will remain active until the water temperatures dip into the low 40s. The nearshore wrecks will become a better tautog location as the water cools more. Out around the Triangle Wrecks, sea bass remain the main catch with some flounder still being caught. Bluefish and bluefin tuna would also be possible catches in this area. For the best catches of big sea bass, visit the offshore wrecks and do so before the end of the month when the season closes. Offshore bottom fishermen are wading through some dogfish (not too bad) for some good catches of blueline tilefish.

The best of the speckled trout bite is in the Elizabeth River. Some fish continue to be caught in the other rivers and inside of Rudee Inlet but for your best chance at a trophy trout, fish the Elizabeth.

When the boats can run out of Oregon Inlet, they are coming back with good catches of yellowfin tuna. Cape Lookout is the center of bluefin tuna fever with boats of every shape and size trying to cash in on the bite of big tuna going on there right now.

The VSWFT Committee met this week. All minimum qualifying sizes for citations will remain the same in 2015. The one change is the addition of golden tilefish to the citation program. Starting in 2015, a golden tilefish weighing at least 30 pounds will be eligible for a trophy fish citation. The committee reiterated the requirement that to be eligible for citations or state records, fish must be caught in waters open to fishing to the general public. An example of this is striped bass where you can earn release citations inside the bay when the season is closed (but catch and release fishing is legal) but not in the EEZ where even catch and release fishing for striped bass. Other examples are a variety of special exempted permits or commercial licenses that allow some to keep fish during closed recreational seasons. Even if it is legal for these fish to be kept, they are not eligible for recreational citations or records because the general public is closed from the fishery.


Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/12/11/peninsula-saltwater-sport-fisherman-weekly/

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