Oct 31 2014

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Approves Addendum IV for Implementation in 2015

ASMFC-Atlantic-StripedMystic, CT – The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved Addendum IV to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. The Addendum establishes new fishing mortality (F) reference points, as recommended by the 2013 benchmark stock assessment. In order to reduce F to a level at or below the new target, coastal states will implement a 25% harvest reduction from 2013 levels. Chesapeake Bay states/jurisdictions will implement a 20.5% harvest reduction from 2012 levels since their fisheries were reduced by 14% in 2013 based on their management program. All states/jurisdictions will promulgate regulations prior to the start of their 2015 fisheries.

“I congratulate members of the Management Board for making tough choices yesterday to ensure the long-term health and viability of our striped bass fishery resources,” stated Board Chair Douglas Grout of New Hampshire. “The Board struck an important balance in taking immediate action to reduce fishing mortality back to the target while also recognizing the unique characteristics of the Chesapeake Bay fisheries. The action will assure a more rapid increase in the abundance of spawning fish which has been declining in recent years.”

The Addendum responds to results of the 2013 Atlantic striped bass benchmark assessment indicating F in 2012 was above the new F target, and female spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been steadily declining below the target level since 2006. This means even though the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring, SSB is approaching its overfished threshold and stock projections show SSB will likely fall below the threshold in the coming years. In addition, a similar decline has been observed in total harvest.

Now each state must implement striped bass regulations prior to the commencement of their 2015 fishery which meet at minimum 1 fish at 28 inches or an alternate measure that equal a 25% reduction in harvest. The alternate measures can be achieved in a variety of different measures and all states continue to have the option to implement stricter regulations if they choose to do so. This is why Maine and New York have had slightly different coastal recreational regulations than surrounding states.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/10/31/asmfc-atlantic-striped-bass-board-approves-addendum-iv-for-implementation-in-2015/

Oct 31 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Speckled trout are the most consistent fish right now. They are biting on both the eastern and western sides of the bay and inside of the seaside inlets. There are a lot of small trout around, indicating a good spawn this year. There are also good numbers of “gators” being caught. Small bluefish seem to be everywhere from up in the creeks on out to the Norfolk Canyon. Some chopper blues should be arriving soon.


Tautog action is very good on most any structure in the bay and the bite is picking up as the water cools down. The CBBT has been the prime tautog location. There are still some big red drum being caught at the CBBT but that bite should already be over. Some fish just do not want to leave. Flounder are still available in the lower bay but fishing for them around some of the coastal wrecks may be more productive.

Striped bass activity is picking up and there are signs that we may have a better season than the past couple. The James River Bridge has been the best location so far. Fish are being caught up in most of the rivers. They are being caught by anglers fishing for speckled trout and they are being caught near most any structure with a light on it at night. Most of these fish are small but a few pushing 40 inches have been caught already. The CBBT bite will pick up over the next month.

Sea bass and triggerfish are holding on the ocean wrecks. Move around until you find the right one. Offshore bottom fishing is a good option right now as you can keep the sea bass by-catch and the spiny dogfish have not arrived yet. There has been some very good wahoo fishing southeast of the Cigar and there are some yellowfin tuna and blackfin tuna being caught. Anglers fishing out of Hatteras and Beaufort Inlets are enjoying some good wahoo fishing and a very good king mackerel bite.

Recreational anglers will see their saltwater fishing licenses increase by an average of five dollars. This is a result of statewide budget cuts of five percent this fiscal year and seven percent the next. This is on top of a number of other recent cuts to the Marine Resources Commission’s budget. Anglers are not happy with the increased fees but the other option was to cut some very popular programs. One of these is the Artificial Reef Program. The Commission approved $350,000 to enhance Virginia’s artificial reefs as the start of a re-energized reef program. In other regulatory news, the ASMFC decided to decrease the coastal catch of striped bass by at least 25% and the bay catch by at least 20.5%. These reductions apply to both the recreational and commercial sectors. New regulations to achieve these reductions will be in place January 1, 2015.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/10/31/peninsula-salt-water-sport-fisherman-weekly-31/

Oct 25 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

Blustery fall weather continues to limit access to the open water, encouraging anglers to consider options in more protected areas. And with the improving inshore fishing scene, the prospects become more optimal with each passing day.

Speckled trout usually begin their rise into the limelight about this time of year, and this season the trend is right on target. Although some locations are producing better than others, plenty of fish averaging close to three pounds are keeping casters busy. The larger fish are hitting in the Elizabeth River, where both trolling and casting methods are effective. Although the fish are smaller, Lynnhaven, Rudee, and Little Creek Inlets, and the Poquoson flats are also holding good numbers of specks, with Rudee Inlet experiencing an exceptional run this week. The Eastern Shore seaside and Bayside inlets are also giving up some decent numbers of fish, with the activity steadily improving. Nice puppy drum are hitting in the same areas, with many pups pushing to over 30-inches. Big puppy drum are also keeping surf anglers content along most of the lower Bay and oceanfront shorelines.


Surf anglers are still hauling in big red drum from the surflines along the Eastern Shore, down to the Virginia Beach Wildlife Refuge. A few nice bulls and puppy drum are also still responding around the islands of the CBBT on cut bait recently, but these fish are on the move southward, where the North Carolina fall red drum surf fishing trend is off the charts lately.

With the recent northerly winds, nice spot are providing good action off Ocean View, near the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, and Rudee Inlet, with the most predictable catches coming from the Lynnhaven River this week. The folks at The Fishing Center report that some of these spot are big yellow bellies, with bloodworms the bait of choice for anglers fishing off the Rail. Croaker catches are slowing, but a few big heardheads are still providing some action in Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet, and near the lower Bay Bridge Tunnels.

The tautog bite continues to improve in lower Bay waters and on coastal structures. In Bay waters, keeper-sized tog are hitting along the CBBT, especially near pilings and along the tubes of the artificial islands. Fiddler crabs and clams are working best, but anglers are also finding some success with blue crabs. This bite will continue to develop as the waters cool. Lingering sheepshead ranging up to 8-pounds also hitting in these same areas, along with some triggerfish, but not for long.

Dirty water conditions continue to hinder Bay flounder efforts, but folks targeting flatties in more sheltered waters, such as Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets, are finding some keepers. Wreck flounder are also available on deeper structures when boats can reach them. Jumbo seabass also a good possibility on these deeper structures, along with some nice triggerfish and chopper bluefish.

As water temperatures drop, striped bass action continues to improve. Although the bigger rockfish typically debut in late November, anglers are content with school-sized fish for now. Striper anglers are finding success casting top water lures around lower Bay crossings, with Wind Cheaters always an excellent choice along the light lines after dark.

Amberjack are still available at the South Tower, but this trend is nearing the end. Deep dropping is a good option when the weather allows, with a few boats reporting catches of blueline tilefish, grouper, blackbellied rosefish, and a by-catch of big black seabass.

Offshore, the action is slow, with windy weather a huge deterrent. Recent trips have resulted in some bailer and gaffer-sized dolphin, and decent numbers of wahoo, with some stud hoos pushing up to around 60-pounds weighed in this week. Yellowfin, blackfin and big eye tuna are also possibilities.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/10/25/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-4/

Oct 24 2014

Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman Weekly


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA


When boats can get offshore, fishing has been pretty good. Out of Virginia, the wahoo bite is good and there are some yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, king mackerel and dolphin being caught. Out of Oregon Inlet, the main catches are yellowfin and blackfin tuna along with some dolphin, king mackerel and wahoo. Boats out of Hatteras are experiencing very good king mackerel fishing and a good wahoo bite along with good catches of dolphin and some blackfin tuna.

Offshore bottom fishing will produce predictable catches of blueline tilefish and you can now keep the sea bass by-catch. Sea bass can be caught on the offshore wrecks all the way into those close to the beach. You may need to do some wreck hopping to find the right wreck. Triggerfish are also holding on the wrecks and this is a good time of year to find some nice flounder around the wrecks. The Triangle Reef area will be holding some nice flatfish. There are still some sheepshead holding on the inshore wrecks and you are likely to encounter both red and black drum while fishing wrecks close to the beach and in the lower bay.

Flounder are still being caught inside the bay with the CBBT being the prime location. Boats that are wire-lining the CBBT are catching a mixture of gray trout, flounder, striped bass, bluefish, and red drum. Medium to large-size red drum continue to be caught at the CBBT and from the surf from the Eastern Shore on down to Hatteras. Big red drum are being caught from all of the seaside fishing piers. That bite shout continue to shift south but for now, there are still big red drum in the bay.

Puppy drum continue to be caught throughout the lower bay and inside the seaside inlets. Anglers targeting striped bass at the HRBT at night are finding some nice puppy drum along with plenty of bluefish. Striped bass are also being caught at all of the areas crossing with the best times being very early and late in the day and along the light lines at night. Striped bass and some puppy drum are also being caught by anglers targeting speckled trout.

Speckled trout action is good most everywhere from the Eastern Shore creeks, the Mobjack Bay area, the York, James, Back, and Elizabeth Rivers, on Poquoson Flats and the action is picking up inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets. There are a lot of small trout around which bodes well for next year if we can avoid another winter kill.

Spot continue to be caught as the water is still warm enough but if you have not gotten your spot fix yet, do so soon as this bite is winding down. Winding up, is the tautog bite. There are good catches being made on the artificial reefs inside the bay and at the CBBT. This bite will continue to improve as the water cools down more.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/10/24/peninsula-salt-water-sport-fisherman-weekly-30/

Oct 17 2014

Virginia Sport Fishing Rundown


By Dr. Julie Ball

We are now well into the fall fishing season, with plenty of good fishing opportunities for anglers in most any venue along the Mid-Atlantic.

Inshore, many anglers are focusing on the improving speckled trout bite. Although many of the specks are on the small side, enough of keepers ranging mostly from 18 to 21-inches are keeping anglers content. Some gator-sized trout are also crashing baits, with some fish pushing to over 30-inches caught this week. Most any style jig or lure, and most any color combination seems to work right now, although top water lures are attracting the most strikes. The most consistent action is happening in Rudee Inlet, Little Creek, Lynnhaven River, Back River, the Eastern Shore shallows, the Poquoson flats, and the Elizabeth River. The bigger fish ranging to over 5-pounds are coming from Rudee Inlet, Little Creek Inlet, and the Elizabeth River this week. A few nice-sized puppy drum are also around in the same areas. Surf and pier anglers are also enjoying a run of speckled trout, with reports of trout hitting in the surf from Fort Story to Sandbridge.


Although the red drum bite in the surf off of Sandbridge and the Wildlife Refuge slowed up this week, some nights are still producing 5 or 6 fish for anglers waiting it out. The best offering is still fresh cut bait, with fresh spot still the number one enticement. Big reds are a still a possibility for boats along the ocean front, along the Eastern Shore shoals, and near the islands of the CBBT, but the bite is slowing down. Some bruisers stretching to over 50-inches along with some nice puppy drum, were released this week by anglers bottom fishing with cut bait near the 3rd island of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Boats trolling along the ocean front are finding some Taylor bluefish, along with some keeper-sized Spanish mackerel. King mackerel are still a possibility, but finding clean water and suitable water temperatures is a challenge. False albacore are also showing up in schools from the beach out to the Chesapeake Light Tower.

Striped bass are becoming more active, but the water is still too warm for the bite to really take off. Casters are scoring with schoolie-sized rockfish between 18 to 22-inches in most lower Bay tributaries and inlets, as well as along the Monitor Merrimack, the James River Bridge, the HRBT, and the CBBT. The bite is particularly good at night along the light lines, with lots of snapper bluefish rounding out most catches in the Bay.

The inshore tautog activity is generating more interest as keeper-sized fish continue to snap at offerings on most any lower Bay structure and along the CBBT. Blue crab is the top bait for limits of fish pushing up to around 6-pounds lately. Sheepshead are still around, but most catches are occurring as a by catch for tog enthusiasts. Deeper wrecks will also earn more attention as more species exit the area, with some nice tog and ample numbers of respectable triggerfish available. Seabass are also on these same structures, which are now available to keep with the season reopening the 18th this month. Chopper bluefish should show up any day now on the offshore wrecks.

Anglers are finding some cooperative fish, but the flounder bite is sluggish due to the muddy water lately. The flatfish are plump right now as they fatten up in preparation for their migration offshore. Some of the deeper water wrecks are giving up a few decent flatties mixed in with shorts.

Spot reports are hit and miss in the lower Bay, but surf and pier anglers are still catching good numbers of nice-sized spot in Rudee Inlet and off of Sandbridge, although all the lower Bay inlets are still hosting a good range of nice spot. Some croaker are still hovering near the CBBT, especially near the bend at the 3rd island, the HRBT, as well as in the lower Bay inlets.

Deep droppers are finding good sized tilefish and rosefish along the edges of the Norfolk Canyon when they can get out, with several tiles exceeding 10-pounds.

The wind is a factor lately offshore, keeping many boats closer to shore. The wahoo action is slower this week, with the bite moving further to the south. Bailer and gaffer mahi, false albacore, and a few yellowfin, blackfin, and bigeye tuna are also hitting for trollers when they can get out.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2014/10/17/virginia-sport-fishing-rundown-3/

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