Recreational striped bass regulations will be decided at the March VMRC meeting. The regulations for the bay are pretty set. The minimum size will rise from 18 to 20 inches. Everything else will stay the same except for the spring trophy season. That minimum will rise from 32 to 36 inches and there will be a special permit required (free). What we do have some options for is the coastal fishery. Right now, it is at one fish per angler with a minimum of 28 inches long. These are the options that are being looked at for the rest of this year and on into 2016:
1. Maintain the current one fish possession limit with a 28 inch size limit;
2. Establish a two fish possession limit with a 33 inch minimum size limit;
3. Establish a two fish possession limit, with 1 fish allowed with a minimum size limit of 28 inches and a maximum size limit of 34 inches and 1 fish allowed with a 36 inch minimum size limit; or,
4. Establish a two fish possession limit, with 1 fish allowed with a minimum size limit of 28 inches and a maximum size limit of 36 inches, and 1 fish allowed with a 38 inch minimum size – limit.
If you have a preference, let the VMRC know before the March 24 meeting.
Now that we seem to have escaped from the permafrost, anglers are anxious to get back out on the water. There are several local events this month to help get you started. The GBFA will be holding their Fishing Flea Market on March 14 at the Hickory Ruritan Club. The Poquoson Kiwanis Club will hold a Boating and Fishing Flea Market on March 21 at Poquoson High School. The Hampton Boat Show will be at the Hampton Roads Convention Center March 27-29.On the water, it is still cold. Bluefin tuna are being caught by boats running out of the Outer Banks. A few boats have made the long run from Virginia Beach to get in on the action. In addition to the bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna are a possibility and blackfin tuna could be jigged up out of Hatteras but it is the bluefin that have everyone’s attention. The offshore waters off of Virginia are still rather quiet. Tilefish are there for bottom bouncers who want to make the run. Sea bass remains closed though they are plentiful on the offshore wrecks. Tautog can be caught on the coastal wrecks with the Triangle Reef area being the center of that fishery. Inside the bay, it is still too cold for much of a tautog bite or anything else. Striped bass are moving towards their spawning grounds in spite the cold water temperatures. The only reports on the speckled trout front are large numbers of dead trout in both the Elizabeth River and Rudee Inlet.
The PSWSFA’s first monthly meeting of the year will be on March 17. Our speakers will be Mark Terwilliger and Wes Sprinkle, the owners of Reel Fast Tackle and the new owners of Grafton Fishing Supply and Seafood. They will talk to us about what they are doing with the tackle shop and about their line of lures and how to get the best results when fishing with them. They will have a selection of their lures and some custom rods available for purchase at the meeting: www.pswsfa.com/meetings.htm
The Flounder Bowl will be held on June 27. Again, it will be limited to 120 boats. This event is made possible through tremendous business support. Participants are encouraged to patronize these businesses that support recreational fishing. Anglers and sponsors can register for this year’s Flounder Bowl at www.flounderbowl.com .