Finally some reasonable weather! With the recent rise in daytime temperatures, anglers are hopeful that the warming trend will break winter’s hold, and jump starting an upward movement in water temperatures.
A rise in water temperatures and the arrival of spring will help encourage the striped bass to move into local waters again. As for the word on the water lately, the schools of big rockfish still remain well offshore of Virginia.
Optimistic flounder hunters are watching closely, as the first wave of spring flounder often debuts in mid-March on the Eastern Shore. But this year’s harsh winter and record-breaking low temperatures could push the flatfish bite back a few weeks while water temperatures recover.
Tautog action in Bay waters remains at a standstill, but this will change once the water warms into the mid-forties. Those who have tried their luck lately on deeper water structures also have little to report. With a bag limit of only three fish per angler at a minimum of 16-inches, many anglers won’t bother with these wreck-dwellers. Seabass will also intervene while targeting tog, but you must release them since the season remains closed.
Speckled trout are but a mere memory for most anglers who have either given up on this species, or who have experienced little success in the pursuit. Either way, this fishery is experiencing a severe decline in numbers, whatever the reason.
On the deep water scene, lots of nice blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, blackbellied rosefish, and a variety of grouper are available along the ocean floor and near the edge of the Norfolk Canyon. The dogfish continue to pose a nuisance for deep droppers, so expect to weed through trash fish in order to find edible fish.
Some boats are still making the run to North Carolina to get in on the bluefin tuna bite, with many of these fish well over 100-pounds. A few black fin tuna are also reportedly in the mix.