The Virginia Special Black Seabass season is coming to a close. Fishing was great. Don’t forget ALL permit holders are require to report all fishing trips even if you didn’t catch. If no trips were taken you still have to report “no activity”. This helps scientist understand the condition of the species and to maintain a healthy fishery. The reporting regulations are outlined in there entirety online at the VMRC website.
Many anglers will now turn their attention to “togging”. Tautogs are generally in the area the entire year, but the reason late winter and early spring is a good time to target them is because the bait stealing warm water fish haven’t arrived yet. Togs average in the 3-to-6-pound range, but the state record is 24-pounds, 3-ounces caught on March 25th by Ken Neill III. They hang around underwater obstructions like reefs, wrecks and rock piles on the lower bay and in nearshore coastal waters. Togs use a large set of front teeth to pick and crush mollusks, crabs and other crustaceans. Therefore, crabs are a favored bait. An easy to get to location to catch them is over the tubes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, or around its numerous pilings. The islands marking the entrances and exits of the tunnels are surrounded by rocks. These rocks extend out over the actual tubes for quite a distance. It’s in these rocks that Tog like to hangout. Other good spots include The Concrete Ships, Cape Henry Wreck, The Cell, Back River Reef, the reefs around the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Triangle Wrecks, the Santore and several rock piles and drainage pipes along the oceanfront are also productive.
Despite very cold water temps a few speckled trout and puppy drum have been caught in the Hampton area, mainly from the James River and the Elizabeth River. This time of the year they are almost dormant, on warm sunny days they will come up in the shallows to warm themselves.
Offshore, the giant bluefin tunas have made their way north. Lots of fish in the 500-to-800-pound class were hooked off Oregon Inlet this week. If you want a chance at catching and keeping one of these beast you better go tomorrow! If history repeats the capture season will close quickly once a small number of fish are caught.