NC State Record Rockfish Video

Keith Angel and his 64 pound Striper!

He is fishing with Devin Cage on his sportfisherman, The Poacher.

The fish was weighed at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, where certification forms were filled out by the state’s Marine Fisheries Division and Wildlife Resources Commission.

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INSHORE REPORT – February 10, 2011

Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Waters Out To The Towers.

By Dr. Julie Ball fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

A break in the weather this weekend could provide an opportunity for some boats to get out on the water. But in the meantime folks are doing what they can, which often lends to inshore and skinny water options. Although it depends on the day and who you ask, many folks are still finding some agreeable speckled trout within the hot ditch and cove areas of the Elizabeth River. Most of the fish are on the smaller side, but a few nice fish over 5-pounds are still in the mix. Angers are reporting that various swim baits and jigs are working well, which are also attracting both puppy drum and striped bass, with the electric chicken and Mardi gras colors the favorites lately. One angler released three specks over 30-inches lately with these combinations. Some fish are also hitting trolled lures. One boat scored with a nice fish in excess of 7-pounds using this method, but most trout experts agree that the speck action in the River is on the down- swing.

The striped bass bite hit a wall this week after weeks of very good action off of North Carolina. The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reports that the fish are scattered, but a few nice rockfish are still around. Some anglers are running across schools of striped bass in more offshore waters, where it is illegal to target them. Hopefully milder temperatures will draw more fish back into legal waters, and further north towards Virginia.

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OFFSHORE REPORT – February 10, 2011

By Dr. Julie Ball fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

East Of The Towers Out To The Canyons

Tautog is a good choice if you can locate bait. The best tog locations are in water deeper than 60-feet, or further south where the water temperature is sitting in the mid to high 40’s. Some folks are catching smallish fish on clams and frozen crabs on mid-range wrecks, such as the Powell and the Ricks wrecks. For the larger tautog, expert tog anglers agree you must secure the right bait. Although clam is an excellent choice in the spring with inshore wrecks, for hard core winter toggin, fresh crabs are the premium bait. But since crabs are hard to come by right now, that may not be an option. Some fish in excess of 10-pounds are available on many offshore locations, with the Triangle Wrecks a favorite.

Deep dropping is usually popular this time of year, but between the weather, the dogfish, and the seabass closure, many anglers are opting out. If you are willing to weed through the dog sharks and the seabass throwbacks, some decent tilefish are to be had along the 50-fathom curve. Deeper water can give up some big golden tiles and a variety of grouper. Black bellied rosefish and cod will also provide action in these same areas.

Folks are getting excited about the bluefin tuna coming from the Carolina coast right now. These fish are basically on time, and will make their way up north to Virginia waters around April or May.

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Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman’s Report

Club Report

North Carolina allowed their trawlers back out after the rockfish again under some new rules. The results were the same with thousands of rockfish floating on the surface. This is a gear type that should just not be used for striped bass. Up until this latest fish kill, the striped bass fishing was very good. It turned off like a light switch. Now, the trawlers are shut back down and there are some signs of life returning.

Most of the action is still along the coast of North Carolina but these fish are edging closer to their spawning areas. There are some fish off of Virginia’s coast and there are some fish in the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

Speckled trout and puppy drum are providing plenty of action in the Elizabeth River. Most of the trout are small but a real bruiser is occasionally caught.

Tautog and the rare cod can be found at the Triangle Reef and other wrecks about that far out.

Bluefin tuna are getting a lot of attention out of Hatteras. Both trolling and jigging are producing tuna of mixed sizes.

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Hot Ditch Strictly a Catch and Release Fishery

By Dr. Julie Ball fishing report contributor and IGFA Representative, Virginia Beach

I was invited by Dominion Power to attend a media briefing/fishing event at the Hot Ditch this week. The event was hosted for outdoor writers from the area in order to highlight the company’s new policy for fishing on Dominion property. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science ( also highlighted their tagging program. I joined five other area writers, including good friends Don Lancaster and Lee Tolliver, to check out the Hot Ditch scene. I met the Company’s officials, Marine Police Officers, and Jon Lucy’s replacement at VIMS, Susanna Musick. Jon Lucy (who I have fished with several times) also attended to help with the transition, of course!

As most anglers know, the popular Hot Ditch is an artificially created haven for many species of fish due to the relatively enclosed nature of the area near the Power Plant’s hot water discharge. Many huge speckled trout are caught in this area, along with hoards of puppy drum during the winter months. This fishery is limited to past and present Dominion Power employees and their guests. After watching coolers fill with breeder-sized trout over the last year, company officials decided to change their policy beginning in the fall of 2010 to strictly a catch and release fishery.

We had a wonderful lunch and fished in the Ditch for a few hours. Although it was a cold and windy day, we had a blast fishing together, tagging and releasing puppy drum and speckled trout.

The company hopes the new catch and release policy will help preserve the incredible trout and drum fishery in the Hot Ditch area. Other policy makers are watching too. There’s discussion now of implementing more stringent management of speckled trout all along the Elizabeth River, which spills into the Hot Ditch.

The trend towards catch and release fishing is becoming more popular in many regions. The IGFA ( recently announced their new World Record Release program, which is mostly a response to popular demand, and the ultimate answer to allowing an option to promote conservation while still earning an IGFA World Record. There are mixed feelings about the program from the community, and official IGFA measuring devices and rules are a must.

Catch and release seems to be the trend of the future, and may be a necessity to preserve the future! And with more anglers beginning to voice their opinions about fisheries management issues, pressure from the community will surely influence new policy. Become involved if you want to make a difference!

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