OVERVIEWThe Virginia Marine Resources Commission has established new regulatory management measures for the Chesapeake Bay area fall 2005 recreational striped bass fishery. The fall recreational season will begin October 4, 2005 and extend through December 31, 2005. The recreational possession limit will continue as two striped bass per person. The minimum size limit remains as 18 inches. Anglers will be allowed to possess two striped bass 18 inches to 28 inches total length or one striped bass 18 inches to 28 inches total length and one striped bass 34 inches or greater in total length. The major change in the 2005 fishery concerns this "protected" slot limit, whereby it shall be unlawful for any person to possess any striped bass between 28 inches and 34 inches in total length.
Bluewater anglers found good numbers of yellowfin tuna between the Lumpy Bottom and Washington Canyon. Mixed sizes of dolphin were holding in the mats of floating grass. The grass (Sargasum) was so abundant in some areas that chunking was nearly the only way to fish. Black sea bass and some triggerfish are on the inshore wrecks but the sea bass bite remains sub par.
Cape Charles -
Chris' Bait and Tackle reported anglers fishing on the evening tide are starting to catch some red drum around buoys 13 and 36A. Fresh cut fish such as spot, menhaden or mullet is the preferred bait. The flounder bite began to perk-up over the weekend with buoys 18, 36A and 38A the top locations. Water over on the seaside had just begun to clear (from all the north to northeast wind from Ophelia) over the weekend and croaker had begun to bite again. Overall fishing pressure was extremely light, considering how pleasant the weekend weather turned-out. "When people were making their weekend plans Thursday and Friday, the weather forecast didn't sound too good for the weekend."
Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported good weekend
catches, as local waters were surprisingly clear and loaded with an
assortment of bait. Working the ledges for flounder produced
flatfish up to 29-1/2 inches and over 9 pounds. Best catches of
spot and croaker came from relatively shallow water, from 12 to 16
feet. Plenty of taylor bluefish, porgy and pan trout are mixed in
with the spot. Captain Wil added a word of caution about the pan
trout, saying, "hundreds of them are right at 11-1/2 inches (minimum
size limit is 12 inches) but some keepers will measure up to 15
inches." Local anglers reported catching and releasing several
large red drum the past week but say speckled trout remain scarce.
Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -
Virginia Beach Fishing Center ran their first offshore trips of the
week over the weekend and catches were quite impressive. Both the
BACKLASH and FROGPILE fished on Saturday and each returned with a box
full of 40 to 60-pound class yellowfin tuna and gaffer dolphin.
Paula Owen from Fisherman's Wharf Marina told of good offshore action, as dolphin have erupted in huge numbers since the passage of Ophelia. The dolphin numbers are "all you could want," according to Donna. The main reason for the dolphin abundance has the extensive amount of grass out in 20 to 100 fathoms. Trollers are also catching some nice yellowfin tuna and the occasional longfin or true albacore tuna. One boat caught and released an Atlantic spearfish and white marlin on Saturday. The southern portion of the Norfolk Canyon has been the recent hot spot.
Virginia Piers -
- The pier is presently closed but is in the process being
rebuilt. Significant progress has been made this summer and the
latest plans call for a portion of the pier to open sometime in
Lynnhaven - Weekend anglers were treated to strong but sporadic runs of spot, surf perch, taylor bluefish and sea mullet.
Virginia Beach - Spot and croaker provided most of the action but a few small sharks were caught after dark. A large striped bass was decked Saturday night. Other catches include taylor bluefish, pan trout and sea mullet.
Sandbridge - A large red drum was hooked but lost Friday morning and the rest of the weekend yielded mostly spot. Three large red drum were decked Monday morning and a small cobia was landed and released that afternoon.
fishermen in the Kitty Hawk area enjoyed steady runs of spot and mixed
catches of snapper bluefish, blowfish, speckled trout and even a few
pompano the past week. The Avalon Pier reported a mixture
of spot, puppy drum, pompano and speckled trout on Saturday. On
Sunday, pier fishermen scored on Spanish mackerel and taylor blues out
at the end of the pier and a mixture of spot, sea mullet, and pompano
in close to the pier house. Anglers fishing from the catwalk at
the Oregon Inlet Bridge had mixed catches of bluefish, spot, trout,
surfperch and a few croaker.
At Cape Point in Buxton, the weekend saw a mixed size of red drum, from pups to fish measuring up to 46 inches. Taylor bluefish were available throughout the daylight hours and Dan Willard beached a tarpon Saturday after sunset. Beaches around Avon produced a mixed bag of sea mullet, pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.
The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center recorded limit catches of yellowfin tuna, several bigeye tuna to 142 pounds and a scattering of dolphin and wahoo on Friday. Saturday's catches were even more impressive, as the yellowfin tuna bite remained strong but even more bigeye tuna, weighing as much as 218 pounds, were landed. Other catches included mixed sizes of dolphin and wahoo up to 58 pounds. Inshore trollers caught loads of taylor bluefish and some Spanish mackerel and false albacore. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday with impressive numbers of bigeye tuna to 214 pounds plus yellowfin tuna and bailer dolphin. Bottom fishermen aboard the headboat returned with mixed catches of croaker, trout and sea mullet.
For the fleet sailing from Hatteras Inlet blackfin tuna and mixed sizes of dolphin was the catch-of-the-day on Friday, with only a scattering of yellowfin and wahoo reported. Richard Fenner of Richmond caught and released a white marlin aboard the BITE ME. Saturday saw good numbers of blackfin tuna and plenty of bailer dolphin with an occasional fish to 10 pounds. Sunday produced plenty of blackfin tuna and dolphin plus a sprinkling of wahoo, as yellowfin tuna and billfish remained scarce.
If you have additional information or would like further details contact Lewis Gillingham at (757) 247-2243.
Please credit the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's THE SALTWATER REVIEW as the source of the fishing information. Project is funded by NOAA and VMRC.
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