the end of last year, regulations for black sea bass and summer flounder have
black sea bass, the minimum size limit remains 12 inches while the possession
limit remains 25 fish but the late summer closed period runs from September 8
through September 21. The
winter-closed period remains December 1 through December 31.
For Summer Flounder, the minimum size and possession limit have both changed. The minimum size limit decreased from 17-1/2 inches to 17 inches in 2004. The possession limit likewise decreased, from 8 flounder last season to 6 summer flounder in 2004.
The NMFS decreased the bluefin tuna retention limit from 2 to 1 tuna (27 to less than 73 inches) as of July 22, 2004. Click here for details.
week of less than ideal fishing conditions failed to halt the catches of big
flounder, as dozens of flatfish in excess of the 7-pound minimum qualifying
weight were registered in the annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament.
Best chance for a trophy, doormat-sized flounder remains the CBBT
complex, the edges of the shipping channels off Cape Charles and the Cell/buoy
of hungry bluefish are holding around the mouths of the river systems and in the
rips created by the CBBT complex. A
few Spanish mackerel are in the same waters.
many topping the minimum qualifying weight of 7 pounds, continue to provide
excellent action around the pilings of the CBBT complex and islands.
Sheepshead will hit clam, sand fleas or cut crab but a whole live fiddler
crab is the preferred bait.
Blue water trollers saw improved catches of yellowfin tuna plus a scattered mixture of dolphin, wahoo and billfish last week. Best concentrations of yellowfin were found between the Fingers and Norfolk Canyon while the best shot for a billfish release was south of the Cigar. Some bluefin tuna still linger off Wachapreague and Chincoteague but most of the larger fish are caught "on the chunk."
Bill's described inshore waters as, "dirty," and then added, "Things
have been slow." Offshore, boats
making a long run to the canyons found yellowfin tuna in good supply but inshore
"hot spots," such as the Lumpy Bottom and Parking Lot, strikes were few and
Donna from Captain Bob's described the anglers that made the long run (55 miles) to Wayne's World as "mad men" but "that's where they needed to go for yellowfin." Some anglers opted to stay closer to port, fishing the Parking Lot or Lumpy Bottom instead, where they were lucky to land a bluefin or two. Inside the inlet, fair numbers of flounder were caught in the main channel from the carnival grounds and north, to the drawbridge. Some croaker still linger in the same area but not in the numbers of a week earlier.Wachapreague -
Marina reported mid-week action was slow, as the water was still clearing from
the passage of Hurricane Alex. But
weekend anglers were treated to some excellent angling.
Boats chunking with butterfish boated as many as half-a-dozen hefty tuna.
Trollers had similar results in numbers of tuna but the fish caught
trolling were of smaller average size. Trollers
did have the edge with gaffer dolphin and billfish.
The WHITE HOT was trolling in 20 fathoms and boated and released a white
marlin while the crew aboard the CLASS ACT was trolling at the Norfolk Canyon
and they released a blue marlin.
Captain Zed's said croaker remain abundant at Green and Drawing channels and inside Cedar Island Cover while decent catches of flounder were made in the sloughs on either side of the inlet and along the channel in front of the Coast Guard Station. The charter boats FOXY LADY and SCORPIO both recorded large weekend catches of flounder. Offshore action included a mixture of bluefin and yellowfin tuna, dolphin and a few billfish.
Cape Charles -
Chris' Bait and Tackle reported good weekend catches of croaker weighing as much as 2-3/4 pounds off Cape Charles but on the seaside, "the fishing was dead." Bayside anglers also found flounder with some of the best hauls coming from the deep-water surroundings buoy 36A and 38A. Folks fishing from Kiptopeke State Park Pier caught plenty of croaker, but most were less than 10 inches, and bluefish invaded the pier around dusk.
Marina reported seeing "more flounder than anything," the past week and the
CBBT complex was the favored location. John
Cevora aboard the SEA OX boated a 26-inch, 7-pound flatfish on squid at the
Fourth Island and Charles Wroten nailed a 25-inch, 7-pounder aboard the BLITZ in
the Baltimore Channel. Earlier in
the week, Mike Wroten landed an 11-pound, 3-ounce sheepshead at the First
at Bubba's Marina said weekend flounder catches were only fair but the
following Monday and Tuesday the bite improved markedly, as several anglers
recorded limit catches. Many of the
flounder were in the 4 to 5-pound range. Top
locations included the Lesner Bridge area and the Third and Fourth island areas
of the CBBT complex. Good numbers
of 1-1/2 to 2-pound croaker were also biting at the CBBT, where sheepshead
topping 7 pounds still linger.
Jim Wright told of good weekend runs of spot along the Virginia Beach resort
strip. Anglers fishing inside
Lynnhaven Inlet, along Long Creek, likewise found good-sized spot up to ¾-of-a-pound
and nice croaker up to 2 pounds. Offshore,
HIGH HOPES had a particularly good catch of yellowfin tuna plus a pair of gaffer
dolphin on Saturday.
Boating Center said Tom Mattioli and crew limited out on flounder up to 23
inches mid-week while fishing between the Fourth Island the High Rise section of
the CBBT. Ken DeLoach and crew also
boated a limit of flounder in the same area while Steve Clark decked an
8-1/2-pound flounder at the Third Island. Stan
Page caught nearly a dozen spadefish at the Fourth Island, including a 9-pound
citation winner. Jim Wharton and
crew caught a limit of spadefish at the same location.
Bobby Ceglarski boated a nice 4-pound speckled trout and two smaller ones
at Fort Monroe.
Ponds Marina registered several citation flounder and one big sheepshead from
the CBBT complex in recent days. "That's
what most people have been doing, going to the CBBT and fishing for flounder,"
according to the marina. Anglers
that chose to stay closer to port, "usually went to Hampton Bar," where they
generally caught a mixture of croaker and spot.
Ash from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said bottom fishermen found decent
numbers of croaker and a scattering of pan trout inside the York River.
Spot were still holding around the mouth of Sarah's Creek and hitting
Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club say the tuna bite around Wayne's World "just won't stop" while blue and white marlin are available in 100-plus fathoms. Amberjack remain "hit or miss" at best on the inshore wrecks and towers, even with live bait while many of the same inshore wrecks hold decent numbers of willing spadefish. Inside the Bay, the hump, buoy 36A and the CBBT complex produced good-sized flounder while nice-sized croaker are holding at Back River Reef and around the CBJ buoy.
Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported the biggest change in the past week's
fishing action was the arrival of nice-sized spot at the Mudleads.
Trollers continued to record scattered catches of Spanish mackerel around
the mouth of the river while anglers drifting for flounder at the jetty are
catching the occasional keeper flatfish. Bottom
fishermen working the channel edges in the main stem of the Bay are still
catching plenty of croaker, where schools of surface feeding taylor blues are
becoming more common. Roger also
heard of a few grey trout that were caught just south of Tangier Island.
from Smith Point Marina said fishing pressure was light the past week but
anglers drifting for flounder around the mouth of the Little Wicomico had good
catches of flounder. Boats running
over to buoy 68 and 72 and either trolling or chumming recorded limit catches of
striped bass and a good number of bluefish up to 4 pounds.
Few anglers tried bottom fishing but those who did found plenty of hungry
croaker at Blackberry Hang.
Thrash from Queen's Creek Outfitters said Lewis A. Headrick of Hopewell boated
a 13-inch, 16-ounce spot at Butlers Hole. Good-sized
spot were also caught around the spike buoy and Gwynn Island over the weekend.
Flounder are still holding in the buoy42/Cell area and the Hump.
A Flounder Tournament held Saturday out of Gwynn Island Boatel to benefit
the Mathews Boys and Girls Club drew a field of 92 boats.
The first place flounder weighed an impressive 10 pounds, 9 ounces and
was caught by Steve Barefoot. The
second place fish was caught by John Sibley and weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces.
Lance Pittman finished third with a 7-pound, 12-ounce flatfish and Neil
Insley came in fourth with a 7-pound flounder.
Marina said bottom fishermen enjoyed good catches of spot, plus a scattering of
trout to 2-1/2 pounds and the occasional flounder, at Butlers Hole and off
Marina said waters surrounding buoy 19 are producing good numbers of spot and
catfish plus a scattering of croaker.
Captain Jim Thompson, aboard the JIM-AN-I running out of Deltaville, said the flounder bite at the Cell slowed considerably the past week and more flatfish were now being caught around the mouth of the Rappahannock River, at Windmill Point and the Spike buoy. Pods of jumbo spot are holding in the same area but cautioned, "one day you catch the spot and the next day you won't." Trollers pulling small spoons in this same area are catching some Spanish mackerel and plenty of taylor bluefish.
Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported rough sea conditions kept the fleet in port on Friday but on Saturday the whole fleet went out and recorded excellent catches of yellowfin tuna plus some gaffer dolphin. John Aragona boated and released a blue marlin. Inshore boats caught spadefish, taylor bluefish and Spanish mackerel.
Fisherman's Wharf Marina said waters south of the Cigar produced blue and white marlin releases the past week while waters just east of the Fingers held the best numbers of tuna.
Grandview - Closed
Buckroe Beach - The pier was
completely destroyed by Hurricane Isabel. The
city of Hampton has expressed an interest to build a pier in this area.
Harrison - The new owner of
the property where Harrison's Pier was located (prior to Hurricane Isabel) has
announced plans to build a new pier at the same location.
The estimated cost is 1.8 million dollars and the pier could be ready to
open in early 2005.
Lynnhaven - The murky waters
left behind by Hurricane Alex provided the perfect cover for one of the bottom
fishing fraternities favorite fish—the spot. Good hauls of spot, often "two-at-a-time" were made over
the weekend. Bloodworm was by far
the preferred bait but the tasty bottom fish were hungry enough to hit a variety
of other baits including cut fish and squid.
Virginia Beach - Casters
working the end of the pier scored on taylor bluefish and a scattering of
Spanish mackerel while bottom fishermen enjoyed a good weekend run of spot plus
Sandbridge - Saturday's water conditions, barely 70 degrees and muddy, were fine for spot, as bottom fishermen rigged with a simple double-hooked bottom rig baited with small pieces of bloodworm literally filled coolers full of the tasty bottom fish. By Monday, the ocean waters had cleared and the spot had "vanished" but bluefish, Spanish mackerel and even a few pompano were caught in their place.
and pier fishermen along the Nags Head area beaches caught a variety of fish but
only spot were in abundance. Other
catches included bluefish, speckled trout, flounder, croaker, Spanish mackerel
Cape Point on Buxton, casters managed a handful of bluefish, Spanish mackerel
and trout on Friday. By Saturday
the weather had improved markedly and bottom fishermen pulled-in croaker, big
spot, sea mullet and bluefish. On
Sunday a 42-inch red drum was beached at the Point and other catches included
bluefish, pompano, sea mullet and flounder.
The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center recorded fair catches of yellowfin tuna and a scattering of dolphin on Friday. Inshore boats caught bluefish and Spanish mackerel while the headboat had a mixture of pigfish, sea bass and sea mullet. The offshore fleet fared better on Saturday, returning to the dock with nice hauls of dolphin topping 40 pounds, fair numbers of yellowfin tuna up to 60 pounds and a few wahoo. The big story for Sunday was that one boat jumped four sailfish and eventually landed and then released three of them. The fleet returned with a mixture of dolphin, blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna and wahoo.
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.
Click on Newsletter link to get to the index of previous Saltwater Reviews