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The Saltwater Review - June 13, 2000

Vol. 14, No. 8
by Lewis S. Gillingham

OVERVIEW

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has taken the lead to develop a draft Fishery Management Plan for dolphin (fish) and wahoo. The draft plan contains 13 proposed management measures that would apply in the Atlantic Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from Maine to the Florida Keys. A series of public hearings have been scheduled. Virginia's hearing will be Sunday at 7 PM, June 25, 2000, at Lake Wright Resort, 6280 Northampton Blvd. See enclosed press release for more details.

Virginia's Trophy Striped Bass season opened May 1 and will run through June 15. This special season carries a 32-inch minimum size limit coupled with a one-fish bag limit. From May 1 through May 16, anglers may possess one-fish, 32 inches or greater. From May 16 through June 15, anglers are allowed to possess two striped bass within the 18 and 28-inch slot, but one fish of the two-fish allowed during the May 16 through June 15 slot season may be 32 inches or greater. Most important, anglers must report their Trophy catch (all 32-inch or greater fish caught and kept between 1 May and 15 June) on forms available at all Citation Weigh Stations, many other tackle shops and marinas and our homepage web site (see address above). A reporting form is also enclosed in this report.

There are four ways to report 2000 Striped Bass Recreational Trophy fish. You can opt to pick up a report form from any weigh station and mail it in. You may choose to print or download a reporting form from the VMRC web site and mail or FAX it in. Or, download a form from the VMRC web site and e-mail it as an attachment. Lastly, you can now choose an on-line form to send in the information. The on-line form does not work with all browser e-mail systems (such as AOL), so please keep a copy of your information in case the information does not reach the VMRC. Reports received via e-mail or on-line form will receive a reply. The web address is http://www.state.va.us/mrc/recreational.htm, the e-mail address is lgillingha@mrc.state.va.us , the FAX number is (757) 247-2264.

Cobia and spadefish received considerable angler attention the past week, as these "new arrivals" had been long awaited. The waters off Buckroe and Grandview beaches witnessed the biggest crowd of cobia seekers while the Tower Reef, CBBT and Cell attracted the bulk of anglers seeking spadefish.

Chincoteague -

Donna from Capt. Bob's reported waters inside the inlet have cleared and the flounder and trout bite has improved. Four Mouths has been one of the better flounder locations while Chincoteague Point and Queens Sound were the recommended spots for weakfish. Donna also mentioned croaker had arrived at Queen's Sound--nearly three weeks earlier than recent seasons. Outside the inlet, the crew aboard the private boat TOOLS-OF-THE-TRADE had a good haul of large sea bass from an ocean wreck site. Further offshore, large mako shark are moving through area waters, as Dan Wakeling, fishing aboard the KAJA, boated a 278-pound mako Saturday night.

R & R Boat Rental said flounder were biting at Queens Sound Flats, Black Narrows and along the main channel, as flatfish to 6 pounds were landed over the weekend.

Barnacle Bill's said croaker had arrived, as one party boated nearly 60 on a recent outing but the shop rated flounder and trout action as only "fair." The crew aboard the ENFORCER returned with a pair of small makos on Monday. Other reports from offshore indicate the boats from the Ocean City fleet had landed a few yellowfin tuna.

Wachapreague -

Wachapreague Marina weighed a 7-2 Citation flounder for Mike Moonan but described over-all flounder action as only "fair." The shop indicated that the better catches of flatfish were being made near the inlet in the deeper channels.

Capt. Zed's told of flounder to 7 pounds from the mouth of the inlet but said decent catches of flatfish were still being made in relatively shallow water. Weakfish to over 6 pounds are holding in the deepest channels with the best bite coming on high slack water. The shop also indicated that several tuna had been boated offshore.

Cape Charles -

Chris' Bait and Tackle reported schools of croaker had arrived on the seaside and "you couldn't park another boat trailer at Oyster," over the weekend. William Pfeiffer (108 inches) and Scott Rittenhouse (96 inches) were fishing together on the seaside when they each caught and released citation-winning shark. Over on the bayside, Freddie Lundy nailed a 9-14 flounder at the Cherrystone Reef site. Freeman Jenrette (8 3/4 pounds) and Lawrence Spiers (8 1/2 pounds) each boated citation-winning spadefish near buoy 36A while Donald Brittingham had a 9-6 fish at Occohannock Rock. The shop also indicated the black drum bite had come to a near stand-still off Cape Charles but several red drum had reportedly been caught off Fisherman's Island.

Onancock -

Captain Wil Laaksonen from Fish and Finn Charters reported steady bottom fishing action for croaker, trout and a few jumbo spot. The evening tide has produced the fastest action and the biggest croaker. Schools of snapper blues are active while flounder remain relatively scarce.

Lower Bay/Bridge Tunnel -

Cobbs Marina reported good catches of flounder, spadefish and grey trout at the CBBT complex. The marina weighed a citation-sized flounder from the First Island on Friday, told of good weekend catches of spadefish from the Second and Third islands and indicated trout were still available "around all the islands."

John from Bubba's Marina said numerous cobia had been caught in recent days with the heaviest, a 76 pounder, taken on cut bunker near the High Rise section of the CBBT by Raymond Kirby. John also told of loads of spadefish at the Tower Reef and around the Second and Third islands and fair numbers of large croaker at the Third and Fourth islands. On the downside, the flounder bite was sluggish the past week.

Dr. Jim Wright fished the Cell on a mid-week trip and spadefish failed to cooperate in the dingy and nearly current-less water. A shift of tactics, and his group was steady into pan trout and croaker with jigging spoons. Dr. Jim indicated that good-sized Spanish mackerel had moved into the waters between Cape Henry and the CBBT complex while limit catches of weakfish and school stripers were easily accomplished at the islands.

Donnie Wallace from Wallace's Marina told of good cobia action over the weekend, as the shop weighed-in 20 big fish. Biggest fish honors for the weekend were shared by Cab Beedie and Kurt Oest, as each boated 78-pound cobia. Best cobia action has been "in close, off Grandview," according to Donnie, with the standard live spot, croaker or eel or chunks of fresh bunker the preferred baits. Anglers choosing other "targets" found spot and croaker at the mouth of Back River, scattered speckled trout on the flats off Poquoson and a mixture of striped bass, flounder and grey trout at the CBBT complex.

Johnny at Sunset Marina told of good weekend hauls of large croaker, trout and striped bass around Fort Wool with fresh peeler crab and squid the top baits. Several customers boated cobia off Buckroe Beach during the weekend, as Chandler Hogg (68 pounds) and Billy Nelms (56 pounds) each registered citation fish.

Vanasse Bait and Tackle said "the cobia run is on," as the shop weighed fish to 53 pounds over the weekend. Bottom fishermen continue to report a good mixture of flounder, trout, large croaker and a few spot as they drift between Factory Point and the #5 buoy. The shop also indicated a few speckled trout were still being caught on Poquoson Flats.

Jimmy Lewis from A & S Feed and Bait Supply said the croaker fishing was "excellent all over the river (York)," as Tommy Luckam of Hayes boated the heaviest croaker of the weekend at 3 pounds. Flounder are still biting in the Gloucester area while pan trout are caught off Cheatham. Cobia have arrived at York Spit and Ricky Leigh checked-in a 59 pounder from this area on Monday. Jimmy rated speckled trout action as "slow" in Mobjack Bay, even though Tommy West nailed a 5-14 citation-winning speck last week.

Members of the Peninsula Anglers Club were active on a number of area waters the past week, reporting keeper flounder, grey trout to 7 1/2 pounds and striped bass to 28 inches at the CBBT, a mixture of rays, flounder and cobia off Back River and flounder to 22 inches at Back River Reef. Club member Bob Teravinen nailed a 64 1/2 pound, citation-winning cobia on a live croaker off Grandview. Out of Oregon Inlet, Don Crist and party limited out on yellowfin tuna and boated a 4-foot wahoo while trolling in 500 fathoms east of the Point. Out of Hatteras Inlet, Jeff Dail and party loaded-up on dolphin to 35 pounds, boated a wahoo and released a blue marlin and a sailfish in two days worth of fishing.

Virginia Middle Bay -

Roger Wilkins from Jetts Hardware reported John Hutt, Jr. took first place in the bluefish division of the 17th annual Reedville Bluefish Derby with a 10.30 pound chopper. Dave Compton was second with a 9.12 pound bluefish while Ernest Rogers finished third with a 5.14 pound blue. In the rockfish division, Chris Ellis topped other entrants with a 27.41 pound fish. Charlie Jones finished second at 24.68 pounds and Doug Wilburn was third with a 24.22 pound rock. Roger said most of the fishing activity centered around the Northern Neck Reef area and north, into Maryland waters, an area known as the Triangle. On other fronts, bottom fishermen recorded good catches of large croaker and fair numbers of pan trout, though big trout were caught after dusk at the Target Ships.

Dan from Smith Point Marina had three citation-winning croaker hit the scales over the weekend. John Wilson (3-9) weighed the heaviest, as Bruce Humphrey (3-4) and Mark White (3-1) also landed award winning croaker. Two of the jumbo croaker were caught in chum slicks near buoy 62, meant for striped bass and the other was boated at the SP buoy. "They're catching croaker everywhere they go," quipped Dan, who also indicated trollers scored on Spanish mackerel and trout were caught around Smith Point Light.

Queens Creek Reel and Downrigger Service checked-in three citation-sized spadefish with the heaviest, a 10-3 bruiser, belonging to Mike Schultz of TN. All three spadefish were boated by the same party while they fished with bits of clam at the Cell. The shop also indicated decent catches of trout and croaker were recorded over the weekend at the Cell.

Locklies Marina reported good catches of croaker and increasing numbers of spot. "Some of our customers are returning with 50/50 catches of spot and croaker." The spot are a welcome addition for bottom fishermen, who have been besieged with croaker for the past two months. Best action has been from Cherry Point up to the Route 3 bridge. Robert Whitlock boated the weekend's heaviest croaker. It measured 18 1/2 inches and weighed 3 pounds.

Garretts Marina told of good hauls of croaker coming from nearby buoy 19 while bottom fishermen working the mouth of the river are catching spot and croaker.

Virginia Beach -

The Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported inshore charters are running to the Tower Reef and limiting-out (6-fish per angler) on nice-sized spadefish. Boats heading for the "bluewater" are running "way south" and returning with only marginal catches of yellowfin tuna. Amberjack and chopper bluefish are available around the South Tower. The headboat fleet reported good hauls of sea bass from the inshore ocean wrecks and nice catches of pan trout and croaker from the lower Bay.

Paula Owens from Fisherman's Wharf Marina said bluewater action is improving but "they're still running a long way," as most of the fleet fished down to the 700-line over the weekend, catching yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. The crew aboard the NEWT recorded a citation-winning 83-pound yellowfin and award winning dolphin while the crew on board the WATER WITCH had a 50-pound class wahoo.

Virginia Piers -

Grandview - Top catch of the week was a 58-pound cobia turned-in by Tim Lewis. Other catches included good numbers of keeper flounder measuring to 21 inches, Spanish mackerel, sea mullet, croaker and a few spot.

Buckroe Beach - Several small cobia were caught and released the past week "but no big ones yet." Spanish mackerel have provided considerable excitement, as pods of the fast moving fish move within casting range. Bottom fishermen are catching a mixture of flounder, trout and a few keeper striped bass and puppy drum. A pompano was decked on Monday.

Harrison - Croaker provided most of the weekend action while a 44-inch cobia was decked here Friday. Monday and Tuesday mornings saw a good bite of flounder. Spanish mackerel made a good showing on Tuesday, when several small cobia were caught and released.

Lynnhaven - Sea mullet have provided the bulk of the recent action, though decent numbers of pan trout and croaker are generally caught around dusk. Other catches include Spanish mackerel, spot and flounder.

Virginia Beach - Weekend catches included trout, sea mullet, snapper blues and Spanish mackerel. Several puppy drum were decked Tuesday morning, when water temperature was 73 degrees at pierside.

Sandbridge - Spanish mackerel provided most of the excitement over the weekend, though snapper blues and skates were also landed.

Outer Banks, NC -

Shorebound anglers fishing along the Nags Head area enjoyed their best success from piers or either side of Oregon Inlet, though surf caught striped bass to 35 inches were reported in the Duck to Pine Island area. Anglers working the ends of the piers had chances on snapper blues and Spanish mackerel, according to Whalebone Tackle while those fishing the banks at the inlet caught a mixture of grey trout, snapper blues and good-sized sea mullet. Several cobia were decked on Jennette's Pier and the Outer Banks Pier reported speckled trout. Back in the sounds, speckled trout action improved with reported catches coming from the backside of the island from Oregon Inlet down to Hatteras Inlet. Some of the better hauls were reportedly made at the Canadian Hole.

The fleet sailing from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center recorded good catches of Spanish mackerel, taylor blues and several cobia around the mouth of the inlet. Sheepshead are available around the pilings of the crossing. Offshore, the hot yellowfin bite continued last week, with most boats recording limit catches. Dolphin are fairly abundant plus the occasional wahoo and bigeye tuna are taken.

Boats sailing from Hatteras Inlet are enjoying phenomenal catches of dolphin plus some yellowfin tuna, wahoo and billfish. The best dolphin and billfish catches have come from "the southern" while those boats seeking yellowfin are running "to the north." King mackerel are available inshore while schools of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues are holding just outside the breakers and around the mouth of the inlet.

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