Fishing Report Is the water cold enough for the big rockfish yet?
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  1. #1
    TFer who Posts Some - Not a Tidal Fish Subscriber
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    Default Is the water cold enough for the big rockfish yet?

    Saw a charter boat this morning heading out of the great wicomico towards smith point and see lots of birds in 'scan mode.' Water is like glass. Anybody have a report on where the birds are gathering and hitting the water?

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  3. #2
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    Birds were working off the GW and south early in the morning last weekend. You could easily catch all the 12” to 16” fish you could ever want in short order under them. I got a stray 24”-incher that must have been lost. I took a pic of my fish finder over one of the schools and there were many schools like this feeding early out there. The really big fish are not in yet, I saw a post that said they were off the Jersey coast.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetfish View Post
    Birds were working off the GW and south early in the morning last weekend. You could easily catch all the 12” to 16” fish you could ever want in short order under them. I got a stray 24”-incher that must have been lost. I took a pic of my fish finder over one of the schools and there were many schools like this feeding early out there. The really big fish are not in yet, I saw a post that said they were off the Jersey coast.
    I fished with friends in NJ last Thursday, jigging diamond jigs and butterfly jigs at the mouth of the Hudson. Twice we had four of five hooked on big rockfish, resulting in lots of busted 50lb test lines (drags too tight) and 40" and 42" fish caught (released, over 38" max keeper size there). Ended with only two keepers (37 and 38"ers) and lots of 20-26" fish (and lots of dogfish). When I mentioned that 90% of stripers are born in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, several guys laughed and said these were local fish, and the Hudson and Delaware are their breeding grounds now. There is no commercial striper fishery for rockfish or bunker (except for bait) up there; inadvertently snagged a few 2 lb bunker. The big fish don't seem to return to VA until January/ February for the netters.

    I had caught eight(?) rockfish since the season opened while fishing for speckled trout, mostly in the Piankatank; three were 22", one 26". Haven't heard of anyone catching any big ones, probably a few big local fish around.

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  6. #4
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    There are 2x major groups of stripers, the Chesapeake breeders and the Hudson breeders. The Chesapeake is a larger group of fish, but for the Hudson they all have to go through the Raritan Bay (much tighter than the Chesapeake) and so it can get dense. Folks in NJ get a shot at both groups.

    I used to fish my little CC out of Urbana Creek and Norview ramps (loved it, miss it). Moved to Ocean County, NJ and the fishing up here is incredible. We see both Hudson and Chesapeake fish twice per year each and right now big ones are on their way to the Chesapeake (Ocean temp 58 deg). We have no purse seine, evil industrial politically-connected Omega deathstar fishing boats, but we do have literally 100 party/charter boats so there's definitely pressure on the fish.

    For us small guys it's pretty weather dependent to get out on the ocean (weather looks good for tomorrow), and if there's a hard blow from the west for a few days, the fishing can shut down (wind blows the bait offshore, no striper fishing outside the 3 nm line, and the USCG has spotter drones).

  7. #5
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    Default Thanks for the reply

    Quote Originally Posted by ZigZag View Post
    There are 2x major groups of stripers, the Chesapeake breeders and the Hudson breeders. The Chesapeake is a larger group of fish, but for the Hudson they all have to go through the Raritan Bay (much tighter than the Chesapeake) and so it can get dense. Folks in NJ get a shot at both groups.

    I used to fish my little CC out of Urbana Creek and Norview ramps (loved it, miss it). Moved to Ocean County, NJ and the fishing up here is incredible. We see both Hudson and Chesapeake fish twice per year each and right now big ones are on their way to the Chesapeake (Ocean temp 58 deg). We have no purse seine, evil industrial politically-connected Omega deathstar fishing boats, but we do have literally 100 party/charter boats so there's definitely pressure on the fish.

    For us small guys it's pretty weather dependent to get out on the ocean (weather looks good for tomorrow), and if there's a hard blow from the west for a few days, the fishing can shut down (wind blows the bait offshore, no striper fishing outside the 3 nm line, and the USCG has spotter drones).
    Thanks for the info. Between the gill nets, the pound nets and the Omega purse nets - it's a wonder we have any fish in the chesapeake at all! Too bad they can't shut it all down for a year or two and see if the fishery can bounce back. IMHO, we are heading for another rock fish shut down (recreational & commercial) but those netters will get to continue.

  8. #6
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    Until we stop allowing netting of any kind in tidal water less than 30 feet, we will never have the fishery they have up north. Imagine that, I actually bragged on the "north!"

    Tight lines!!!

  9. #7
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    [QUOTE=Ricochet;3384089]Until we stop allowing netting of any kind in tidal water less than 30 feet, we will never have the fishery they have up north. Imagine that, I actually bragged on the "north!"

    I've seen lots of netters on the Piankatank lately. If it's legal, blame fisheries management. If illegal (some looks suspicious) blame lack of enforcement.

    After the last week or so of cold, rain and wind, the speckled trout bite has stopped (at least for me); the plus side is most boats are gone. But am catching lots of small keeper rock (six one day). Always guessing whether to go in with the first keeper or release it and hope for something bigger. So far about 50/50 on a bigger second (or third or fourth fish). Still nothing over 26", most rockfish 18" to 22".

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    [QUOTE=rowboater1;3384227]
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricochet View Post
    I've seen lots of netters on the Piankatank lately. If it's legal, blame fisheries management. If illegal (some looks suspicious) blame lack of enforcement.
    In general it is legal to use gill nets for striped bass in the Piankatank this time of year. If you think that something is being done illegally call the 24-hour line at VMRC at 800-841-4646. My experience is that they check out the violations promptly and on the few times that I have called the MPO called to discuss the matter. They do have staffing issues especially late at night.

    One state code section that often gets abused which could easily happen above Ginney Point is:

    § 28.2-309. Distance nets may extend across body of water or channel; prohibition; regulations; penalty.

    A. It is unlawful to set or fish any net or nets across any river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which are longer than one-fourth the width of the body of water from mean low water to mean low water at the point where the net or nets are set or fished.

    B. It is unlawful to set or fish any net, other than a menhaden net, in any portion of a marked channel of a river, bay, estuary, creek, or inlet which has navigation aids installed or approved by any agency of government. However, the prohibitions and restrictions on setting nets contained in this subsection shall not apply to any net set on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate regulations governing the setting of any net on the eastern or ocean side of the Counties of Accomack and Northampton.

    C. It shall be unlawful to set or fish any net which is a hazard to navigation.

    D. Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

  11. #9
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    Fisheries mismanagement is more like it. You young guys have no idea.

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