CW - be careful there, sometimes when your boat gets checked they can check and ask you where the xxx bellies came from. I think the rules say you must keep the carcasses of all regulated game fish on board if you are using their bellies. I have had them check at the bridge tunnel for the flounder carcass that went with the bellies that I was using. I think this rule goes for blues, flounder, croaker, etc. whose bellies you may be using.
That's the rule but it's a dumb one--are they going to take your soggy strip of gnawed bait and place it back in the hole on the fish? Also since croaker is limitless, why would it matter? (My croaker strips have the skin on). Many cut strips off today's flounder when cleaning it to use for another day's fishing, and carrying around an old carcass proves nothing except that you one caught a legal fish.
But if it stops people from killing below-sized fish, then fine.
4 VAC 20-580-30. Allowances for filleting or cleaning.
A. For finfish regulated by a minimum or maximum size limit, filleting at sea will be allowed if the carcass is retained to ensure proper species identification and compliance with size limitations.
B. For finfish regulated by a minimum size, cleaning and/or filleting at sea will be allowed if the fillet or cleaned fish exceeds the minimum length for the species and at least one square inch of skin is left intact to assist in identification of the species.
C. For finfish not regulated by a size limit, filleting at sea will be allowed if a minimum of one square inch of skin is left on the fillet to assist in identification of the species.
so you must have a flounder carcass, but not blues, croaker, spot .......... So I guess technically you would have to have a Cobia carcass