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No shortage of big bass or tourneys in local waters
Posted to: Outdoors Sports

By Lee Tolliver
The Virginian-Pilot
© November 30, 2008
Big striped bass have started to show in the southern portions of the Chesapeake Bay and along the Eastern Shore oceanfront.

That means there could be outstanding catches in many of December's multitude of rockfish tournaments.

Two stand out for significance to the community and competitive angling.

The fifth annual Catchin' for Kids tournament that benefits the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has become one of the biggest fundraisers in Toys for Tots history.

To date, the event has raised approximately $100,000 and truckloads of toys for children.

"I'm not sure where we stood last year, but I know that the year before we were second in the nation for donations," said Rick Williams, one of the events organizers. "But it's not about where we stand. It's about the fact that anglers in the area care, and this tournament provides them with a great opportunity to do so many things they like and show they care at the same time."

Williams said many past winners have donated all or portions of their winnings to the charity.

This year's Toys for Tots is Dec. 12-14, with headquarters at Ocean's East 2 Tackle, 5785 Northampton Boulevard, Virginia Beach. The captains' meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12, with lines-in at 8 p.m. Weigh-ins will be held from

6:30-7:30 a.m. and 3:30-5 p.m. Dec. 13; and 6:307:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

Registration is $150 and a toy.

"I know it's tough right now with everybody, with the economy the way it is, but if people don't want to fish, they can drop off a toy or a donation at Ocean's East," Williams said. "You'd be surprised at the number of kids in Tidewater that go without during good times.

"So you can only imagine what it's going to be like this Christmas."

For more information on the event, see this Web site: Home Page

The other high-profile striper tournament in December is the national championship of the American Striper Association.

This year's event is Dec. 13 out of Long Bay Pointe Marina in Virginia Beach after a two-year stint on the Outer Banks.

The move coincides with sponsorship changes and will benefit greatly from the time of the year.

"This is a big-fish tournament, and bigger fish are in the Bay and along the Virginia coast this time of year," tournament director Ken Wente said. "Anglers in last year's championship were running from the Outer Banks all the way up here to catch fish."

The American Striper Association trail consists of eight tournaments from Rhode Island to Virginia Beach. A national champion will be crowned at the end of the Virginia Beach event.

"We have 800 to 1,000 members, but not many of them can fish enough of the events up and down the coast to compete for a title," Wente said. "But we want to have a true national champion, and there are enough people involved in all the events to do that."

David Nova of White Stone, Va., enters the competition ranked second nationally. He'll battle it out with Chesapeake's Jerry Harris, who is sixth in the Angler of the Year battle, for the national title. Locals usually are highly favored in such events.

"But this also is a local tournament, and anybody can enter," Wente said. "And with the big fish that are being caught up around Kiptopeke this time of year, this should be an interesting championship."

Registration is $300 a boat by Dec. 10 - $325 afterward.

For more information, see this Web site: American Striper Association

The 2009 American Striper Association trail starts in Virginia Beach with the Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout Jan. 8-10 out of Rudee Inlet. The shootout's projected payout is more than $200,000.


The Chesapeake Department of Parks and Recreation is offering monthly fly fishing and fly-tying workshops at Northwest River Park.

The classes will be taught by members of the state game department, the Bill Wills Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers.

Sessions start at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month, beginning Dec. 6 and continuing through March.

Classes are free and some equipment will be available. Participants can bring their own fly tackle.

For more info, call Bill Campbell at (757) 635-6522 or the park at (757) 421-7151.

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