Tidal Fish Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cobia is on everybody's minds and what is going to happen to our season this summer. Things will become much clearer over the next month. There is going to be a closure in federal waters sometime this summer. There is likely to be a closure in state waters also. This would be devastating to many charter captains, marinas, and tackle stores. State regulators up and down the coast, including VMRC, are looking at all means possible to avoid or at least minimize a closure. A problem that we have is that we only have MRIP survey data to go by. In Virginia, we are already at one cobia per person so we look at boat limits to further reduce catch. If we go down to a 3-fish boat limit, it gains us nothing on paper because the MRIP survey data shows zero boat takes greater than 3 fish last year in Virginia. We know that is not true but that is what the survey shows. Similarly, in North Carolina, they have just gone from a 2-fish per person limit to a 1 fish per person. Again, according to MRIP data, few anglers actually take their 2-fish limit so halving their limit only counts a few days against the closure.

Fishing opportunities are limited, spring cannot get here soon enough. Everybody is bluefin tuna crazy out of the Outer Banks. There are some yellowfin tuna being caught out of Oregon Inlet and blackfin tuna being caught out of Hatteras Inlet but there is not as much interest in them with the availability of big and valuable bluefin tuna. Both commercial and recreational anglers are getting out after them whenever the weather allows. The bite is about 100 miles from Virginia Beach but some are making the run for a chance at these big fish.

Closer to home, rockfish are moving back into the bay towards their spawning grounds. Commercial anglers with rockfish tags are getting after them. Recreational anglers can practice catch and release. As the bay water warms up a few more degrees, tautog will become more active. Some really large tautog are being caught on the ocean wrecks with at least one over 20 pounds being weighed in this year already. Sea bass are very thick out there but the recreational season is closed. Tilefish are available along the 50-fathom curve if you can get through the dogfish. Also expect to catch a good number of bluefish as by-catch.

In the media: The February issue of Prop Talk magazine, for its "Top Hook" feature, has the president of the "storied Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association": www.proptalk.com/top-hook-ken-neill/ . The March issue of Marlin magazine has an article about results of white marlin research done off of Virginia: www.marlinmag.com/removing-billfish-from-water-proves-deadly . Look for a big article in the April issue of Sport Fishing magazine about Virginia fishing.

March 15 will the first regular membership meeting of the PSWSFA for 2016. Then through the season closure at the end of April will be the prime time to catch big tautog. With perfect timing, our speaker will be one of the best big tautog catchers there is, Capt. Neal Taylor. Meetings are free and you do not need to be a member to attend. www.pswsfa.com/meetings.htm

Feb 21, we went back after tautog. We caught some big ones. The largest one we kept weighed in at 21.5 pounds. Stan Simmerman caught that fish. It was the same length as the current state record but did not have the girth of that fish. The largest that we released was about 15 pounds. Wes Blow had a release device that he had gotten from the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program to try out. It releases the fish at a set depth. It seemed to work well. He also released one about 13 pounds so there are some big togs out there with tags in them. DNA samples were collected from each fish and tags were placed in the released fish.

Feb 21, Capt. Rick Wineman fished two wrecks catching tautog to around 15 pounds. They also caught some big sea bass. They then ran offshore to fish for blueline tilefish. They caught a couple of them and a whole bunch of dogfish.

Feb 19, we fished for tautog at the Triangle Wrecks. We caught tog up to 14 pounds 8 ounces. We got a DNA sample from each fish. We caught one tautog that we had previously tagged. We caught more sea bass than tautog, released, and a couple of spiny dogfish.

Feb 17, Wes Blow ran out for tautog. They weighed in 4 citation sized fish up to 18.6 pounds.

Feb 17, Richie Moore went up the James for big blue catfish. They caught six up to 40 pounds.

Feb 6, we clobbered big tautog all January long. For our first trip in February, for some reason, we decided to leave the wrecks that we have been fishing and try somewhere else. We caught a single tautog on our first wreck. There were some big swells out there and we were never able to get anchored up on our second wreck. We gave up on that and ran offshore. We caught a nice class of blueline tilefish up to 15.5 pounds. We weighed in four fish in the teens. The dogfish were out there but we were able to move around to get out of them. We were not able to get out of the sea bass. Those things are everywhere and we caught some very pretty bass that became "regulatory discards". We also got into 32-33 inch bluefish, catching 15-20 of those. Wes Blow got out his diamond jig to work on the bluefish and ended up catching one of the largest bluelines of the day. Wes also caught our one snowy grouper of the day.

Feb 6, Brent Meadors trolled for bluefin tuna without any luck. They did catch (and release) some big rockfish on their tuna baits.

Feb 6, Capt. Rick Wineman went out after tautog. They caught 14 tog up to 11 pounds.

Jan 31, we went back out after tautog. We got into some big tog. The three largest weighed in at 14, 15, and 19 pounds. We also caught a really big sea bass that, with regret, we tagged and released. Dr. Hamish Small was with us collecting DNA samples from each tautog. He also managed to catch the largest of the day (and of the year…so far).

Jan 31, Capt. Larry Lusk thought that he had found the bluefin tuna when he saw breaking fish north of the Chesapeake Light Tower. When he got to them, he found acres of big rockfish feeding on the surface.

Jan 30, we fished the Triangle Wrecks for tautog. We caught 20 fish up to 10 pounds. Johnny Boyd caught our largest tog. We caught 6 tautog that had been previously tagged. The rockfish were out there. We had gannets diving around us and had big rockfish chasing our sinkers to the surface. There was a charter boat out there catching them pretty good…legally. They had scientists onboard conducting a tagging study.

Jan 28, Wes Blow fished the Triangle Wrecks for tautog. He weighed in a couple of 10-pound tog and he lost a much larger fish.

Jan 20, Wes Blow ran out during a brief weather window and caught a couple of tog.

Jan 15, we went to a "new to us" wreck. After finding the wreck, we caught some nice tautog. We weighed in 3 citation-sized fish to 12.5 pounds. We caught and released some pretty sea bass to 22 inches long and we caught a couple of triggerfish that did not know it is the middle of January. While we were fishing, we listened to a couple other Virginia Beach boats offshore of us. They had a good catch of yellowfin tuna.

Jan 15, Capt. Rick Wineman bottom fished in the Norfolk Canyon area. They caught blueline tilefish, medium-sized bluefish, a snowy grouper, and a wreckfish. They only caught a couple dogfish.

Jan 15, Steve Martin looked for rockfish in the lower bay for catch-and-release action. He did not find any fish and very few bait marks.

Jan 3, we went back out after tautog. It was rough but the bite was good. We caught 45 or so tautog before the anchor broke loose about 2 PM. We decided to head on in rather than trying to re-anchor. We caught 9 fish that already had been tagged. Each of those was re-released with its tag no matter how large they had grown. We registered 5 citations with the largest two fish weighing in at 17 and 16.5 pounds. The next largest was 12 pounds.

Jan 1, we ran out to the Triangle Wrecks. We were joined by US Congressman Rob Wittman. It was a bit rough out there but we got a nice catch of tautog up to 11 pounds.

Dec 29, Capt. Rick Wineman gave the rockfish another go. The caught 9 striped bass.

Dec 29, Hunter Southall ran out after rockfish and caught one.

Dec 20-23, Capt. Jorj Head fished for rockfish near the Range Tower. They hooked 12 and caught 7 large fish. The largest weighed 45 pounds.

Dec 22, Capt. Rick Wineman fished for rockfish at the Cut Channel. They caught 8 fish up to 48 inches long.

Dec 20, it was rough but we went wreck fishing anyway. We managed a nice catch of sea bass and caught a bunch of triggerfish. We weighed in five for citations up to 5 pounds 8 ounces. We caught a lot of bluefish, a number of jacks of various species, a tautog, a flounder, a big porgy and other stuff. The other stuff included conger eels and the Sandtiger sharks visited us again.

Dec 16, Charles and Hunter Southall fished the Cut Channel. They caught three big rockfish. They let one go and kept their 2 big-fish limit that weighed in at 53 and 44 pounds.

Dec 16, Phillip Neill fished the Cut Channel area and caught a 48-inch fish.

Dec 13, Wes Blow and Chris Boyce fished some ocean wrecks. They caught sea bass, triggerfish and a big sandtiger. Three of their triggerfish weighed for citations.

Dec 12, we ran to the Norfolk Canyon to try for some unusually late-season tuna. Before the day was done, we were all fishing in short-sleeves. Fishing was good. We caught a few dolphin for the first December dolphin we have caught out of Virginia. We caught 5 yellowfin tuna out of about 8 bites. Late in the afternoon, we had a very impressive explosion on the flat-line bait closest to the boat. The bigeye tuna came half out of the water. After a long fight, the hook pulled but now we had to fish longer. It was not too long after that when we had two big explosions on the short riggers. One came tight and we managed to hold on to that one.


1 - 2 of 2 Posts