Some impressive rockfish are being caught as the bay season winds down. Many fish over 40 pounds have been caught over the past week with some being close to the 60 pound mark. Most of these big fish are being caught on the eastern side of the bay though there have been a few big fish caught in the York River. School-sized rockfish are being caught in the middle-bay, in the York and James Rivers and from Bluefish Rock to York Spit. The ocean fishery has not really developed yet though there have been some good catches between Wachapreague and Ocean City. Hopefully, by the time the bay season ends, the bite will pick up along the oceanfront.
Tautog are still active inside the bay and on the nearshore wrecks. The offshore wrecks are loaded with big sea bass and your time is running out to catch them. The sea bass season will close at the end of the month and you will have to release any that you catch until it reopens in May. Blueline tilefish will continue to be available around the 50-fathom curve throughout the winter but there will be increasing numbers of spiny dogfish to deal with.
There should be bluefin tuna out there but I have not heard of any catches yet. Big bluefin have been caught in the Cape Lookout area for weeks now. There should be bluefin somewhere from the Triangle Wrecks to the Fish Hook and in that general area. Big bluefish are likely in the same area. There will be some bluefin searchers out there this week.
The speckled trout bite remains very good inside of the Elizabeth River. It is still possible to catch a speck in some of the other wintering over locations but it is in the Elizabeth River where that vast majority of gator trout are being caught.
The PSWSFA, Irv Fenton Memorial Rockfish Tournament, sponsored by Wilcox Bait and Tackle, runs through the end of the month. Make sure that you contact Rick Wineman and register prior to catching that big rockfish.
PSWSFA members need to mark Feb. 27 on their calendars. That is the evening of our Awards Banquet. Adult meals will be $15 while the children’s meal will be free. Look for details and menu selection in the Chum Line soon.
Dec 17, Wes Blow and Hunter Southall fished off of Cape Charles. They caught two big rockfish that weighed in at 49 and 43 pounds. Wes caught the larger fish giving him the early lead in the Irv Fenton Memorial Rockfish Tournament.
Dec 15, Hunter Southall and David Brabrand fished the Elizabeth River. They caught 15 speckled trout to 29 inches long.
Dec 10, Wes Blow and Stan Simmerman fished the Elizabeth River. They caught 16 speckled trout to 23.25 inches long.
Dec 7, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River in some very tough conditions. He caught a single speckled trout and went home.
Dec 6, Dr. Paul Evans trolled for rockfish in the buoy 42 area. His nephew, Marki, caught a nice 44-inch rock.
Dec 6, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished inside the bay off of Occohannock. They caught tautog and some small striped bass.
Dec 5-6, I drifted eels off of Cape Charles both days. I had a total of 4 bites, catching 2 nice rockfish.
Dec 5, Steve Martin fished for rockfish from the Cut Channel to York Spit Light. He caught small rockfish with the largest, 29 inches, being caught at York Spit.
Dec 3, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River. The speckled trout bite was very good. They caught a bunch including 11 citation-sized trout up to 27 inches long.
Dec 3, Dr. Bob Allan wire-lined the CBBT catching two small rockfish.
Nov 30, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River and had a great day. They caught a bunch of big specks including 10 citation-sized up to 29 inches long.
Nov 29, Capt. Rick Wineman fished Plantation. They caught a 45-inch rockfish and had the hook pull on a larger fish at the boat.
Nov 29, Dr. Bob Allan fished the Cut Channel. They caught a bunch of rockfish up to 30 inches long.
Nov 23, Hunter Southall fished the Elizabeth River. They caught speckled trout to 24 inches long.
Nov 23, I fished for speckled trout in the Elizabeth River with Wes Blow. We caught 11 trout (would have caught more if I had not missed so many). 7 of the specks were between 24.5 and 27.25 inches long. The smallest fish was 19 inches long. All were tagged and released.
Nov 22, Hunter and Charles Southall fished the Elizabeth River. They caught 10 speckled trout including fish of 24 and 27 inches long.
Nov 19, Wes Blow and Hamish Small fished the Elizabeth River. They caught a dozen nice speckled trout up to 26 inches long including 4 large enough for citations.
Nov 16, we fished the Triangle Wrecks. We were looking for big bluefish. We caught small bluefish, keeper sea bass, and 7 flounder.
Nov 16, Wes Blow and JT Hale did some wreck fishing. They caught a limit of nice sea bass and 11 triggerfish.
Nov 16, Capt. Rick Wineman wreck fished. They caught a limit of sea bass and they caught numerous bluefish including 7 that they registered for release citations.
Nov 12, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River. He tagged and released speckled trout up to 26 inches long.
Nov 9, we fished some wrecks to the south. We caught hake, porgy and a bunch of small bluefish. We had a really nice catch of big sea bass, keeping our 75-fish limit and we caught a bunch of triggerfish. We weighed in three triggerfish for citations. Dr. Hamish Small caught the largest at 5 pounds. Stan Simmerman hooked something big on his sea bass rig that would not come up. He thought it was a monster ray. I told him that I thought he had a big sand tiger on. We never found out as he broke it off after a grueling fight. Stan switched over to a jig and he was soon hooked up to something big again. This time, he was able to bring the big sand tiger shark to the boat for a release. Wes Blow has a thing for catching big sharks. He put away his sea bass stuff and came out with a long and heavy piece of piano wire leader with a big hook on the end. He baited up with a big slab of false albacore and proceeded to show that you cannot have too big of a bait or hook for a sea bass to eat. After catching a few sea bass on his oversized baits, he did hook up on a shark but the hook pulled. He kept at it and hooked another one. We ended up pulling off the anchor and chasing this one around a bit. When he finally got it up, we had that heavy straight-wire to deal with without any wireman’s gloves. They tried to lip-gaff the shark to aid in getting the hook out/cutting the leader close to the shark. That sort of worked. After the release, nobody else wanted to tangle with another one of those beasts and fish box was full so we headed in for a couple of hours of fish cleaning.
Nov 9, Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys fished out of Quinby. They had a great day catching a limit of sea bass and some trigger fish to over 5 pounds. On the way in, they ran into big bluefish and caught several to over 19 pounds.
Nov 8, we fished the Triangle Reef for big bluefish and flounder. We caught little bluefish, some medium sea bass, a few ribbon fish, and some flounder. The largest flounder was Jody Linthicum’s first-ever flounder citation and it was his sixth different citation this year, earning his Expert Angler award. His doormat weighed in at 8.5 pounds. While flounder fishing, Bernie Sparrer hooked something that was not a flounder. I thought that we had found the big bluefish until 10 feet of thresher shark comes flying out of the water. They are funny looking sharks anyway but they really look strange when flying. That fight did not last too much longer after that. The hook pulled.