We’ve just wrapped up a very successful February Black Sea Bass Recreational season. The success is due in large part to your cooperation with VMRC staff in gathering information on this popular fishery. This information is vital since the Marine Recreational Intercept Program (MRIP) which typically gathers recreational catch and effort data is not conducted during Wave 1 (January – February).
Your phone calls each morning allowed staff to coordinate vessel intercepts as you returned to the dock. This allowed us to collect biological samples from over 1200 of your fish, in addition to the catch and effort data anglers reported (to date) from 109 private, charter, and headboat trips.
Now that the season is over please note the following permit requirements:
March 15th is the deadline for reporting your activities under this permit.
Reports can be conveniently reported through the online Virginia Saltwater Journal (https://www.vasaltwaterjournal.com)
The captain/vessel operator is responsible for reporting for EACH trip for all anglers onboard his vessel.
If you targeted black sea bass but were unsuccessful, your trip is still important and you need to report your information as well.
Those permittees that did not fish at all for black sea bass during this February fishery are also required to report “no activity” prior to the deadline.
Failure to meet these requirements by March 15th could result in you not being able to obtain a permit for the 2020 fishing season (Chapter 4 VAC20-950-10, section 45E).
If you have already reported all your trips, thank you very much!
Virginia is one of the few Atlantic Coast states allowing this February Black Sea Bass Season. We hope to continue our participation in the future with your continued support and cooperation.
Thank you for your participation and please contact us at 757-247-2200 if you have questions or concerns.
We went out after sea bass again yesterday. We fished 4 wrecks. Bluefish were voracious at each of them. The bluefish ranged from little guys on up to about 33 inches long. Then there were the spiny dogfish. We could just look in the water and see them swimming around. We also caught some impressive conger eels. In spite of all of the toothy creatures, we still caught a box full of jumbo sea bass. We had on fish weigh enough to meet the 5-pound trophy citation minimum. Others were very close.
We fished the first two days of the February sea bass season. Yesterday, we got a 75-fish, 5 man limit including two over 5 pounds. Today we got a 90-fish, 6 man limit with four over 5 pounds. We caught a number of bluefish each day and today we also caught a 9-pound hake of some species. We were met at the dock each day to have some of our fish weighed and measured.
We went out after sea bass on Wednesday. We caught them but on the way out, we ran into working birds, porpoise, and bluefin tuna. The ones I got a good look at appeared to be 100-pound class fish. We had nothing onboard to catch them with. We were about half way between the SE Lumps and the Cigar. We also got a report from a commercial boat of bluefin tuna near the Chesapeake Light Tower. So, yesterday we went out after bluefin. We started at the SE Lumps. Lots of birds, bait and some porpoise. Did not see any tuna and we did not get a bite all day. We trolled out to 20 fathoms and down to the Cigar. We did have sea bass tackle with us so we were able to stop on a wreck and came back in with another box of sea bass before the season closure today.
We went out looking for some triggerfish yesterday. We had a nice catch of triggers and we kept a five-man limit of sea bass. Nice day of wreck fishing. Back at the dock, one of our dock mates had been a bit east of us dropping for swordfish. They had 3 bites, catching one sword. A bit east of them, over 500 fathoms, a handful of boats experienced a fairly epic bigeye tuna bite. My slip neighbor was in early because they had no more room on the boat. They had caught 5 out of 7 bigeye bites. Everyone out there (all of 5 boats) were covered up with bigeyes. Another dock mate was unloading a limit of rockfish. They had run up in the bay to the buoy 42 area. Said there were fish all over the surface, all you wanted to catch. Their fish were 20 something inches long but they said some big fish (40-50 pounds) were also caught in the area. December has started out pretty well.
We fished the Triangle Wrecks yesterday. We were mostly after flounder and we were also looking for big bluefish. We caught bluefish but just little ones. We did not do much with the flounder. Jerald Abraham caught a nice squid and the one flounder that we kept. We caught plenty of sea bass. The guys kept 40 of the nicer ones, releasing the rest. Johnny Boyd caught a nice false albacore on his flounder rig. Stan Simmerman caught a confused flounder that was brown on both sides. It also had a notch in it’s head. Other than that, it seemed healthy. We tagged and released that fish. The boats that ran out to the Norfolk Canyon had a good catch of yellowfin tuna yesterday.
Yesterday, we ran the Healthy Grin with Dr. John Graves out in search of young-of-the year bluefin tuna. Basically, it is fishing for Spanish mackerel offshore. There are special research permits involved….so don’t do this at home. We caught a bunch of little blackfin tuna…which look very similar to bluefin at that size…skipjack tuna, dolphin, bullet tuna, and a single bluefin tuna. So success, sort of. We also had 4 white marlin come in. Got bites from 3 (on ballyhoo, not on the little spoons), and caught 2. The science people come for the baby tuna. My crew comes for the bycatch.
We ran the Healthy Grin to the Washington Canyon. We came back in yesterday flying 7 release flags out of about a dozen white marlin that we saw. While we were mostly fishing for fun, we did do a little fishing for science. We put out a little spoon and caught some baby tuna for the researchers.
I did a little boat work yesterday morning then slipped out of the inlet and trolled the oceanfront for a few hours before coming in for lunch. I had 3 bites: pulled off a king mackerel, caught a king, and caught a cobia.