Couple Kings

Trolled plugs inshore the past two days. Caught cobia, red drum, a small amberjack, false albacore, spadefish, Spanish, 2 small kings, and a ton and a half ribbonfish. Saw a tarpon about 2 miles south of the Sandbridge pier. Some big kings were caught.

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A King

We were going to do a day swordfish trip yesterday but decided to stay inshore and try for a king mackerel instead. The swordfish bite has been good and some nice kings have been caught. It was slick calm and there was a lot of life along the beach. We hooked up as soon as we put some plugs out. It was a cobia. Not big enough to gaff but those plugs in a net are a mess. I told the guys to net it or to just open the tuna door and drag it in. While thinking about it, the cobia made another run and they managed to break it off. Well there went that plug. Put the boat in gear and we’re hooked up again. Another cobia… no it’s the same cobia now with two plugs. I got both my plugs back. We saw flying fish, a couple of big manta rays, and we did catch one small dolphin. We caught all the ribbon fish we wanted. Schools of false albacore were busting the surface. We caught plenty of those. We weren’t cobia fishing but we did see some. I had a group of 8 following a jig I had cast to them but they didn’t bite. We did catch another cobia on the troll. We did manage to catch a single king mackerel. The fleet caught a number of them and a 50 pounder was weighed in. Ours was a bit smaller than that. A 300 pound bigeye was brought in from offshore and a boat who did go swordfishing yesterday texted us photos of the 3 nice swords they had caught out of 5 bites.

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Cobia and Marlin

I went out Friday morning to anchor on a hill during a little NE blow. I found lake Chesapeake. I also found a whole lot of sharks. Little bluefish were plentiful also. Mix in with the toothy critters were a few cobia. I didn’t catch any big ones.

Sunday, we went offshore to try to catch a marlin. We had Congressman Rob Wittman working the cockpit. In his earlier life, he was a charter boat mate. He still has those skills. He picked up one of our marlin on a flatline. It was lake Atlantic out there. We caught a nice gaffer dolphin that put on a good show so I was clicking away with my camera upstairs. After our first white marlin, I checked to see what kind of shots I had gotten of those two fish. I got a no data card message. It was back home in the card reader in my computer. I have to have a spare with me…nope. The whole reason to go billfishing is to get those acrobatic fish photos. I thought abought telling the crew that we had to go back in but fearing violence I decided to just keep fishing. We had shots at 3 whites. Pulled one off, got the other two. We saw a blue marlin but did not get a bite. We were north of the Norfolk in 500 fathoms.

Two days of slick calm conditions with some fish to catch….good weekend.

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Norfolk Canyon

We ran out to try for a swordfish yesterday. We spent a beautiful night at the Norfolk Canyon without any bites. We had dropped some mackerel rigs down to try and get some tinker mackerel for swordfish baits. We caught blueline tilefish and sea bass. This morning, we went on the troll and some good action. Bigeyes blew up on us and we held on to one. The leader was up a number of times. My angler was spent. I’m not sure he’s recovered yet. The tuna seemed fine and the hook eventually pulled. We had a number of visits by white marlin. While dropping back pin-rigged, chin-weighted, skirted ballyhoo on 50-wides with the clickers on, we managed a 100 percent failure to hook-up rate. Laughing their tales off at us, a couple of marlin got sloppy and managed to hook themselves. There seem to be plenty of billfish around to target them but as long as these tuna hang around, everyone wants them. We did catch a couple of nice yellowfin and a few gaffer dolphin before calling it a day before noon. The marlin catchers were newbies and went swimming back at the dock.

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We ran out to the Norfolk Canyon area after tuna yesterday. While putting lines out, we had a double hook-up. Shortly after that, we caught 3 singles and a mako shark (released). That was it for our hook-ups for the day. Crew did great, no lost fish, made every bite count. We saw a white marlin but it did not bite anything. In general, it was a slow day of tuna fishing. I think we were the top boat. There were some dolphin and a few white and blue marlin caught. A lot of boats in the area. Slick calm all day. Pilot whales, porpoise, and baitfish on the surface but few bites among the fleet.

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Father’s Day Cobia

Ran out for a short trip this morning and was back in time for Father’s Day lunch. Caught 2 cobia, broke off a 3rd. Second day in a row that I’ve let one get around the chum pot. You think that I would learn. All cobia catches are being reported to VMRC as required now.

On a side note for those that have not heard: the boats that fished the Norfolk Canyon area this weekend had good catches of dolphin, white and blue marlin, and what has everyone excited…yellowfin tuna. Some boats were in early with limits of tuna. The tuna ranged from too small to keep up to 80 pounds, so a wide range is out there.


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I went chumming for a few hours today. Caught 5 cobia, missed some others, and let the biggest one break me off around the chum pot.

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Dolphin and Mako

We fished the Norfolk Canyon area today. I have no idea how many bites we had but we boated 30 gaffer-sized dolphin. We also had a mako eat one of our baits. Nobody was really interested in finding out if it met the 80 whatever inch fork length minimum (probably) and absolutely nobody was willing to find out if it was a boy or girl. We got my lure back and cut the leader above the hook. We also had a white marlin come into where our spread was supposed to be but as we had just got covered up by dolphin, we did not have a bait to feed it. When we ran out of space in the box for more fish, we quit early and came on in.

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Red Drum and Cobia

Left the big boat in the slip this weekend and made a couple of short trips in the 20-year-old skiff that just keeps running. Yesterday evening, I ran over to the buoy 8-10 area and fished with live hard crabs on the bottom. Put out 4 rods, 2 go off. Catch a big red drum on one. The other has a little crab shell left on the hook. Put them back out, catch another big red drum. This is going rather well. Then all 4 rods go off. Well, there is only one of me so this is a problem. Get the first one in and then the second. Worried about the first one being in the boat too long so just leave the last two screaming drags and release the first two. Get the third and then the forth. Well, that was fun, wasn’t going to do that again. Took my remaining bait over to Wes who was also over there fishing solo and ran back home at sunset.

Went out for an even shorter trip this morning. Ran across the flats and set up off of Plumb Tree Island. Caught 2 cobia and pulled off a couple more and came in for lunch. Both fish were released. The cobia season opens June 1 with the same regulations as last year: 1 fish per person, 3-fish per boat maximum, 40-inch minimum, only one fish may be over 50 inches. The gaff prohibition went away last year and gaffing remains ok. Pay closer attention to the required free cobia permit and mandatory reporting. Reporting is really mandatory this year and if you do not file your reports on-time, you will be out of the fishery next year.

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Bottom Fishing

I’m not sure what happened. It was a gorgeous ride out, gorgeous ride in…gorgeous all day. Not a single boat issue. Nobody injured themselves and the fish bit all day. We bottom-fished around the Norfolk Canyon. We kept a limit of blueline tilefish, about 15 or so golden tilefish, good numbers of sea bass, blackbelly rosefish, hake, and we caught another beardfish (now that we know what one is). No matter how deep we fished, bluefish were on the bottom. We caught a lot of those. We also caught some smooth dogfish but the spiny are gone. My crew now expects all of our trips to be like this.

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