Couple of nice fish

We stayed close to home today. We had some failed drum and sheepshead encounters and a couple of successes. Hunter Southall caught and released a 50-inch red drum. Stan Simmerman finally caught his first citation sheepshead at 11 pounds. We saw a couple cobia swim by us as we were anchored.
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Long Weekend

My “fishing weekend” started Monday when I received a text from Captain Jorj Head asking what the state record for tripletail was. We added tripletail to the state record program a couple of years ago as more were showing in the bay each year and anglers were starting to target them. We set the initial minimum at 8 pounds as that was about the size of one Jorj had caught in the past and was the largest I had heard of in Virginia. He said that his son, Hayden had caught one that should make the minimum. I let VSWFT Director Lewis Gillingham know that a potential record was coming in. Hayden’s fish did make weight at Wallace’s. Lewis was hours away. I was finishing with my last patient of the day and said I could meet them at Grafton Fishing Supply to view the fish. At Grafton, the fish weighed 8.6 pounds. Congratulations Hayden Head! A state record form was filled out and sent on to Lewis to continue the process.
Friday, I ran over to the Eastern Shore in the dark and watched the sunrise and rolling tarpon. I caught sharks. They were relentless. No tarpon hookups. On the way back across the bay, I got a call from Grafton Fishing Supply wanting to let me know about a potential record tripletail. You mean the one I already checked a few days ago? No, another one coming in. OK, call Lewis if it makes weight. I got home and when I got out of the shower, there were two messages waiting for me. The fish weighed 16.8 pounds. While I was talking to Grafton, the home phone rang and it was Ann from the tournament office wanting to know if I had gotten her message on my cell. I said that I saw it but was talking to Grafton on my other phone. She said that Lewis was out of town and asked if I could take care of it. I said sure and I told Grafton to keep them there, I was on my way. I did put pants on. I have reached the stage on my life where I do not have to worry about drying my hair after a shower. Ok, I reached that stage a long time ago.
The massive tripletail was caught by Richard Stuart, Jr. who was fishing with his father, State Senator Richard Stuart. The Senator said that when he had the fish in the net, He called VMRC Commissioner Steve Bowman to make sure that the fish was even legal to keep. Another state record form was filled out and sent into the tournament office.
For any questions concerning the two pending state records, contact Lewis Gillingham: (757) 491-5160.
Saturday, I ran down past the ribbonfish fleet. I had caught more than I wanted of those things on my last trip to the oceanfront. I spent the day not catching king mackerel off of Sandbridge.
Sunday, I made a short trip close to home. I caught tautog, black drum, sheepshead and of course, oyster toads.
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Black Drum

I fished a reef inside the bay again this morning. Today, I had my dental assistant, Meghan Wells with me. Apparently, I was there just to net her fish. I did catch a sea bass and a flounder on the same hook. Other than that, I spent the morning cutting bait and netting the black drum and tautog that she caught.

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More Sheep

Wes Blow and I went after sheepshead again this morning. We caught four up to 13.1 pounds. We also caught a red drum, a black drum, and a sad looking tautog. It was missing an operculum and had a messed-up eye. The tog and drum were tagged and released. The sheep went home with Wes. We were back in for lunch.
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Trolling and Wrecking

This weekend was trolling along the oceanfront and wreck fishing in the bay.
The ocean was nice and calm. Ribbonfish were plentiful but you could get out of them when you wanted. Spanish mackerel were jumping all over. The boats fishing for them did really well. I did not have my typical cobia encounter but some were caught. There were some king mackerel bites and one was caught. I did not encounter a king or the big red drum that have been popping up. What I did encounter were a surprising number and size of bluefish. Not big blues but not the little ones you usually catch this time of year either.
In the bay, there were tautog including four that already had tags, red drum, black drum and a big sheepshead. A couple cobia did swim by the boat that we did not get casts on.
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Independence

I went on a couple of morning trips over the Independence Day Weekend. Saturday, I did a fairly good job using up my chum and eels catching sharks. I did mess up and catch a little cobia.
Sunday morning, I hit one of VMRC’s artificial reefs and had a limit catch of toadfish. OK, there is no limit but I got a bucket of toads. I used to call those things Southall fish because Charles Southall was so adept at catching them and he passed his skill onto his son, Hunter. I think that I have surpassed the masters. I declare myself as the best toad catcher in all of the Commonwealth. If anyone would like to take my title…please do.
I caught a half-dozen tautog, one of which already had a tag in it. I caught a red drum that had part of a gill net embedded in it. I cut that out the best I could before tagging and releasing it. A small cobia swam by the boat and jumped all over the jig that I cast to it. I caught some really small croaker and then there were these sheepshead things.
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Teeth

Friday, I trolled the oceanfront and caught ribbon fish and cobia…mostly ribbon fish. The charters were doing well on Spanish mackerel and I heard of one king encounter. Today, I chummed in the bay and caught cobia and sharks…mostly sharks. Lots of sharp teeth this weekend.

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Tagging

I ran out for a short reef trip Friday with storms in the forecast. Tried for a sheepshead. Caught some tautog,  numerous gray trout, baby croaker and a bunch of oyster toads. No sheep encounters. Two togs already had tags. I put tags in the rest.
This morning, I ran out to tag some cobia with Stan Simmerman. We tagged 5 from 25 to 53 inches long. The largest was part of a triple hitter or so. We caught two. The big fish had another nice fish with that we were too busy to try for. I caught a shark that was followed in by a cobia. We did try for that one but it did not want to play with us. It wanted the rest of the eel hanging out of the shark’s mouth. Good cobia fishing right now. Should be a good opening day Tuesday.
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Tagging Cobia

Stan Simmerman and I went chumming to tag some cobia today. We caught 4 and missed a few more. I saw a v-wake coming towards the boat that I thought might be a cobia. It turned out that the lone spadefish was not interested in a bucktail I threw at it.

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Quick Cobia

I made two very short cobia trips this weekend. Tagged and released a cobia each time. Stan Simmerman went with me the first morning. I went solo this afternoon.

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