December Triggers

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.

 

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Confused Flounder

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.

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Baby Bluefin

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.

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White Marlin

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.

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Cobia and King

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.

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Spanish and Cobia

Stan Simmerman an I trolled the ocean front for king mackerel today. There was a 42-pound king weighed in yesterday and another big king caught today…..not by us.

We did keep a nice mess of Spanish mackerel in the 20-25 inch range. Stan released one that was over 26 inches long. The one big bite we had turned out to be a 50-inch cobia.

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Fishing the Bottom

I have been content with jumping into the skiff, running 5 minutes, and catching cobia. There are a tremendous number of small cobia in the bay with enough larger fish around to keep things interesting. But, some of the guys wanted a change of pace and to do the offshore bottom fishing thing. So, offshore we ran yesterday.

It was ridiculously calm and the Healthy Grin still remembered her way out there. The radio chatter through the day indicated a very slow tuna bite with the best of it being around the Washington Canyon. Near the Norfolk Canyon, dolphin fishing was good and a good number of both white and blue marlin were caught.

Bottom fishing was good. We caught 20 intact golden tilefish. We had others sharked. There was a mako that hung out behind the boat for a while. It wasn’t big enough to keep so we did not try to catch it. Our largest golden that we almost caught was taken by a hammerhead. We did catch the hammerhead as it left us no choice.

Some of the guys had never caught blackbelly rosefish. I said we can catch as many of those as you want to crank. An argument against electric reels….conservation. Hand-cranking these creatures greatly limits how many times you want to drop that bait down there. They got tired of that rather quickly. Every drop resulted in every hook catching a rosefish. Stan Simmerman caught 2 on a single hook.

Without really fishing for them, we ended up with a limit of blueline tilefish. We also caught a snowy grouper and a wreckfish.

While fishing for goldens, Johnny Boyd set the hook on one and lost hold of his new deep-drop rod. The water was very clear and we got to watch that fishing pole sink for a long time. Johnny was trying to figure out how he was going to explain to his wife why he had to buy a whole new set up when a few drifts later, Johnny catches a golden tilefish on his old backup rod. Also hooked was some fishing line. He had managed to find his rod 700 feet down on the bottom. We were able to hand line it up and got his whole set-up back including the fancy lights he had on his bottom rig (fish was no longer on it), making this the best catch of the day.

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Cobia today

Short trip to use up last of my chum. Caught 4 cobia, missed others. 2 were keeper-sized.

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Cobia

I went after cobia again yesterday. Talked to Wes the night before. He had Rob Wittman fishing with him. He said that he left it up to Rob when to start. Rob said he’d be there 4am. I said the heck with that, I’m headed out after a leisurely breakfast, which I did. Then came in for a late lunch. Caught 4 cobia, none large. The largest I saw just swam up to the boat, slacker that I was being, I had nothing ready to toss to it. Nice lazy Fathers Day except Wes kept bugging me. He and Rob caught 14 cobia before I left the dock. They ended up catching and releasing 19 cobia up to 51 inches and kept a 20th fish. Another Wes report: he invited me to drum fish with him Friday after work but I was at a Potomac Rivers Fishery Commission Meeting. He went, said the grass was bad but they caught 5 big red drum…so that bite is still going on….buoy 8-10 area.

This was my 3rd short cobia trip this month, just running the little boat from the house. Caught cobia each trip. All small.

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A Cod

We finally made it back out on the water yesterday. It seems to have been blowing every weekend since last year sometime. We fished a couple of inshore wrecks. We ended up catching 17 tautog, a good number of sea bass, a pollock, and a cod. We tagged and released most everything. We caught one tautog, about 20-inches long, that had already been tagged. It looked like it had been on there sometime so it will be interesting to learn the history of that fish. We did bump bottom leaving Rudy Inlet and it was close on the way back in. Be careful until they get that area dredged.

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