Tuna

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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Cobia

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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February Sea Bass

Dear KENNEDY E NEILL III,

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.

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More Sea Bass

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.

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Sea Bass

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.

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More Sea Bass

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.

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