Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
President's Day Report
12 Feb 2016
Most news is centered around the weather, which seems to be the most interesting thing going on right now since choices are limited on the saltwater fishing front.
Ocean striped bass are still a no show in Virginiaís legal waters. These fish are wintering so far off the coast, itís not likely inshore anglers will encounter these rockfish until they return to the Bay to spawn. In the Bay, catch and release could be a possibility if there is any interest.
Since the speckled trout population suffered a huge blow last winter, not much is happening on the backwater scene. Some anglers are reporting releasing various sizes of striped bass in the Elizabeth River and lower Bay inlets as a consolation prize for their efforts.
With the limited selection of species to target right now, a few anglers are heading out to open water to target tautog when the weather allows. But at a limit of three fish per person, motivation is low. Crabs work well for bait, but with crabs scarce, folks are using alternative baits such as green crabs, Jonah crabs and clams. Of course, the trick is finding a structure not fished recently. Some big tog are around, along with numerous black sea bass, but sea bass are out of season. Bluefish and cod are also a possibility on these same wrecks, especially for those using clams.
Boats venturing out to deeper water between blows are still finding decent catches of blueline tilefish along the 50-fathom curve areas, with lots of big seabass as a by-catch. Remember to toss the seabass back since the season is closed. Deeper areas along the Canyon edges are showing more activity with blackbellied rosefish, golden tilefish, and a variety of grouper and barrelfish. Dogfish continue to make fishing in deep water a challenge.