Weekly Sportfishing Rundown
07 March 2014
Right on time, another winter weather system rolls through the Mid-Atlantic area this week. This time we are spared the typical icy conditions, snow, and frigid gale-force winds. Instead, we can expect heavy torrential rain, flooding, and gusty winds to over 35mph. Anglers just canít wait until spring arrives!
As the temperatures gradually rise over the rest of the month, optimistic flounder hunters will begin watching closely. The first wave of spring flounder often debuts in the lower Bay by the end of March. The best early spring flatfish action always comes from the Eastern Shore seaside creeks and inlets such as Quinby, Wachapreague, and Oyster. Croaker will also make a debut in March, an event welcomed by local pier anglers.
Since the closure of the speckled trout fishery this month, the only game in town is the old winter stand-by, tautog. But with the tough regulations on tog, and with bait hard to find, not many are putting in the effort for. Remember you can currently keep up to three fish stretching to 16-inches, or longer. A few boats still ventured out over the past week to try their luck during weather windows, with some mixed results. Boats working inshore and offshore wrecks are finding some takers, with a few fish pushing up to around 15 to 20-pounds lately. On the deeper structures, big seabass are fighting for offerings, but you still canít keep them. Cod, a fish popular in more northern regions, are also hitting bait intended for tog. Cod also make great table fare.
Anglers working the Elizabeth River are still partaking in decent catch-and-release speckled trout action. Cove anglers are using cut bait, shiners, and gudgeons with some good success. Casters are still scoring with both twitch baits and jerk baits this week, with chartreuse the color of choice. If you want in on the speck action, donít delay. The bite will begin to slow up towards the end of March, as many fish move out of the River. A few specks averaging to over 24-inches, along with feisty puppy drum pushing to over 30-inches, are available to those putting in the effort, especially for anglers who are able to access the Hot Ditch.
Boats venturing out to deeper water offshore are still finding nice blueline tilefish and other deepwater species such as golden tilefish and scattered grouper. Remember to toss the seabass back since the season is still closed. Dogfish continue to make fishing in deep water a challenge, but these pesks will move out once the water warms up.
Anglers driving down to Carolina can get in on the growing bluefin tuna bite. Many of these fish are weighing in at well over 100-pounds. A few black fin and yellowfin tuna are also reportedly in the mix.