Offshore, anglers are targeting billfish with major tournaments happening each week. Mostly white marlin are being caught but good numbers of blue marlin and some sailfish are also being caught. Non-tournament anglers slow-trolling live bait have scored the best catches of white marlin so far. Dolphin can be encountered and some decent catches are being made on the inshore hills. There are some yellowfin tuna around and the occasional bigeye tuna is being caught. Wahoo are also available but right now, it is mostly billfish. More anglers are experimenting with daytime dropping for swordfish. They are having success and some impressive swords are being brought back to the docks. Offshore bottom fishing is producing good catches of golden and blueline tilefish.
The coastal wrecks are holding flounder, sea bass, triggerfish and some big sandtiger sharks. Spadefish can be found over most of the wrecks. Triggerfish, spadefish and flounder catches are also good at the CBBT where big sheepshead can also be found. It has been an excellent summer for Spanish mackerel. They are being caught along the oceanfront and throughout the lower bay.
Cobia catches remain excellent. Both chumming and sight-fishing are producing fish. Anglers in the lower bay and along the oceanfront are mostly sight-fishing. Those trying to chum are dealing with seems to be a record number of sharks. The mid-bay chummers are not having the shark problem. Anglers looking for cobia are also running into big red drum occasionally.
Puppy drum and speckled trout are available in all of the normal grassy area. This fishery will pick up as we move into fall. Another historical fall fishery is the spot. Good numbers of spot have been around this summer which means we should have a good spot September.
The PSWSFA Youth and Ladies Croaker and Flounder Tournament is over. The awards for this tournament will be given out (along with the awards for the Spot Tournament) at a club picnic at Dare Marina on September 24. But do not wait to turn in your weigh forms, do that now. The Don Forman Cobia Tournament has begun and will continue through the end of August. Be sure to register with Rick Wineman prior to fishing.
The PSWSFA Cobia Bowl raised $11,000 to help support cobia research at VIMS.
At the August 15 PSWSFA meeting, we will have Stan Simmerman talking to us about swordfish, mainly because he is infatuated with the things. Meetings are free and you do not need to be a member to attend: www.pswsfa.com .
Aug 11, we ran out with Dr. John Graves of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He brought along PhD student William Goldsmith. Our target was young-of-the-year bluefin tuna. Researchers have wanted them for various studies and we try to catch them some each year. Somehow, we have become the baby-bluefin catching experts for the research labs on the east coast (run offshore, troll for Spanish mackerel, and hope to get lucky). It is a big ocean out there for a boat of one to try and round these things up. There is even more interest in catching the babies this year now there is evidence of another Atlantic spawning area so chasing babies we went. We caught little blackfin tuna, frigate tuna, false albacore, various species of jacks, dolphin, and we did catch baby bluefin tuna. These bluefin tuna are actually headed to the University of Maryland for an otolith study. We also kept the blackfin tuna. They are headed to Harvard to be CT scanned for a study about tuna movement (Willie got his undergraduate degree from Harvard before coming to VIMS). The dolphin came home for dinner.
Aug 9, Wes Blow took graduate student Douglas Jensen out to tag cobia. They caught 7 cobia.
Aug 6, we ran out to the Norfolk Canyon to troll live chub “tinker” mackerel for marlin. We had to work at catching the tinkers. Better than the tinker bite was the squid bite. Our best squid catcher was Congressman Rob Wittman. He was loading up on those things every drop. Before becoming a Congressman, one of Rob’s previous professions was a charter boat mate out of the Outer Banks. In short order, he had beautifully rigged squid in the trolling spread along with the live mackerel. The squids looked great but every marlin, which we missed, and every hammerhead, which we could not miss, wanted the live mackerel. We did not catch a single marlin out of a few encounters. We did end up with a nice bycatch of sea bass and blueline tilefish while catching bait and the guys got fresh calamari.
Aug 4, Danny Forehand fished the Norfolk Canyon. They released 2 white marlin.
Aug 4, Rick Wineman ran offshore. They released 2 white marlin and caught a dolphin.
Aug 2, Barclay Shepard fished around the CBBT. They caught sheepshead, flounder, triggerfish, tautog, and cobia.
July 16, Wes Blow fished for cobia with Congressman Rob Wittman. They caught, tagged, collected DNA sample and released 4 cobia.
July 16, Capt. Rick Wineman fished the Fingers. They caught 2 yellowfin tuna.
July 16, Johnny Boyd fished near the HRBT. They caught 5 keeper flounder to 20 inches.
July 16, we fished the Fingers for the bluefin tuna that were there a week prior. We caught 1 little yellowfin and a dolphin.
July 14-15, Capt. Jorj Head, (757) 262-9004, fished the ODU Alumni Cobia Tournament. He won it all. Their Friday fish weighed 63.7 pounds which won the daily Calcutta and took first place in the tournament. Their Saturday fish weighed 59.4 pounds which won that day’s Calcutta and was the second heaviest fish of the tournament. Their total winnings were $9,840.
July 9, Wes Blow fished for cobia and caught 5.
July 9, Danny Forehand fished the Tower Reef and caught close to 30 flounder.
July 2, Wes Blow and Congressman Rob Wittman fished for cobia. They caught 7 up to 48 pounds.
July 2, Stan Simmerman trolled the oceanfront. They caught Spanish mackerel to 21.5 inches long and red drum to 46.5 inches long.
June 24, I fished the Cobia Bowl. I caught 6 cobia but the largest was 44 inches long. I bit shy of the 82.6 pound fish that won.
June 11, Capt. Jorj Head, (757) 262-9004, sight-fished for cobia. They caught 11 cobia to 49 inches long.
June 11, Danny Forehand chummed for cobia catching a 50-inch fish that weighed in at 44 pounds.
June 11, Barclay Shepard fished around the Norfolk Canyon. They caught a 4-man limit of blueline tilefish.
June 11, Stan Simmerman fished out of Hatteras. They caught 26 dolphin and a dozen Spanish mackerel.
June 10, Hunter Southall fished offshore. They caught 10 yellowfin tuna and some dolphin.
June 10, Capt. Jorj Head sight-fished for cobia. They caught 6 cobia with the largest weighing in at 64 pounds.
June 10, I went out with Charles Southall. We caught 10 cobia and then left them to try for drum. We should have stayed with the cobia. No drum for us but we did quit early. Bite might have happened if we had stayed into the dark.