COME THERE THEY GO
October is normally the transition month for the summer species
to depart and The black drum have long since packed up and headed
South; weight citation bluefish (16 pounds), never arrived; the
last of the cobia are easing down the coastline toward NC; the Spanish
mackerel have departed; as of this writing, we are still awaiting
the arrival of the yellow bellied spot; and school sized stripers
are all over the Bay and its tributaries. The weight citation
(40 pounds) stripers will be here around the changing of the year.
of comparing the past 12 years, from the Saltwater Fishing Tournament
weekly reports, I have decided to use the dates of the catches of
the heaviest fish the fall and winter Chesapeake Bay species to
set up housekeeping. I use the word normally so I can
use several comparisons to make a point.
recorded so far, and the date of the last weight citation for the
Trying to stay in alphabetical order, by species, with a minimum
weight of 80 pounds required, the 86 pound leader was caught on
April 30, and the last weight citation was recorded on September
no 16 pound minimum weight citations issued for bluefish, and only
4 release citations (36-inches) recorded. With a minimum weight
of 55 pounds necessary for a weight citation, the heaviest fish,
97 pounds, was caught on May 29, and the last weight citation was
written on September 22.
As of this
writing (October 10), the heaviest croaker, weighing 3-4 (with a
minimum weight of 3 pounds required) was recorded on July 2, and
the last weight citation was recorded on September 13.
flounder, 12-12, was recorded on June 25 and the last weight citation
was recorded on September 28. The leader for gray triggerfish, (minimum
of 4 pounds), was a 5-4 beauty, caught on June 7, the last weight
citation was written on September 22.
With a 1-1/2
pound minimum weight for a citation, the Kingfish (roundhead) leader,
weighing 1-9 was recorded June 9 and the last weight citation recorded
was September 22. The leader for black sea bass (with a minimum
weight of 5 pounds) was recorded on Sept 30 and although there have
been 18 weight citations issued in 2012, there have been none since
the leader was established.
with a minimum weight of 10 pounds for a citation, has a 14-8 leader,
caught September 16. This has been the last sheepshead in 2012 so
trout, with a minimum weight of 5 pounds required for a citation,
has a 14-1 leader, caught February 24, and the last weight citation
recorded was on September 16. Striped bass, with a minimum weight
of 40 pounds for a citation, has a current leader weighing 74 pounds,
caught January 20 this year; the last weight citation recorded for
2012 (as of this writing) was on May 19.
With a 9
pound minimum weight required for a citation, the tautog leader
weighed 24-3 and was caught March 25. The last weight citation recorded
for tautog was August 30.
As I scanned through the records for 2012 (so far) I found several
species that had no entries beside them, or a species which normally
would have either weight citation totals, release citation totals
or both, with no entries for 2012.
As I stated
at the onset, there were no 16 pound+ weight citations written as
of the end of September. The most pleasant surprise of all the species
we deal with inside the Bay, was the gray trout reports. You could
probably count on one hand the number of gray trout CAUGHT in the
past couple years. They started reporting catches of throw-back
size gray trout (less than 12 inches) from Buckroe pier and the
shoreline from Buckroe up to the mouth of Back River.
the most pleasant reports to the most surprising, the spadefish
name appears. I cant remember when there were no weight citation
(minimum of 9 pounds) fish caught, especially at the Chesapeake
Light tower and around the Cell. There was just a total absence
of the big brood fish. Hook and line anglers were catching plenty
of small spadefish, but no citations. Several scuba divers made
numerous dives around the spadefish hotspots and had the same reports.
JUST NO BIG FISH.
With a pretty
good blow just passing the Peninsula by, everyone is expecting the
arrival of the yellow bellied spot. Even the Gill Netter's have
spread their gear.
MY CLOSING CRYSTAL BALL REPORT
and skinny water anglers all along the Western portion
of the Bay, have been raving about the presence of puppy drum everywhere.
Initially the fish were from 7 10 inches; then they grew
to 10-12 inches; then they hit the 17-inch + mark, Although there
were not many keepers reported (minimum of 18-inches), the expectations
for the 2013 season are sky high.
Neptune and Mother Nature both have a relaxing winter, we, the recreational
anglers of the Chesapeake Bay should have a fabulous 2013 angling
be some changes to the regulations, so be sure to check out e very
species you target, and stay within the law.
Tight lines, sharp hooks and strong knots.
Peninsula Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey
Foundation scheduled the weekend of June 2 & 3 to invite wounded
service members, disabled veterans, and members of their families
to a "little piece of Paradise." The location is in Isle
of Wight and owned by Jimmy Chisman, his wife Anne and daughter
Wounded Warrior Ron Matuszak with a catfish.
Ron caught over 25 fish in 3 hours of fishing.
80+ acres of property has been developed into a home and training
grounds. The property also contains a moist magnet, two fresh
water lakes (ponds) filled with largemouth bass, bream, crappie,
chain pickerel, catfish and bowfin.
The Chisman family was gracious enough to allow our chapter to use
the larger or the two lakes to purchase 500 pounds of hatchery raised
catfish from Dr. Lynn Blackwood, owner of Blackwood Farm hatchery
in the Farmville area.
fish are placed in an aerated tank and delivered to the lake at
a specified time. They are delivered early enough before the
actual fishing event, to allow them to become acclimated to their
new home, and are fed hatchery feed pellets every three days until
the fishing starts.
A Little About the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)
Being very active throughout Virginia, the NWTF provides numerous,
funded activities such as:
-In 2011, $450,222 was spent on habitat improvement projects.
- Developed 3,088 acres of wildlife openings.
-Spent $52,300 to purchase 37 acres of hunting accessible land.
-Spent over $230,000 to introduce over 240,000 youth to outdoor
-Provided archery equipment to 194 state schools.
-Awarded $153,000 in High School Scholarships.
-Spent almost $60,000 on programs introducing women to the outdoors
- Provided over 146 outdoor opportunities to over 2676 Virginia
A few chapters, such as the Peninsula Longbeards, are concentrating
on introducing our active, retired, reserve, and National Guard
recovering wounded or disabled, to the joys of fishing both fresh
water and salt water in our area.
In order for us to provide the recent opportunities to the participants,
many of our volunteers and sponsors came together to form the respective
committees required. The chair-person was/is Sue Minnick and
she did a very remarkable job. She kept track of all the puzzle
pieces, made sure they fit, and directed traffic.
We had volunteers from locals fishing clubs, from Bass Pro Shops,
the Senior nursing class from Sentara College of Health Sciences
had 15, nurses-to-be on Saturday and 22 present on Sun., Virginia
Moose Association District 2 Lodges and Chapters, and a multitude
of volunteers desiring to help the guy out.
Sunday we welcomed Assistant Baseball Coach David Mitchell, from
the Carolina League Peninsula Pilot Team, and he brought 4 of their
college players to assist. These young men were tremendous.
They assisted the participants fishing, took fish off the hook,
and most of them tried their luck and caught fish.
On Saturday we had 25 participants and 28 volunteers and on Sunday
we had 12 participants and 32 volunteers. We had wounded warriors
from both the Peninsula and Virginia Beach.
The fishing started both days around 9 AM. Participants were
provided with a rigged fishing rod, and we had volunteer bait folks
at every fishing area to keep the night crawlers available.
When a fish was caught (everyone from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg
could hear the commotion), a camera person got a shot or two and
all fish caught were released alive.
am proud to say that our timing of the stocking and the periodic
feeding schedule we developed, all worked out wonderfully.
Plenty of fish were caught, to include catfish, bream and largemouth
bass. Around 12 Noon, our volunteer cooks (Dan Minnick and
Matt Smith) had the fried fish, hush puppies, baked beans, salad,
hot dogs and all the trimmings ready, and the participants and fishing
volunteers gathered to eat. Terry Chisman provided 4 gasoline
golf carts for transportation.
After eating, Anne Chisman and a few volunteers gave a wonderful
demonstration of the form of Tai Chi that Anne teaches. And
the day?s activities ended as Terry Chisman brought out about 10
baby sheep and a couple of adults, and had one of her beautiful
sheep dogs demonstrate keeping the flock together and moving them
in a direction indicated by Terry using a small whistle.
On Sunday the same time schedule applied. The volunteers that
were not there on Saturday were given a fast golf cart tour of the
fishing areas and then the rods and reels and bait were distributed
and the fun began. Once again, the catfish and bream were
hungry and provided plenty of action for the anglers.
The one major change to the Sunday scenario was the fact that the
Chefs from the Bridges Restaurant, located on Rt. 17, just across
the James River Bridge, prepared the meal, and everything was super.
Chisman gave another demonstration and Terry had her ?wonder dog?
do his thing and we ended each day by presenting a beautiful collectable
wrist watch to a participant. We gave three watches away and
the fellas were thrilled.
After each days scheduled activities were over, the volunteers were
allowed to fish for a couple of hours and again, the fish cooperated.
Several very nice largemouth bass were caught, photographed and
The Peninsula Chapter of NWTF has another event which will take
place in September. This is a three day event and we have
around 175-250 participants over the weekend. The specifics
haven?t bee worked out yet, but if anyone knows of someone with
a disability (military, veteran or civilian) have them contact Sue
Minnick @ 757-244-4707 and we will make sure they join our merry
band. Administrative and fishing volunteers are also always
welcome. I hope to have all the information in the August
Angler Website Sponsor
THE ANGLER WEBSITE...
for early May found me speaking at a monthly breakfast meeting of
retired Newport News Shipbuilding employees. I was asked to
speak about the fishing areas, both fresh and saltwater in our area.
I put together
a few documents I use to spread the word to anglers, new to the
area, concerning information available to the general public.
document I discussed was the 2012 Virginia Freshwater Fishing &
Watercraft Owner's Guide. This publication is available (free) at
every licensing issuing location. It gives the fishing license information
and fees; Freshwater Fishing Regulations; there is a fish identification
section with pictures of all the various species found in Virginia
(39 individual listings) accompanied by identification particulars,
locations with the best fishing for the species, and they even recommend
the best equipment, to include the top lures/baits.
assistance to boaters and anglers, there is a Public Lakes Guide
broken down into the following areas:
Staunton River District
New River Valley
West Central Virginia
all Major fishing Rivers are identified and copies of the documentation
necessary to register a trophy fish is provided.
section in this publication is the Watercraft Ownerís Guide.
Everything a new boater in Virginia needs to know is explained here,
to include the costs involved in registering your vessel and the
Watercraft Sales and Use taxes.
the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), log
on to www.HuntFishVA.com,
or call customer service at 866-721-691. For additional information
on watercraft registration and titling, call the Boat Section of
the VDGIF at 804-367-6135 or toll free 1-877-898-6268.
To get acclimated
to saltwater fishing in Virginia and to stay up to date, there are
as number of different documents you need to become familiar with.
The first one is the 55th Annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
2012 brochure. As you open the brochure there is a listing
of the Eligible Species and Minimum Weights for Citations (25 species)
and Eligible Species and Requirements for Release Citations (26
species). There are 2 pages of Tournament Rules; one page with State
Record Rules; one double page with the Virginia Marine Game Fish
Records; 1-1/2 pages of 2012 Weigh Stations located on the Eastern
Shore, Tidewater, Northern Neck, The Peninsula (York-James), and
the Middle Peninsula (Rappahannock-York); one page with Outstanding
Angler Awards Program requirements and Annual Species Awards requirements,
and one page listing the previous yearís Annual Species Awards.
two other cards that are printed each year and made available to
all anglers. The first is The Virginia Marine Resources Commission
2012 Recreational Fishing Regulations For Virginiaís Marine
Waters Size and Possession Limits. This card lists 23 individual
species with the minimum size limit (If there is one) and a possession
limit (which may change).
is a closed season, i.e. Black Sea Bass : Open Season May 19 - October
14; November 1 - December 31, this is also indicated. There is a
caution issued for all species whose specific seasons have not been
determined when these cards are first printed (in March).
new seasons are determined, the cards will be re-printed with the
most current data and the print date is on the front side, at the
bottom of the page.
of the cards is titled Virginia Marine Resources Commission Important
Information Concerning Saltwater Fishing Regulations For Striped
Bass. As the title says, this card contains all the regulations
concerning angling for striped bass in Virginiaís Coastal
and Federal Waters.
Striped Bass card lists the following:
Season - January 1 - March 31 and May 16 - December 31 with a possession
limit of 2 fish per person, with a minimum size of 28-inches, and
contains the Coastal Regulations.
Area Season (Spring) May 16 - June 15 with a possession limit of
2 fish per person, from 18 to 28-inches. (One of the two fish limit
may be larger than 32 inches).
Trophy Season, Chesapeake Bay and Tributaries May 1 - June 15,
Waters (Territorial Sea) ñ May 1 - May 15 with a possession
limit of 1 fish per person with a minimum size of 32 inches.
SALTWATER ANGLERíS GUIDE
Saltwater Anglers Guide is a free publication of the VMRC developed
to assist recreational saltwater anglers in becoming better stewards
of our natural resources. The online version has been divided
into individual sections to increase download speeds.
If you have any questions or comments on the guide, please contact
Lewis Gillingham, Director Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
(757) 491-5160; firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia's Marine Waters and Fisheries
to Virginiaís Saltwater Fish-How, When and Where to Catch
Public Boat Launching Facilities
Angler - Angling Ethics
Artificial Reef Program
Saltwater Fishing Tournament
Game Fish Tagging Program
and the Virginia Marine Police
Saltwater Recreational Fishing License
Fishing - Where to begin
current Anglerís Guide was printed in 2009, I went on the
internet and (with a ream of paper handy) copied each chapter and
placed them in a vinyl notebook, tabbed each one and placed an index
tabbed divider between each subject.
that get the most of my attention are first, the locations of Virginiaís
Public Boat Launching Facilities. I am constantly getting emails
or calls about accessible launch locations. Next is Virginiaís
Artificial Reef Program. There is a lead sheet which is a section
of Chesapeake Bay and has all the reefs identified. Next I turn
to the chapter concerning Virginiaís Saltwater Recreational
Fishing License. Last, but not least, is the fish identification
guide to help answer species questions.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER FISHING TOURNAMENT CITATION SPECIFICS
document, provided to the recreational angler, is the billfold size
folded card, listing the minimum lengths for release citations and
the minimum weights for a kill citation.
There are 34 species listed and this card is a speedy reference
to have handy to either settle arguments or provide accurate answers.
I have one at my computer, one in my billfold, one in my glove compartment
and one in each of my saltwater tackle boxes.
I hope to have enough catch information to do an article on the
top species biting around the Bay and Rivers.
Angler Website Sponsor
THE ANGLER WEBSITE...
about a year ago I received an invitation, along with Dr. Julie
Ball and Lee Toliver, to fish the Dominion Power Company Hot Ditch
discharge canal for speckled trout and puppy drum. We had a fantastic
time and caught many fish.
thereafter I got an invitation to accompany a few soldiers from
the Warrior Transition Unit at Ft. Eustis, to join the Project Healing
Waters club and fish the Hot Ditch again. These two trips seemed
to peak my curiosity concerning catching these fish outside the
hot ditch, in the Elizabeth River area, and a couple spots I had
been reporting about on the Peninsula.
I also wrote about my first trip on the Elizabeth River with Louis
Glaser, President of the Norfolk Anglers Club, and Ned Smith, a
club member. Again we caught dozens of fish and I began my learning
When fishing the waters of the Elizabeth River and its tributaries,
I used the same un-painted jigs (1/8 and ¼ ounce) tipped
with several different Gulp and Fishbites paddletail plastics. I
caught a few fish, but not nearly as many as Louis and Ned.
were using the small. Model 17 MirrOlure suspending twitchbaits
in a variety of colors. It didnt take me long to question
Louis about the model and color numbers, and then head to Bass Pro
Shops and pick up a few of each.
my next trip I was really ready. We began casting and as fate would
have it, I was being out fished three or four to one. Shortly before
I was going to take up a different hobby, Louis, with a grin on
his face, asked me to compare our baits. I knew we were using the
same size and color, but what I didn't know was that Louis and Ned
modified their lures by tying buck tail hair on the rear hook.
I had not experienced getting trounced, I would never have believed
that would have made that much difference. Well, another trip to
Bass Pro to pick up several two-packs of small, treble hooks with
hair, then back home to make emergency repairs to my lures.
My next trip was with George Wojcik, a member of the Mako/Mercury
Marine professional staff at Bass Pro Shops, who invited me to fish
the skinny waters around the mouth of the York River. My first trip
with George produced mostly small flounder and croakers, but since
I wasn't getting trounced in catching speckled trout, I was satisfied.
On my next trip with George I couldn't believe our totals. George,
being a devout game fish tagging participant, doesn't keep any fish,
he just puts them into the live well and periodically stops to tag
and release them. We caught fish on several color combinations of
MirrOlures; on small jigs, tipped with a variety of sizes and colored
Gulp or Fishbite plastic trailers; on top water lures; and on my
second favorite speck lure, a popping cork, with a 15-inch leader
tipped with a 1/8 ounce jig and various colors of plastic trailers.
At the end of this particular trip, when we took a break to tally
up the tagging sheets, we had caught, tagged and released 64 short
fish (less than 14-inches) and 36 legal sized fish. On this trip
we fished for about four hours and I know we pulled off at least
another dozen keeper sized fish.
I fished several more trips with George and although we didnt
match the totals of our previous trip, we managed 27 short fish
and 14 keepers on one trip and 36 short fish and 15 keepers on another.
As I mentioned, George is a devout tagger and I was almost in tears
from laughing when he told me he was going to have to hold off for
a couple days so he could visit Lewis Gillingham, co-director of
the Tagging Program, to replenish his stock of tags.
I received my next offer to chase specks from Louis about a week
later. We fished Little Creek and again, we had tremendous luck.
The majority of our fish were taken on twitch baits, but I did manage
to catch a couple on the popping cork, and a couple on a 4-inch
Gulp mullet on a 1/8 ounce unpainted jig.
We were fortunate enough to bring in 16 keeper fish on this trip
(10 fish per person possession limit). We would have easily had
our limit of 20 fish, except we pulled off several right at the
boat, and I using my expert netting skills, knocked three of Louiss
nice keeper fish off the hook, right at the boat.
By this time I am about ready to convert to chasing specks all the
time. This is as close as anything I have tried yet, to fresh water
bass fishing. I am slowly building up my selection of lures, jigs,
trailers, popping corks, and a supply of pre-tied trailer hooks
for each new MirrOlures.
The Project Healing Waters folks are going to fish the hot water
discharge canal on the 15th of Nov. and I have been invited to participate.
I hope to get some good pictures and add another chapter to my speckled
Saltwater anglers are reminded that the Chesapeake Bay fall striper
season ends on December 31. After that, all stripers caught inside
the Bay must be released.
Get out on the water. The Bay temperature is slowly dropping and
the stripers are becoming more and more active. I have contact with
several charter boats that are eager to get you on the fish. Call
me at 757-874-4970 or email me at email@example.com.
Tight lines, sharp hooks and strong knots.
after another is causing a lot of confusion in the recreational
fishing community. Two days after the recent hurricane, my son and
I visited a couple of private ponds in Isle of Wight and found that
the water was just slightly high, the clarity was surprisingly good
and the water temperature was in the low 80s.
a favorite area for largemouth bass and when we worked our way there,
we found the bass still cooperating. It was around noon, with a
bright sun, and no clouds, and we found the larger fish in very
shallow water. I fished a worm for a while and had only one pick-up,
while my son was fishing a #3 Mepps, with a red and white spinner
blade and white bucktail on the hook.
two, really large bass but we didnt land either. I had given
him a small snap swivel, which opened and released the first fish
as we got it beside the boat and the second one parted the 6 lb.
test line we fish with. Using the same model and colored Mepps,
I boated one fish, weighing about 2-1/2 pounds and we then called
it a day.
reports from many of the ponds and lakes in the area have been pretty
scarce. Some areas had lost power and were closed. Others had tree-falls
and debris throughout and were closed to clean up. Most all the
area lakes were reporting their waters were at full pool, slightly
stained (from the run-off), and with temperatures running from the
low to high 80s.
we get back to normal from the first storm, another tropical
depression, dropping a ton of rain, and forecasting much of
the same for about a week, has dampened the spirits of many of the
fresh water enthusiasts.
anglers are back at it as if nothing had ever happened. Several
of our Chesapeake Bay species were really hitting before the storm
and had folks wondering what the break in the weather would bring.
Before the storm, Buckroe Fishing Pier was giving some of the best
catch reports of the year.
were filling buckets and coolers with their tasty prey; day and
night customers were catching big spot, two at a time, until they
had their coolers full; croakers, small bluefish, Spanish mackerel
and grey and speckled trout were all being caught. At night they
had runs of small Spanish and sand sharks.
lost their handicapped ramp and the front stairs were damages, but
they got the ramp repaired and were open in time for the holiday
weekend. Even though the numbers have dropped off, anglers continue
to catch yellow bellied spot, medium sized croakers, small Spanish
mackerel, an occasional keeper flounder, mixed in with numerous
As the weather
subsided, reports of big, yellow bellied spot, began to come in
from the York River, Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets, the Monitor-Merrimac
Bridge Tunnel (M&M), the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (HRBT),
around the lower Bay inlets, and from most of the piers. The area
around the Monitor-Merrimac Bridge, looked like the Spanish armada
had arrived on Saturday, Sept. 10. The wind was fairly calm and
as long as the current was moving, the fish were biting.
weighing up to 1-3/4 pounds, were caught around the pilings of the
HRBT by anglers offering Fishbites, bloodworm scent and squid. As
with most of the species, a moving current seemed to produce the
pounders, who had their fingers crossed during the hurricane, were
fairly happy with the bite taking place after the water cleaned
up a bit. The areas around the 3rd and 4th Islands of the Chesapeake
Bay Bridge Tunnel have been producing for both live bait and flounder
rigs drifted along the rocks and deep water channel edges.
exciting action after the big blow has come from the Speckled trout
crowd. Although the fish are on the small side (which could result
in a great bite next year, if they survive the winter), measuring
between 7-1/2 and 15-inches, the numbers are fantastic. Jon Lucy,
the former Co-Director pf the Virginia Game Fish Tagging program,
reported one angler tagged over 100 fish in two days of fishing
while Jon and a partner tagged 55 in a 3.5 hour period another day.
Some larger fish, weighing up to 6 pounds, were reported, but the
locations of the catch were strangely missing from the report.
that the cobia and red drum are preparing for their departure from
the Bay. Big schools of big drum have been sighted schooling around
the pilings of the CBBT and around the oceanside buoys, while the
cobia, although their numbers are fewer, are holding around the
Baltimore Channel buoys and some are moving along the Virginia Beach
bit of cobia news, was that quite a few yearling cobia
have been caught and with each little one brought to the boat, oftentimes
there have been several other little ones beside them. Like the
speckled trout reports, the sighting of many, many small cobia could
provide for an exciting season next hear.
from the Cell/Buoy 42 area down along the Western side of the Bay,
to the coastline along Virginia Beach to the inlets throughout,
are reporting loads of Spanish mackerel that are attacking small
spoons trolled around 6 -7 knots. The reports are saying that while
trolling the spoons, if you are catching Taylor bluefish, you need
to increase your speed. The Spanish are after the fast
are reporting catch and release stripers at the M&M and HRBT
tunnels at night. By the next magazine report, we should have some
Keep a weather
eye out for thunderstorms and high winds. The fish are around their
normal haunts, be polite and make sure you have a designated driver
if you have alcohol aboard.
I have a
new web page (thanks to Capt. Alan Alexander) and would like to
invite everyone to check out www.fishingtidewater.com.
month, tight lines, sharp hooks and strong knots.
the Tidewater weather raising havoc with the fishing, both fresh
and salt water, the actual "catching" news has been very
scarce. Nevertheless, there has been fishing related activities
taking place which might be newsworthy.
For the previous month, the water temperature in Chesapeake Bay
has ranged from a low of 44.1 to a high of 51.1 degrees. Just as
the waters began to warm, the ever popular cold front moved in and
the temperatures were lowered to the extent that the fish that were
starting to bite, namely flounder, got lockjaw. Yet, those anglers
who were able to get out for short periods of time, between blows,
seeking the spring run of tautog, were having excellent luck. Clams
and pieces of cut crab were the most productive baits, along with
fiddler crabs when available.
One recent report that has stirred a little salt water activity
is the reporting of local hook and line catches of flounder. Anglers
working a pier on the southside reported catching croaker measuring
as long as 16-inches, while Buckroe Fishing Pier customers, fishing
at night, report catching buckets full of ¾ pound croakers
under the lights beneath the pier.
Last month I wrote about my experience in fishing the Dominion Power's
section of the "Hot Ditch" open to Dominion employees,
retired Dominion personnel and a select few anglers having a pass,
and the success found there. Then came the Spring Fishing Classic
at Bass Pro Shops where Louis Glaser gave a talk on using big baits
to catch big flounder.
After his seminar, I had the pleasure of speaking with him at length
about his speckled trout prowess around the hot ditch. During our
discussion I commented about not having much experience with keeper
sized specks (14-inches or longer), even when fishing in the "hallowed"
Dominion waters, and he immediately said he would contact me to
go on his next trip to the Elizabeth River area.
Two days later I received the invitation from Louis and that started
one of the best learning experiences I've had related to inshore
saltwater fishing. Not knowing exactly what type of gear to use
and what variety of lures to take I called George Wojick for suggestions.
George brought me a few soft plastic lures and 1/8 ounce jig heads
he uses there and I immediately went to Bass Pro shops and got a
package of each.
My selections were Berkley Gulp, Nuclear Chicken , 4" Mud Minnows;
Fishbites, 3" Electric Candy (Pink), and Fishbites 3"
Chartreuse sassy shad bodies. My equipment consisted of two 5'-6"
Medium Light weight spinning rods, one with a Penn 2000 light spinning
reel spooled with 6 lb. test mono, and the other with a Diawa Sweepfire-A
2000 light spinning reel, spooled with 8 lb. test mono.
I met Louis and his fishing partner Ned Smith at Top Rack Marina,
located on the Elizabeth River, and we proceeded on our way. We
stopped at several spots along the Elizabeth River, dropped the
anchor and proceeded to cast. Louis and Ned were casting small Mirrolures
and I cast the Nuclear Chicken Mud minnow.
Ned caught the first fish and the "catch" was on. We caught
several specks at almost every stop, admiring the beautiful animals
and releasing them all. I got a lesson in nautical geography, in
that I had no idea that Deep Creek was a branch of the Elizabeth
River, and I got to fish the other end of the real "Hot Ditch",
when we anchored in the mouth and continued casting.
The mouth of the hot ditch was our last stop on my first trip and
there is where Louis made a believer of me when he began to close
the gap for the most fish of the day. As a matter of fact, when
the totals were counted, Louis had climbed from second to first
place with a total of 25 specks, Ned was second with 16 and I brought
up the rear with a total of 14. Our totals that day were tremendous
and although I have made several more trips, and we all caught fish,
there hasn't been another day like my first.
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the flounder and of both
red and black drum. Louis indicated that he spent considerable time
seeking these fish and I am hoping to get my first citation flounder.
New Game Virginia Fish Tagger Orientation
On Tuesday, April 5, at 6:00 p.m., at the Bass Pro Shops Training
Room, 27 new taggers met with the VIMS-VMRC folks for the 2011 orientation-tagging
practice. Registration took place from 6 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and
from 6:30 until 7 p.m. the new taggers were welcomed by Lewis Gillingham
from VMRC, and Susanna Musick from VIMS, co-directors of the 2011
Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program.
Those in attendance were given the background and history of how
the data received is used; exactly what data is needed; and the
proper method of entering the data on the forms everyone received
in their Taggers Package.
The second stage of the training took place from 7 p.m. until 8
p.m. This is when the folks were divided into 3 groups and were
rotated through 3 stations to practice: the first station showed
the T-bar tagging gun and tags, used on smaller fish and the SS
tags and applicator, used on medium to large sized fish.
Fish collected from local commercial fishermen were provided for
the new group to practice on. Finally the most critical part of
the tagging program, the forms used to record the tagging data and
the importance of the accuracy of the data forwarded was discussed
and all questions were answered.
The taggers were advised to forward the recorded data as soon as
possible after each fishing trip. Not to wait until the form is
filled (13 entries on each side of the record sheet). Also, in order
to make the data entries run smoother, each tagger was requested
record the tag number on the sheet prior to leaving home.
At the end of each fishing trip where tagging occurred, copy the
data from your form and FAX it to VMRC or mail it to the tagging
headquarters (the address and FAX number is at the bottom if each
CITATION TOTALS COMPARED
In an effort to justify my assumption that so far in 2011, the catch
totals concerning the number of species, are lagging far behind.
This year, as of the April 6 report, we have citations reported
for 4 species: Blueline Tilefish, Speckled Trout, Striped Bass and
Tautog. Last year as of this date, there were 9 species citations
recorded: Blueline Tilefish, Flounder, Gray Triggerfish, Sea Bass,
Speckled Trout, Spot, Striped Bass, Tautog and Bluefin Tuna.
With the current warming trend predicted to continue, the fishing
around the Bay should get better and better. Be safe, get out, catch
all you want, but keep only what you intend to use.