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Fish News: Cold Temperatures

Fish News
Cold Temperatures

In spite of these cold temperatures, some rockfish continue to be caught and released inside the bay. The HRBT and the York River are both holding some fish. Striped bass, puppy drum and speckled trout are being caught in the Elizabeth River in the Hot Ditch area. Tautog are active on the ocean wrecks. The offshore bottom fishery has really been hurt by the sea bass closure. Tilefish are available along the 50-fathom curve but the sea bass you will find mixed in with them must be thrown back over.
The 2010 flounder regulations are being determined. We will be able to fish under slightly easier regulations this year. Likely regulations will be something like 18.5-inch minimum with a 4 or 5 fish bag limit with no closed season. If we try to go down to an 18-inch minimum, we will need to have a summer closure of a bit over a month.
Feb. 15, Rick Wineman fished the Elizabeth River. They caught a 38-inch striped bass on their speck tackle. They also caught a couple of speckled trout to 24.5 inches.
Feb. 15, after getting my kids off to school (snow make-up day and Tricia slept in as a Valentine's gift), I went and picked up Charles Southall's kid. Charles had to work but 14-year-old Hunter was off for Presidents Day. Charles was not exactly happy working while his son went fishing. He thought that it should be the other way around. Steve Martin joined us and we headed out to the Triangle Wrecks for tautog. It was a nice calm day on the water for a change. Fishing was slow and unlike our last trip, no citation-sized tog were caught. We did catch some fish. Steve kept a few for dinner. We released 11 others with tags in them.
Feb. 3, Wes Blow fished the Elizabeth River. He caught 3 speckled trout up to 23 inches long.
Feb. 1, Rick Wineman fished the Hot Ditch. They caught a 22-inch speckled trout and some puppy drum.
Feb. 1, Roger Burnley and I ran out to the Triangle Wrecks. We caught tautog and a few small sea bass using clam for bait. I weighed in one citation tog at 9.25 pounds. We tagged and released most of the fish. We caught one tog, which already had a tag in it.
Jan. 31, Rick Wineman fished the Hot Ditch. They caught speckled trout in the 18 to 22 inch range and lost a couple of larger fish.
Jan. 27, Hot Ditch report from Wes Blow: I fished for speckled trout Wednesday. I got an early start and was the first boat in so I had my pick. First fish I caught was an unhealthy looking rockfish about 2 feet long. I quickly let it go. Then a while later I had a bobber twitch a little so I grabbed the rod. I held it for what seemed a couple minutes watching the bobber slightly twitch every so slightly occasionally. Then abruptly the bobber was gone and a quick jerk and I was hooked up to the hardest fighting and erratic trout I have caught. It would have a long run with violent headshakes then calm down and start again. After working it around my other lines and anchor during it's impressive fight I finally got it to the boat and was able to net it on the first try. The fish ended up being 7 pounds and 14 ounces of absolute fun to catch; before I saw it I was thinking it was quite a bit bigger. I ended up catching 6 fish and losing one other at the boat that got tangled in another line.

Dr. Ken Neill, III writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association (

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