Fish News: Amberjacks are at the Towers

Fish News
Amberjacks are at the Towers
by Dr. Ken Neill, III

Tuna action is very good right now. Fish are being caught from the Triple 0s on up to the Washington Canyon. Both yellowfin and bluefin tuna are available in numbers. Be sure to check the bluefin regulations since they can change at any time. The gaffer dolphin bite remains good and more billfish are showing in the spreads. Amberjacks are at the towers. Spadefish can be caught at the Chesapeake Light Tower but some of the better catches are being made over some of the coastal wrecks and structures in the bay like the CBBT, Wolftrap Light, and the Range Tower. Flounder action has been very good along the Baltimore Channel, at the Hump, and around Back River Reef. Cobia are being caught at all the normal chumming spots throughout the lower bay. Red drum can still be caught on the shoals. Black drum are being encountered at the islands of the CBBT. Spanish mackerel have arrived in the lower bay giving us yet one more species to fish for.
June 18, One of my goals for this summer was to catch a citation-sized sheepshead. I've caught a few small ones in the past, by accident. Whenever I have tried to fish for them I have not caught any. After a lot of heavy hinting, I finally got an invite to fish with Robin and Julie Ball on the Spoiled Rotten. They catch a bunch of big sheepshead every year. We ran out to the CBBT and Julie says there are sheepshead on that piling. How she knew, she won't tell. Robin nosed the boat up to the piling and we dropped our baits down and in less than a minute I was hooked up. Seconds later, so was Julie. Gee, there is nothing to this. Robin netted our fish. Julie's was 24.5 inches. Mine was 25.25 inches. Both long enough for release citations. We tagged and released both fish though my fish got to take a ride in the live well first. I wanted to have it officially weighed in: 9 pounds 1 ounce back at Long Bay Point. Total of about 5 minutes fishing and we had accomplished our goal. We did not get another bite at that piling. We tried a few more and I hooked up with another fish but the hooked pulled. We saw plenty of spadefish around the pilings and there were three boats anchored up current drifting bobbers back for them. Out of the 3 boats we watched doing this, we knew two of them. Capt. Steve Wray caught one spadefish and one sheepshead. The spade weighed in right at 9 pounds and the sheepshead a bit more. His charter also caught a bunch of trout and sea mullet. The other boat was run by a friend of the Balls named Andy. He caught one sheepshead a bit over 9 pounds and one spadefish that almost went 11 pounds. I watched the third boat catch a nice sheepshead under a bobber while we were there. Not a lot of fish but all were nice. Robin had a bunch of fresh bunker that he wanted to use so we went over and anchored on 9-Foot Shoal. We caught some sharks and I think we hooked up two cobia. Robin had the hook pull on what I think was a cobia. Julie caught our one cobia of the day. A small fish that was released after a couple of photos. We finished up the day catching croakers to 18 inches at the 3rd island. Except for the ones that Julie released for some club points, they went into the live well to be amberjack baits next week.
June 18, Capt. Nolan Agner took a charter out after tuna. They fished in the Triple 0s area. They had a good number of bites managing to boat 9 yellowfin tuna in the 30-40 pound range. They also had a white marlin in the spread but he was just window shopping.
June 18, Bob Edwards fished the Chesapeake Light Tower for spadefish. They managed to catch a few. They then went and caught some flounder to 21 inches at Back River Reef.
June 18, Frank Kearney joined the fleet of flounder fishermen near the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT. They caught a couple of 23-inch fish. They then left the fleet and tried Thimble Shoals Channel. There, they caught 10 flounder from 17 to 23 inches.
June 17, Don Forman, Danny Taylor, David Forman, and Gil Rigo fished the Baltimore Channel near the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT. They caught 4 keepers up to 19 inches. They ended up going to Back River Reef where they caught their limit of flounder to 24 inches.
June 17, Frank Kearney fished the Baltimore Channel near the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBBT. They brought home 20 flounder up to 27 inches in length. The big boy weighed in at 8 pounds.
June 15, Don Forman fished the Chesapeake Light Tower for spadefish. They only managed to catch two 19-20 inch fish.
June 14, Don Forman, Don Lancaster, and Danny Taylor fished the Anglo African for spadefish. They caught a dozen tautog and a number of gray trout. They then tried for cobia without any luck.
Notable Catches:
June 18, Ken Neill: from Seaford: Sheepshead: 9 pounds 1 ounce: CBBT
Julie Ball: from Virginia Beach: Sheepshead: 24.5 inch release: CBBT

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