Fish News: Tropic Star
It is time to bang a drum. Big red and black drum have arrived. They are being caught along the Eastern Shore seaside and on and around the shoals near the mouth of the bay. Other species will not be far behind.
Capt. Craig Paige will be the speaker at our May meeting. He will be talking about catching trophy-sized flounder. Nobody catches more doormats than Craig.
Virginia's big billfish tournament is scheduled for Aug. 22-25. Visit www.vbbt.com for details.
April 29, Frank Kearney fished the Hump for flounder. They caught four keepers up to 22 inches long.
April 29: Tricia and I had a great time fishing at Tropic Star last week but it is good to be back home. Our fishing here isn't bad either. I wanted to go offshore bottom fishing one more time before Virginia's new tilefish/grouper regulations went into effect. We wanted to load up on blueline tilefish and we also wanted to stop and catch some more of those wreckfish. The Virginia Marine Resource Commission is collecting them and sending them to a lab in the Carolinas somewhere for study. So we headed offshore (the run is a bit farther than out of Panama). My crew was Ric Burnley, Roger Burnley, Bob "Sponge Bob" Manus, Jeff Dail, and Charles Southall. We stopped at the wreckfish spot first and caught plenty of juvenile wreckfish for the study and then moved a bit and caught some bluelines, all according to plan. None of the blueline tilefish were big. We also caught some sea bass, again nothing big. The other fish were the big ones. On our first drop, we caught wreckfish and Bob pulls up a fish that we now know is a blackbelly rosefish. Funny looking fish. The current world record is 3 pounds 6 ounces. Bob's fish weighed in at 3 pounds 11 ounces, our first record of the day. We caught more of those rosefish but none were as big as that first one. The second drop produced big fish for everyone. Some had double hook-ups of wreckfish. Jeff Dail brings up our first ever golden tilefish. It weighed in at 44 pounds even, big enough to establish the Virginia State Record, record number 2. We had to get his fish out of the net quick because Roger comes up with a big snowy grouper, a little bigger than the 37-9 world record, which we had set last year. This keeps going on. Ric Burnley catches another big snowy, almost a twin of the one his brother caught. We ended up with 6 big snowy grouper. Two were very close to being new world records but then Roger took away any doubt with his second big grouper of the day which weighed in at 49 pounds 9 ounces, plenty big for another world record and to establish the initial Virginia State Record for this species, record number 3. These big fish sure do fill up coolers fast. We had a lot of storage space but after 3 hours of fishing, there was no more room. We came in and started the process for all of the records. If they all go through, this will make 6 all-tackle world records and 2 Virginia State records established on the Healthy Grin in one year's time. I can't wait until next weekend.
April 28, Stevie and Brandy Powell fished for flounder near buoy 38A. They caught 9 flounder up to 25 inches long.
Dr. Ken Neill, III writes a weekly column for The Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association (www.pswsfa.com).