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Offseason Fishing Report 12-20-16


Welcome to the first Offseason Report of 2016-17!

NEW YORK

Point Lookout

The season’s first trip for cod was expected to sail today on the party boat Captain Al, Capt. Tom Weiss said. The boat is this website’s nearest to New Jersey that fishes for cod daily this time of year, and cod that were already caught during blackfishing recently aboard weighed 10 to 15 pounds, or were decent-sized, not small. They were hooked in 50 to 70 feet of water, and 50 feet is usually where the season’s first appear. Cod will swim deeper and farther from shore as water becomes cooler. Herring and a few mackerel swam the water, so maybe the cod chased them. The fishing usually peaks in the next weeks, so don’t delay sailing for the cod. Weather looked calm in the next days, after rough weather during much of the past week, including frigid cold, the season’s first cold snap, on Thursday and Friday. The boat last fished on Wednesday, for blackfish. That was New York’s final day of blackfish season. Trips are sailing 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. If cod are in, the boat goes after them. Otherwise, trips wreck fish for cod, pollock, ling or whatever bites. See More Info. Call: 516-623-2248.

Delaware/Maryland

Big striped bass were showing up at the rips toward the mouth of Delaware Bay off Delaware, but were very scarce, online reports said. Trolling boated them best, because water could be covered. Almost no stripers were reported boated from the ocean off Delaware within 3 miles from shore, and anglers hoped some would still arrive, because stripers were still boated on the ocean off New Jersey. Anglers hoped the bass would migrate south. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from shore. Weather was also rough this past week, preventing most boating, keeping reports scarce. Delaware’s surf anglers banked practically no stripers. Boaters from Delaware cranked in good catches of blackfish and sea bass from the ocean, when they had the weather to sail. Farther south, baitfish, birds diving on them and even whales were reported from the ocean off the Delaware/Maryland border. One trip tried for stripers there between the weather, but nothing bit. The water was 47 degrees.

VIRGINIA

Virginia Beach

Tough news: none of the annual, wintertime, deep-drop, party boat fishing trips will sail this winter with Rudee Inlet Charters, because of fishing regulations, Capt. Skip Feller said. This is the first time in 20 years the boat isn’t going to fish in winter. The trips used to sail for sea bass, until sea bass fising was closed in winter some years ago. The trips in recent years targeted a unique mix of fish that included blueline tilefish, black belly rosefish, wreckfish, barrelfish, groupers and more at Norfolk Canyon, several hours from the coast. Those fish could still be angled, but different requlations in recent years have discouraged the crew from sailing now in winter. Rudee reported on the angling for this Offseason Report each winter for years. Visit Website.

Striped bass or rockfish were yet to be reported seen in the ocean within 3 miles off the coast near Virginia Beach Fishing Center this season, a report said on the marina’s website. Rockfishing is open within 3 miles and closed beyond, and anglers wait for the fish to migrate to the local coast each winter. But in recent years, the bass failed to appear in the legal water, though plenty schooled the ocean beyond 3 miles. The population of the fish is made up of the entire migration of stripers that spends spring to fall in the Northeast. They winter off Virginia, because of warmer water. In the coldest winters, they migrate as far south as off North Carolina. Some sizable stripers were slow-trolled on eels from Chesapeake Bay off Cape Charles. Another source said not many of those bass were around, but the ones caught were big. Rockfishing in the bay will be closed beginning Jan. 1, like every year. For boaters from Virginia, the fishing on the ocean is currently closed and will be opened from Jan. 1 through March 31, like every year. That’s unlike New Jersey, where fishing the ocean for stripers is open year-round, though practically no stripers remain in the ocean off Jersey in winter. Many, many stripers used to school the ocean off Virginia in legal water in winter. Charter boats from the marina used to participate in a thriving fishery for them. They used to advertise on this website and give reports. But the fishing dried up. During some winters, bluefin tuna show up in the ocean tight to shore off Virginia for the marina’s boaters, including charters. Blackfishing was currently good in the bay. Speckled sea trout bit in Rudee Inlet. Visit Website.

NORTH CAROLINA

FLORIDA

Islamorada

Great day of fishing yesterday, Capt. Bruce Andersen from Captain Easy Charters wrote on Captain Easy’s Facebook page. A trip that day aboard went 4 for 6 on sailfish “with some nice kings and tunas as well,” he wrote. The boat’s winter fishing, from December to March, began, and was off to a terrific start, including for sailfish. Now that the first cold fronts arrived, sails, king mackerel, blackfin tuna, wahoos and mutton snappers began to show up. They make up “our winter live bait fishing,” he wrote. Much of this month is booked, but plenty of dates are available in January and February. Call: 305-451-9578 or 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

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