Sun., Nov. 19, 2017
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Offseason Fishing Report 2-14-17


NEW YORK

Point Lookout

Catches of cod were about the same Saturday as on the previous weekend on the party boat Captain Al, Capt. Tom Weiss said. That was good, because the angling had picked up on that previous weekend. On Saturday’s trip, several dozen of the fish were swung in. Shallower water closer to shore – 65- to 75-foot depths – fished best. Every drop produced a handful of cod, not big, from throwbacks to 7 or 8 pounds, there. The trip then fished deeper, but the angling slowed, and no cod bit in 85 feet. So the trip returned to shallower water, catching cod again in the afternoon. Wind canceled Friday’s trip, and the crew shaped up to sail Sunday. But rain fell and wind, from the east, blew a little, and no anglers showed up. So Sunday’s trip stayed docked. The ocean on the fishing grounds was 41 ½ degrees Saturday. That was a degree higher than on the previous weekend, surprising, because Thursday’s snowstorm hadn’t cooled the water. Tom couldn’t know whether the water became cooler after Saturday’s trip. Cod biting in shallower water can be surprising for this time of year. During some winters, they school deeper by now, because the water is colder close to shore. When Tom saw the water temperature, he wasn’t surprised the fish were found shallower. Cold water was yet to shove them deeper. Eventually in winter, cold water usually pushes the fish out of range. That might be delayed this year. Still, jump on the fish while they’re in, because one never knows when they’ll move deeper. Bait was marked on Saturday’s trip that looked like big schools of herring. Sometimes cod can be jigged when baitfish are schooling, and anglers on the trip tried jigging, but clams hooked all the cod on the outing. Dogfish seemed mostly to depart the area for the season, because only three or four were caught. A couple of blackfish, out of season in New York, were landed and released. Long-range forecasts look good for this weekend’s trips to fish, and the boat is sailing 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday through Sunday. If cod are in, the trips target them. Otherwise, the trips fish wrecks for cod, pollock, ling or whatever will bite. The vessel is this website’s only that targets cod exclusively this season. If forecasts hold out for the weekend, take advantage, because many boats are weathered out during this time of season. The only boats that Tom heard about that fished last Sunday were from Montauk. He heard about none that fished from New Jersey then.  No boats might’ve fished all weekend from Jersey. See More Info. Call: 516-623-2248.

DELAWARE

Blackfishing was great from Delaware before the storm Thursday and wind that kept boats docked in the next days, online reports said. Anglers limited out, including at Reef 11 in the ocean. The bag limit is five of the tautog 15 inches or larger per angler, per day, through March 31. Afterward, the limit becomes three of the fish per angler. Waters off Delaware can be somewhat warmer than off New Jersey in winter, keeping blackfish biting off the First State when colder water slows the angling from Jersey.

Virginia

No striped bass were reported boated on the ocean off Virginia yet this winter. So the fish seem unlikely to show up within 3 miles from shore, where fishing for them is legal, this season. In recent winters, stripers schooled beyond 3 miles off Virginia, where fishing for them is closed. Stripers or rockfish used to give up a tremendous fishery within 3 miles in January and February near Virginia Beach. The fish winter off the state. In March, the fish will begin migrating back north. These are mature stripers that migrate. Young stripers, yet to migrate, remain in the Northeast in winter, mostly in rivers, sometimes in bays. Rivers are the warmest water along the coast that season. Because the stripers that winter off Virginia are the most mature or oldest, they’re also the biggest.

NORTH CAROLINA

News was quiet from North Carolina. Windy weather kept boats in port. But no catches of bluefin tuna were reported from most of the state in the past week. That included from Oregon Inlet, where the angling can begin in mid-February and usually peaks in March. A few of the tuna were already docked there this winter, covered in previous reports here. But none was reported caught from Oregon Inlet in a week. Then again, weather probably prevented the trips. Bluefin fishing from Morehead City, farther south in the state, slowed a couple of weeks ago, after producing in the previous month, and that’s a usual schedule. A few were reported caught even farther south of there in the state recently. But anglers now waited for the fishing to pick up from Oregon Inlet, and that could happen soon. The fishing could also pick up near Cape Hatteras, between Morehead and Oregon Inlet, but no bluefin catches were reported from there yet this season.

FLORIDA

Islamorada

Sailfish sometimes bit, not red hot, but every trip that tried for them managed at least one with Captain Easy Charters, Capt. Bruce Andersen said. Trips aboard mostly troll live bait or fish live bait from kites for sails. On occasion, sails are found balling up baitfish. Then live bait can be pitched to them. King mackerel, blackfin tuna and wahoos hit in the same area, offshore of the reef, 4 or 5 miles from port. Lots of different snappers were nailed during bottom-fishing on the boat. On a few days, mutton snapper fishing was good. Live bait is fished for them at deeper wrecks in 200 feet of water, 6 or 7 miles from port. Bottom-fishing there with cut bait reeled up a variety of other snappers including vermillion, yelloweye and lane. Call: 305-451-9578 or 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

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