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Florida Charters
Offseason Report

Report from Tuesday, February 20.

| Virginia | North Carolina | Florida | Last Week's Report |
THIS REPORT IS UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY

The report covers out-of-state saltwater fishing
from late fall through winter, New Jersey’s off-season.

Virginia
Virginia Beach

Mild weather enabled boaters to fish for blackfish and sea bass on the ocean from Virginia Beach, according to online reports. Good catches of them were made in 120- to 140-foot depths. At one tackle shop, a crew weighed-in several blackfish 9 to 12 pounds Sunday. Sea bass season is open through the month from Virginia. A few party boats fished ocean wrecks for cod and pollock, catching them. Trips that sailed 30 to 50 miles from shore reported seeing large schools of striped bass. Striper fishing is closed beyond 3 miles from the coast. A trip that limited out on sea bass saw a few birds, slicks, floating bunker and marks on the way in. The anglers stopped and jigged, reportedly trying for bluefin tuna or bluefish. They hooked large striped bass instead, releasing them.

North Carolina
Oregon Inlet

A few commercial boats fished for bluefin tuna in the past week, locking into some good catches, said Norma York from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. A 533-pounder dressed was the only weight she heard about. Three boats with charters aboard headed for the tuna this morning from the marina. Norma expected to post a report about the trips on the shop’s website when the anglers returned today. Some of the commercial captains reported seeing good numbers of yellowfin tuna. Whether they hooked any was unknown, and they were targeting bluefins. Visit Website.

Hatteras

Surf anglers eased a few puppy drum from the water from Hatteras to Frisco, online reports said. They angled black drum and mullet at moments. Temperatures were in the 60s yesterday and 50s during the weekend along the shore. Sometimes boaters headed out, returning with a few yellowfin tuna and blackfin tuna.

Florida
Islamorada

A 100-pound swordfish was cranked in from bottom in 1,500 feet of water, 24 miles from shore, during daytime on a trip this past week aboard, said Capt. Bruce Andersen from Captain Easy Charters. Fishing for light-sensitive swords used to be common only during nighttime. But a daytime fishery for them has developed in deep water, where swords lurk in the dark of the depth, from places including the Keys. The fish was hand-cranked some and reeled in with the electric reel some, and Captain Easy can set up with manual reels or electric reels for the fishing, depending on angler preference. Lots of king mackerel bit aboard during the week. A few blackfin tuna, sailfish and mahi mahi chomped. That was all on live bait during a mix of fishing the bait with kites or slowly trolled just offshore of the reef. Along the reef, 3 miles from port, yellowtail snapper fishing was great on the boat. Call: 305-360-2120. Visit Website.

Some of the traveling charters to the Florida Keys fished throughout this Presidents’ Day weekend with Mike Roth aboard, said Capt. Joe Hughes from Jersey Cape Guide Service from Sea Isle City, N.J. Mike was mostly fly-fishing for tarpon and had just jumped one off when Joe gave this report yesterday morning in a phone call aboard. He sight-cast to the fish in shallow water. He had one on that jumped off after a couple of leaps the previous day, too, and had other tarpon bites this weekend. The fish yesterday morning were rolling around, were there. He also fished with conventional tackle during the weekend, landing fish including lots of jacks and mangrove snappers. This was all on Florida Bay. Visit Website. Call: 609-827-3442.

Last Week's Report
NEW YORK

Point Lookout

A few cod and ling were pitched aboard Friday and Saturday on the party boat Captain Al, Capt. Tom Weiss said. The fishing was slow, and the cod weren’t big. But angling might’ve begun to pick up, because bergals gave up better action than before. Maybe winter’s slowest fishing hit bottom and was on the rise. Small blackfish, out of season in New York, were also hooked and released. The ocean was 38 to 38 ½ degrees at the depths fished, 75 feet to 160. No trip sailed Sunday in rain, but trips are slated to fish 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday through Sunday. The boat will be in the ship yard beginning March 1 for a couple of weeks for maintenance, so no trips will fish then. When cod are in, the boat targets them. Otherwise, trips fish wrecks for cod, ling or whatever will bite. See More Info. Call: 516-623-2248.

DELAWARE/MARYLAND

Little was reported about fishing in this area yet. Maybe that will change before long. Brackish water in rivers and creeks, warmer than bays and the ocean this season, can be some of the first places fished in the year. Yellow perch are hunted in the lower stretches of tributaries off Delaware Bay in Delaware, once the perch begin biting. But the fish seemed yet to hit, because of cold water. The bay itself was in the upper 30 degrees. Farther upstream can be a place for bites on some rivers and streams. Nanticoke River, on the Delaware and Maryland peninsula, was fished farther upstream, tossing up good catches of yellow perch, white perch, sometimes throwback-sized striped bass, and crappies, according to online reports. But the water was cold enough that bloodworms failed to catch the white perch, one report said. The cold “seems to drain the blood from the worm,” it said, so the perch seem to lose interest. But grass shrimp nabbed the perch. The throwback stripers gathered mostly near the Delaware and Maryland border on the river. A place called the Hawk’s Nest was the hot spot, the report said. Striper fishing is closed in rivers and bays this time of year, so the stripers, even if they were keeper-sized, had to be released. During some winters, boating for blackfish on the ocean is popular from Delaware. But the ocean was cold this year, slowing the angling. A trip fished from Virginia Beach, another report said, two weekends ago, cranking up blackfish, sea bass and mostly dogfish from ocean wrecks. Ice froze on the deck and windows.

NORTH CAROLINA

Oregon Inlet

Boaters from Oregon Inlet Fishing Center ran into a good number of yellowfin tuna 20 to 40 pounds, Norma York said. A few trips fished for them from the marina, including one on Wednesday and another on Friday. A few blackfin tuna were also taken. A few bluefin tuna caught on commercial boats were heard about. One weighed 393 pounds. Not a lot was reported about bluefins, but some were around. Visit Website.

FLORIDA

Islamorada

A little of everything bit for Captain Easy Charters, Capt. Bruce Andersen said. Lots of king mackerel, lots, smashed live bait fished just offshore of the reef the past couple of weeks. Some sailfish pounced during that fishing, and a few mahi mahi, from schoolies to gaffers, none heavier than 12 pounds, were mixed in. A 35-pound African pompano, an uncommon catch, was nailed on a live bait, a cigar minnow, fished along bottom for mutton snappers while a charter from Belmar, N.J., fished for kings aboard. At the reef, a few miles from port, bottom-fishing for yellowtail snappers was becoming better, because of warming water. The fishing had already been good. Call: 305-360-2120. Visit Website.