September 2017 Fishing Report

As the summer season starts to wind down, sadly the fishing is doing the same, although this has not been a banner year for fishing.  We got off to a wet, cold and windy start and it seems the winds lingered even now as I write this.. The regulation size limit for flounder of 17" made it a challenge for anglers to put their bag limit in the cooler.. A lot of shorts, I pray, will make next year's flounder size much larger and hopefully more keepers. The croaker fishery, in my opinion, is spent. We have not seen the multitudes and legions of that boney yet tasty fish in almost five years. As each year passes, the millions of croaker dwindles down to thousands in numbers and this year I would even venture to say that we had less than a few thousand show up AND I seriously believe the 'netters' cannot be blamed for the low numbers showing up. Personally, I believe the inshore coastal shark fishery - which, by the way, has taken off like a rocket in popularity - has got to play into the equation.. Face it, thousands of 3-5 foot shark constantly swimming and forging for food is enough to intimidate any small pan size fish from swimming into closed off channels.. Talk about a feeding freenzie.. 

Anyway, what did not diminish in numbers were the kingifsh aka, roundhead, aka whiting... They provided fishing entertainment for many anglers.. But, of all the inshore fisheries that has grown in popularity and anglers being turned on to a adrenaline rush fishing trip - PLUS - putting a 20-40 pound fish in the cooler - that is if it fits  - is the inshore, coastal sharks.. Finetooth, Atlantic Sharpnose and the Bonnetthead have provided and hooked anglers like no other fish that I have seen in decades.. Whether it be because flounder is becoming more difficult to catch or whatever the reason, all I know is this fish is popular. AND, good eating, too... 

There are still a few flounder in our waters. Just last week an angler caught 3 - 4 flounder at Queen Sound bridge, with one being a keeper measuring in at 19.50".. Speaking of Queen Sound - she just did not take off this year - well, she has been the flounder capital for previous years and no fish, no good speakable fishing grounds. So, what is the reason we are seeing less of these flatties? It certainly is not being overfished since the state of Virginia has not met their quotas in more the two years. Just like the Bluefin tuna fishery - anglers must travel all the way to the Canyons anymore to get a tuna - a small one, at that. Those years of 165 lb bluefin are just a memory anymore, as well as travelling only 28 miles offshore to catch them. Sadly, I do not think we will see those days again. So glad I experienced those grand days..

But, the artifical reef, Blackfish Banks, still produced some nice flounder this year although not as many as last year. I truly beleive the Gulf stream did not feed into our waters as in previous years. We need that warmer water to have a good fish bite... Reports from anglers fishing the reef, aka, subways cars, box cars, said the water on the bottom registered at 48 degrees all summer with top water fluxuating from 68 to 71 degrees.. Not only did this reef produce flounder, but, some triggerfish, black sea bass, spadefish and trout.

We will see what the effects of these storms will have on the waters for the rest of the season.. You know what the ole timers say, 'Fish don't know it's raining, but they sho nuf know it's blowing'..

 Saying prayers that fishing will give us a hopeful end to the 2017 season.

Donna

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