Hunting and Fishing Day is quiet in VA

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2006

The National Rifle Association donated $3,500 towards the state’s National Hunting and Fishing Day observance. The National Wild Turkey Federation chipped in $2,500. Looks like the state is in for a pretty nifty celebration. It should bring out thousands of people, introducing them to the outdoor life we hold so dear.

There is, however, one problem.

Again this year the celebration will be held in West Virginia, not in our state.

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Last year, Virginia held a pathetic, poorly advertised and poorly attended event at the Phelps Wildlife Management Area.

In Virginia hunting and fishing license sales continue to plunge and the Game Department and the state’s sportsmen’s clubs continue to sit on their hands and wait for someone else to do something.

Once upon a time we had pro-active clubs and a vigorous Game Department that organized wonderful events celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day., but that hasn’t happened in years. Come to think of it, I’ve yet to see the Governor’s announcement recognizing the day.

Saltwater Action

Ken Neil of the Peninsula Saltwater Anglers Club says Ernesto signaled a time of change. If you were enjoying the marlin bite, this is a bad thing. If you prefer tuna, this is a good thing. There are still marlin out there to be caught but the area we were catching them now has much cooler and dirtier water. Billfish catches have likely peaked off of Virginia and will continue on the downslope through October. The good news is that more and more yellowfin are showing up. Look for them in about 30 fathoms, east of the Fingers. With all of the bait that we have offshore, we should have some very good tuna fishing through November. Wahoo and dolphin are both plentiful out there right now.

Closer to shore, there has been a pretty good king mackerel bite along the oceanfront. King mackerel fishing should remain good through October. Cobia are podding up and moving on out of the bay. There can be some great fishing if you intercept one of these groups of fish. As the bay clears back up, a very good flounder bite will resume. Look for these fish to be stacked up along the Baltimore Channel and near any structure in the bay and around the ocean wrecks.

It is time for some serious spot fishing. There are good numbers of &uot;eating size&uot; spot around. The run of big spot should be at its peak by the time of our club spot tournament on Oct. 7. Speckled trout are available in good numbers at their usual haunts. Back River is holding good numbers of specks. Sheepshead are still available along the CBBT.

It is official, the IGFA has approved the third and fourth All-Tackle World Records caught on the Healthy Grin this year. Jeff Dail’s 36 lb 5 oz Snowy Grouper was approved as a new world record and then was retired to be replaced by Jason Ferguson’s 37 lb 9 oz Snowy Grouper caught on the same trip. Jason’s fish is now the standing record. The other two world records caught on the Healthy Grin were both blueline tilefish. Both Troy Warren and Jeff Dail qualified for blueline tilefish All-Tackle World Records.

Jeff has now caught two world record fish this year and he didn’t get to keep either record for very long. His Snowy Grouper record did not last a day. His blueline tilefish record lasted for about a week before being replaced by a fish caught by fellow club member, Darren Foster (17 lbs 5 oz) which is the standing record. Jeff still gets a couple of world record certificates to hang on his wall though. The IGFA has been hearing a lot from the PSWSFA this year. Jenny Manus caught a 17 lb 7 oz blueline tilefish which is pending as the next world record and Barclay Shepard’s state leading, 12 lb 1 oz speckled trout is the IGFA 4 lb Line-Class World Record.