Fishing was especially good last week in Virginia.
According to Jack Redinger of Seahawk Sports Center in Pocomoke, "The hot spot for flounder was Wachapreaque. Saturday [May 4] was an especially good day. Every boat we talked with had at least seven or eight flounder. Quite a few had their creel limit of 10. Quinby, Chincoteague and Folly's Creek also saw good flounder catches."
He said that the flounder were taking frozen shiners and live bull minnows.
Sea trout, as well as speckled trout, are also showing up in the bays around Virginia. Fox Island, which is south of Crisfield on the Maryland-Virginia line, was an especially good spot last week. One angler landed more than 50 trout on live peelers and soft crab.
Ocean City's flounder fishing wasn't so good, however. Anglers caught a few good-sized flounder, as well as numerous small "throw-back" flounder -- flounder under the minimum size of 13 inches. Barbara Glinka of Bahia Marina said, "The party boat Tortuga caught 15 flounder last Saturday and eight on Sunday, but only four were legal size. It does not seem like many people are fishing in Ocean City. If more people were fishing, there would probably be more fish weighed in."
Jim Walters of Fenwick Island, Del., had a decent flounder day Monday. He caught two 2-pound flounder on live minnows an hour before high tide in the area of Buoy No. 10 in Ocean City.
Area surf anglers were happy to report catching a few bluefish. From Assateague Island to Cape Henlopen, the news was the same -- one or two blues here, two or three blues there. Most were running in the 1- to 3-pound range. Finger mullet seemed to be the most effective for the blues.
Meanwhile, anglers are preparing for the annual spring run of bluefish. These fish, which can weigh from 3 to 10 pounds, are "lean and mean." They are hungry from the journey northward and will tear into baits and lures aggressively when they are in a feeding frenzy.
Besides the surf, expect to see blues at the U.S. 50 bridge, the Oceanic Pier, the Ocean Pier, the Cape Henlopen Pier, the inlets and any bay close to the mouth of the inlets. Blues will take bucktails, spoons, plugs, squid or mullet baits.
Offshore bluefishing is definitely on the upswing with large blues -- those weighing more than 10 pounds -- being caught.
The best place was off Ocean City in the area just east of the Jackspot. Blake McGrath was chumming and caught more than 20 fish.
The charter boat Mo Jo out of the Ocean City Fishing Center boasted catching 23 big blues last Sunday. The charter boat Wet Whiskers with Capt. Billy Lutch ventured out Monday and landed 32 blues.
Scott Baltz of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle in Indian River said there is phenomenal tautog fishing in the area. "Anglers at Indian River Inlet are catching lots of fish. My mother and I fished one day and caught 20, and released all but eight. The tautog are spawning and it is obvious when you catch a female laden with roe. An 8-pound fish can have 2 pounds of roe in her belly. We release these and encourage other anglers to do likewise.
"The tautog bite best on live sand fleas fished on either slacking tide," he said. "Some anglers use green crab, speckled crab or sectioned hard crabs for bait also. The party boats offshore are catching huge tautog up to 11 1/4 pounds."
Besides the tautog, party boats are doing very well on sea bass. Capt. John Bunting of the Miss Ocean City reports catching sea bass up to 4 pounds over the weekend. He said that the offshore wrecks are still producing more than the inshore wrecks. He also ``TC picked up a few pollock and some tautog up to 6 pounds. The larger tautog are being taken offshore at Indian River and Lewes, Del.
The party boat Captain Bunting in Ocean City had an excellent catch last Sunday. Besides reeling in sea bass, the boat caught several pollock up to 15 pounds.
Gene Racz, owner of R and R Fishing Center in Rehoboth, Del., is excited about the flounder fishing in Delaware Bay. "The flounder started hitting May 6. These fish are large, in the 2- to 4-pound range, and are hitting live minnows and squid."
The first sea trout in the ocean area was reported last week. It weighed 2 pounds and was caught in the Indian River Inlet. The inlet is also seeing a few stripers.
In Delaware, anglers can keep one striper per person as long as it is 28 inches long. It is illegal to transport the fish over a state line. In other words, if you catch it in Delaware, you have to eat it in Delaware.
The Maryland striper season will be open May 11-27. Anglers will be allowed one fish per person per season. The fish must be taken on artificial lures, not bait, and must be at least 36 inches long. To keep a striper in Maryland, anglers must obtain a tag from the Department of Natural Resources (201 Baptist St., Salisbury) or from one of the designated "checking stations." They're on the Shore at Dick's Sport Center in Salisbury, Dave's Sport Center in Quantico and Sea Hawk Sport Center in Pocomoke. There is no fee for the tag.
When releasing undersized stripers, anglers should try not to disturb the scales and natural slime that protect the fish and place the fish back into the water, rather than tossing it. After all, the fish we release today may be "tomorrow's catch."