Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Bill Cochran's Field Reports: Record book rewritten with James River cats
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
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- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
Fly rod anglers last summer discovered that those hog-size flathead catfish in the James River at Richmond were a ticket to getting your name into the world record book. Five anglers did just that.
Most impressive were the accomplishments of William Nicar. He posted a 25-pound, 3-ounce flathead on a cobweb-size 2-pound tippet. Less than a week earlier, he had landed a 29-pound, 8-ounce cat on 4-pound tippet. Both fish were world record fly rod line classes.
Robert Brown, Jr. also got into the action, posting two world records while using heavier tippets. He caught a 31-pound flathead on 6-pound tippet and a 28-pounder on 16-pound tippet.
Glen Carter set a world record for 8-pound tippet with a 28-pound, 8 ounce catch. All of the record-book flatheads were landed in July and August and were posted this week in the International Game Fish Association’s “International Angler” publication.
Along with the jumbo catfish, there were six saltwater records from Virginia water last year:
BARRELFISH, 17 pounds, 4 ounces, Norfolk Canyon, caught Aug. 17 by Marcus C. Jones III, all-tackle record
SNOWY GROUPER, 68 pounds, Norfolk Canyon, Aug. 17, Jere Humphrey, all-tackle record.
DARWIN’S SLIMEHEAD, 7 pounds, 8 ounces, Norfolk Canyon, Aug. 19, Ron Van Kirk, all-tackle record.
SPADEFISH, 7 pounds, 6 ounces Chesapeake Light Tower, July 19, Dr. Julie Ball, 4-pound line class.
SPADEFISH, 1 pound, 14 ounces, Santore Wreck, Aug. 3, Dr. Julie Ball, fly rod 4-pound tippet.
SPADEFISH, 2 pound, 5 ounces, Santore Wreck, Aug. 3, Dr. Julie Ball, fly rod 12-pound tippet.
FLOUNDER REGULATIONS TO BE CONSIDERED
Flounder fishing regulations for Virginia’s 2009 season are scheduled to be set by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission Feb. 24. Three options are under consideration:
- A 19-inch minimum length limit with no closed season and a five-fish limit.
- An 18.5 inch minimum with a closed season July 21-Aug. 3 and a five-fish limit.
- An 18.5 inch minimum with no closed season and a five-fish limit.
Each represents a very slight backing off from last season’s regulations which included a 19-inch minimum size, a fish-fish limit and a closure July 21-30.
The state’s quota is up slightly for 2009; what’s more, anglers came in under last season’s quota.
BLOOM OFF SALTWATER STRIPER FISHING
The bloom may be off the winter striped bass fishery along the coast of Virginia. Anglers now must cover more water to find stripers and many boats are returning to dock without fish, according to Dr. Julie Ball.
“It seems the larger schools of the bigger fish are remaining out of reach over the three-mile limit, which is frustrating for boaters watching beehives of birds working six miles or further offshore,” she said. The current season is limited to water three miles out from the coast.
The fall/winter striped bass run has meant big business for the Virginia Beach area in recent years, extending the sport fishing season by several months. Anglers have come from as far away as Germany, China and New Zealand this year. Last month, Bill Dance filmed an episode on the fishery for his TV series, “Bill Dance Saltwater.”
Virginia Beach officials say they have no data on the economic impact of winter fishing, but recreational fishing year-round employs 2,856 people and brings in $218.5 million to the area, and those figures are four years old.
- The beautiful and wild mountain along the lower end of Smith Mountain Lake is called Smith Mountain and defines the lake in more ways than just giving it a name. It provides a beautiful backdrop for anglers and boaters. Nearly 5,000 acres of the ridge has been permanently protected through a conservation easement donated by Appalachian Power. The easement is co-held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
- I have a friend who is a consulting forester and avid hunter. His report: “Grouse shooting has been terrible,” and “timber stumpage prices are down to what they were in the late 1980s.” I am thinking maybe there is a connection between the two!
- The man and his family arrived at Roanoke’s Sportsmen’s Warehouse at 7 p.m. to discover the store was closing for the day. At 7-oclock on Friday? “You mean I drove all the way from Blacksburg for this,” he said. Yeah, there are new late-winter store hours, he was told. This is another subtle way of saying that the slow economy is hurting outdoor sports along with most everything else. Less than subtle was the announcement that Orvis had laid off 30 employees at its Roanoke distribution center in January.
- The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries plans to capture and tag walleye at several locations this spring as part of a 3-year study to learn more about this species. Look for tagging operations at Lake Whitehurst, Philpott Reservoir, Hungry Mother Lake, South Holston Reservoir, Lake Brittle and the upper New River. The yellow plastic tags are located on the dorsal fin and are worth $20 each.
- If you think ammunition prices are high now, just wait. Five states -- Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and New York -- have pending legislation that would require manufacturers to code their ammo they make with serial numbers.
- Dennis Adams, a successful kayak angler from Roanoke who has been featured on this site, had hoped to have a seminar on kayak fishing at a Roanoke outdoor store, but it didn’t materialize. So Adams said he is willing to sponsor a seminar on his own if there is interest. E-mail him if you are interested in learning more about the fast-growing sport of kayak fishing.
- Virginian Cory Routh is heading the Mid-Atlantic Heroes on the Water program, which has the goal of rehabilitating wounded military troops via kayak fishing. He will help organize fishing outings for troops throughout Virginia. Routh is the author of a recent book on kayak fishing: “Kayak Fishing: The Complete Guide.” Information on the program can be found at heroesonthewater.org.
- The NRA is accepting applications through March 1 from outstanding high school sophomores and juniors to participate in the 12th Annual Youth Education Summit in Washington, D.C. July 7-13. Participants compete for $30,000 in college scholarships.
- Representatives Dan Boren (D-Okla.) and Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) have been chosen co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, which advances the cause of outdoor sportsmen in the 111th Session of the U.S. Congress.
- Never mind the frigid weather, winter trout fishing has been good at Rose River Farm, a pay-fishing facility in Madison County. Owner Douglas Dear reports “great hatches of black caddis and black stone flies on most afternoons.”
- You might think that wind power would be the least intrusive energy source you can think of, but it is proven to be one of the most controversial. Virginia writer Chris Bolgiano send me a copy of an open letter she wrote to President Obama on what she sees as the dangers of wind generators to the Appalachian National Forests.
George Washington National Forest workshop on the forest plan, Feb. 5, 6:30-9 p.m., Peter Muhlenberg Middle School, Woodstock
Mid-Atlantic Sports and Boat Show, Feb. 5-8, Virginia Beach Convention Center, $5 for adults.
Smith Mountain Lake Striper Club meeting, Feb. 6, 7 p.m., Moneta Community Center, program on raising stripers by Ken Mitchell, manager of the Vic Thomas Hatchery.
Virginia’s grouse season closes Feb. 14.
Greater Virginia Sports and Big Game Show, Feb. 20-22, Rockingham County, details from vasportsshow.com.
Richmond Boat Show, Feb. 20-22, Richmond Raceway Complex.
Hunters for the Hungry Open Turkey Calling Competition, noon Feb. 21 in conjunction with the Feb. 20-22 Greater Virginia Sports & Big Game Show at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds near Harrisonburg from vasportsshow.com. Competition for senior open, friction open, intermediate open and youth open. Nearly $2,000 in prize money plus a chance for an exotic spring hunt. The sponsor is the Sportsman’s Warehouse. Entry fees range from $15 to $25. Additional information from Gary Arrington.
Fredericksburg Outdoor Show, Feb. 20-22, Fredericksburg, Va., $6.
Saltwater Sportsman 2009 National Seminar Series, six hours of fishing instruction from the pros, Feb. 21, Virginia Beach Convention Center, $55, nationalseminarseries.com.
Board meeting of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to consider hunting/trapping regulations, 9 a.m., Feb. 26, DGIF headquarters, 4000 West Broad St., Richmond.
Southwest Virginia Boat Show, Feb. 27-Mach 1, Roanoke Civic Center.
Western Virginia Sports Show, Augusta Expoland, Fisherville, Feb. 27-March 1.
Virginia’s rabbit season closes Feb. 28.
Hooked for Life silent auction, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 28 Colonial Avenue Baptist Church.
Smith Mountain Striper Club swap meet, March 6, 7 p.m., Moneta Community Center.
National Capital Boat Show, March 13-15, Chantilly.
Third annual Mid-Atlantic Kayak Fishing Symposium, Wild River Outfitters, Virginia Beach, March 14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Appalachian Highlands Chapter Ruffed Grouse Society Sportsmen’s Banquet, March 28, Holiday Inn, Johnson City, Tenn., information from Donna Vance
Smith Mountain Striper Club meeting, Aril 3, 7 p.m. Moneta Community Center, program on rod building by Paul Craven.
Tidewater Boat Show, April 3-5, Hampton.
Youth spring turkey hunting day, April 4, 2009.
Smith Mountain Striper Club Spring Striper Tournament, April 4, 5 a.m.-4 p.m., weigh-in at Captain’s Quarters, tournament chairman is Frank Skillman, 540-721-1220.
2009 spring gobbler season, April 11-May 16.
Ninth Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, April 18 and 19, on the banks of the South River in Waynesboro, $15.
North Carolina State University Sport Fishing School, May 31-June 4, Hatteras, N.C., $1,445, limited to 45 participants.
Board meeting of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to finalize hunting/trapping regulations, 9 a.m., June 2, DGIF headquarters, 4000 West Broad St., Richmond.
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