Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 2022

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 25 Update:

Talk about a lame report… between the sea bass shut-down in VA and a number of breezy days deterring those intending to tog fish, we heard nothing from boats headed out through the inlets this week. Anglers headed in the opposite direction — inland — did find perch in the coastal creeks fishing minnow for yellows and grass shrimp of bloodworms for whites, with a lot more yellows than whites in the mix thus far. Anglers heading for the Eastern Shore millponds, meanwhile, found a great pickerel and bass bite, on minnow and jerkbaits.

millpond pickerel
Herb had a great day on pickerel and bass this week, after traveling to the Eastern Shore millponds.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 18 Update:

Although few boats are leaving the docks these days, those headed to the offshore wrecks are still managing to bring in a few tog. They can be found on the wrecks, and fishing for them is varying from day to day. Captain Monty’s latest report from the Morning Star was of a slow pick but he did mention there were some very nice fish in the mix including a pair of 28-inchers and a pool-winner that hit 29.5 inches. Hopefully, the changing weather this week will shake things up a bit.

morning star tautog
Although the bite was slow last week it did include some very chunky tog. Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 11 Update:

Reports are thin this week, due to cold weather last weekend followed by some breezy days. Tautog remain the main coastal gamefish action, but recent reports indicate a bit of a tough bite since the last bout of weather. Capt. Monty on the Morning Star had a few lackluster trips recently, though we have to note that this is how tog fishing goes — hot and cold, from day to day. However, with the recent warming trend it’s fair to have high hopes for the next couple of days, before the weather once again reminds us it’s actually winter out there.

pushing reef material off boat
The fishing may be slow at the moment, but the reef building continues! Visit the OC Reef Foundation to learn more; photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 4 Update:

Captain Monty reports that the tautog are still biting when weather allows the Morning Star to get off the dock, but some days are better than others by a wide margin. That’s tog fishing — epic one day, deader than a doornail the next. He and his crew have been steadily tagging and releasing lots of the fish, which are snapping up crab baits. Tog can be found in the inlets and on and around structure feeding on crabs and mussels as well when it's warmer, but by all accounts you need to get to deeper waters these days as inshore water temps are too low for any real action.

angler with a tautog on morning star
Tog are just about the only game in town at the moment. Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins

If you missed last week’s breaking news: It's official - Virginia's special February season for sea bass is off for 2022. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission voted 6-1-1 to close the season Tuesday before last. Considering how great this fishery was and how many sea bass are out there many folks are wondering why the heck this happened. These fishing reports aren't really the proper venue for a huge discussion about fisheries management, but if you get bored while sitting inside thanks to the weather this weekend, Google "mrip black sea bass." The results will keep you busy for hours. The bottom line: the fish-counters say too many black sea bass were harvested last year coast-wide, and much as Virginia regulators didn’t want to shut this season down they didn’t see any other option. According to the rep we spoke with last week they do hope to bring it back in 2023 if possible but no promises can be made.