Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 2024

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 23 Update: 

Fishing reports out of Ocean City and along the coast have been slim to none this past week. The weather has likely had a big part in that as windy conditions and cold temperatures returned, making it feel more like the Februarys we are used to. That said, the tog fishing at the nearshore wreck and reef sites has been decent this winter with boats pulling out some big fish every week. If you can get out during the weather windows, there should be some fish waiting for you. The good news is that the start of spring is less than a month away and fishing will start picking back up soon.

black sea bass season in february
The special February black sea bass season gives Virginia anglers a tempting target through the month.

Virginia anglers have been enjoying some great winter sea bass fishing thanks to the special February black sea bass season. The season will end at the end of the month and anglers will have to wait until May to put these tasty fish in their cooler again. Wreck Dawg Sport Fishing out of Virginia Beach has been hammering the fish with his clients. On a trip this week, they managed to catch an eight-man boat limit totaling 120 fish with the largest weighing nearly seven pounds. Four other fish were citation sized weighing over five pounds. Anglers have one more week to get out for this great bite!

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 15 Update: 

We were treated with some warm weather last weekend that offered up some very comfortable fishing conditions for February. Tog are still biting and Captain Monty on the Morning Star reports decent if not stellar action continues. He did have one very interesting catch this week, a slot-sized red drum. W-a-y out there in the ocean on a wreck. Nifty! Fish In OC let us know that other charters are also finding steady tog action and anglers on Chasin’ Tides Charters got on some very big fish this week including a nearly 20-pounder caught using a tog jig. The black sea bass fishing out of Virginia Beach continues to be great. Most boats are reporting limit catches during trips out to the wrecks with some very nice fish in the mix. There is a little less than two weeks until the special February season closes, and anglers will have to wait until May 15th before they can keep them again.

red drum in the ocean
A red drum while tog fishing in February? Ummm, yup! Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins.

More updates to striped bass regulations were released this week by Maryland DNR. “Striped bass emergency regulations submitted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to support the spawning population was approved this week by the Maryland General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review, and are effective immediately. The emergency regulations extend periods of closure to recreational striped bass fishing in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Targeting of striped bass will be prohibited from April 1st to May 15th, eliminating the Maryland striped bass trophy season. In the Susquehanna Flats, targeting of striped bass is prohibited through the end of May.” Additional information can be found on the Maryland DNR website.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 9 Update: 

The first week of February gave us some more stable weather and we are ending the week with some very mild temperatures. Most of the action along the coast is still coming from the wrecks and reefs. Fish in OC let us know they had a few boats check in after successful tautog trips this week. Chasin’ Tides Charters had the big fish of the week with an angler catching a 22-pound tog. Other anglers on the boat also had four other fish over 10 pounds. Captain Monty of the Morning Star started one of his trips with a slow and frustrating bite but found better fishing after some moves. His anglers had fish up to 16 pounds. Monty also noted that there were plenty of small tog which is good news for the future of the fishery.

anglers on big worm with sea bass
Anglers on the Big Worm are cranking in the sea bass!

The Virginia Beach boats heading out to take advantage of the special February black sea bass season have been on an incredible bite. As soon as it opened back up Big Worm jumped in on the action and filled their cooler, Playin Hookey Charters had a walk on group of six anglers this week that all caught their limit, and Wreck Dawg Sport Fishing was also out this week and had a few trips that all produced seven-man boat limits. The fish are quality sized right now and coolers are being filled fast, so it is a good time to make a meat run out to the sea bass grounds. There is a little less than three weeks before the fishery closes again, so get it while the getting is good!

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, February 2 Update: 

When the weather allows lines to be cast off tautog are biting, and Captain Monty on the Morning Star has been reporting good action. He noted that the fishing was better when the current was down and when it was “screaming” the action ceased. He also said that one day they observed a humpback whale, a seal eating a big striper, and a pigeon landing on the boat (and then riding home with them), showing once again that you just never know what you’ll see during a day on the ocean, even in the middle of the winter!

fishing on the morning star
That's one happy tautog angler! Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins.

Fish In OC had some boats targeting tog check in this week as well with some very nice fish coming over the gunwales. The Fish Bound has been taking advantage of the weather windows and his anglers have kept tog up to 14 pounds. The Double Trouble has also been catching fish on the calmer days with their anglers catching fish up to 14 pounds. The bite seems to be all about the weather right now, if it is calm enough to get to the fishing grounds, you have a good chance to catch fish. The February special black sea bass season is now open in Virginia waters. These fish will be hanging out at the wrecks and reefs with the tautog, so another species will be on the table for anglers heading out to those grounds.