With just over a month to go in the 2013 Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, anglers are now concentrating on catching big striped bass, also known as rockfish.
The minimum weight to earn a citation is 40 pounds; the minimum length for a release citation is 44 inches.
As of Tuesday, the leading entry for rockfish was a 57-pounder caught by Trent Horne of Belmont, N.C., trolling off Cape Henry. The state had issued 107 catch citations and 80 release citations.
Rockfish season in Virginia ends Dec. 31.
Among other popular local species, most no longer available with the end of summer, tournament officials said:
—William Million of Gloucester Point, leads cobia catches with a 90-pounder caught in the Baltimore Channel while casting lures.
—The top flounder was a 13-pounder caught by David Ross of Virginia Beach, at an unspecified location in Chesapeake Bay. In some years very abundant, the flounder showed low citation totals this year: just 61, with a minimum weight of seven pounds, and no release citations;
—Only one citation for a spot was issued, and that was for a spot caught and released; it had to be 13 inches or more. The citation weight is one pound, and no awards were made;
—Speckled trout citations were abundant in 2013, with 405 issued for caught fish and 493 for released. The minimum weight is five pounds. The leading entry is a 12-pound, 4-ounce fish caught in the Elizabeth River;
—A croaker weighing 3 pounds, 5 ounces (against the 3-pound minimum) which was caught in the lower York River leads entries for that species. William M. Wood of Mechanicsville caught that fish;
—Red drum remain abundant; the state has authorized release citations only, and 993 have been issued in 2013; and,
—No citations have been issued for gray trout, once abundant, and just eight for Spanish mackerel.
For complete statistics on this year’s catches, visit mrc.virginia.gov and click on Saltwater Fishing Tournament.