The chilly weather has started to show here at Rudee Inlet. We were very grateful for the warm December we had. Since the weather was unusually warm for the month of December, the Yellowfin Tuna stuck around and we had some nice catches brought back to the dock. There was even a few days where we weighed in some beautiful Big Eye Tunas. The month of December produced some beautiful catches of Rockfish inside of the Bay, with some of them being around 50 pounds. Unfortunately since the Bay Rockfish season closed the end of December, we have sadly not had any ocean Rockfish caught, with only a few trips being ran. We remain hopeful that they may still make a run along our coast and stay within the 3 mile line. There is still the possibility of the Bluefin Tuna making an appearance out of Rudee Inlet as well.
Since fishing has seemed to coming to a minor halt here in Virginia Beach, we would like to catch everyone up on the amazing year we had here for fishing out of our beautiful Marina, as well as the many accomplishments for our fleet.
Wow, what a year we had at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center! Somehow, between the snow covered docks in February, a hurricane and two nor’easter’s in the fall, and lots of musical chairs boats during the dredging of the marina, the Virginia Beach Fishing Center was able to have one of the best years yet.
After a cold winter, the docks finally began heating up in April when the Bella Donna brought in a record breaking 576lb. Bluefin Tuna to be weighed at our Southside Annex. However, that record did not last long because 5 days later, on April 7, a 606lb. Bluefin Tuna caught on the Ate Up hit our docks! These fish seemed to have set the bar for the successful months to follow.
Our charter boats and private boats spent the year fishing out of Rudee Inlet, but also fishing in many large tournaments at home and afar. The Rebel with Capt. Randy Butler brought home big wins in the Big Fish Classic in Ocean City winning the categories for Heaviest White Marlin and Heaviest Billfish. They also placed 2nd in 6 other categories. The Git-R-Done with Capt. Trick Standing and Mate Jason Carroll brought home two 2015 tournament wins winning the Virginia Beach Tuna Tournament with a 221 pound Big Eye Tuna and winning the Wine, Women and Fishing ladies only Billfish Tournament with a Blue Marlin and a Sailfish. The Git-R-Done also won the “Craziest Crew” award during the women’s tournament, which Capt. Trick says is his greatest achievement to date. Shortly thereafter, the Backlash with Capt. Steve Richardson set their sights on Ocean City and won the White Marlin Open with a 94lb. White Marlin, caught by The Virginia Beach Fishing Center owner, Cheryl Mcleskey, who was also the first woman to win the White Marlin Open! This was also the inaugural year for the F. Wayne Mcleskey Memorial Marlin Open which was held on September 19 and won by one of our home boats, the Instigator, run by Capt. Josh Wentling. We have already been planning for the 2nd F. Wayne Mcleskey Memorial Open so be sure to mark your calendars for September 9-11, 2016! To wrap up the 2015 year of tournaments, Capt. Russ Kostinas of the Top Notch brought home 3rd place in the JMU Rockfish Shootout with a two fish stringer of 91lbs.!
While the tournaments were exciting, there were numerous other banner days for the Virginia Beach Fishing Center fleet. Between the 9 charter boats, High Hopes, Backlash, Capt. Cheryl, Git-R-Done, Veteran, Rebel, WaveRunner, Top Notch and Instigator there were hundreds of Marlin release flags flown, thousands of pounds of meat fish that hit the docks, hundreds of citations, and CD Wells, our expert fish cleaner cleaned well over 35,000 lbs. of fish. There was also an incredible Spanish Mackerel and Shark bite on the inshore trips. The largest fish weighed in this year was a Blue Marlin that weighed in at a whopping 914lbs. caught by the Backlash in September. The head-boats also had a banner year with incredible numbers and a pending World Record for Blueline Tilefish in the “Small Fry” Division caught by Capt. Mark Sterling’s son, Tyler!
When the Captains were asked about some of their most memorable moments of 2015 we had a slew of different answers. Capt. David Wright noted how blessed he felt to have had another safe year and to be a part of such a successful fleet, but not before mentioning all of the accomplishments of all of the other boats, further proving the comradery here at VBFC. Capt. Joe DelCampo and Capt. Scott Sinclair both mentioned what a successful season it was and that there were too many great days to mention. Capt. Russ Kostinas remarked on the incredible Marlin bite, including days where the boats all came in flying double digit release flags. One day in particular stood out in his mind where the Top Notch caught 13 Whites on troll! Capt. Pat Foster wanted to let everyone know that his mate, Ross, got a hook stuck in his finger bailing Dolphins one day. It is unclear if that was the highlight of Pat’s year but that was the first thing to come to his mind.
Overall, it was quite a year at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center and we are so thankful for everyone who was a part of it!