December 5, 2018 - December Rockfish
Stripers from the ocean have shown up at Smith Point.
Big stripers with sea lice were caught over the weekend in the 40 to 45 inch, 35 to 40-pound size range were caught trolling at the Virginia-Maryland line. The catch is only a handful so far. The mouth of the bay in the region of the bay bridge tunnel has reported big stripers in good numbers, and those are the fish that will travel to our waters in the next few days.
In the meantime there are plenty of domestic rockfish in the bay from Point No Point to the Targets, at buoy 72, the triangle, and in the mouth of the Potomac from Ragged Point to Vero Beach. The average keeper size is around 20 inches, with a mix of fish ranging up to 32 inches. The bigger fish are in the bay proper, while the Potomac has more under sized fish less than the 19-inch minimum.
If you like light tackle fishing you can chase the birds and jig on schools of fish with metal jigs or bucktails dressed in shad bodies or BKD's. The schooling fish can be tricky, eating at random times and ignoring lures dropped on them when it seems they should bite. The best times to get them is in the late afternoon and at sunset. This can make a long ride home in the dark. The fish are healthy and very fat, looking like black and white striped footballs. Their gut is so full it makes you wonder how they could swallow any more prey.
Trollers can use medium sized bucktails and spoons with 16 to 20-ounce weights. The fish are in 20 to 50 feet of water and trolling through schools indicated by sea gulls working overhead will bring strikes on all the lures.
There are schools of bait fish everywhere. There is no reason that we cannot catch fish daily unless a severe cold snap comes in to change this pattern. The season continues until December 20th in Maryland waters and until the 31st in the Potomac and Virginia.