Fall Rockfishing is Hot

Trollers and jiggers are finding rockfish in the Potomac and Patuxent.

The fish are breaking on the Chinese Muds daily in the mouth of the Patuxent. The thrash of feeding fish chasing the bait to the surface is drawing flocks of gulls. Boaters using light tackle find the working birds and drop their jigs on the bottom seeking keeper-sized rockfish 18 inches or better.

The smaller fish are on the top. Trollers are bouncing their lures on the bottom and circle the breaking fish. Catches of 26 to 32 inch stripers are the reward in the 5 to 7 pound range.

John P. Norrsi leads the Tackle Box November white perch contest with this 10 inch beauty

Brian Smith landed this 35 inch, 22 pound Blue Catfish at the Benedict Bridge in the Patuxent

The same pattern extends up the Patuxent with plenty of rockfish feeding on small alewives that are very plentiful. Those not chasing birds are trolling up fine rockfish on the edges of the oyster bars and dropoffs in both the Patuxent and Potomac.

The bay shipping channel has rockfish breaking and trollers catching plenty from the PR to the HI buoys and both north and south of those markers. Reliable locations for schools of rock include the artificial reefs below St. Jeromes Creek and the Middle Grounds. The Triangle area from Point Lookout to Smith Point out to buoy 60 has schools of hungry rockfish

Crappie are biting now in St. Mary's Lake with catches of 20 or more caught in a single outing being common. The crappie will take crappie jigs and live minnows readily. Bass and pickeral are also eager to take lures in the lake.

Eric Packard with crappie from St. Mary's Lake

Hungry crappie

There are active schools of rockfish in the Potomac from the mouth to the bridge. Catches are very good. From Piney Point north there are hungry catfish of considerable size taking trolled lures aimed at stripers.

Catfishing is very good in both the Potomac and Patuxent. Both shore fishermen and boaters find catfish hitting cut alewife and mud shad. Some shore fishermen in the mouth of the Patuxent have found both rockfish and catfish taking cut bait at night. The catfish are 7 to 10 pounds with one 40 pounder surprising the surfcasters. We had no idea these big cats were cruising around after dark this close to the open bay, but we saw the photos along with the 28-inch rockfish.

Ken Lamb with Rockfish from Chinese Muds.

Bass from St. Mary's Lake

Pickerel form St. Mary's Lake

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