Indian Summer Rockfish
November 30, 2015 | The mild fall weather has triggered schooling rockfish into a feeding frenzy that has consistently filled the air with birds and frothed the water from Cove Point to the Targets, Point No Point, the Middle Grounds near buoy 72, Hooper's Island Lighthouse, off Point Lookout, and in the Triangle at the joining of the Potomac and Bay.
The Patuxent and Potomac has plenty of fish for trollers and jiggers. Top water plugs will get the bigger fish in some instances to zoom up from the depths and smash the lure. Rockfish have been caught from Point Patience to Sandy Point and along the edge at South West Marker in the mouth of the Patuxent. The Potomac has rockfish from the 301 bridge to Smith Point on the Virginia side in 30 to 40 feet of water.
The bigger fish are on the bottom and trollers pulling lures on heavy weights to present lures deep are catching rockfish up to 35 inches. Twelve to eighteen inch fish are on the surface crashing bay anchovies and silversides.
Schools of alewives are in the buoy 68 to 64 area east of Smith Point. Bigger fish have been caught there consistently. Fishermen searching for baitballs with alewife or menhaden characteristics on their sonars will put out their lures on location and find 28- to 30-inch fish.
Shore fishermen have not been left behind in this bonanza. Lure casters at the Piney Point Bridge to St. George Island caught fish all week. Moving tides are essential for beach anglers; evening fishing is best. The entrance to Goose Creek on the Air Station has produced rockfish for fishermen under the lights at night. Tales of fish estimated at up to 30 inches that have been lost at the last moment on the rocks at these locations were numerous this week. Both lures and bait (cut alewife and bloodworms) work great.
The sunny days with temperatures in the high 60's may be over, but there are no freezing temps in the ten day forecast and we will range in the 50's during the day and 40's at night extending the rockfish activity until the end of the season on December 20th in Maryland waters. The Virginia and Potomac season lasts until Dec. 31st.
There have been at least three sea run stripers landed this past week in the 50 inch range weighing 40 plus pounds. These are examples of the fall migration of huge rockfish that we grew accustomed to in previous years that usually showed up in the last of October and grew to great numbers in December. Last year they mostly stayed in the ocean and this year they are scarce. The domestic fish are just fine though, and anyone who can should take a day off and go out and enjoy the abundance.