October 26, 2015 | Rockfish have gone nitro in Southern Maryland Waters.
Breaking fish are now in the Bay from the Targets to Point No Point Light to Point Lookout. There are many small gray trout in this area. Big schools of rockfish (stripers) are located on the Eastern Shore side from Richland Point to Hooper's Straits and south to Hooper's Island Light.
The rock are crashing bait on the surface from Cove Point to the Gooses and all the way north to the Bay Bridge. Rockfish are schooled in the mouth of the Potomac spilling out into the Bay from Smith Point to the Triangle.
The better sized fish are in the southern regions where 20 to 25 inch fish are more numerous. The breaking fish further up the Bay contain more undersized fish (most 19 and 1\2 inches). The lower Potomac fish are attracting fewer birds and only dimpling the water on occasion but darken the sonar and can even be seen under the boat with water clarity allowing the sightings 20 feet down. Jiggers are using jigs up to 3 ounces to fall through the smaller fish and attract strikes from the big boys on the bottom. Trollers are finding bigger fish using heavy weights trolling around the edges of breaking fish. The smaller bucktails sassy shads and spoons are best as the fish are feeding on small to tiny bait fish. Surface lure casters find plenty of eager rock to smash their plugs but have to land a bushel of undersized ones to get a 20 incher.
There are consistent rockfish of 25 to 35 inches on structure all up and down the Bay. These big domestic fish will take live spot but the spot are just about all gone and the remaining live bait is demanding ransom prices if you can find it (mostly lower Bay Eastern Shore watermen). However, a live spot properly placed will bring an immediate strike.
The Potomac and Patuxent Rivers have rockfish on the oyster bars and sand spits and in the trenches and holes. They love small bucktails.
Keeper rockfish are everywhere now.