Rockfish Season Improving

April 24, 2017 | The Trophy Rockfish Season has improved greatly over the opening weekend.


There was a steady stream of fishermen bring in their catches starting Monday. The trolling is still not in the "good" category - more like "fair" (which is only one grade up from "poor") - but gradually improving daily. Some fishermen seem to be on the lucky spot every time out, landing limits on each trip. Others in the same area, using all the same techniques and lures, get skunked (go figure). Maybe the best area we have heard about has been from Little Cove Point to above the Power Plant in about 40 feet of water. The mouth of the Potomac has had some really big fish, but few. The upper Potomac has been devoid of fish. All this can change overnight.

Smaller rockfish in the 17- to 24-inch range have been caught by lure casters in many areas. The St. Mary's River has good numbers of these smaller fish which are all "catch and release" until the minimum is reduced to 20 inches on May 15.

Last Tuesday, a speckled trout of 20 inches was landed mixed with these rockfish. This speck was unexpected this early but may indicate a good season for these this year as lots of them were in the tributaries of the lower Potomac last fall.

The first croaker of the season were brought into The Tackle Box early Sunday morning. Clay Arnold caught two 10-inch croaker (known locally as "hardhead") off the public fishing pier under the Solomons Bridge on the Calvert County side. The April 23rd date is about average for the first of these species that come into the Bay from the Atlantic and spend the summer here feeding on the Bay's bounty of crabs, shrimp, minnows, etc.

The first spot should be arriving for their summer migration anytime.

White perch are now biting in the creeks and rivers.

We need the five-day string of 80 degree days promised starting this coming Thursday to break the fishing wide open.

Coen Clark trolled an umbrella rig in the Potomac for this 43 inch, 28 pound rockfish.
Donnie Cooper was two miles north of the Gas Docks when this 49 inch, 38 pound struck his white and green tandem rig.
Steve Helmrich landed this 42 inch, 34 pound striper from near the Gas Docks in the Bay.
Brad Karbowsky (left) used a chartreuse tandem rig to land this 51 inch, 48 pound striper in the Potomac.
Clay Arnold brought in the first croaker of the season Sunday morning off the public fishing pier at Solomon's Island.
Anthony Cole caught this 36 inch, 18 pound rockfish on a trolled chartreuse boxing glove bucktail.
Jim Batch, Jr., Russel Shackelford, James Dougherty, and Jim Batch, Sr. trolled up this batch of stripers near the Gas Docks above Cove Poin
John Melenson (right) checked in the first striper of the season, this 50 inch, 50 pounder from the mouth of the Potomac.