Rockfish Wide Open

December 7, 2015 | The rockfishing is great in the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay.


Trollers found big sea-run rockfish in the lower Potomac in the deep hole off St. George Island this week. The big fish in excess of 40 inches long and weighing from 30 to 40 pounds showed up to take trolled umbrella rigs using big lures with 10 inch shads as trailers. There are not a huge quantity of these fish yet, but more will move in daily looking for schools of big alewife to feast on.

In the mean time, there are plenty of domestic rockfish in the 20 to 33 inch size weighing from 2 pounds to 15 or so in the Bay at buoy 68 just east of Point Lookout. Lure casters and jiggers are catching them all day when the sun gets up high enough to expose the bait fish. All manner of seagulls, gannets, and pelicans are diving after the concentrated bait balls showing the way. The bigger fish are after the bigger bait (alewives, menhaden) and the gannets and pelicans are focused there; the smaller birds and frothy water indicate smaller fish.

The schools of rockfish range all up and down the ships channel from the Gas Docks (where some big speckled trout have been reported) to Smith Point. One group of happy fishermen left out of Patuxent River bound for the Middle Grounds and came across breaking fish off Hooper's Island Light. The fish were plentiful, good sized and filled the ice box with the run time to and fro less than an hour each way.

There are fish at the PR and HI buoys.

The bonanza of small to medium sized  stripers continues in the Potomac on the Virginia side from the 301 bridge to the mouth of the river and all around St. Clements Island on the Maryland side.

The Patuxent has good rockfish schooled up and the oyster bars and deep holes.

No freezing temperatures are in the forecast for the next ten days and some 60 degree days are in the mix.

We should have great striper fishing until Dec. 20th when the Maryland season ends and until New Years Eve when the Potomac and Virginia season closes.

John Hambel landed this 34 pound, 47 inch rockfish off St. George Island on a white umbrella.