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Rockfishing for giants in area waters

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Mike Sweeney sports fishing

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By Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Saturday, December 15, 2018

This is the time of year that we all like to fish for stripers but just above the state line there are some of the biggest rockfish in the world and all we have to do is drive a little north to get them.

In the Chesapeake Bay the rockfish grow to be giant and they follow the bait to the mouth of the bay feeding on schools of menhaden and eel.

The fishing techniques are a little different for these monsters but not difficult at all.

The best way to fish for them is to drift live eels behind the boat or to slow troll them on planner boards.

You are only looking for a speed of around 1.5 to 2.5 mph so the wind may do the work for you or you may have to engage the motors to reach the speed you want.

You want to rig the live eels on bobbers set at different depths and put one behind you on a weight with no float.

This will allow you to cover the water column then just sit and wait it out.

You will want to fish the hot spot for the day so stop and ask the local tackle store which channel marker is holding the fish.

Right now the fish are hanging around 38a and north but this changes daily because the fish follow the bait.

You also want to have casting rods available and watch the skies and radar for birds.

The rockfish will chase bait up to the surface and the birds will give their position away. Move towards the birds but don’t get right in the middle of the action.

Fish the edges because that is where the biggest fish are.

Throw buck tails, Rattle Traps and large swim baits at the madness and don’t be surprised if you catch a fish of a lifetime out there.

Some of these fish are coming into the boat weighing in excess of 60 pounds so this could be a catch of a lifetime for you.

Before you go make sure you have the proper license and the rules are very specific so do your research and know what you can keep before you go. The best bet is to drive across the Bay Bridge Tunnel and stop at Chris’s Bait and Tackle in Capeville, Virginia.

They will have the bait and info you need to make your day easier and put you on the giant rockfish that you always dreamed about.

What’s biting, where...

The offshore report is a bust for this week simply because they didn’t get out due to high winds all week long.

The wind blew so bad that the seafoam looked like snow on the beach this week for a day or two.

We did have a couple of diehard guys who went out on the beach in between the wind gusts and caught a few drum around the point but it was mostly sharks and skates other than that.

The stripers are hitting around Oregon Inlet and farther in the sound which is always a good sign.

You want to try structure like the bridges and even duck blinds near the channel.

The rockfish will use them as stopping points to feed while on their travels so you never know when and where they will be.

On the bridges it looks like stretch lures and rattling baits are working best but somedays they are there while other days they are not.

You never know if you don’t go so get out there and find them.

Here locally we have a good crappie bite up in the creeks with live shiners and micro-tubes being the go to bait.

Fish them around brush and docks on the deep side of the channel and when you get one bite there will be a lot more in the same area.

If the bite slows down change color or depth on your baits they are still schooled up in there.

The largemouth bite is slowing down with the water temps falling but they will still hit jigs and soft plastics especially in the creeks.

The bait is in the skinny water so fish the edge of the drop offs and up to the bank.

They will be tight to the cover and the bite may be subtle but they will feed.

If anyone gets out this week make sure you send me a picture and a report to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

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