Our rockfish have responded to the beautiful September weather by turning out in good numbers and size for both trollers and lure casters.
There are plenty of undersized stripers mixed with bluefish in the Potomac breaking on the surface. The blues are in the two to the three-pound range and the rockfish are mostly about 17 inches with an occasional Potomac keeper of 20 inches showing up.
The fish tearing through schools of the tiny bunkers will hit most any jig, bucktail, spoon, of Gotcha lure. Look for the gulls diving and hovering.
The bigger rockfish in the 20 to 28-inch range are around the structure. Casting swimming plugs (Bomber, Yourzi, Diawa, etc.) will make them want to eat. They love surface poppers too.
Trollers using light tackle and no weight can find stripers around the shoreline in both the Potomac and Patuxent. In the deeper water, there are plenty for trollers using 8 to 16 ounces on drop rigs. They love the small umbrella lures by Doug’s Lures or Irwin Tackle.
There is plenty of spot and perch for bottom fishermen, There are not plenty of bloodworms for bait as the labor shortages in Maine, where they are dug, continue to hamper supply.
Perch fishing by lure casters in the creeks can be tricky this time of year as they are betwixt thier regular haunts and thier movement to the deep holes in the rivers where they will spend the winter. The river venues for lure casters in the shallows is excellent.
Spanish mackerel are still in the shipping channel and though not as numerous in the cooling weather, the size is increasing with some 30 inchers being reported.
There are scattered schools of breaking bluefish in the bay with some in the five-pound range. Small stripers are mixed in with some making the 18-inch cut. Rockfish of significant size will be schooled and breaking by the time you read this.
The big bull redfish are swimming around and will take most any lure trolled in the bay proper. There is no way of predicting when they will hit. We have not seen them schooled and breaking in big pods for the last week.
The cobia season ended with plenty still around and lots of 35-inch throwbacks. Cobia fishermen mostly trolled the last 10 days of the season. Fortunately, there were enough of the big surgical eel lures available this year. Trollers must stock up on the lures when they see them as they have been in critically short supply.