The fall rockfish bite is on in the Potomac River from the 301 bridge to Point Lookout. Trollers are catching the 20-to-27-inch rockfish steadily in the upper regions where feeding birds show the location of schools of bait and predators. The farther south, the more activity. The real frenzy is from Smith Creek to Point Lookout.
The early morning has been best with the fish erupting on the falling tides at dawn. The fish are active all day, but the real blitz is early.
Trollers are using umbrella rigs and tandems. Smaller lures fit the mid-sized fish.
Jiggers using shads, bucktails, and metal are all scoring. Jiggers should avoid running to the flocks of birds close on the water. Just get in the general area and put the lines over. The fish will be under your boat soon enough and all the rods will hook up. If you run to the birds the boat will scatter the fish and they show up in a minute or two where you just came from. Chasing them is a bit like chasing your tail. If you are stationary your turn will come and the trollers will not have to keep dodging you. I am an advocate for peace between trollers and jiggers. There are more than enough fish for everyone.
Customers have said thing like: “I saw the biggest bait ball I have ever seen.” “We had our limit before we could get all our lines in the water.” “We left out of St. Clements and got our eight fish (four anglers), before we got to Ragged Point and were back at the dock in about one hour and fifteen minutes.”
The season lasts until 31 December and no one needs to let this opportunity get away from them.