This week’s onslaught of frigid temperatures will finalize the transition into a solid winter fishing trend for the season. Bay, coastal, and tidal water temperatures are hovering in the upper fifties, but will drop quickly.
This means that the bigger rockfish are on their way. Casters working the structure and pilings of the various lower Bay bridges, and the spines of the 3rd and 4th island tubes of the CBBT. Anglers are hooking some nicer fish averaging to around 36-inches on Wind Cheaters and Storm lures. Boats live-baiting and wire-lining over the tubes of the CBBT, and working the deeper water near the High Rise, are finding fish measuring 32 to 38-inches. The outgoing tide is recommended this week. The HRBT is also holding plenty of schoolies, while the JRB and the MMBT averaging 28-inches. A few snapper bluefish are also still around in many of the same areas.
The speckled trout action is still progressing in the lower Bay and Eastern Shore, ranging up to around 3 to 4-pounds. Rudee Inlet is still productive, with a few fish large enough to qualify for citations from the Saltwater Fishing Tournament landed this this week. The Elizabeth River is still giving up the best numbers of big fish, with some gators hitting the 30-inch mark recently. Those trying their luck in the Hot Ditch using live bait are finding increasing numbers of keeper fish ranging from 23 to 26-inches, while anglers are also experiencing good luck trolling and casting after dark in the River area. A few puppy drum are still hitting, but this bite is dwindling.
Tautog are still be caught at the lower Bay structures, coastal wrecks, and along the pilings and over the tubes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Fiddler crabs are still the top bait, but blue crabs and clams are also working within Bay waters. Good catches of jumbo seabass pushing to nearly 5-pounds are coming from deeper water structures. The well-known Triangle Wreck area continues to be a favorite for wreck fishing, while nice chopper bluefish are also roaming near the Triangles and into the Chesapeake Light Tower area. Flounder action is good on many offshore wrecks when boats can reach them. Although no word of any sightings, bluefin tuna are a possibility from the Light Tower out to the inshore lumps.