- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2002

With a more liberal rockfish season under way in Maryland and Virginia (two stripers of at least 18 inches in length can now be kept just about anywhere) the number of boats on the Chesapeake Bay is increasing. Charter fishing vessels and many private boaters are scoring with ease.

For example, two days ago it took less than two hours for our four-man group to catch a limit of rockfish. The average size was 19 to 21 inches, and the fish were fat as butterballs. All of them struck white bucktails or medium-size silver spoons in 30 to 35 feet of water between Sharps Island Light and James Island. The black drum we initially were after before the trolling for striped bass began again were elusive, but word has it that a few of the big bottom feeders are hooked on soft crab baits in the Stone Rock sector of the Bay.

Tidal water bass fanatics who visit the Potomac River between Washington and western Charles County are doing quite well on Senko or Berkley Power Noodle plastic baits. Stick to the edges or open pockets in the weedbeds, but also cast a crankbait or plastic worm into various channel ledges in the river's feeder creeks.

If you're looking for action along the Atlantic Ocean front, summertime fishing already is the rule. That means offshore boaters are scoring on marlin, dolphin fish and sharks, with inshore and backwater anglers connecting on flounder, croaker, sea trout and some bluefish. Cobia fishermen will be happy to hear that the sleek fighters are beginning to show up in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay. And how about this catch: A 74-pound cobia was hooked in the surf at Cape Point, in Buxton, on North Carolina's Outer Banks. What a fish and in the surf yet. Wow! Surf fishermen from Nags Head to Hatteras Island at various times earlier this week have battled with chopper bluefish and a smattering of red drum.

Reach us via e-mail at gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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