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Rockfish infest the bay - chasing bait and frothing the water most everywhere

The great fall fishing weekend (also known as Columbus Day) is upon us.  And the fishing is great!  Rockfish are infesting the bay chasing bait and frothing the water most everywhere in the mornings.  The trick is to catch rockfish of sufficient length to take home (18 inches), and although lure casters drifting among the teeming schools can cull through the undersized fish and maybe get a keeper or two, the best success is to live-line a frisky spot under the small breaking fish. Dicky Wose and Terry Thompson of The Tackle Box left the launch ramp at Solomon's in the mouth of  the Patuxent River before daylight Sunday morning and headed up river to catch spot.  They found small spot eager to take bits of fresh bloodworm just below Point Patience and at Hawk's Nest at the mouth of Cuckould's Creek.  After a dozen or so were in the live well, they headed out to Cedar Point.  The rock were breaking on the rip and lots of boats were casting sassy shad's, bucktails, surface plugs and spoons, and most were throwing back under-sized fish.  Thompson and Wose began drifting across the rip using a 1/4 ounce egg sinker stopped with a barrel swivel attached to an 18 inch leader tipped with a 4/0 circle hook with a live spot hooked through the spine. Rockfish of good size immediately pounced on the bait as the spot sunk below the tiny surface breakers who were feeding on bay anchovies.  A limit of two rockfish per person was filled in a couple of drifts using this technique, and several bluefish of decent size were encountered, cutting the leader with razor teeth.  One  big bluefish took Thompson's bait and ran off 60 or so yards of line in a sizzling first run, and took him on several turns around the deck peeling line at will until it finally came to the net, miraculously not cutting the monofilament.  The blue was nearly eight pounds. These huge, tireless fighters are coming back to the bay mixed with smaller kin with regularity.

Captain Greg Buckner on the "Miss Susie" (301-873-1327) left the dock that same morning at 5:15 and headed south to the middle of the ship's channel where he had found a batch of big rockfish the previous day.  With a cache of live spot, he and his mate coaxed his party to live line the bait using Shimano bait feeder reels to hungry fish as the sun was just coming out of the eastern horizon.  These fish were 22 to 30 inchers (4 to 12 pounds), and between hoots and hollers, screaming drags and aching arms, the limit for all seven of the charter party was filled before the first of the competing boats arrived and, upon recognizing Capt. Greg's boat, dropped anchor. The "Miss Susie"  fired up and went trolling for Spanish  Mackerel, landing a solid dozen along with some fine bluefish, and then, customarily, went to the mouth of the Patuxent to catch eating sized spot for the party and bait sized spot for the next day's trip.

Trollers using spoons, bucktails, parachutes, umbrella rigs, and eels (ten inch, white and red) are getting rockfish , bluefish. and red drum all up and down the ship's channel.  The breaking rock and blues stretch from the HI bouy to Hooper's Island light everyday.  Early is excellent, but this action is strong all day now, and will continue until the rockfish season ends in Maryland waters on December 15th.

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