The Rockfish catches continue to increase in size as folks intercept them in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The Cape Charles area reliably produces many of the big fish this time of year. Using live eels is probably the best tactic for these.
Inside the rivers of the bay, the Rockfish are plentiful also. The Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers get most of the attention, but the James will produce its fair share as well. The rivers are usually where the stretch 25's and umbrella rigs are widely used. Umbrella rigs attached to heavy mojos are widely used inside the bay also.
The Chesapeake Bay season closes after December 31. After that date, it is catch and release only inside the bay. The coastal season for Rockfish begins on Jan 1 in which there is still a 1-fish limit but a 28 inch minimum and a 36 inch maximum size limit. There is also a 3-mile demarcation line along the coast.
One can target the Tautog inside the bay during the entire winter. The ocean structures are where the larger Tautogs are most often caught. The Tautog season doesn't close until May 16. The minimum size limit for Tautog is 16 inches.
Take advantage of the fantastic Seabass fishing that takes place this time of year as well. However, the Seabass season closes after Dec 31. The Seabass season reopens for the month of February for those who obtain a permit from the Marine Resources Commission. Seabass are an excellent table fare.
There hasn’t been a lot of action along the Nags Head/Hatteras areas lately. Along the beaches, there have been some Black Drum and Puppy Drum caught—mainly in Hatteras.