Rockfish season has closed in the Chesapeake Bay. However, big fish continue to be caught there by those practicing catch and release.
The Cape Charles area is still good and some good reports have come from the Point Lookout area. But again, these are catch and release only.
If seeking saltwater Rockfish to keep, one must look to the coastal waters of Virginia. Coastal season began on January 1 and extends through March 31. During this time period, anglers can harvest Stripers in the coastal waters from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to 3 miles out to sea.
Keeper Rockfish are required to be at least 28 inches long and cannot be over 36 inches long. Not many reports have come in yet from recreational anglers doing coastal fishing.
For delicious eating fish that are still in season, target the Tautog. They make excellent table fare. Hard structure is preferred by these hearty fighters. Crab is best for bait but can sometimes be hard to obtain. Clam is a good alternative.
Speckled Trout will bite through the winter in most cases. Location, location, location... Speck anglers are a tight lipped bunch. However, the lures needed aren't so much of a secret. In the cold water, it's hard to beat the MirrOlure MirrOdine twitch baits. The Paul Brown series can be especially good if you can find them in stock. Suspending jerkbaits are excellent also. Baits by Yo- Zuri, Lucky Craft, and Rapala are excellent either casted or trolled. Swim baits such as the Bass Assassin Sea Shad and the Berkley Gulp! Alive! Swimming Mullet are good too.
A few boats have ventured out offshore and have returned with Bluefin, Tuna, King Mackerel, and some Triggerfish from the wrecks.
In the Outer Banks, there’s been some sporadic action reported at the jetties and the surf in Buxton. Sharks have been biting well. The Puppy Drum and the Black Drum have been showing up too.