Yeah, it’s getting colder and colder as the days get considerably shorter.
That hardly means that fishing isn’t still good. There might not be as many opportunities this time of year, but that’s the joy of being an angler in this region – there’s pretty good fishing all year long.
A popular cold-weather species you’d best target quickly is sea bass. This tasty wreck-dweller will see itself off limits to anglers starting at midnight Dec. 11. Action has been outstanding when weather shifts permit trips to the multitude of wrecks, artificial reefs and rubble piles that dot the coast.
Around those same locations, anglers also can expect tautog, flounder and possibly some triggerfish.
Togs also are being taken throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay, especially along the bay bridge-tunnel.
School-size striped bass fitting into the 20- to 36-inch bay slot limit are plentiful throughout the lower bay and inside most inlets.
Puppy drum and speckled trout have been putting on pretty good shows at all their typical haunts – from the mouths of the York, James, Nansemond and Elizabeth rivers; inside nearly all inlets around Poquoson, the Eastern Shore and the southside; and along the oceanfront. Pier anglers and surf casters also are decking some bigger red drum, with the action being best along the Outer Banks.
A good run of spot has started to wane, but plenty still are available. Lynnhaven Inlet and a few areas off Ocean View have been the top producers, and some still are being taken from piers.
Offshore action is producing tilefish and other deep bottom-dwellers, while the OBX fleets are finding continued action from tuna and dolphin. Big bluefin tuna could be showing at any time.
Despite colder days, freshwater anglers can expect good action for the entire winter.
Landlocked striped bass love cold temps and many tidal systems in both states are holding fish.
Anglers working cut bait in deeper portions of tidal systems are finding some really healthy-sized catfish.
Bottom-bouncing live and cut bait in and along the edges of old creek channels will find a variety of freshwater species that have all moved to deeper water. Crappie and yellow perch likely will be the most cooperative, but a few warmer, sunny days in a row can get bass to spend a few midday hours searching for schools of bait.
So bundle up good (you can always remove items if it warms up) and hit the water for a few hours to satisfy that urge for some bent rods.
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