There are a few seasons that are getting ready to close at the end of the year, so it might be a good chance to jump at your chances before they do. Of course, you can always catch and release these species, but let’s face it – we all love a good piece of fresh fish over the holidays.

One of them is a traditional favorite this time of year – striped bass.

Although you can only keep one fish a day that fits in the 20 to 36-inch slot limit, that’s a perfect size for a Christmas or New Years’ dinner for two to four people. There are plenty of slot-sized fish available right now throughout the lower bay. Another species fixin’ to close is sea bass.

And talk about a fishery that’s been on fire as of late: trips have been producing lots of 1 to 2-pound fish and plenty that are classified as jumbo. So go get ‘em when you have the chance… you only have two weeks left to go.

As anyone would suspect, the fishing forecast is going to be a little smaller until spring species return. But the great thing about this area is that there are opportunities all year long.

Speckled trout continue to please anglers throughout the lower bay. As waters get colder, remember to slow down your presentation since they won’t be quite as energetic as usual. Puppy drum also will remain active until we get some really hard freezes, and around here, who knows if that’ll happen or not.

Many anglers will focus on attempts to bring fish home to eat on tautog. These toothy critters will be found around any kind of structure in the lower Chesapeake Bay, as well as coastal and near-shore wrecks. Many of the coastal structures will hold flounder throughout the winter.

Swordfish and bottom dwellers such as tilefish will bite throughout the winter. Action off the Outer Banks has been fantastic for yellowfin tuna and wahoo and could remain that way for weeks. Meanwhile, bluefin tuna have started to show.

Freshwater catches will require a super-slow presentation for species such as largemouth bass, crappie, and shell cracker. Bottom-bouncing along deep flats and channel edges will be your best bet. Look for catfish in the deepest holes.

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