Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 Monster Rockfish Tournament

November 16 & 17, 2013

This tournament is sponsored by W.M. Davis General Contractors.

Saturday, November 16 & Sunday, November 17, 2013. The tournament shall start at 6:00AM.

Tournament shall take place in Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay as allowed by Maryland DNR, including the Potomac River.


Internet registration will be available October 17 through November 15, 2013. Call us for over-the-phone secure sign up and send checks, payable to Monster Rockfish Tournament, LLC, to:
  • Monster Rockfish Tournament
  • 2035 Papas Lane
  • Lusby, MD 20657
  • Registration forms and payment must be received by November 15, 2013 at 9pm
  • 443-771-3200

Captain's Meetings

All meetings will be held from 6:00PM until 8:30PM at the following locations and dates:
November 14 – Solomons Pier Restaurant, Solomons Island, MD
November 15 – Tyler's Tackle, Chesapeake Beach, MD

Official Weigh-In Station - Locations

For more information, including prize payouts, visit the Monster Rockfish Tournament website

MSSA Fall Chesapeake Rockfish Tournament 23 and 24 November 2013

The Bay’s Largest Fall Striped Bass Tournament

November 23 & 24


Maryland Waters of the Chesapeake Bay & Potomac River

2012 Payout – $90,000.00 +

8 Weigh Stations

4 Captains Meetings


Captain’s Meetings/Registration Meetings:

Monday, November 18 – BOE Marine – Kent Island
Tuesday, November 19 – Commodore Hall – Essex
Wednesday, November 20 – Alltackle – Annapolis
Thursday, November 21 – Solomons Pier Restaurant – Solomons Island


Be sure to visit the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association web site

Colonial Beach Fall Rockfish Tournament 2013

Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce Rockfish Tournament  

November 8-10th  

Registration and Captains' Meeting Nov. 8th @ Dockside

The 2013 Rockfish Tournament is scheduled for November 8 - 10.

    1ST PLACE $5000.00
    2ND PLACE $2,000.00
    3RD PLACE $1,000.00
    4TH PLACE $500.00
    5TH PLACE $250.00 

  • YOUTH DIVISION - Saturday & Sunday
    1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies

  • LADIES DIVISION - Overall Trophy
    1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies 

  • SPECIAL ANGLERS DIVISION - Anglers with special needs
    Overall Trophy
    1st - $150
    2nd - $100
    3rd - $50

  • Captain's meeting will be held at Dockside Restaurant and Blue Heron Pub. The Captain or a representative MUST attend the Captain's Meeting. Dinner is at 6pm. Late Registration is at 7pm. There will be an Early Registration Drawing and 50/50 Raffle and Door Prizes.
    2013 Entry Form Entry fees for all applications postmarked by October 31, 2013 is $150.00. After this date, the fee is $175.00

    Saturday, October 19, 2013

    No fishing this weekend - Boat troubles

    Got everything ready to go today - was going to head out on the Potomac for some rockfish.  I had a little work to do on the boat and had to get some of my tackle squared away, so worked for about an hour, and got ready to head out.

    I disconnected the shore power, and fired up the engines.  There was a bit of squeaking going on in the engine room, but it wasn't uncommon, so I ignored it - until I started to smell rubber burning!

    I opened the engine hatch, and could see that the serpentine belt was smoking on my starboard engine.  I quickly shut it down after only running for about 45 to 60 seconds.  As soon as the motor stopped, the belt melted in half on the alternator pulley.

    Turns out, the alternator was frozen and refused to turn, which resulted in burning the belt up.  The belt got so hot that it melted the plastic part of the idler pulley as well!

    So, I had to buy a new alternator, idler pulley and a serpentine belt today.  They won't be here until next week, so my weekend of fishing is a no-go.

    Parts list for fixing my 2000 Volvo Penta 5.0GiPEFS (GM 305 C.I.) after faulty alternator fouled up the system:
    • Alternator - Volvo Part # 3860082 ($369 at found on eBay for $112.00
    • Serpentine Belt (x2) - Volvo Part # 3860086 (might as well replace the port belt while I'm at it) $66.43 each
    • Idler Pulley - Volvo Part # 3860201 $19.10
    A buddy of mine calls a $100 bill a "Boat buck".  So, I got out of this one with only about 3 boat bucks and a little downtime.

    I'm pretty sure that the alternator failure was due to the water pump that had been leaking in throwing salt water all over the front of both engines.  The water pump was a little over 3 boat bucks, and I just got it replaced three weeks ago and replaced one of my starting batteries at the same time.  Hopefully, I can get some runtime out of the boat next weekend and keep a few boat bucks in my pocket (to spend on fuel!)

    Here's a diagram of the appropriate Alternator and serpentine belt drawing with part numbers.

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    First outing late season 2013 report

    Went out on Sunday, 29 September 2013 with a minimal trolling spread and no planer boards.  Spoke to a gentleman at the Colonial Beach gas dock who said that he had caught a couple of small keepers near the "Dollies" on the Virginia side.

    I decided to go a little further down-river and started at the green can at Nomini Bay (Green 13).  We marked a lot of bait in this area.  There was a lot of bait at the surface as well, but very little in the way of topwater action.

    We were pulling a spread that consisted of three tandem rigs with mostly chartreuse bucktails and one Stretch-25 (Mann's Bait Company 8-Inch Textured Stretch 25+ Hardbait (Redhead Holographic)).  The Stretch-25 may be a little large for this time of year, as the bait is usually smaller, and we want our lures to mimic the bait that's available.  With this in mind, the bucktails that we were running were between 1 and 4 ounces with 4-inch curly tails.

    We trolled around Green 13 for a few passes, and caught a single small bluefish.  Headed across the river toward St Clements Island and Red 14.  Not much marking across the channel, but a lot of bait again once we reached the 35-foot depths.  Trolled up the ledge on the Maryland side staying in 25-30 feet of water.  Continued to mark bait all the way through, but only managed a single juvenile rockfish.

    Here's an image of the basic troll path.

    Good luck out there, and stay safe!

    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    How to Build Rockfish Tandem Rigs

    This post will explain how to build a tandem rig for rockfish/striped bass fishing using a pair of bucktails or a pair of parachute lures.

    Parts required:
    1x SPRO Stainless Steel Three Way Swivel (Size 1 - 110lb test)
    12 feet 80# test Monofilament line (Spring rig)
    12 feet 40# test Monofilament line (Fall rig)
      - 4 feet for bottom lure
      - 8 feet for top lure
    2 Parachutes (Spring rig) (4 and 8 ounce)- or -
    2 Bucktails (Fall rig) (1.5 and 3 ounce)

    When building a tandem rig for rockfish/striped bass fishing, it's important to ensure that the spacing between the lures is sufficient to keep them from tangling and twisting together as you troll them.  In order to prevent this from happening, we will do two things:

    1)  Use different lengths of leader for each lure
    2)  Use different weight lures

    This will ensure that one lure runs deeper than the other, thereby preventing them from twisting or tangling together.

    In Spring, use larger, heavier lures such as Parachutes in 4 and 8 ounce varieties with 9-inch or 12-inch Sassy Shad bodies.

    In Fall, use smaller Bucktails such as 1.5 ounce/3ounce combination with a 4 or 6 inch curly grub tail (Mister Twister, etc).

    I hope you have found this to be useful!

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    Potomac Rockfish Report 27, 28, 29 April 2013

    Fished all afternoon Friday and came up empty-handed.  A lot of chatter on the radio indicated that others weren't doing very well either.  We trolled around the gas docks, and tried everything in the book...criss-crossing the channel, upstream, downstream, running the channel luck.  We decided to run down to Buoy 7 to see if we would have any better luck there...trolled for about 3 hours and finally reeled it all in and headed back to the dock at dark.

    In order to get a quick start on Saturday fishing, we stayed on the boat overnight.  Got up Saturday morning bright and early to watch the sun rise over the Potomac River.  We hustled down to the "B" Buoy area just below the Gas Docks and got our lines in the water.  We trolled toward Buoy 9 on the Virginia side, staying in 35 to 40 feet of water.  Our first fish was caught on our deepest line that was straight down off the back of the boat.  It had a tandem setup with a 28-ounce Mojo holding it down and a trailing parachute rig with a chartreuse 12-inch body.  We were running downstream with the tide and the GPS indicated about 3.3mph, which is a little faster than I wanted to be going, but it seemed to work.  This fish was 36 inches and weighed about 18 pounds.

    What a beautiful day it was on Saturday.  You can tell how smooth the water was in the pictures.  Just a slight breeze and fishing conditions were just about as perfect as anyone could ask for.

    A couple of hours later, we were in almost exactly the same spot near Buoy 9, headed upstream after the tide turned around.  This nice 40-inch fish knocked down a line on our starboard planer board.  This line was running a 3-ounce/7-ounce chartreuse tandem parachute rig with about 80 feet of line.  This was the biggest fish of the weekend. 

    We headed out on Sunday afternoon and decided that we liked our results from the previous day, so headed straight for Buoy 9.  We trolled the same areas just up from 9 in 35 to 40 feet of water.  The day started out a little rough on the water, and got progressively worse as the afternoon continued.  We kept fighting the 3-foot rollers and ended up with a 3-foot fish as a reward!  This is my daughter holding onto the 36-inch fish that was caught near the red/white buoy just below the gas docks on the Virginia side.  This one was caught on the same Mojo rig straight out the back of the boat...the deepest running bait in my spread.

    We continued trolling down the Virginia side of the river all the way to Ragged Point since it was a "Fair winds and following seas" kind of situation with the wind blowing straight up the river.  We let the seas follow us all the way back to Coles Point and pulled up our lines and headed home.

    Three fish weekend - I'm pretty happy with it.  I think I may adjust my spread a little bit to put more of my baits deeper in the water column. Most of the marking that I was doing, the fish and bait were at 15 to 20 feet in depth.  Since the Mojo tandem rig caught two of the three fish this weekend - we'll see how it goes next weekend.

    Thanks for reading, and Tight Lines!!

    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Trolling Spread for Spring Potomac Rockfish - 7 rods

    I spent most of the day today on the boat getting my trolling spread set up for my planer boards.  I ran planer boards quite a bit last Fall, but never took the time to document anything regarding which lines to run where and how much line to put out, etc.  So, here's my first attempt at documenting my Spring Potomac Rockfish trolling spread.

    This is using planer boards with 100 feet of line on each.  If I had more rod holders, I'd be able to squeeze things a bit tighter on the planer boards.  However, I only have 7 holders, so three per board is all that I'll run.

    This rockfish trolling spread is likely to change.  One thing that I'm not sure about is whether or not I'll like pulling a Stretch-25 lure on the boards.  So, that's one thing that might change rather quickly.

    In any case - here's a graphical representation of my Spring 2013 Rockfish Trolling Spread.

    We'll see how it goes.  Any and all feedback appreciated!

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Potomac Rockfish Catch and Release

    The Potomac Rockfish season is usually closed from January 1 through the middle of April every year.  This year (2013), the Potomac Rockfish season opens on April 20th.

    During the closed season, you can still fish for Rockfish in the Potomac River, but you must use Barbless Hooks and you must release the fish with a minimum of handling so that it can survive when you return it to the water.

    You can either purchase Barbless Hooks, or you can grind the barbs off of your normal hooks.  Fishing in saltwater with the barbs ground off will result in rusting, so keep a lookout for that or you'll end up with rust stains all over your boat.

    Here are a few things you can do to increase fish survival rates (decrease fish mortality) when you Catch and Release a Potomac Rockfish:
    • Wet your hands before you touch the fish.  This helps keep the rockfish's slime coating intact.  If you handle the fish with dry hands or with a towel, it will remove the protective slime, subjecting the fish to bacterial infections.
    • Don't use a net to land the fish
    • Don't touch the fish's gills, as they are very sensitive and the slightest touch can injure them
    • Hold the fish by its mouth/chin, and cradle the underside of the fish with your other hand
    • Hold the fish horizontally at all times - especially the larger ones, as their internal organs aren't made to hang vertically with gravity yanking on them.
    • Don't lay the fish on the deck of your boat.  Hold it as prescribed above, take a quick picture if you want, then get the fish back into the water as soon as possible.
    • If it's a hot day (90 degrees or higher), then the air temperature can shock the fish.  The sooner you can get the fish back in the water, the better.  It's best not to catch and release on a very hot day, as the mortality rate on these fish is high - upwards of 20%.
    Keep these general rules in mind when handling any Potomac Rockfish that you intend to release back into the river, and you'll greatly increase its chances of survival and being caught by another angler in the future.

    Tight Lines!

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    Build your own Planer Boards for Potomac Rockfishing

    MATERIAL LIST FOR ONE SET of 36" Planer Boards

    • (2) 8 foot 1" x 10" #1 Pine - no big knots, try to find straight boards
    Steel Hardware:
    Note: Use Galvanized bolts, nuts and washers instead of Stainless Steel - will last 5 to 10 years at half the price and easy to get at any hardware store!
    • (30) 3/8" x 16" stainless steel nuts (to fit all-thread rods)
    • (28) 3/8" x 1 W' stainless steel fender washers (to fit all-thread rods)
    • (2) eye bolts stainless steel 3/8" - 2 W' - 3" long
    • (4) 2' long 3/8" stainless steel all thread 
    Note: all nuts and bolts are 16 threads per inch
    • (1) Lok Tite thread sealer (small tube)
    • (2) bike flags (Bright Orange)  with bracket or US Flags 
    Note: Use fiberglass rods - Wood dowels will break if hit by waves.

    • (1) quart orange paint - oil base is best 
    Alternative paint: use white house paint and then spray paint with Florescent red/orange

    Rockfish Planer Board Plans

    Thank you to Captain Frank Tuma at Downtime Charters for these plans

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Dennis Point Marina Spring 2013 Rockfish Tournament

    Dennis Point Marina/That Fishing Place

    1st Annual Spring Rock Fish Tournament

    The 1st Annual Dennis Point Marina/ That Fishing Place Spring Rock Fish Tournament will be held at Dennis Point Marina & Campground on April 26 and 27, 2013.

    The registration fee is $175 per boat (limit five people per boat) and the tournament is for amateur as well as commercial fishermen. The entrance fee includes free transient dockage for Thursday and Friday nights (monitored by security), and free food Saturday during the awards ceremony.

    The Rockfish Tournament Particulars are as follows:
    Captains Meeting – Thursday, April 25 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

    1st Day Fishing – Friday, April 26th

    • Line In: 6:15 a.m.
    • Weigh In: Entrance of Carthagena Creek by 4:00 p.m.

    2nd Day Fishing – Saturday, April 27th

    • Line In: 6:15 a.m.
    • Weigh In: Entrance of Carthagena Creek by 4:00 p.m.
    • Awards – 5:30 p.m.

    Full Dinner at Dennis Point Marina & Campground (each boat receives 3 complimentary dinners)

    Tournament Rules and Regulations

    View Larger Map

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department 2013 Rockfish Tournament

    2013 CBVFD Spring Potomac Rockfish Tournament

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    The Colonial Beach Volunteer Fire Department (CBVFD) is hosting their Annual Spring Rockfish Tournament on April 20th, 2013.

    The captain's dinner will be held at 7PM on Friday April 19th, 2013 at WILKERSON'S Seafood Restaurant

    There will be two Weigh-in/Check stations
    1) Colonial Beach Yacht Center
    2) Lewisetta Marina

    The entry fee is $150.00 per boat.

    Come out and enjoy the good times, fishing, and prizes we have to offer! If you have any questions, please contact 804-224-7255.



    If you have any information you'd like to add, please leave a comment!

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    2013 Potomac Rockfish Season

    Here are the dates for the 2013 Potomac River Rockfishing Season Within the 2013 Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) regulations, you will find the Rockfish seasons and regs, as indicated below:

    Spring Season
    Season Open: April 20 through May 15
    Open Area: Below Harry W. Nice Bridge (Rt. 301)
    Minimum Size Limit: 28”
    Possession Limit: 1 per person
    Bait Restrictions: No live eel. No more than 2 hooks

    Summer/Fall Season
    Season Open: May 16 through December 31
    Open Area: Below Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95)
    Minimum Size Limit: 18” with only 1 over 28”
    Possession Limit: 2 per person
    Bait Restrictions: None

     Reference: 2013 Potomac River Fisheries Commission Blue Sheet

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Potomac Rockfish Tools of the Trade - Trolling

    Trolling for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass) takes a bit of skill, planning and patience as well as the right type of tackle.  This article will concentrate on the tools that are needed to put you on a path to catching Rockfish on the Potomac River.  If you already have everything you need, and want to figure out the proper techniques to use when trolling for Rockfish on the Potomac River, then read "How to Troll for Potomac Rockfish"

    Rods and Reels for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    Potomac Rockfish recommends:

    The most important Potomac Rockfish hardware is the Rod and Reel setup that you choose.  If you skimp here and buy cheap or undersized rods and reels, it will severely limit your ability to setup up your trolling spread and make it work.  The rod needs to be capable of 30-50 pound loads so that it can troll an umbrella rig or a MoJo without too much effort.  Some of these trolling rigs can weigh in excess of 2 pounds!  The reel should be able to fit 300 yards of 30lb monofilament line.

    Fishing line for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    Choosing between monofilament line and braid is a give and take decision.  The three major considerations are
    Stretch (Braid wins) - Monofilament line stretches, but braided line does not.  When you get a strike, the braid will provide immediate feedback as well as a tighter hook set, whereas the mono line will stretch and delay the set of the hook.  Therefore, Braid gets the nod when considering stretch characteristics.
    Abrasion Resistance (Monofilament wins) - This is a setback for braided lines, because the stranded nature of braids means that anytime the line catches on something, it has a tendency to fray, and individual strands break.  As braided line gets used throughout the season, small nicks on the line due to general use cause the line to weaken.
    Diameter vs line weight (Braid wins) - Braid line is much stronger and lighter-weight due to the nature of the stranded material that's used to manufacture it.  If you took braid and monofilament of the same diameter, the braid would be much stronger.  Braid in the 65lb test is about .016 inch in diameter.  The same diameter monofilament is only 16lb test!  Putting that into fishing terms means that you can troll a higher strength braided line and get more depth due to less resistance in the water due to the smaller diameter of the line.

    Lures for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    There are several types of lures that work well for Potomac Rockfish. The lures and jigs listed below are ones that have specifically worked for me, and I think that anyone you talk to who fishes for Potomac Rockfish will tell you to use the same tackle. Most people use Tandem rigs, Umbrella rigs and Parachutes. Not as many use Stretch 25's, but I had great luck with them last Fall.

    Sassy Shad and Bass Assassins

    These are used on umbrella rigs to simulate a school of baitfish. Different sizes - you must attempt to match the size of your shads to the size of the bait that the fish are currently hunting. In the Fall, the bait is usually smaller than in the Spring.

    6-inch Bass Assassin Saltwater Sea Shad-4 Per Bag
    4-inch Bass Assassin Saltwater Sea Shad-10 Per Bag

    Umbrella Rigs

    Sea Striker 4-Arm Umbrella Rig
    This is how an umbrella looks
    when rigged with Sassy Shads and a Parachute

    Planer Boards for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    - Home-made (best) - I'll be creating a separate post to show how to build a good set of Potomac Rockfish Planer Boards that will work for years. Stay tuned!
    - Store-bought - (don't bother!)

    Planer Board Line for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    There are two types of line that you can use for your Potomac Rockfish Planer Boards. The Planer board line is a little more expensive than weed whacker line. If you buy weed whacker (trimmer line) line, be sure to get the stuff that's .095-inch diameter or larger, and do *not* get the serrated type.
    You'll want approximately 100 feet on each side of the boat when you're first starting out. You may want to extend them a bit after you get used to running them.

    Woodstock 200-Pounds Planer Board Line

    Clips and Rigs for Potomac Rockfish (Striped Bass)

    SCOTTY Mini Power Grip Plus Release Planer Board (4 per pack)
    Instead of using Scotty clips, you can go the cheaper route and use shower curtain clips and rubber bands. Just loop the rubber band over your line, make sure it's tight, then hook the open end of the rubber band over the shower curtain hook.
    PlumbShop PS2546 Shower Curtain Hooks, Chrome, 12-Pack
    Weldon Rubber Bands for Planer Releases Tension: Light

    I think that covers most of the tackle that I carry with me on a Potomac Rockfish expedition. I hope that you have found this blog post to be useful, and I hope that you catch many Potomac Rockfish with this information!
    Please visit my forum at Go Fishing Forum to share news of your latest catch!

    Tight Lines!
    - Rick

    PRFC, VMRC, VDGIF and Potomac Jurisdiction

    There are three major government agencies within Virginia who have control of licensing, boating, fishing, hunting and other aspects of the laws and regulations around the Potomac River basin.  These agencies are:

    PRFC - Potomac River Fisheries Commission
      -   Potomac Rockfish regulations and limits (PRFC "Blue Sheet")

    VMRC - Virginia Marine Resources Commission
      -  Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP)
      -  Coastal and Chesapeake Bay Rockfish regulations and limits

    VDGIF - Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
      -  Fishing Licenses - Saltwater and Fresh Water
      -  Boat Registration and Titling

    We'll talk briefly about each one of them and the limits of their jurisdiction pertaining to Rockfish and the Potomac River.

    PRFC - Potomac River Fisheries Commission

    The Potomac River Fisheries Commission (Commission) is the Maryland-Virginia bi-state regulatory authority for fishery matters in the mainstem tidal Potomac River from Washington, DC to the Chesapeake Bay. The Commission is comprised of eight members, four appointed by the governor of Maryland and four appointed by the governor of Virginia.

    The Commission is responsible for adopting the rules, regulations and licenses for the recreational and commercial taking, catching or attempting to take or catch fish, crabs, oysters and clams from the Potomac River. The Commission regulations carry the full force and effect of law and are jointly enforced by the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) Marine Police. Both the Maryland District Courts and Virginia General District Courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate violations of the Commission’s regulations.

    The Commission meets four to six times each year and most meetings are held in the Commissioner’s Hearing Room at its office in Colonial Beach, VA. All Commission meetings are open and the public is invited and encouraged to attend. The Commission also has three citizen advisory committees, one for finfish matters, one for crab issues, and one for oyster and clam concerns. These committee meetings are, likewise, open public meetings and are held in Colonial Beach, VA.

    VMRC - Virginia Marine Resources Commission

    Established in 1875 as the Virginia Fish Commission, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is one of the oldest agencies in Virginia State Government. Until the last decade, shellfish regulation has dominated much of the agency's activities because of the economic and cultural importance of the oyster industry. Private leasing of State bottom for the planting and propagation of oysters appears to have begun before 1875, but it was not until 1884 that the Commonwealth set up the Board of the Chesapeake to handle the regulations of the oyster industry. Public oyster grounds were mapped (the so-called Baylor Survey) during 1892-1895.

    The Fish Commission, which at that time dealt with both fresh and saltwater fisheries issues, was consolidated with the Board of the Chesapeake in 1898 to form the Board of Fisheries, later the Commission of Fisheries, which was given the task of managing all shellfish and finfish issues statewide.

    The Habitat Management Division of the Commission traces its origin to 1962 when the responsibility for permit encroachments in or over State-owned submerged lands was transferred from the Office of the Attorney General to the Commission of Fisheries. This made marine management in Virginia unique in that living resources, and the habitat on which they depend, came under the jurisdiction of the same agency.

    A legislative study commission in 1967 recommended a broadened mission resulting in the agency being renamed the Virginia Marine Resources Commission in 1968 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. The Virginia Wetlands Act was passed in 1972 and placed under the management of VMRC, as was the 1980 Coastal Primary Sand Dune Protection Act. In 1982, the General Assembly broadened the 1972 Wetlands Act to include non-vegetated wetlands. In 1984, a distinct Fisheries Management Division was created and its authority over fisheries issues was strengthened.

    The VMRC handles the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (FIP).  This program was put into place to ensure that anyone over the age of 16 who fishes in Virginia Marine waters is identified for the purposes of determining how many anglers are out there.  One instance where this comes into play is when someone goes fishing on my boat.  I have a boat license from the VDGIF.  My boat license allows anyone to fish from my boat.  So, if I have 6 people fishing from my boat on a daily basis, there is no record of any of them since they didn't have to purchase their own fishing license.  So, the Fisherman Identification Program was created to help alleviate that issue.  It's free to register - just call their phone number (1-800-723-2728) or register online.  This is a requirement if you fish, but aren't required to purchase a license.

    VDGIF - Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

    The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' mission is:
    • to manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth;
    • to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia;
    • to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing;
    • to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.
    VDGIF is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and recreational boating for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Department has an operational budget of approximately $55 million.

    Contact Information for all agencies


    MARYLAND (Except for Potomac River)
    Maryland Department of Natural Resources
    Tawes State Office building, B-2
    580 Taylor Avenue
    Annapolis, Maryland 21401
    (800) 688 FINS

    VIRGINIA (For Areas Below Rt. 301. Bridge)
    Virginia Marine Resources Commission
    2600 Washington Avenue
    Newport News, Virginia 23607
    (757) 247-2200

    VIRGINIA (For Areas Above Rt. 301 Bridge)
    Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
    4010 West Broad Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23230
    ((804) 367-1000

    D.C. Fisheries and Wildlife Division
    1200 First Street, N.E.,
    Washington, DC 20002 (202)997-9607

    Potomac River Fisheries Commission
    P.O. Box 9
    Colonial Beach, Virginia 22443
    (804) 224-7148 or (800) 266-3904

    Maryland: (410) 260-8888 or (800) 628-9944
    Virginia: (757) 247-2265 or (800) 541-4646

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Rockfish or Striped Bass?

    Potomac Rockfish - these are the best size for eating - between 4-6 pounds

    Rockfish and Striped Bass are one and the same species with the scientific name Morone saxatilis.  The official common name for the species is Striped Bass, though most people along the Atlantic seaboard from the Carolinas to New Jersey, and especially in the Chesapeake Bay area know them as "Rockfish".  Here in the Potomac River area, people will probably look at you funny if you call them Striped Bass or "Stripers".  From this point forward, and in every blog post on this site, we will refer to our favorite sleek bodied striped friend as Mr. Rockfish.

    Potomac Rockfish caught near Buoy 7 in Fall 2012 - 42 inches and 28 pounds

    Rockfish are anadromous fish, meaning that they live their adult lives in salt water, but migrate up-river into fresh water to spawn.  Once the spawn is complete, they migrate back to the ocean.  Although Rockfish migrate to fresh water to spawn, don't confuse them with their freshwater cousin, the White Bass.  

    The largest Rockfish ever caught on hook and line was caught in Long Island Sound, near the Outer Southwest Reef, off the coast of Westbrook, Connecticut by Gregory Myerson on August 4th, 2011.  The record Rockfish weighed 81.88 pounds and was 54 inches long.  It was caught on a live eel.  By contrast, my largest fish to date is a 42-inch 28-pounder that was caught near Buoy 7 on the Potomac River.

    Potomac River Tide Charts, Graphs and Tables

    There are several tide stations up and down the Potomac River.  There are two types of tide stations, Reference (Ref), which are the primary stations; and Subs, which are secondary or alternate stations.  The two Potomac Reference Tide Stations are in bold below.  Click any of the following links for today's tide prediction in graphic and tabular form, along with a map of the location.

    Alexandria, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.8050° N 77.0383° W
    Aquia Creek, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.4183° N 77.3533° W
    Colonial Beach, Potomac River, Virginia Ref 38.2517° N 76.9600° W
    Colonial Beach, Potomac River, Virginia (sub) Sub 38.2517° N 76.9600° W
    Dahlgren, Upper Machodoc Creek, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.3200° N 77.0367° W
    Lewisetta, Potomac River, Virginia Ref 37.9967° N 76.4650° W
    Lewisetta, Potomac River, Virginia (sub) Sub 37.9950° N 76.4650° W
    Mathias Point, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.3983° N 77.0533° W
    Mount Holly, Nomini Creek, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.0983° N 76.7350° W
    Quantico, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.5200° N 77.2867° W
    Ragged Point, Coles Neck, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 38.1417° N 76.6133° W
    Travis Point, Coan River, Potomac River, Virginia Sub 37.9967° N 76.4667° W

    Each of these stations is also available in a printable format - one day per sheet.  This is very handy to print out and take with you to identify when the tide is incoming or outgoing, since this seems to have quite an effect on fishing at times.

    Printable Potomac River Tide Stations:

    Printable Tide Graph for Alexandria  

    Printable Tide Graph for Aquia Creek  

    Printable Tide Graph for Colonial Beach (Ref) 

    Printable Tide Graph for Colonial Beach (Sub)  

    Printable Tide Graph for Upper Machodoc Creek  

    Printable Tide Graph for Lewisetta (Ref)  

    Printable Tide Graph for Lewisetta (Sub)  

    Printable Tide Graph for Mathias Point  

    Printable Tide Graph for Mount Holly, Nomini Creek 

    Printable Tide Graph for Quantico  

    Printable Tide Graph for Ragged Point, Coles Neck  

    Printable Tide Graph for Travis Point, Coan River


    Happy Fishing and Tight Lines!!!

    Potomac Rockfish Regulations and Limits 2013

    Fishing for Rockfish (Striped Bass) in the Potomac River is something that I really enjoy.  The rules and regulations associated with Potomac River Rockfish must be strictly adhered to, or one risks getting into a significant amount of trouble.

    Rockfish are a protected species, and the creel limits are set in order to ensure that too many of them are not taken in hopes that their numbers will rebound.  Limits are also set specifically around the spawning season in order to ensure that the Potomac Rockfish spawn is not too negatively impacted by overfishing.

    The following link is the "Potomac River Blue Sheet" for 2013, which outlines size and number limits for all gamefish species in the Potomac River.

    2013 Potomac River Fisheries Commission Blue Sheet

    Within the 2013 regulations, you will find the Rockfish regs, as indicated below:

    Spring Season

    Season Open: April 20 through May 15
    Open Area: Below Harry W. Nice Bridge (Rt. 301)
    Minimum Size Limit: 28”
    Possession Limit: 1 per person
    Bait Restrictions: No live eel. No more than 2 hooks None

    Summer/Fall Season

    Season Open: May 16 through December 31
    Open Area: Below Woodrow Wilson Bridge (I-95)
    Minimum Size Limit: 18” with only 1 over 28”
    Possession Limit: 2 per person
    Bait Restrictions: None

    Special Restriction: When Fishing for Striped Bass During the Closed Season – Barbless Hooks are Required

    The Spring season is pretty straightforward - you can only have one Rockfish per person in your possession, and each Rockfish must be at least 28 inches in length.

    The Summer/Fall season is a little tougher to understand at first read - so, here's some clarification.  Each person may possess up to TWO Rockfish.  Both of them must be over 18 inches, but only one of them may be over 28 inches.  So, you can have a 21 and a 26, or a 22 and a 29, but you cannot have a 29 and a 32 in one person's possession.

    I purchase a boat license from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) every year, and this license effectively covers everyone who wants to fish on my boat.   You can purchase your own boat license here: or here:

    I'm very interested in seeing what you catch, so please take a moment to stop by my fishing forum at