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 edges...no 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!