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Regulars (Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle)

Every rockfish is good; now and again, one is extraordinary

When I planted the skiff’s Power Pole anchor on the remains of an old submerged jetty wall that snaked well over a hundred yards out from the shoreline, my face was numb from the chilled air and the fast run. My electronic finder said the water was four feet deep under the keel. But just off the rocks, it would read closer to seven. Not too much farther away, the bottom fell to 20 feet.
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Sweet success takes tuning

Easing my skiff up near a Bay Bridge support, I launched the lively Norfolk spot toward the sweet spot where the water eddied behind the down-current side of the concrete pier. I thumbed the spool, directing the baitfish to just the right place, inches from the support.
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If a rock won’t bite, maybe a bluefish will

Moe and I imagined a fantastic day for rockfish. We had done well the previous afternoon with limits of bright, healthy stripers 26 to 28 inches. Hoping the pods would remain close to those same Bay Bridge structures overnight, we were back on the water early the next morning.

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Almost 100 years ago, peolpe were astounded to find such large fish

When Lester Trott, 95 years old this year, was born in Annapolis, the capital city had scarcely 9,000 residents.
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Soft plastics have proved irresistible, with Bass Assassin the tastiest

This early morning I was prospecting for stripers beside a long bulkhead reinforced with large rock piled along the base. The water there was five or six feet deep, then dropped off gradually all the way to the 30-foot depths of the channel 100 yards away.
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Catch some for now and some for later

It was well after low slack when the incoming tidal current finally began to push me upriver. A light, soft wind from the south drifted my skiff diagonally cross channel and made everything just perfect for what I intended.
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Spotted sea trout don’t frequent our neck of the Bay, so you want to get out there when they do

I was wade-fishing off Thomas Point Park when the fish hit my Clouser fly. Casting the weighted streamer around a boulder-strewn area in about four feet of water, I felt the take, and right away I knew it was not a rockfish.
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Try roasting it on a Caja China

We’d had a great day on the water. The bite was good, and we had boated a gorgeous pair of fat stripers, one 27 inches and the other just over 30. It seemed a shame to reduce them to fillets, so I didn’t. Scaling the hefty fish, then eviscerating them and removing the gills, I laid their graceful forms aside and reached for my phone to borrow a friend’s Caja China (pronounced: ka-ha cheena).
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To a North Sea fisherman, we’re in heaven

I coaxed the bow of my skiff in close to the Bay Bridge piling and shifted into neutral. The tide had slowed to a crawl, and the southerly breeze was still soft, so it was no problem holding our boat a half dozen feet off the down-current side of the piling.
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Four ways to cook the Bay’s favorite fish

What a year we’ve had for rockfish! In our fifth month of abundance, big fish are still just about everywhere in the mid-Bay, with anglers catching them using just about every method.
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