Seasons & Regulations
What we catch and when???
Here is a month by month breakdown of what to expect to catch during the different seasons. Size and creel limits are listed in the text and also at the link listed below:
Click on the months to display what to expect to catch in that month/season.
- Starting January 2008, Miss Susie Charters is now fishing from Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, Virginia for the months of January and February.
The fishing during January is simply incredible. Lots of big fish and lots of multiple hook ups. It is common to have 7 lines in the water and each and every one of them loaded up at once with two trophy Stripers on each line. Some days the fish are so abundant that light tackle jigging is highly effective. For these trips we will be fishing aboard my larger and newer boat FIN FINDER. Be sure to ask about the two day package deal that we offer that includes two charters, tip for the first mate, fish cleaning and two night's hotel stay. Come see why boats from all over the East Coast come to VA Beach in January, you will not be dissappointed.
- The month of February is just like January, excellent catches of Trophy sized Striped Bass every day fishing out of Rudee Inlet in VA Beach, VA. Don't miss out book your Ocean trip of a lifetime today................
- April 15th marks the opening day of the 2006 Trophy Striped Bass Season. Some of the largest striped bass (rockfish) of the year will be caught from this day through mid-May. The size/creel limit during this season, which ends on May 15th, is 33 inch minimum and one fish per angler per day. During this spring trophy season the large adult stock of striped bass is migrating to and mostly from their spawning sites in the Chesapeake Bay's many tributaries. Along this journey they gorge themselves on menhaden (alewives or bunker) which is the primary forage for these large fish. Many of the stripers caught during this season are truly amazing specimens, some reaching the 40 lb. class and a few even reaching the 50 lb. class.
Because these fish are suspended in the water column and not held in any particular area, trolling is the method of choice for catching these large spring stripers. We troll as many as 24 lines at a time to successfully cover a large area and many different depths. It is truly amazing to watch us set and fish a 24 rod spread (we even let you help with putting the lines out). Of course many spring seasons have such red hot fishing that fishing 24 lines is simply not necessary, but in case a tough day arises we can "put 'em all in". The lures we troll consist of parachutes rigged with 9" plastic shads, some are rigged with umbrella rigs with several 6" shad teasers to create the appearance of a school of menhaden (baitfish) swimming through the water.
Come and join the excitement! Because of the great fishing opportunities for trophy fish during the last two weeks of April and the first two weeks of May we will be chartering two trips per day to allow a greater number of clients to enjoy this great spring fishing. Call today these dates are going fast!!!
- This is a month of change. When this change occurs varies from year to year according to water temperatures and weather. May begins the same way April ends: with fantastic trolling for trophy striped bass. This normally lasts until at least the first two weeks of May and, some years, when we have cold springs, this trophy fishing can continue into the first few days of June. Reguardless of when the trophy fish decide to migrate out of the Bay and up the Atlantic Coast towards their summertime haunts great light tackle fishing for smaller resident striper begins immediatly upon their exodus. In fact, some of the best light tackle fishing we have to offer occurs as soon as the trophy trolling bite dies when we often catch a few "straggler" trophy stripers on light tackle. At this time, and through October, a fair amount of our striped bass fishing will involve using cut baitfish and chumming while anchored over structures such as channel edges or hard bottom areas. The size/creel limit for striped bass (rockfish) changes May 16th to: [2 fish @ 18"-28"] or [1 fish @ 18"-28" and 1 fish 28"+].
As the trophy trolling bite slows down fantastic evening bottom fishing also begins for Atlantic croaker (9" min./ 25 per angler per day) and in some years even sea trout (13" min. / 8 per angler per day). Croakers, also called hardheads by locals, migrate into the Bay in huge numbers and as evening approaches they seem unable to resist chunks of squid, crab, or shrimp bounced in front of their noses. These fish are hard fighters and normally range in size from 13" up to 20". We have seen many charters catch their limit of these fish (25 per angler) in less than two hours, that is how good this fishing can be. Croakers feed best as dusk approaches and later into the summer they feed best often after dark. For this reason, we like to leave the dock at 4 PM for evening charters in late May through early July. This allows us to run an AM rockfish charter and puts afternoon clients at the fishing grounds when the fishing action is hot. While waiting for the late croaker bite, we also chum for rockfish.
May has it all: big fish early and great light tackle action late. Don't miss this awesome month of fishing...call today for a date!!!
- Fishing in June normally begins the way fishing ended in May: with excellent light tackle chumming for 18" to 26" striped bass (rockfish) in the daylight hours, and excellent bottom fishing for croakers just before dusk on into the evening.
This is one of the best times of the year for a family trip. Children truly love light tackle fishing for rockfish and croaker, and the action won't disappoint. With school just out for the summer and the weather pleasant, this is the time: Take your kids on a fishing charter and they will remember it forever.
During this month, due to high demand, we will be offering two trips per day: A 6 AM rockfishing charter with the option to try bottom fishing and a 4 PM rockfish/ croaker charter. Afternoon trips are for those who want to load their coolers and catch a great mix of rockfish and croaker. Morning trips are for those who are mostly interested in catching striped bass (rockfish) and would like more time to try for a larger striper instead of catching bottom fish. June dates go quick, give us a call so you can get in on the action!!!
- July is an interesting month. Chumming for rockfish usually continues to be very productive. Bluefish (8" min./ 10 per angler per day) start showing up while chumming for rockfish and when they are hooked they provide an action packed fight. Some of the first bluefish to show up each year are usually small (9"-14" the best eating size) but as the summer goes on, some larger bluefish up to 8 lbs. will be caught.
By the second week of July (most years) large numbers of Norfolk spot move into the mouth of the Patuxent River (located just minutes from our home port). These bottom fish bite furiously during daylight hours and are very strong fighters for their size (8"-13"). They are excellent eating and since there are no limits on them you can take home loads of them for a fish fry. Spot fishing is always a great way to end a charter trip after a limit of rockfish has been caught.
July also marks the beginning of flounder fishing. The flounder regulations for 2006 are 2 flounder over 15" per person. Flounder fishing involves drifting along channel edges dragging bottom rigs baited with minnows, squid strips, or cut bait strips. Catching keeper flounder is always a challenge and when conditions are right, flounder fishing can be a great way to end a charter fishing trip.
Evening fishing for croaker is normally still good for at least the first two weeks of July. But as the summer goes on the croaker bite gets later and later as well as inconsistent. July is a great month to enjoy several different types of fishing and since your kids are out of school and the weather is warm take your family fishing, you won't regret it!!!
- Surface feeding activity usually heats up for rockfish, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel (14" min/ 15 per angler per day) during the month of August. Chumming is normally still very productive for rockfish and bluefish. Casting lures and trolling through schools of breaking fish are also very productive methods of catching rockfish, bluefish and mackerel. Flounder fishing in August is usually productive as well. Spot fishing continues to be good and some years we start using live spot (that we catch) as rockfish bait. Live bait fishing for striped bass (rockfish) is truly as good as it gets. We employ this method whenever it is feasible and promises to be productive.
Evening croaker fishing by this time has normally slowed considerably, so all charters are now daytime only. Afternoon trips are still available, however, they return to port at dark (schedule departing time accordingly). August is normally a hot month, so is the fishing, come join us for a beautiful, fun-filled day on the Bay.
- August and September are the two most similar back to back months on our fishing calendar. Rockfishing stays good through September. Keeper flounder are sometimes more abundant this month than any other month. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel catches are normally very good especially if it's a dry summer (higher water salinity). Spot also bite consistently for at least the first three weeks of the month. Live-lining for rockfish is often very productive during September and with out a doubt a very exciting way to catch fish. The temperature is dropping, the kids are back in school, come join us on an adventure where you could catch 5 or more kinds of fish in one trip!!!
- Much like May, October is a month of change. By October, bottom fishing for larger spot and croaker is usually over. However, chumming and live-lining for rockfish and bluefish is still going strong and often getting better as the water cools. By mid October there are usually a few large (28" and larger) rockfish to be caught trolling over structure. These first few "big fish" of the fall are not the migratory stripers we catch in the spring and late fall but are a sample of the small population of resident "big fish" that are just leaving their shallow water summer haunts. Fishing for these resident "big fish" can be very productive one day and very disappointing the next. However, with a normally dependable chumming bite, we often employ both trolling and chumming in the same day.
Sea trout (a.k.a. weakfish) usually make their best showing of the year around mid to late October. Many of these trout will weigh 4 to 5 lbs., some weighing as much as 10 lbs. They are caught either bottom jigging or slow, bottom bouncing trolling. For some reason 2003 thru 2005 were very poor years for trout fishing. Hopefully 2006 and on will showcase world-class sea trout fishing like we have seen on the Chesapeake Bay in years past. October is also a busy month because of historically good catches and milder temperatures. Book a date early and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay at its finest: rock fishing in the comfortable autumn weather!!!
- November normally marks the return of the migratory stock of trophy striped bass from the Atlantic Ocean. These large fish are returning into the Bay for a fall feeding run. In addition to the spring, this is a great time to land that once in a life-time rockfish. Every November there are several fish caught that weigh over 40 lbs. Fishing for trophy striped bass in November is done the same way it is in April and May except the fish are not quite as predictable because they are relating solely to bait and these baitfish (called menhaden, alewives, or bunker) can move several miles overnight. However, since the rockfish are often schooled up and feeding by now, it is not uncommon to have multiple hook-ups of trophy class fish at one time. November 2005 will be rembered forever by the crew of the "Miss Susie" because exactly one week apart early in the month they landed a 55.5lb and a 57.0lb Monster Rockfish. Because of the presence of these trophy stripers, November is one of our busiest months and because the days are so short this time of year we cannot run two trips per day as we do earlier in the season. Book early so you don't miss your chance at a November trophy!!!
- December is the "last hurrah" for Miss Susie Charters. Just because it is our last month of fishing until next April means nothing; December can be the most exciting month of the year to fish. Since the best trophy striper fishing is normally in the lower part of the middle Bay (MD/VA line area), we fish out of Point Lookout Marina in Ridge, MD during the month of December. This allows us to have the option to run to Virginia waters if that is where the bite is. It also extends our season because the Maryland Striped Bass Season closes December 15th, while the Virginia Striped Bass Season runs though December 31st. Like November dates, December dates go fast. This is your last chance in 2006 to land a trophy striped bass, hope to see you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!