Fishing for rockfish this time of year can be a little confusing with most anglers heading to bridges and deep channels to find their prey but in truth most stripers are in shallow water less than five feet.

This may be difficult for those anglers who have spent most of their lives dragging stretch baits along pilings but if you talk to some local pros or even the guys who net and tag them for the state they will tell you that the majority of rockfish are shallow chasing bait up and down the rivers.

In Coinjock, you will always see boats trolling, but if you pay attention, there are some anglers who are throwing small white crankbaits up to the shoreline and bringing them back to the boat.

These locals have learned to hunt for the shallow fish that move up onto the banks and forage on small baitfish during the warmer days in the winter.

On the Pasquotank, the local pros throw Rattle Traps and Smithwick Rouges up into stump fields to get their limits and in the coldest winter months you can find fish up the Chowan in huge schools in as little as five feet next to the banks that will hit a rouge in a heartbeat.

I have even heard of guys who troll through the small creeks and channels right in the cypress knees in a jon boat.

These shallow water patterns have been paying off for years to the anglers who know how to fish them so next time you get out on the water and the deep bite is slow don’t be afraid to go shallow and see what you can find.

What’s biting, where...

The winds beat us up a little this week but the guys out of Hatteras basically slayed the king fish this week anyway.

The bite was spectacular with not only numbers but size also with some fish coming in over 50 pounds. The northern fleet is on a good tuna bite when weather allows so if you brave the cold get out there and show us what you got.

On the beaches and piers there was a good puppy drum bite as well as a few bulls brought into the sand.

The big mullet are still around also with numerous citations fish over two pounds brought back to the scales.

The speckled trout bite is still good in the sound and the surf with fresh shrimp and Gulp baits bringing them in.

The striper are turning on also with the bridges being the normal place to try.

The old Mann’s Harbor Bridge is warming up with swim baits and umbrella rigs being the go to bait while the sound bridge out of Edenton is a stretch bait and umbrella rig hot spot.

Locally the crappie bite is still hot with a slow troll spider rig doing the job and the largemouth bite is still hot in the creeks with any kind of minnow baits like square bills, spinner baits or jerk baits being the lure of choice.

If anyone gets out this weekend shoot me a pic and a report to or on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

Mike Sweeney is the fishing columnist for The Daily Advance.