Well it is my favorite time of year again with the opening of striper season beginning October first.

The stripers or rockfish as some call it, are a much sought after game fish because of its fight and table fare. We here in the Albemarle region have been fishing for them for generations but it has taken its toll on the fish so restrictions are put into place like a minimum of 18 inches and two per person in the sound and its tributaries.

There are additional rules and regulations for the Roanoke River and Atlantic Ocean so like I said before don’t trust me or anyone else look up the rules yourself.

The good news is the last few spawning seasons have been pretty good and the outlook is for improvement so this year may be a good year.

It takes about 3 or 4 years for a fish to reach keeper size so the next couple of years will tell. The sound bridge is looking good this year simply because the Roanoke River dumps into the Chowan right above the bridge and the fish like to hang around the pilings for a while and fatten up.

The key to fishing the bridge is depth of the bait, color of the lure and moving water. If the wind dies and the water turns to glass it will be tough fishing so watch the weather. Drag stretch baits in different colors and depths to find the winning pattern on any particular day.

The Mann’s Harbor Bridge and the Wright Memorial did pretty well last year especially Mann’s which was stacked with rockfish thick for at least a month or so.

They do pretty well on shallow water stretch baits and Rattle Traps but last year they caught a lot of fish right on the bottom when the fishing slowed down so keep that in the back of your mind.

The canal at Coinjock is always popular with the locals including me but this in a transition area where fish move through on any given day so you can fish for hours with no bites then catch a limit in 5 minutes off the same stump.

There are some locals who only fish between the boat ramp and the houses and if they don’t catch a fish they go home but I have found that some of the best fishing is in the stumps on the south side of the bridge. It can eat some lures so be careful but they do pay off.


If anyone gets out this weekend and finds them send me a report and some pics to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com and I will show them off for you.

What’s biting, where...

The offshore guys got out this week and scored on the tuna with limits of fat yellowfins laid out on the docks. There are still some scattered dolphin around also but the waters are cooling and the tunas are heating up.

There are some nice kings and wahoos also so get out in the blue and fill those freezers.

On the beaches and piers is all about the drum fishing with fish being caught up and down the sandbar. Puppy drum are right in the surf while the big bulls are farther out.

Fresh mullet are the key for bait and most of the tackle stores are getting them in daily. We had some blues at the point with some fish over 10 pounds and the Spanish are also hitting pretty good. Mullet and small pompanos are also in the surf and can be had on fresh shrimp.

Locally the largemouth bite is warming up with creeks and main river points looking like good places to start. They are shallow so throw right to the bank and work the bait back from there.

Top water baits and square bills as well as soft plastics are the go to baits there.

It looks like the weather is going to cooperate for a bit so get out there and show me what you got.

Mike Sweeney is the fishing columnist for The Daily Advance.