It is amazing to think that a fish like the rockfish can travel up coast and end up in the same river it was born in.

We as anglers witness this every year by finding the fish in certain times of the season in the same places every year like the sound bridge or in a certain feeder creek and we know they will be there every year.

This pattern is part of their journey and we get to witness it every time we fish for them.

We know that the schools of fish move into the Roanoke to spawn but we like to hunt for them before they get there.

The first hot spot is the Mann’s Harbor Bridge outside of Manteo.

They have been stacked up on that bridge for a couple of weeks now. Then a lot of them move up the Chowan River and stage on the sound bridge where they have been all season but mainly because rockfish use this bridge before the river and after the spawn to feed up and grow.

That’s what makes it such a great spot because it is year around while the Mann’s Harbor will empty almost overnight when the water temps drop.

There are other routes they travel like Coinjock and the Wright Memorial but the main spot to spawn is the Roanoke and that is why it is such an important tributary to the state and why they have special rules and restrictions on that river.

The hatch that comes from that river will go as far as New York or Boston in their lifetimes so we have to pay attention and follow the regulations in hopes to insure your grandkids can still fish for the mighty rockfish when they grow up.

What’s biting, where...


The offshore report is slim this week simply because not many boats went out. Between the holidays and the weather we don’t have much to talk about.

The beaches had a few anglers trying their best but it looks like the skate and dogfish show mostly. We had a few puppy drum show up here and there but it is slow.

The sound is your best bet with trout being caught in the deep holes while the stripers are still heavy on the Mann’s Harbor Bridge for now.

Rattle traps and swim baits are the go to baits here and the earlier the better.

Locally we have rockfish on the sound bridge with umbrella rigs and stretch baits paying off but don’t forget to check the powerlines just west of the bridge.

Coinjock is hit or miss right now but when it cools down a little it should get better. The largemouth bite is slowing a little but the creeks are still a good bet.

Soft plastics and jigs are a good start with them.

The crappie bite is getting better every day with tubes and curly tails dragged between 5 and 10 feet filling the coolers especially in the creeks.

If anyone gets out this week shoot me a pic and a report to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

Mike Sweeney is the fishing columnist for The Daily Advance.