The Chesapeake’s Bounty

Near the end of last December I was invited by my friend Captain Brian Dillistin to join him for a day on the bay. We would run from his home on the Corrottoman River down the Rappahannock and then to the southern Chesapeake near the eastern shore of Virginia. Our targeted species was Morone saxatilis, also called “striped bass” and locally “rockfish”. These fish are, for the most part, anadromous- migrating from the ocean in the spring up fresh water rivers to spawn and in the fall back downstream to winter in the warmer Atlantic.

It was a beautiful day on the bay with eight nice rockfish being boated ranging from 30”- 45”, several over 40”. In the past these beautiful and delicious “signature fish” of the Chesapeake suffered a severe decline due primarily to overfishing in the 1970s and 80s but after conservation measures were mandated by the Federal Government the stocks have rebounded to a very healthy fishery today.

After December 31, 2011 Brian moved his Grady White Canyon 336 to Lynnhaven near Virginia Beach, Virginia to continue fishing for rock during the Atlantic winter season. He had a record day last week with a total of 23 fish caught between 36“-43“- all but eight released. In the early 1990s Captain Dillistin was involved in helping to expand the Coastal Conservation Association – Virginia Chapter into the Richmond area. This is the leading recreational saltwater anglers conservation group in the country today.

Brian, thanks for another great day on the bay!

Fair winds! John

The view aft aboard "Hard Bargain Too".

Captain Brian Dillistin, the Ship's Surgeon "Doc" Hopkins and Master Mate Kevin Dillistin.

Mate Kevin cranking down on a rock!

Busy day on the bay.

Kevin "takin' care of business".

Brian crankin' down on "Bubba".

Brian and nephew Kevin with a 45" fish which was released for which Brian will receive a Release Citation Award from the State of Virginia.

Your's truly back at the dock.

A beautiful end to a beautiful day on Town Creek.