December dock lights are a fly fisher’s dream
When old man winter shows up, get ready for a nighttime striper-feeding frenzy. Safety first of course. That includes an established float plan, life jackets aboard, and a buddy—because no one will believe the stories of a hundred-fish night!
Catching striped bass on dock lights in December is great, as long as you have tide movement and the right fly fishing gear. I personally like an 8 wt fast action rod with a floating line, for a leader I prefer a 20 lb tapered fluorocarbon leader 9’ long, and a black and purple size 2. Now not just any dock with a light will produce, you need to find one that has at least 6-8’ water depth at high tide. With a little scouting you should have no problem finding a productive dock. (Just look for the fish going crazy.)
When you find the dock you want to fish, it’s important not to motor right up to it. Catch the tide, have your anchor ready, drift about 30-40’ off the dock, and set your anchor in nice and easy. Being stealthy is key as the fish do spook easily.
When casting, I like to cast up current in the shadows of the light, allowing the current to sweep the fly underneath the dock light. Using the strip pause method is very effective for this maneuver! Now I know you’re thinking; why use a black fly at night? It stands out in contrast with the light where a lighter color will be washed out by the light.
As a responsible angler, here are a few things to keep in mind. Be respectful of the property owners, keep the noise to a minimum—some people go to bed early. The state of Maryland requires you to be off the water by midnight if you have striped bass in your possession. Make sure to check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources current rules and regulations for striped bass fishing. If you have any questions or want some tips on hot spots that produce, head over to my website www.chesapeakebayfly.com and cast me a line!
Get Ready for Your Next Fly Fishing Trip
In need of additional information on where and how to fly fish? Check out Maryland’s Fly Fishing Trail. The first state-wide trail in the nation highlights 48 sites spanning from the shorelines of the Chesapeake to the mountain streams in Western Maryland.
Before you head out, be sure to acquire your license and check out the latest regulations from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
And if you’re up for turning your fly fishing trip into a getaway, check out Visit Maryland for places to stay, dine and things to do.