This month we pose some questions about fishing in May and about catching Chesapeake Bay bull reds to Captain Steve Griffin, of Griffin’s Guide Service.

steve griffin fishing guide
Captain Steve hoists his best catch ever!

Q: When rockfish come into season, lots of people find it tough to locate fish early on. Can you share a pointer or two on how to find ‘em right as the season begins?

A: May can be a tough time to locate them! We typically find rockfish schooled up in Mid-May. Think warm and shallow water, anywhere from 20’ ledges to two foot flats. Use your side scan, not many birds or visual clues are around at this time.

Q: You're known for being a real sharpie when it comes to catching those big summertime Chesapeake Bay bull reds. What's the most important thing anglers need to know about finding them?

A: The most important thing is Humminbird Mega Side Imaging. The big schools of Chesapeake Bay Bull Reds are like roaming buffalo and they will make you work for it. You need to cover a lot of water while scanning for them. We have the ability to scan and identify Redfish 300-plus feet on each side of the boat while running at 25-plus mph. We will effectively cover over 100 miles looking for them on many trips. Be confident in your electronics, you'll know when you find a school of reds, but remember one thing while scanning: Redfish are also known as channel bass for a reason.

Q: What’s the top tip for getting them on the line once you’ve located them?

A: These fish will almost always eat so getting your lure in front of them is the most important thing. Redfish move very fast, so we use heavier jigs than normal. That way our clients can get down to them before they’re gone. We find them stacked on the bottom 90 percent of the time. You won’t find a jig less than 1.5 ounces on our boat for redfish. On windy days we will even throw four-ounce G-Eye Jig.

Q: Let's talk tackle for a second. When you're looking for those bulls and/or maybe cobia — big, potent fish — what's your dream rig?

A: A smooth and powerful drag is important when fighting these fish. My favorite setup is a Shimano Twin Power XD 5000 on a G-Loomis IMX Pro Blue 843SF (seven foot, medium fast). I only trust 30-pound Power Pro SSV2 and 40-pound Seaguar Gold Label Fluorocarbon Leader with these big fish. Our go-to lure is a two-ounce G-Eye Jig with a Z-Man seven-inch Diezel Minnow in the Sexy Mullet color pattern.

Q: You see a wide swath of anglers of all levels on your boat; what's the most common mistake you see, and how would you advise anglers to overcome it?

A: Slack Line! If you’re not in contact with your lure you will miss bites. We give a slack line demonstration and lesson before we leave the dock on just about every trip. It’s that important.

Q: Open mic — if there was anything you could say to all the anglers out there, what would it be?

A: Four things:

  1. Keep working hard and strive to learn new stuff. You’ll get much more out of a fishing trip if you set out to learn a new area or technique versus following a fleet around.
  2. Currents and tides – Yes, they’re related. The fish typically don’t care what the height of the water is, they do like moving water though.
  3. Be courteous, the fishermen around you might be having the time of their life. Give them space.
  4. The success of a fishing trip should not be measured by the amount of fish in a cooler. Photos and memories made with family and friends will last a lifetime.

You can contact Captain Steve via his website, or at (443) 624-0088.