Still Want To Catch Rockfish? Go To Virginia, But Hurry


November 23, 1990|By Capt. Bob Spore

I apologize. I was quite remiss for not mentioning that you can still legally catch rockfish. The caveat is you must go to Virginia (not the Potomac River) and you must get a permit.

When our striped bass season passed, my thoughts turned to white perch and projects that needed to be completed before winterizing the Catherine-M. A call earlier this week got the juices flowing again.

The gentleman said he heard that the Virginia striped bass season was open through Dec. 5 and that Maryland charter boats were legally fishing in Virginia for rockfish. I professed my lack of knowledge but said there would be something in this column on the subject.

Thanksgiving eve is not a good day to try to find government officials in either Maryland or Virginia, but here is the tip of the iceberg on the subject. I promise to do much better next year. I forgot how mobile Maryland fishermen are. Many think nothing to running to Hatteras for a long weekend. Virginia is less than half that distance if you fish Eastern Shore locations such as Onancock.

The Virginia season opened Nov. 5 and runs through Dec. 5. You must possess a special Virginia striped bass permit, which is free. The permit has been available at no cost since August from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).

But since the time is now too short to apply for the permit by mail, you must apply in person. VMRC is located at 2600 Washington Ave, Newport News, Va. Office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; however, the offices are closed today.

The daily creel limit for both recreational and charter boats is two striped bass per day per person on board. On a charter boat, this includes the captain and crew. Maryland's regulation did not permit the captain and crew to keep any fish.

As with Maryland, the minimum-size limit is 18 inches, and the maximum-size limit is 36 inches. In contrast to Maryland, Virginia only issued 43,000 striped bass permits. Maryland computed they had 44,409 striped bass fishermen/boat trips during the first three days. A fisherman/boat trip is one angler fishing in a boat for one day, three anglers on a fishing trip would equal three fishermen/boat trips, and so on.

Virginia charter-boat permits, as in Maryland, cover everyone on board; you therefore do not need an individual permit if you are on a charter boat. The VMRC reps I talked to Wednesday said they have issued charter-boat permits to several Maryland charter boats.

However, at this writing, I have not been able to find any one running trips down there. I suggest you contact the VMRC at 804-247-2200 (ask for Jack Travelstead's office) next week for further information. One possibility for locating a charter is the Kings Creek Marina in Cape Charles; call Donnie Styles at 804-331-2058. Since time is short, should you run into a complete blank wall, call me at 437-2715, and I will make further inquiries.


Maryland's (gun) deer season opens tomorrow and runs through next Saturday. Weather permitting, the best way to bag your venison is to find a comfortable spot near active deer trails and remain motionless. Movement is the first thing that gives you away.

Another item that is quick to announce your presence is your bright, shiny face. Take a tip from the combat troops and smear something over your face. Burned cork will work although there are many commercial preparations available to make your face blend into the woodlands.

Scents have proven to be very effective in covering the human smell. I'm still not convinced that the scents will attract the deer as claimed in advertisements.

If the wind picks up, most critters bed down. They know they cannot hear approaching danger. In case of wind, you are going to have to move around and get the deer moving.

In the final analysis, much of deer-hunting success depends on luck, and I'd much rather be lucky than good. So I say "good luck" in your pursuits afield.

Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena.

His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.

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