Yes, the first bluefish has been caught and checked in. It is more than a rumor.
Historically, rumors of bluefish catches abound this time of year. The problem is that there are few people fishing. Few people create few reports, and rumors are easily accepted for the real thing.
But on Wednesday, Guy Mundy from Lexington Park caught a 12-pound, 8-ounce bluefish while trolling an 11/0 Crippled Alewife at the mouth ofthe Potomac River. Mundy was a passenger aboard Capt. Jim Butler's charter boat.
The fish was checked in at the Tackle Box, a bait andtackle shop in Lexington Park, and has been verified.
The bluefish have arrived in Maryland's waters. They shouldbe in the Bay Bridge area sometime next week if it doesn't get too cold. They won't necessarily be around in great numbers, but they should be here.
As of Wednesday, the first bluefish to be caught from land had not yet been checked in at the Tackle Box. Ken Lamb, the Tackle Box owner, gives asurf fishing outfit to the angler who checks in the first bluefish caught from shore. This year's outfit is valued at more than $170.
The timing of the bluefish arrival should give a shot in the armto the ninth annual Rod 'N Reel Pro-Am Fishing Tournament May 4 and 5.
The tournament is sponsored by the Rod 'N Reel Captains Association and guarantees a prize of$10,000 for the heaviest bluefish during the tournament.
Daily prizes will be awarded for the heaviest bluefish and sea trout. If the same fisherman catches the heaviest bluefish and the heaviest sea trout on the same day, he could win a "Super Catch" prize of $16,000. He also will probably be struck by lightning on the way home.
This is a fun tournament put on by a great group of captains.
This year, boats may depart from and return to Deale, Chesapeake Beach and Solomons.
Information: 257-2735 or 855-8351.
Now would be a good time to stop by your favorite tackle shop and pick up your free striped bass tag for the spring (May 11 to27) season. You must go in person.
Let's assume you have a boat fishing license and plan to fish with your wife and three children. Take them to the tackle shop and pick up a tag for each. Go now before the season gets close.
The Department of Natural Resources has notannounced how it will handle the tags for charter boats. I hope it will issue each captain 10 or 15 that could be put on legal-size fish,if caught.
This is also a good time to pick up a few new lures. I believe theCrippled Alewife is the best catching lure in the Chesapeake Bay. The 9/0 and 7/0 are my favorite sizes; however, with the word of bigger bluefish this year, the 11/0 size Crippled Alewife is not too large.
One problem with these big lures is big hooks, and most of these big hooks need sharpening. Pick up some new lures andstart working on the hooks.
I start on a grinder wheel and then finish the hook by hand with a file. The point of the hook should scratch your thumb nail with little pressure exerted. Cut little blocks of plastic foam packing material and cover the hooks after sharpening.
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.