The Striped Bass Advisory Board wrapped up its sessions on the 1991 striped bass seasons Thursday evening and gave its recommendations tothe state Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR will prepare the regulations for the fall season, schedule public hearings during May and publish the final version of the regulations sometime before the fall season begins.
The board recommended a recreational season begin Oct. 11 that would give each angler two striped bass tags and 17 days to catch the fish.
The season would then close for a week or two and re-open if any of the allocation remains for a traditional fishery of one fish per angler per day.
DNR biologists say if the same number of anglers fish this year as last year (approximately 50,000 each day), and they have the same success ratio (approximately 22 percent), the harvest would exceed the 318,000 pound allocation on the 15th day.
Boardmembers believe the tag system gives anglers the best opportunity tocatch a rockfish.
They think a lower catch limit will reduce the number of anglers.
They also believe the probability of getting four 85-degree days at the beginning of the season this year -- as happened last year -- is doubtful.
They recommended the 17-day season begin the same time as the charter boat season.
One board member stressed that recreational fishermen need to look at striped bass fishing as a sport with more fish released alive.
A significant changeto this year's regulations is that anglers, whether on charter or recreational fishing trips, may catch no more than two rockfish per day. That means you cannot run two trips a day.
Most anglers don't, but this plugs a loophole that would permit an angler to go recreational fishing in the morning and charter a boat in the afternoon.
Fishing tags and who must have them is a concept still confusing some anglers. The spring striped bass season, which runs from May 11-27, will be conducted in the main bay south of the bay bridges.
Anglers must have a Bay Sport Fishing License unless they are fishing from a boat that is licensed.
Some anglers purchase a $25 boat license so that anyone fishing from that boat need not obtain an individuallicense.
Charter boat captains purchase a similar license for $200 or $240, depending upon the boat's capacity.
Each person fishingthe spring season must first obtain a free striped bass permit or tag, except those anglers fishing on charter boats.
In the case of charter boats, the captain will be able to pick up a block of tickets from one of the distribution centers.
Anglers may pick up their permits or tags at the following locations in Anne Arundel County: Angler's Sport Center, 435 Revel Highway, Annapolis; Brown Boy's Marine Supply, 668 Deale Road, Deale; C & EJ's Hunting and Fishing, 308 Southern Maryland Blvd., Lothian; Fish-N-Barrell, 8220 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena; Marty's Sporting Goods, 95 Mayo Road, Edgewater; and Riviera Sunset Pet Stop, 8518 Fort Smallwood Road.
You do not need a license to pick up a striped bass tag, just your driver's license for identification.
Meanwhile, everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting for the bluefish to announce their presence. Rumors are running full speed, but actual catches are few.
I know of two: One I mentioned last week, came at the mouth of the Potomac, the other was a 16-pound bluefish that was caught off the Radar Towers below Chesapeake Beach last Saturday afternoon.
The only thing holding the bluefish back is the water temperature. Our cold rainy days last weekend slowed the progress of the bluefish migration up the bay. Water temperature was still in the low 50s early this week. We need about 55 degrees,and 59 would be much better.
As of Thursday evening, when this column was being carved into stone, no bluefish had been caught from shore and checked in at the Tackle Shop in Lexington Park, which coversthe Point Lookout and Solomons areas.
But when it finally happens, Ken Lamb, owner of the Tackle Box, will present the lucky angler with a surf fishing outfit.
A check around the bay Thursday indicated that quite a few anglers were poised for this weekend.
ScheiblesFishing Center in Ridge will have its boats out this weekend. The rumor control officer has undocumented information that several bluefish have been caught in the Potomac River pound nets. Bunky's Charters -- formerly Woodburns -- in Solomons Island will have boats out this weekend, as will the Rod 'N Reel in Chesapeake Beach.
I am certainby the time you read this column several more bluefish will have gone into the box.
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.