Rockfish will once again be the main attraction on the Chesapeake over the weekend, as they were indoors last night when the Department of Natural Resources aired proposals for a fall season. After a brief and stormy interlude in the regulations process, things appear pleasant again in the Land of Pleasant Living.
Tuesday night, some members of the Striped Bass Advisory Board let off their steam regarding a DNR alternative fall proposal, but last night things were harmonious in a public meeting as both the board's plans and the alternative plans were unveiled to the public.
The session -- attended by fewer than 25 -- closed in the time it takes a land a 55-pound striper, with few questions and even fewer complaints. So it appears we might well have a season close to that proposed by the advisory board.
The charter fishery would last 31 days starting Oct. 11, with no permits required for anglers who could take two a day. The recreational fishery would allow two fish by permit only for the entire 17-day season, Oct. 11-27. The minimum size for all rock would be 18 inches.
If the still undetermined quota is not reached, recreational fishermen would enjoy an encore to catch the remainder of their quota.
There was no response from the audience concerning DNR's alternative proposal to combine the two fisheries in a 16-day (Oct. 12-27) season in which all fishermen would be allowed two fish for the entire season, and including a clause that would allow a re-opener starting Nov. 9 to catch any remainder of the quota on a basis of two fish a day per angler.
However, tidewater fisheries chief Pete Jensen said the alternative proposal still will be considered within the department. For those concerned about the inequity between the lengths of the charter and recreational fishery, Jensen's department has projected charterboats would probably take their allocation in 16 to 19 days, which would keep that season in line with the recreational fishery.
Projections also indicate the recreational fishery might not get its quota in 17 days, which could mean an extension and more fishing days than the charter fishery. We should know the choice within several weeks.
* Saturday: Safari Club International banquet, much of the proceeds to go to Save African Endangered Species Foundation, 7:30 p.m., Key Bridge Marriott, Roslyn, Va. Call Ed Wenzlaff, 828-1313.
* Sunday: Beach Clean-up, Ocean City. Call Sandy Hornug o STOP (Students Tackle Ocean Plastic) at 1-301-289-6119.
* Tuesday: Baltimore County executive Roger Hayden will spea on his environmental plans at a 7 p.m. meeting of Trout Unlimited, 511 York Road. A slide show and discussion of wild trout fishing in Baltimore County will follow. Call 653-2917 or 225-5134.
* Wednesday: John Capowski will talk on fishing the Yellowston at a 7:30 p.m. public meeting of Maryland Fly Anglers at the Community Hall, Ridge Garden Apartments, 8509 Old Harford
Road. Call Steve Weinstein, 381-5436 evenings.
Names and places ...
* Look for a busy Chesapeake over the weekend as the search for big rock continues, plus the eighth annual $200,000 MSSA Bluefish Tournament -- with an anticipated 1,000 boats -- is held out of ports on both the eastern and western shores. Biggest blue is worth $15,000 cash, second wins $10,000, and so on down a list of more than 100 prizes. And setting a world record can mean $100,000 or more. For late entries, call 768-8666.
* What's with northern pike? A state record set at th Youghiogheny, and another mark for Deep Creek Lake, that's what's new.
Tom Zumbro of Hedgesville, W.Va., is the new Maryland cham for his Youghiogheny northern, a 22-pound, 13-ouncer, that took a large Mepps Killer spinner on 10-pound line. That fish of 42 inches with 19 1/2 -inch girth had just spawned; otherwise it would have been even heavier. The previous Fishing In Maryland mark was of 21 pounds, 6 ounces taken at Triadelphia in 1982 by Gary Peters.
Roy Duane Bettinger of Grantsville didn't need a boat to catc his Deep Creek Lake record fish of 20 1/2 pounds. Fishing from shore at the McHenry shoreline, he got it on a minnow below a bobber in 5 feet of water. It was of 45 1/2 inches, beating the old mark by 1 inch. They keep records by inches out there.
Also at Deep Creek Lake -- where walleyes and bluegills ar plentiful -- Baltimorean Ken McDonald Jr. got a yellow perch of 14 1/2 inches on a worm.
* The identity of the much-talked about angler who got the rock that came close to setting a state record is now known. He is Ralph Young of Arlington, Va., and the fish taken on a red surgical hose was of 53 1/2 inches and weighed 53 pounds, 5/8 of an ounce.