Bay Fish In A Biting Frenzy As Spring Temperatures Rise

OUTDOORS

May 31, 1991|By Capt. Bob Spore

Fishing this weekend may be hotter than the weather!

Much is happening -- would you believe false albacore in the Chesapeake?

Although it's still officially spring, the fishing season is definitely red hot. Black drum, which usually do not appear in the middlebay much before June 10, have been biting their little hearts out. Some are in the 80-pound range.

The best black drum fishing of the Chesapeake Bay is down near Cape Charles, Va. Apparently, many of thefish bypassed the anglers at the mouth of the bay and came directly to the middle bay. These monsters bite on sea clams at the mouth of the bay, but prefer soft crab up here. They have been caught from Eastern Bay to James Island.

More unusual, at least five false albacore, or bonito, were caught in the lower bay Monday. These fish haven't been seen since the 1920s in the Chesapeake Bay. Three were checkedin at Scheibles, and two were caught off Solomons; the biggest was 22 pounds. The three caught on Scheibles boats were caught while chumming for bluefish. The two off Solomons were caught by trollers on theKathy C (Capt. Bunky Conners) and the Bounty Hunter (Capt. Glen James).

Also in the lower bay are fair numbers of Spanish mackerel, about two months early but a wel

come addition. Best technique for these critters is quick trolling with Cathers or Clark spoons.

Bluefish are numerous near the mouth of the Potomac. These 1- to 5-pounders are possibly headed north. Chummers out of Scheibles are said to be getting their limit of 10 fish per person.

Fishing in the Deale/Chesapeake Beach/Tilghman Island area is all right. A good number of big drum are being caught, as are fair numbers of bluefish. The eastern side of the bay is the preferred location.

The Rod 'N Reel headboat out of Chesapeake Beach is making some fair catches of perch andspot in the Choptank. For more information, call (301) 855-8351.

Upper bay anglers are beginning to chase white perch two weeks earlier than usual, and with some success. Although the fish aren't poppinginto the boat, fair togood catches are being made.

Trollers, whether they are chasing bluefish or just say they are chasing bluefish, are catching rockfish -- in some cases, lots of rockfish.

Yes, therockfish are back and in good numbers. I know one captain who caught75 last week while looking for a keeper. My last day of the trophy season saw a catch of 38, none big enough to keep. Neither could I find a bluefish.

One tip on handling rockfish is to place a wet rag over their eyes. This calms them down so you can easily remove the hook and get them back over the side.

Ocean City fishing is also heating up this week. The first mako shark, a 307-pounder, was taken on the No Problem out of the Ocean City Fishing Center. Several other makos have been caught during the week.

Almost everyone is reaching their limit on the O.C. Princess night bluefish chumming parties.During the day, the Princess runs bottom-fishing parties. Anglers are making excellent catches of sea bass in the 3- to 5-pound range.

For more information, call the O.C. Princess at (800) 457-6650. Plans are in the works for a 24-hour shark fishing trip June 16. I'll have moreinformation as it becomes available.

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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