Wednesday seemed like a good day to take off and go fishing. I jumped in my good friend Tom Hassing's 31-foot Rampage, and we went down the bay in search of summer flounder.
The summer flounder -- or fluke if you live along the coast -- is one of the most sought-after finfish in Maryland and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast.
Adult flounder move inshore in the spring and summer and offshoreduring the late fall. They spawn as they move offshore and as the eggs and young develop, they move inshore to the summer nursery and growing grounds in the coastal areas.
For several years, commercial and recreational landings have been declining. Reproduction, as measured by juvenile indexes, has also declined.
Various flounder-management options are being discussed to stem the decline and stabilize the fishery. State and federal management plans recommend quotas on thecommercial fishery, creel limits for recreational fishermen and increased size limits.
Virginia passed regulations this year to keep flounder trawlers at least three miles off shore. The result has been a tremendous increase in flounder along the coast and in the Chesapeake Bay. I received two reports of good flounder catches just above the Solomons earlier this week. The reports certainly influenced my decision to go fishing.
Normally, we see the flounder up here in September and October -- if they decide to come. Some years there are so few in the bay we never see them. I do know that a few flounder have been caught in our area, and Tom and I caught a few. I think this activity will pick up in a few weeks.
Right now, we have some of the best fishing we've seen all year. White perch fishing in the upper bay is very good. The perch are installed at their historic summer locations, such as 2A, Tolchester Bar and the fishing reef near Tolchester. If you plan to fish the reef, take plenty of extra tackle with you.
Bluefish are being caught in good numbers from Swan Point to Virginia. The sizes range from two to eight pounds. Small hose are definitely the best lures.
Spanish mackerel are being caught in very good numbers from Poplar Island to Virginia. The fish run about two to three pounds and prefer Clark spoons or other small spoons trolled very fast. The fish are not great fighters, but they are something different and make excellent table fare, much better than bluefish.
Bottom fishing in the Choptank continues to be very good. Spot, a few trout and a few flounder are being caught daily. A daily headboat departs the Rod 'N Reel Dock in Chesapeake Beach. For more information, call Capt. Shaker Black at 855-8351.
Lower bay fishing is excellent, with plenty of bluefish from Cove Point to Virginia, plenty of mackerel, some nice flounder and a few keeper hardhead. Oh yes, and the spot are still biting in the Patuxent.
Fishing is very good, and very few people are fishing. So sad.
The Potomac River Fisheries Commission, a bi-state commission that manages the Potomac's tidewater fisheries up to Washington, has set striped bass seasons and limits for 1991.
The recreational season will run from Oct. 11 throughNov. 11 and Nov. 8-20. The limit will be one fish per person per day. The minimum size limit is 18 inches, the maximum 36 inches.
Boatoperators or owners must apply for a rockfish permit, the permit will cover all anglers on board.
The charter boat season will open Oct. 11 and close Nov. 11, unless the 14,000-fish quota is caught early. Anglers on board charter boats are permitted two rockfish per day.
Last year, the fisheries commission issued 29,000 recreational permits and was somewhat overwhelmed by the process. Commission officials say the new procedure should yield the needed data with reduced paperwork.