Rockfishing's Too Good, So Boats Have To Stop

OUTDOORS

October 27, 1991|By Capt. Bob Spore

It's over. Sounds like a song title, doesn't it? It might be a song,but it isn't all that sweet.

The 1991 fall striped bass season for charter boats ends at 8 tonight, two weeks shorter than the plannedNov. 11.

It was a fun 2 1/2 weeks, and as prudent businessmen we stocked up on live eels, and we collected deposits for the trips.

Now we are stuck with hundreds of live eels that are only good for catching rockfish. Anybody want to buy some eels?

In most cases, we will return the deposits because although white perch and bluefish are available to catch, the patrons booked the trips to catch rockfish.

What happened? How did 200 fewer charter captains than last year with a two-fish limit instead of a five-fish limit catch up an overall increased allocation in just 2 1/2 weeks? Just lucky or unlucky, I guess.

At this stage of the ballgame, I am not doubting the Department of Natural Resources numbers or what kind of computer it uses. I am simply disgusted that all the other states in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are laughing at us because Maryland enforces its quota system while the other states hardly enforce anything.

Do you think New Jersey or Massachusetts would cut its season short because it caught a few fish too many? Not bloody likely, they don't even count how many fish they catch, especially at night.

In New Jersey,none of the striped bass caught at night ever appear in its catch records, because the bureaucrats who count fish only count in the daytime. They are not paid to count fish at night, so they don't.

We can't continue to say we are going to have a three- or four-week seasonand close it down midway. It is time to rethink this whole striped bass thing. I want the same good deal that New Jersey has, all the fish I want and no enforcement.

*

Today is the last day of the Chesapeake Appreciation Days at Sandy Point State Park. If your striped bass season is over, enjoy the festivities at the park.

The original artwork used for the first Budweiser Commemorative Chesapeake Bay Stein, a scene depicting the waterfront community of Rock Hall, is available for a silent auction today at the park.

Sponsored by Budweiser, the auction will benefit the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a non-profitorganization that provides financial assistance to groups undertaking bay restoration projects. Minimum bid will be $500 for the painting, which has a retail value of $2,000.

The painting, entitled "Storm Over Rock Hall," was done by Maryland artist Martha Hudson after she had witnessed a storm lift from Rock Hall, illuminating the harbor beneath the ominous storm clouds. Drawing from her memory, a descriptive narrative in a log book, Hudson completed the 22-by-30-inch watercolor in March 1990.

Before you go to the show, take a few minutesto collect your aluminum cans out of the trash and take them to the show. The money from recycling the cans will go toward restoring the skipjack fleet and saving the bay's oysters.

Show hours are 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and children under 12 are free.

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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