Rockfish season reopens Saturday
Don't put the rockfish tackle away.Following the unanimous recommendation of the Striped Bass Advisory Board,the department of Natural Resources today announced the Saturday reopening of the fall recreational rock fishery for five days over two consecutive weekends.
The board's decision came after DNR reported the recreational fishery's catch was about 115,000 pounds shy of its quota Originally,provisions for an extension involved a limit of two rock a day,but that was reduced to one.
The board's suggestion calls for fishing this Saturday and Sunday, then Friday through Sunday of next week -- with provisions for shortening (or eliminating) the second weekend if the remainder of the quota is reached earlier than projected.
Under provisions of the reopener, charterboats cannot carry parties for hire, but can carry at no charge friends and families to catch one rock a person daily for their own consumption, which in effect puts them in the recreational fishery. The charterboat fishery was closed down prematurely last Sunday when DNR statistics indicated it had taken its quota of 161,206 pounds.
The recreational fishery's quota is 456,747 pounds, but in the regular Oct. 9-26 season, DNR figures indicate the catch was only 339,000 pounds. In early board deliberations last night there were complaints from charterboat and commercial fisheries spokesmen that the recreational catch could be distorted due to fish caught, but not properly tagged.
However, DNR said a 15 percent allowance had been made for such omissions in planning surveys and the quota.
So, after a week's layoff, it will be back to rockfishing. Gradually the fish are moving down the bay, they have been the past couple weeks, according to DNR surveys during the season. The catch was big in the upper bay the first week, then the best catches started turning up farther south. The Western Shore might be the best bet below the Bay Bridge. Some ideas on where to try -- and don't overlook shoal waters close to shore as all fish haven't retreated to the deep yet:
* UPPER BAY: Bay Bridge, Love Point still has some, Belvedere Shoals, Pooles Island, Turkey Point, Swan Point, a dropoff near the Dumping Grounds, the Kent Island Shore from Matapeake south, and the Patapsco near Fort Smallwood.
* MID-BAY: The Tilghman Island area near the mouth of the Choptank, Bloody Point, West River, mouth of the Wye, Eastern Bay, Clay Banks, Calvert Cliffs, Radar Station, Winter Gooses, James Island and Thomas Point.
* LOWER BAY: Cedar Point at the mouth of the Patuxent, bay waters off the mouth of the Potomac, Holland Point, Cove Point, Tangier Sound near Crisfield, and the Honga River above Tangier Sound.
* Tuesday: The outlook is good for the opening of the fall wild turkey season in Washington County west of I-81, and all of Allegany and Garrett counties. The season ends Nov. 9.
Names and places ...
* Baltimorean Rich Buckingham got a 18-inch rainbow trout at Deep Creek Lake on a Short Wart bass crankbait by Storm while fishing for bass. Lakeside tackleman Johnny Marple said the trout continue to bite in the lake along with northern pike, smallmouths and walleyes, but most of the trout -- which have offered excellent angling since spring -- appear to have moved down near the dam. DNR's trout stocking program certainly paid off for hundreds of fishermen this year.
* So you think you need $1 eels to catch rockfish? An embarrassed friend who wishes not to be identified for obvious reasons reports fishing his large Egg Harbor at the Bay Bridge and getting only one throwback rock while two fellows in a nearby skiff caught rock after rock of up to 36 inches. How come? They fished large 10-cent bull minnows on an eel rig dropped to the bottom while my friend used bucktails and eels. )) Remember the old days when bull minnows scored heavily in the fall at Bodkin Point?
* Virginia's first segment of its split fall rock season in the Chesapeake bombed. The fish hadn't moved into the deep channels for trolling, though those who fished bucktails, plastic-tailed jigs, swimming plugs and surface poppers did fairly well. The season reopens Nov. 21, continues through Dec. 5. Good fishing is expected then -- but it will be chilly. Elsewhere, rockfishing is good in the Potomac at Washington where the season continues through mid-November under District of Columbia regulations, according to reports from bass guides Glenn Peacock and Ken Penrod, who have switched to mostly stripers for the season there. You need a D.C. license. Call Penrod at 1-301-937-0010, or Peacock at 1-301-589-1644. The Potomac River's rock season below the district was shut down when the quota was reached.