Rockfish season gets the hook, after 600,000 pounds of pleasure

Bill Burton *

November 22, 1991|By Bill Burton

ANNAPOLIS -- As for sportsfishing for rock, it's wait until next year. Yesterday, the Department of Natural Resources declared there will be no more extensions of either the charterboat or recreational fishery.

Both appear to have met their quotas, said fisheries chief Paul Massicot after evaluating catch reports. So, the next opportunity for rock will be the trophy season that is tentatively scheduled in May.

It's all over, and recreational fishermen -- after three weekend encores -- finally got their 456,747 pounds; charter fishermen have their 161,206 pounds, and the commercial hook-and-line fishermen are next with a Dec. 2-31 season, followed by gill netters with a Jan. 2 through Feb. 28 effort. Pound netters and haul seiners had their chance in September.

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Don't believe everything you see -- especially if what you see are geese.

Here's a shocker. Maryland's November Canada goose count is down contrary to reports of hunters and outfitters who claim they have seen more honkers since the season opened Nov. 12 than early last season.

DNR's wildlife chief Josh Sandt yesterday released figures of the fall survey, which indicated 333,584 Canadas counted, as compared with 377,666 for the same period in '90.

Even with a 10 percent margin of error, there would be a slight dip. Possibly, the later opening of the Delaware season -- it starts Monday -- had something to do with the count. Previously the Delaware shoot opened earlier, which probably sent more geese into Maryland's share of Delmarva.

Hopefully, this doesn't mean that nesting wasn't as improved on the Far North tundra last summer as waterfowl managers figured. Improved reproduction is a key element in restoration of flights -- a decade ago, fall surveys revealed flights of double those figures, and a few times previously the count approached a million.

Why do we think we're seeing more geese? Probably because they are not spread out evenly; instead there are heavy concentrations of them in some areas. Such rosy areas would be much of Talbot, Queen Anne's and Kent counties. The count was 103,000 in the Chester River area.

If you're not shooting today or tomorrow, you can enjoy waterfowling at the Chesapeake Craft Fair at Timonium Fairgrounds where there will be wildfowl carvings and paintings in addition to coverage of nautical themes. More than 100 booths will feature works from $20 to $8,000. Hours today and tomorrow are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 561-1140.

*

Wild turkey hunters who reported seeing and hearing more birds in Western Maryland during the brief season earlier this month can believe what they see. More turkeys were bagged.

This year's total was 360 as compared with 336 last fall. The breakdown: Garrett, 148; Allegany, 179; and Washington, 33.

*

You're on a friend's boat for a day of fishing or anything else, and you offer to chip in for fuel, or maybe bring along a six-pack. Your friend thanks you, but little do either of you realize that upon acceptance he could be breaking a Coast Guard regulation.

Under CG regs mandated by Congress, which are just now being enforced, a skipper cannot accept any contributions unless he is a CG licensed captain, which entails passing strict tests. What an excuse for a deadbeat reluctant to chip in. It's ridiculous.

Associated with this: An undercover investigation by DNR police has resulted in the issuance of $120 citations to four Marylanders for carrying fishing parties without guide licenses.

To get a state charterboat-guide license, the applicant must also have a Coast Guard license, and DNR police are cracking down. James Cole, 65, of Chester and Thomas J. Bordley, 66, of Stevensville, were charged for charterboat violations on the Chesapeake, and Ken Penrod, 45, of Beltsville, and Jack D. Holt, 44, of Silver Spring were cited for guiding on the Potomac without a license.

Curiously, state licenses insist on passing the Coast Guard exam, but make no provisions for the licensees to be knowledgeable about fishing. One can only hope that some skippers know more about handling boats than they do about fishing. Enough said.

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