Nearby waters breaking records for Norfolk spot fishing Flounder catch is good if you know where to look

OUTDOORS

July 17, 1992|By Capt. Bob Spore

The hot, muggy weather has been just what many charter captains have been hoping for.

The current theory, as expressed over the marine radio, is that the water is still not warm enough for good summer fishing. As soon as it warms up, the Spanish mackerel, along with the summer bluefish, will stream into the Chesapeake.

I also believe in the Tooth Fairy, but you never know.

Fishing is good to excellent in most places and better than that in a few others. The problem is, there are too few fishermen.

We may be seeing an all-time high in Norfolk spot. Tangier Sound, the Patuxent River and the Choptank River are breaking all records for spot fishing. Many of the fish are jumbos, running 10 to 12 inches or larger.

Flounder fishing, although not discussed openly, is very good in some areas. One captain did unbelievably well. He told his buddy. They went back the next day and did pretty well. The fleet learned about the flounder hot spot, and several charter boats visited the location the next day. In less than a week, the location appeared to be fished out.

Lesson learned. I know of several captains who make good flounder or sea trout or drum catches for their parties, but don't say much about it, even to other captains. But word gets out.

Word is now drifting up from the Honga River, Tangier Sound and Solomons areas on good flounder fishing -- not the type of information you would see in a fishing report, until three or four weeks after it was all over.

Just knowing someone is catching flounder doesn't do much for you unless you are very familiar with the area. You need to know where to drop your line and when to do it.

Three captains who could serve you well in those areas are Capt. Henry Gootee (397-3234, Honga), Capt. Butch Tawes (749-6257, Crisfield) and Capt. Walley Williams (326-2984, Solomons).

* I rant and rave a bit about politics and rockfish. When the opposition hits you head-on, you may not like it, but you can accept it. When opponents take the sneaky route, that sort of thing is hard to fight.

I learned recently that on June 4, Richard Novotny, executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association (MSSA) and alternate for the MSSA member on the Striped Bass Advisory Board, wrote a letter to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requesting that the striped bass allocation for the charter boat industry be lumped in with the recreational anglers' allocation for 1993.

This effectively would knock the charter boat industry out of being a major player in managing the resource. It also would mean that the 4 million Marylanders who do not have a boat and who depend upon charter boats as their access to striped bass would have no voice.

The DNR fired off a stinging response, saying the Maryland Striped Bass White Paper Committee recognized that the charter boat industry was important to Maryland and, therefore, came up with the three user groups: commercial, charter and recreational, each having its own allocation.

The MSSA may wish to find a less combative representative who will attempt to work within the DNR's striped bass management plan. Maryland's plan is receiving a great deal of exposure on the national level and may be a model for other states.

* There is a price one pays to own a wooden boat.

Maintenance is greater than on fiberglass, and it also requires more talent. On a fiberglass hull, one may clean and wax; on a wooden hull, one must sand, fill and paint.

A trained monkey can clean and wax. When I get done painting, it looks as if it were done by a semi-trained monkey.

Finding people who work on wooden boats is difficult. You can always turn to the Yellow Pages, but something as personal as working on your boat requires someone who will appreciate it.

I had a small problem that was getting worse when I was introduced to Tom Raspa, Sam Darby and Florence Darby -- aka D & R Marine Restorations.

I had hoped to find someone who could do the annual painting of the bottom and sides and replace some wood in the bow where fresh water had gotten under the fiberglass covering my decking.

I am no expert, but I am most pleased with their work, their straightforwardness and their professionalism. I have already reserved a spot for next year.

D & R Marine Restorations (525-1989) is located at the C & P Marina on Furnace Branch in Glen Burnie. The company has two railways and apparently can handle most anything.

Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.

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