With the exception of the past two to three weeks, our weather has been cooler than normal -- as has been the fishing.
But the recent hotter temperatures have ushered in some outstanding fishing.
The Solomons probably has the best all-around fishing right now, with all the Norfolk spot anyone could want, good flounder fishing and the newly arrived Spanish mackerel. In addition, a few schools of bluefish have taken up residence and a few sea trout and legal hardhead are being caught.
Tangier Sound fishing is good to very good. Again, there are plenty of spot, good numbers of legal hardheads and good to fair numbers of sea trout.
Closer to home, we too are seeing improvements. Spot fishing has gotten even better, if that's possible. The mouth of the
Choptank River, Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, Holland Point, Hacketts Bar and Belvidere Shoals are all spot hot spots.
Several schools of tiny to huge bluefish are moving around the area. One boat Sunday had over 30 bluefish; more than half were over 15 pounds. The secret was fresh spot for chum and bait. They caught a bushel of spot early, then ground them up for chum and bait.
Some anglers are catching spot and using the fillets for flounder fishing. Works great! Sunday, I caught several flounder on cut spot before I switched to flounder belly. I'm not certain the cut flounder was any better than the cut spot for catching flat fish. Flounder are all around us. Overall, fishing is very good, time to go enjoy it.
* The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Striped Bass Policy Board meeting last week did little to effect this year's fall season, but we will pay for it next year.
As I mentioned last week, the ASMFC stated in a letter to the DNR that Maryland overestimated the 1989 striped bass Young of Year (YOY) index. This could've reduced the '92 fall fishery for all user groups.
The ASMFC has agreed to permit Maryland to keep the 1992 allocation at 1.6 million pounds, but in 1993, instead of increasing to approximately 2.2 million pounds, Maryland must hold at 1.6 million pounds.
A public hearing on the fall striped bass season is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Agriculture Department on Harry S. Truman Parkway off Riva Road in Annapolis.
Plans call for a 40-day season beginning Oct. 1. The season will run through October and continue for three three-day weekends in November.
* The quality of life for most charter boat captains is not improving. addition to reduced numbers of charters due to the economy, now the Coast Guard has begun operation "sink a charter."
During the great Holland Point raid last Saturday, the Coast Guard surrounded a group of charter boats drift fishing and carried out what is known as a "boarding."
The Coast Guard says it uses boardings to insure that regulations are being adhered to. In reality, these uninvited guests just love to harass the boating public, and charter captains in particular.
Major infractions discovered included some captains who did not have their Coast Guard license displayed or tags on their fire extinguishers. Worst of all, some had an unacceptable Marine Sanitation Device (MSD). A MSD or marine head, by federal law, must not pump overboard. It doesn't make any difference that there are no pump-out stations in your area; you must either use a holding tank or the macerator-type heads that are guaranteed to break down.
Nor does it matter that a single duck puts more waste in the water than a recreational or charter boat on an annual basis. Start counting ducks and sea gulls and see who is dumping.
At Crisfield, the Coast Guard forced charter boats over 40-feet long to purchase new 8-inch bells to replace the 6-inch bells they have used for years.
Does it make any sense? No, just more of these folks from the government who are here to help you. Where is Perot when you need him?
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.