A week or so ago, I was listening to one of those early-morning call-in radio programs as I was getting ready for a charter. This was an outdoor talk-radio-type program and the caller, let's call him Walt, was complaining about never seeing rockfish breaking or feeding on the surface any more.
This would support the theory that there really aren't many rockfish and maybe we should not have opened the striped bass fishery in 1990.
Had Walt taken his boat out that day, he could have seen thousands of rockfish breaking between the Bay Bridge and Love Point. The problem is that most folks don't go out on the bay, but sit in an adult-beverage-dispensing facility and complain. And some really don't know what to look for when they are out there.
Last week, I had a party catching Norfolk spot, which we later ground for chum and used for bait. All the while we were gathering bait, acres of rockfish were breaking less than a mile away.
I pointed out the action to one or two members of the party, but others never knew the rockfish were there.
A great deal is going on in the bay right now. Fishing is good to excellent, and the rockfish are up and breaking almost everyday. Problem is, most folks have no means of finding out what's
Outdoor coverage by the media is poor to terrible. The major daily papers in the area provide little insight, and the smaller papers in towns surrounding the bay are not available on most newsstands.
One publication that carries a great deal of outdoor information is the Watermen's Gazette, the voice of the Maryland Watermen's Association. You won't find much on sportfishing, but this month, for example, there is a very good article on the notorious zebra mussel and how it helps to clean up water; a very good article on why the goal in the 1987 Chesapeake Bay clean-up program is unreachable, and an article on Virginia deciding not to introduce the Japanese oyster in the bay.
Many articles are reprinted from other papers, while some are prepared by the small Gazette staff. As you would expect, some of the material is biased from a waterman's point of view, but it is good to see how things look if you were standing in their boots.
For more information on the Watermen's Gazette, call 269-6622.
Fishing is good to outstanding. The excellent fishing in Tangier Sound and the lower bay continues and is moving further north.
Norfolk spot are being caught in unprecedented numbers in all areas. Even those folks who do not know how to fish are making fair to good spot catches. Rockfish are also being caught throughout the bay, often mixed with schools of bluefish.
Tangier Sound also has cigar trout, puffers, flounder and a few legal-size hardhead. Catches are good to outstanding.
Solomons has all of the above, plus bluefish and Spanish mackerel. I would put the catches there at excellent to outstanding. Catch a hundred nice spot and then drift with cut spot for flounder, works great. Also, when you see those schools of breaking bluefish, try to get your bait under the bluefish to the sea trout below.
Up our way, the word is flounder. I've heard more flounder rumors than anything else. I know charter boat captains who catch 20 or 30 on a good day, but have heard a very strong rumor about two guys in a small aluminum boat who catch 30 to 100.
The rumored hot spot is Sandy Point or near Westinghouse, just below the Bay Bridge. I know a few flounder have been caught all around our part of the bay, including Hacketts Bar, Tollys Bar, Brick House Bar and the Mile Markers, but my facts sure can't keep up with the rumors right now.
Bluefish are in fair to good numbers in our area. I had another chumming party last weekend, and we did well. Many of the fish are 1 to 2 pounds -- exciting to catch on light tackle. When you get ahold of a 4-pounder, you really have your hands full.
Fishing is great -- go enjoy it!
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.