Even the fish take a break sometimes

OUTDOORS

September 18, 1992|By Capt. Bob Spore

Every once in a while the fish just have to take a break.

They can't feed all the time, and with the harvest (full) moon this weekend they were probably up all night Saturday and Sunday. By Monday they were tuckered out. Up and down the bay fishermen complained of little action.

Saturday and Sunday, however, were great fishing days. Saturday was a little sloppy in the morning, but fishable. And the fish went crazy.

In our area, we had school after school of breaking bluefish and rockfish mixed. I didn't see any Spanish mackerel. The first one I heard caught was taken near Bloody Point Light. I think the mackerel may be on their way out.

The big blues are back. Saturday and Sunday they appeared on the Stone Rock. Most were in the 10- to 13-pound range, but I know of one that weighed in at over 16 pounds. Also, Capt. Jerry Lastfogel boated a seven-pound cobia that took a big red hose. I haven't heard of a cobia being caught near here in several years.

One- to four-pound bluefish range from the Hill, just below Bloody Point, to above Swan Point. Sometimes they are residing in their normal fall haunts and sometimes mixed with similar-size rockfish chase baitfish, such as silver-sides, bay anchovies and small menhaden.

They explode on the surface as if a giant had thrown a handful of fist-size rocks into the water. Baitfish and pieces of baitfish fly through the air from the force of the eruption.

Sea gulls dive on the baitfish from above while the bluefish, rock and Spanish mackerel attack from below. Sea gulls cry like lost babies as they swoop from one splash to another. And it is eerie to hear the clicking of bluefish teeth as they chomp at anything that moves.

Flounder continue to be the fish of choice for many. It is unusual for those of us in the middle and upper bay to enjoy them.

Flounder has always been a treat for anglers of the lower bay or along the coast, but not this year. Catches of 25 to 30 are possible.

Best flounder baits are minnows, cut spot and cut flounder. Squid will catch these flat-fish, but it is not a natural bait in the bay and is not as effective as the others.

The old-timers say that when the bellies of the Norfolk spot turn yellow they are about to head south. If that's the case, you can start waving bye-bye because they are a deep yellow.

This certainly has been a wonderful year for anglers who enjoy catching spot. They were big and they were plentiful.

I have but one question. Normally we see the very small immature spot and hardheads; however, this year only the big ones showed up. Where are the little ones?

Speaking of little ones, the state Department of Natural Resources today will announce the striped bass young of year index.

Since I haven't seen too many fishery managers looking nervous this year, I presume the index will be pretty good.

The index is an indication of striped bass or rockfish spawning success. It was developed in the early 1950s to determine the relative abundance of the young-of-year, YOY, telling us if it was a very good or a very poor spawn.

We'll go over the numbers and what they mean in next week's column.

Fall rockfish season opens two weeks from yesterday. Time to start putting it all together.

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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