Survey shows rockfish are hatching out all over


August 15, 1993|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

Maryland's young-of-the-year count for rockfish is roughly 50 percent complete for this year, and fisheries biologists are saying that this could be a record year for striped-bass reproduction.

While the survey is incomplete and findings so far must be termed inconclusive, William P. Jensen, director of the Tidewater Administration, said Thursday: "We know enough already to see that we will have a double-digit index, even in the worst case for the rest of the survey.

"It could be a record or near-record year if we continue to have good results."

The young-of-the-year index has been a primary gauge of rockfish abundance in Maryland waters, which are the major spawning grounds for the East Coast population. A three-year average of 8.0 was the trigger that reopened the rockfish seasons.

The survey is taken by haul seining at 22 general sites in Maryland waters in July, August and September.

"Every river system is higher than it has been for a number of years," Jensen said. "Ninety-plus percent of all the hauls are catching striped bass. Every auxiliary site is catching striped bass."

The Patapsco, Patuxent and Chester rivers, which are not even part of the official survey, are producing large numbers of stripers as well, Jensen said.

"Charterboat captains are telling us that when they go with small hooks to catch spot, they are having trouble getting away from the 3- or 4-inch striped bass," Jensen said.

"Commercial clammers are telling us that when they bring the rigs out of the water, the small striped bass are flipping off them like fleas.

"We are so upbeat about this that I think no matter what the number is, I am not sure it is going to do justice to the enormity of the hatch this year."

Sea trout regulations

In Maryland, beginning Aug. 30, new regulations go into effect for sea trout and spotted sea trout fishing, with both species subject to a 12-inch minimum length.

Under the new regulations, recreational fishermen will be limited to 10 per day of each species.

The commercial season will be closed from July 1 to Sept. 30 in Maryland waters of the Atlantic and its tidal bays.

Trawls and gill nets used to catch sea trout or spotted sea trout must have a stretch mesh size of 3 inches or more.

Earlier, DNR announced that the recreational summer flounder season in tidal waters of the Atlantic Ocean was extended 10 days, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10.

Team racing for Columbus

This year's Columbus Cup, to be sailed in October, will have a number of new twists, including a switch from match racing to team racing.

A series of preliminary races will be sailed in Annapolis Oct. 11-13 and will continue in Baltimore at the HarborView Marina on Oct. 15-16.

In team racing, four teams of three boats each will sail a triple round-robin series in Beneteau First 310 sloops.

Team racing is conducted on short courses, with skippers and crews picking their tactics to set up blocks or screens to keep foes from finishing ahead of another team member.

The team skippers:

* Santa Maria Cup Challenge -- Julia Trotman, winner of 1993 Santa Maria Cup, Hannah Swett, second in 1993 Santa Maria Cup and Dawn Riley, third in the Santa Maria Cup.

* Team Chesapeake -- Jim Brady, 1992 Olympic silver medalist, Chris Larson, three-time All-America sailor, and Brad Dellenbaugh, an America's Cup veteran.

* PACT '95 (America's Cup defense syndicate) -- Kevin Mahaney, 1992 Olympic silver medalist and Cup skipper; John Kostecki, winner of the 1991 Columbus Cup; and a skipper to be announced.

* Nippon Challenge (America's Cup 1995) -- Makoto Namba, veteran match racer and competitor in previous Columbus Cups; Bill Campbell, veteran of America3 campaign that won the America's Cup; and John Cutler.


The following season dates and bag limits are being proposed for this fall and winter by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. The proposals still must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will be discussed at a series of public meetings this month.

Species .. .. Season .. .. .. Limit

Canada .. .. Nov. 22-26 .. .. .. 1

geese .. .. Dec. 13-Jan. 6 .. ..1

Snow .. .. ..Oct. 23-Nov. 26 .. .4

geese.. .. ..Dec. 1-Feb. 10 .. ..4

Brant.. .. ..Nov. 24-26 .... .. 2

.. .. .. .. Dec. 13-Jan. 8 .. ..2

Ducks* .. .. Oct. 15-16 .. .. .. 3

.. .. .. .. Nov. 25-26 .. .. .. 3

.. .. .. .. Dec. 14-Jan. 8 .. ..3

Sea ducks .. Oct. 8-Jan. 20 .. ..5

Black ducks closed in October. Daily limit of three may include no more than 1 hen mallard, 1 pintail, 2 wood ducks, 1 redhead, 1 fulvous tree duck, 1 mottled duck or 1 black duck when in season. Canvasback and harlequin are closed.

# PUBLIC HEARINGS Aug. 23: West Frederick Middle School, 515 W. Patrick St., Frederick, 7 p.m.

Aug. 25: Queen Anne's County High School, Centreville, 7 p.m.

Aug. 26: Holly Center, Snow Hill Road (Route 12), Salisbury, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30: Bohemia Manor High School, 2755 Augustine Herman Highway (Route 213), Chesapeake City, 7 p.m.

AAug. 31: Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, 7 p.m.

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