Ocean City boats set sail for mackerel

OUTDOORS

April 12, 1994|By PETER BAKER

TC At the end of last week, the headboats out of Ocean City began to pick up a few mackerel and herring, and on Saturday, Charles Nichols of the Ocean City Fishing Center said yesterday, "The fishing was excellent."

On Sunday, however, the weather grew blustery from the southwest, and neither the O.C. Princess nor the brand-new Angler could get out to where the fish were.

The Angler (410-289-7424), a fiberglass 65-footer that replaces the wooden Angler that made runs from Ocean City for many years, is planning to sail daily this week, weather permitting.

The O.C. Princess (800-457-6650) is scheduled to sail Thursday through Sunday and then daily afterward, unless the mackerel fishing drops off.

Both headboats depart their docks at 7 a.m.

Nichols said that while the mackerel and herring were small, "We were really happy to hit them like we did. It was almost like the good old days around here."

Last year, the mackerel run did not come inshore, and this year the run has started later than normal.

Vaughn Anthony, a scientist with the National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Scientific Center in Woods Hole, Mass., said recently that the potential for great mackerel runs still exists because there are "over 2 million metric tons" of the species between North Carolina and Nova Scotia.

But the migratory route of the fish is unpredictable. This year, for example, none of the Virginia Beach operations Nichols has spoken with has reported any catches.

Rockfish regulations

The regulations for the spring trophy rockfish season have been approved for the season that opens May 1 and closes May 31:

* The minimum size limit will be 34 inches, with no maximum length.

* The daily limit will be one fish per angler, but the creel limit for the season has been increased to three per person.

* Tagging of fish will be required, as will a $2 rockfish permit in addition to all regularly applicable fishing licenses. Fish must be tagged when landed.

* Waters that may be fished for trophy stripers are those of the main bay from the Bay Bridge south and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.

* Live baits are prohibited. Chumming will be allowed.

* The use of gaffs in landing fishing will be illegal.

* Fish checking stations will not be used this season, but anglers must report their catches by calling (800) 999-2800.

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