Reports out of Wachapreague, Va., indicate the best flounder fishing in a decade, and certainly the upswing can be attributed at least in part to reduced recreational creel limits and increased minimum size limits over the past few years.
Starting May 1, Maryland and Virginia will reduce creel limits even further under regulations that will be equal in both states.
"We have finally got our acts together," Frances McFaden of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources said yesterday. "In either state, in bay waters or coastal waters, the limits will be the same."
The regulations call for a daily creel limit of eight flounder 14 inches and longer. Last year the creel limit was 10.
The season will run from May 1 to Oct. 30.
The new creel limit is necessary because flounder has been classified as a species in need of conservation from Maine to North Carolina by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
While flounder fishing seems to be improving, there also are reports that bluefish prospects this season may be better than in several years.
Netters north of Smith Point at the mouth of the Potomac River are reporting increasing catches of blues and along the Atlantic coast there are reports of blues to 10 pounds feeding on baitfish close in to shore.
If the baitfish stay in close and turn into Chesapeake Bay as they work their way northward along the coast, then good numbers of blues almost certainly will follow.
During the past several years the blues have passed the mouth of the bay and migrated on to New England.
The all-women's crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race again has lost a portion of the rudder on its 60-foot yacht, Heineken, during the fifth leg of the race from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Skipper Dawn Riley reported to race headquarters on Sunday that the rudder, which was damaged near Cape Horn on Leg 4 and repaired in Buenos Aires, had failed in the same place.
An inspection of the break showed the lower third of the rudder bent at a 90-degree angle and repairs were impossible.
"We couldn't muscle it off and it was not possible to saw it off with the boat rolling from side to side," Riley said. "Instead we opted to turn the boat through 360 degrees and the piece broke off and floated to the surface."
Heineken is proceeding to Fort Lauderdale at reduced speed.