Everyone is thinking rockfish (striped bass) this week, and thanks to a reported late spawn in the upper parts of the Bay, the Bay Bridges might be today's hot spot.
Striper fishing is not permitted above the Bridges or in any tributaries to the Bay during this May season. Some reports indicate that the rock already have departed the Choptank, but the mouth of the river is a traditional hot area.
Other recommended areas include the Gooses, Gum Thickets, around Cedar Point Rip and off the mouth of the Patuxent.
Trolling lures such as the 13/0 Crippled Alewive, No. 21 Tony, Parachute or a traditional bucktail tipped with a 4-to 6-inch twistertail will hook them as well as anything. These early fish can be located anywhere between 5 and 35 feet.
Summer flounder also come into season today. Minimum size is the same as last year -- 14 inches, but the daily limit has been reduced to eight per person per day. Last year's season was good and this year should be the same or, hopefully, better.
The Department of Natural Resources says that umbrella rigs, used primarily for trolling for bluefish and striped bass, may be illegal. An angler may not use more than two hooks or two sets of hooks for each rod or line. An artificial lure with multiple or gang hooks is considered one set of hooks. This means that umbrella rigs that have more than two hooks or sets of hooks are illegal in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. A first offense will cost you $60.
This past week's balmy, summer-like temperatures have made area-farm and community ponds good places to try. Lake Waterford, off Route 648 near Severna Park, Patuxent Ponds near Conoways or Friendship Pond off Route 170 may produce some hot panfishing.
Cruising guide available
The 1994-96 edition of the DNR's popular nautical chartbook, "Guide for Cruising Maryland Waters" is now available locally at the Tawes State Office Building, 580 Taylor Ave., C-1, Annapolis, MD 20678.
The guide is published every two years, and the new edition contains more than 350 changes from the 17th edition. It is an invaluable aid to boaters.
The price is $20 per guide. When ordering by mail, checks should be made payable to the Department of Natural Resources.
Where to shoot
Looking for a place to shoot?
Try these: Anne Arundel Fish & Game Conservation Association, 1730 St. Margarets Road, Arnold (410-757-1497); On Target, Inc., 2618 Annapolis Road, Severn (410-551-7777); Stoney Creek Fishing & Hunting Club, 9090 Fort Smallwood Road, Pasadena (410-255-2119); Three Rivers Sportsman Club, 215 Three Rivers Road, Harwood (410-867-1400).