Wind blows hard on rockfish opener

On the Outdoors

April 28, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The first two days of rockfish season -- with gusty winds and choppy seas -- were tailor-made for anglers aboard charter boats or large private boats, and tough going for fishermen in smaller boats.

Today, however, most recreational fishermen can expect to get their first extended crack at the big stripers, and judging from the catches of charter-boat anglers the first two days, prospects should be good.

The forecast for today calls for sunny skies, highs in the low 70s and south winds at 10 to 15.

The minimum length in the April-May portion of the striped bass (rockfish) season is 32 inches, with a limit of one per day and a total of five through May 31.

On Friday and yesterday, said Fred Donovan of the Rod and Reel in Chesapeake Beach, charter-boat catches were good, with most catches ranging from 32 to 37 inches and one that measured 42 inches and 32 pounds.

"So far, it has been a real mix of what is working," said Donovan. "It's not been one thing that has been catching the fish. Spoons, parachutes, umbrellas, bucktails all have been working."

On Friday, 20 boats went out from the Rod and Reel, and 23 went out yesterday.

"But there hasn't been that much action with the smaller boats," Donovan said. "It has been real rough for them. But the big boats can take it and they are doing well."

Donovan said that in the Chesapeake Beach area, the C&R buoy has been a productive area, although boats are running from buoys No. 78 to No. 83.

"It is possible to get shut out [on keepers], like it is any day," said Donovan. "But at this time of year, it also is possible to get three or four really good fish and still get some action on catch-and-release smaller fish."

In the Bay Bridge and Kent Island area, Larry Hansel of Queen Anne Marina said the charter boats also are doing well from Thomas and Bloody points to north of the Bay Bridge.

Capt. Chris Rosendale of the Maverick, Hansel said, "is smoking everybody so far" limiting out on keepers both days while trolling off Kent Island.

"On Friday, when the wind was so heavy from the southwest, the charter guys went up above the bridge, where the wind was broken up a bit and the fishing easier."

But on neither day, Hansel said, was there much action among trailered fishing boats that usually launch at his marina.

Hansel said the catches in his area were running from 32 to 42 inches.

Capt. Buddy Harrison, whose fleet of charter boats fishes out of Tilghman, said "it was rough as hell out there, and some boats caught their limits and some didn't, but almost every boat caught two or three keepers.

"Seems like there are a lot of 32- to 38-inch fish out there -- and every now and then you get lucky and hit one that's 41 or 42 inches."

The spring season is open in Maryland Chesapeake Bay waters from the Brewerton Channel south to the Maryland-Virginia line. The use of live eels as bait is prohibited, as is the use of gaffs.

Fishing hours are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and possession of rockfish while on the water between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. is illegal.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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