Rock 'behemoths' make way into southern Chesapeake

On the Outdoors

November 06, 1997|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

A run of big, ocean rockfish hasmoved into the Chesapeake Bay and DNR reports anglers fishing the mouth of the Potomac River have been tying into some heavier than 30 pounds over the past few days.

"The behemoths are back," Fisheries Service biologist Martin L. Gary said. "In a phenomenon we have occasionally observed in past Novembers, some very large ocean stripers have moved up off the coast and into the lower portion of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay."

On Monday, Al Jones of Deale had a 47-inch catch than weighed 37 pounds. Jones was fishing for sea trout with a small, ruby-lipped bucktail when the big rockfish hit off Point Lookout in 45 feet of water.

According to Gary, who compiles a statewide fishing report each week, numerous 30-inch plus rockfish have been caught in recent days in the lower bay, with most being taken by trollers but some turning up in chum lines.

The best trolling location has been at the mouth of the Potomac from Buoy 69A to Smith Island Bar, with the larger fish holding in 35- to 45-foot depths.

Chummers, who report higher catch rates for generally smaller fish, have had good success at Point No Point Light, Buoy 72 and the Southwest Middle Grounds.

Gary also reports sea trout beginning to school under breaking schools of rockfish, with the mouth of the Potomac and the area east of St. Jerome's Creek good choices.

More trout stocking

DNR has stocked 400 or more rainbow trout in each of nine southern Maryland impoundments. The stocked fish range from 7 to 14 inches.

The impoundments included in the special stocking program are: Hutchins Pond and Calvert Cliffs Pond in Calvert County; Hughesville Pond, Myrtle Grove Canal and Cedarville Pond in Charles County; and Greenbelt Lake, Allen's Pond, Cosca Lake and Lake Artemesia in Prince George's County.

A two-per-day creel limit applies to Calvert Cliffs, Cedarville, Hutchins, Hughesville and Myrtle Grove. The other impoundments allow five per day.

Fishing updates

Rockfish in fresh water and salt water continue to be the top catches across the state, although the smallmouth blitz on the upper Potomac and good conditions on trout streams can provide refreshing alternatives.

In the upper bay, windy, wet conditions have kept many fishermen at the docks, but when the weather allows trolling, small bucktail or parachutes should work well for 18- to 25-inch rockfish along channel edges from Craig Hill to Brewerton. Catches are plentiful for casters working breaking fish, but most are under the 28-inch minimum.

In the Middle Bay, breaking schools are plentiful on many days, but larger rockfish are to be found underneath the smaller fish breaking on top. Chummers doing well at the Diamonds, The Hill, The Gooses and Stone Rock. Trollers do best along western edges of main channel from West River to Parkers Creek.

At Ocean City, the south jetty at the inlet has been the best bet for stripers, although the inlet piers and Route 50 bridge have turned up some nice catches.

In the surf, a few bluefish to nine pounds have been caught recently.

Head boats are experiencing the best sea bass catches of the year over the wrecks near shore.

In fresh water, Liberty Reservoir continues to turn up stripers from six to 18 pounds, with most taken from the Nicodemus Road Bridge to Route 32.

Early in the week, water levels in the Potomac rose to twice the median flow after heavy rains, but should be subsiding, and smallmouth bass catches ranging to 14 inches and occasionally larger have been plentiful.

For trout anglers, the Gunpowder remains clear and fishable after weekend rains.

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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