A little fish makes a big splash in state

On The Outdoors

November 12, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

For Andy Grosko of Baltimore County, the second time around proved to be a charm earlier this week as he set a state record for rock bass while fishing Liberty Reservoir.

"It was like a bolt of lightning or something to be only 5 minutes from the boat docks and to get a fish like that," said Grosko. He had been trolling a Mann's crankbait for walleye in 27 feet of water when the 12.25-inch, 1-pound, 3-ounce rock bass (red eye) hit.

"I know it doesn't sound like much of a fish, being just over a pound, but for a red eye, I know that's big."

The previous state record for rock bass was set on May 4, 1997, by Timothy Adams of Cecil County. Adams' catch measured 12 inches and weighed 1 pound.

Grosko said it was his second encounter with a record-sized red eye.

While fishing in Pennsylvania years ago, Grosko caught a rock bass measuring just under a foot long and, without thinking much of it at the time, threw it back.

"But when I went home that night, I looked at the state record books, and then I realized I probably was very close to the record," said Grosko, a computer services specialist with the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn. "This time, I knew what I had, and I kept it."

In fact, Grosko, who lives near Woodstock, kept it alive overnight in an aerated minnow bucket before having it officially weighed and certified by a state biologist.

Grosko, who is 43, married and the father of a 4-year-old daughter and a month-old son, had the fish weighed unofficially at Fish Liberty, a tackle shop that closed for business at the end of last month and that happened to be open Monday night because the owner was cleaning up loose ends.

"The scales there weren't registered [with the state], anyway, but when they said 1.5 pounds, I knew I was on the right track," said Grosko, who fished Liberty at least 60 days this year. "When I got home, I looked up the record, and Tuesday morning I had it weighed officially at Clyde's Sports Shop."

And then Grosko made a wonderful choice -- he donated the live fish to the state, which will keep it in the Fisheries Service exhibit at the Cedarville State Forest Visitors Center in Prince George's County.

Striper blitz

According to the Department of Natural Resources, thousands of striped bass (rockfish) showed up off Ocean City early this week, signaling the start of the southerly migration in Maryland waters.

The striped bass were encountered by Fisheries Service biologists monitoring the trawl fishery out of Ocean City.

The arrival of big stripers means there is great potential for anglers in the surf, the Ocean City inlet and at the Route 50 bridge for the next week or two.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: DNR reports scattered catches of rockfish, perhaps mostly because of light fishing pressure over the past week. What catch reports there were indicate trollers doing OK along channel edges from Worton Point north, at Craighill Channel and Sandy Point. Anglers working the shallows or fishing deep under breaking schools still report rockfish to 32 inches.

Middle Chesapeake: Sea trout can be found under breaking schools of rockfish and along main channel edges in 55 to 75 feet of water. Vertical jigging with spoons or feather jigs or bottom bouncing bucktails seems to work best. Chummers have done fairly well for rockfish at the Diamonds and Summer Gooses.

Lower Chesapeake: Rockfish action remains steady from Buoy 72 south, with chumming the best method. Sea trout continue to hold deep along the eastern side of the main channel in depths from 55 to 80 feet. Still some bluefish around, but most have moved south.

Ocean City inshore: The vanguard of the mass of big stripers reported off near-shore shoals this week has been inshore over the past week, with the south jetty and the Route 50 bridge producing good catches of rockfish in the 28- to 36-inch range. Sea trout, too, have been hitting steadily in the same locations.

Ocean City offshore: Croaker, sea trout and some flounder on the near-shore shoals, along with the big stripers.

Gunpowder River: Water temperature 55 degrees. The river has been clear, although the rain yesterday will have some impact. Periodic blue-winged olive hatch and still some caddis.

Pub Date: 11/12/98

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