Maryland's spring trophy season for rockfish opened yesterday on the Chesapeake Bay from the bay bridges south with perfect weather conditions and perhaps the best fishing coming in the Chesapeake Beach and Solomons areas.
Calls to a handful of checking stations last evening seemed to indicate that fishing at the bay bridges was slower than last year and at the mouth of the Potomac the water still was colder than normal for this time of year.
One angler fishing out of Chesapeake Beach checked in a 53-inch, 50-pound striper at Tyler's Tackle, said Mary Tyler.
"My it was a beautiful fish," Tyler said. "We also had a 40-pounder and a 42-pounder checked in."
Fred Donovan of the Rod and Reel Docks in Chesapeake Beach said the fishing seemed to be very good in the charter captains' pro-am tournament being held in Chesapeake Beach and Solomons.
"There was a lot of action from undersized fish and there were a lot of [36-inch or longer] fish checked in," Donovan said late in the afternoon. "And while at the moment I am not a check-in station for the state, I did check in eight rockfish from 16.9 to 23.4 pounds."
The pro-am tournament is operating under a special exemption granted by Department of Natural Resources secretary Torrey C. Brown.
Bunky Conner of Bunky's Charters in Solomons said that as of late afternoon, 25 trophy fish had been checked in, ranging downward from 31.5 pounds and 44 inches.
Anglers Sports Center near the bay bridges reported that only two trophies had been checked by 5 p.m. Last year on opening day Anglers checked in 14 trophies.
At Scheible's Fishing Center in Ridge, near Point Lookout, Capt. Bruce Scheible said one trophy, a 22-pounder, had been taken.
"There has been one bluefish caught and one rock kept and several rock released," Scheible said. "But there were a few [trophy] rockfish caught out there that were released, too.
"But the water down here is still pretty cold. By next week, it should be pretty good."
The trophy season continues through May, with a limit of one fish 36 inches or longer per person for the season.