Rockfish on rise
More keepers: Catch reports filed with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service indicate that upper Chesapeake Bay rockfish anglers are starting to catch increasing numbers of keepers. The main stem of the Chesapeake above Brewerton Channel at the mouth of the Patapsco River was opened for rockfish on June 1. Until June 15, however, the minimum size remains 28 inches and the creel limit remains 1 per day per person.
"It looks like the mouth of the Chester [River] is showing all the signs that it has exhibited during the past three years just prior to the start of a red-hot bite for stripers [rockfish]," said Martin L. Gary, fisheries biologist who tracks catch reports for DNR. "Late last week several large stripers began turning up for charter captains and private boats. By Sunday many of the experienced charter captains were reporting limits."
Gary said the rockfish are "tide sensitive" and seem to scatter when there are congregations of fishing boats.
"But this is just the way it started during the past three years, when it has developed around June 10 to 15," said Gary. "It looks like it may very well kick off by the weekend."
Also in the upper bay, channel catfish to 8 pounds have begun to bite in the Chester and Patapsco rivers, Hart-Miller Islands complex, Pooles Island, Hodges Bar, Tolchester, Worton Point, Turkey Point, Susquehanna Flats, North East River and the C&D; Canal.
Middle Chesapeake Bay: Black drum action remained spotty through the weekend, but diminishing numbers to the south might indicate an influx in the James Island, Stone Rock and Poplar Island areas by the weekend. Chummers at the Hill and the Summer Gooses have had plenty of rockfish action, but mostly for stripers under the 28-inch minimum. Troller on the western side of the shipping channel have had better luck with larger and far fewer fish. Best area has been from Breezy Point to Flag Pond. Croaker fishing remains excellent in the Choptank, James Island flats and the edges in Eastern Bay. Flounder fishing has been very good on the eastern edge of False Channel and along edges in Eastern Bay. White perch steady between buoys 10 and 12 inside the Choptank and over hard bottoms from Thomas to Tolly Point.
Lower Chesapeake Bay: Rockfish action has been best while chumming, although most catches are under the 28-inch minimum. Trollers continue to pick up some keepers in the Cedar Point area. Small bluefish abundant from the Triangle to the Targets. Croaker fishing excellent in lower Tangier Sound, Deal Island, Hooper Island Light, mouth of the Potomac and the Target Ship.
Ocean City: Inshore the flounder action continues to be very good, although the number of larger fish has continued to drop off. However, the ratio of keepers to throwbacks is favorable in the back bays. Scattered big sea trout are being taken from inlet to the route 90 bridge. Mostly undersized rockfish are being taken at the route 50 bridge, and bluefish to 4 pounds are scattered from the surf through the inlet to the back bays. Occasional big stripers and chopper blues in the surf.
Offshore: Big makos -- including a 250-pounder taken with Capt. Mark Sampson -- started to show up over the weekend, and other anglers encountered three thresher sharks, one of which weighed more than 500 pounds. The makos were taken near the Fingers. Bluefish remain abundant around the Jackspot. Headboats do consistently well on sea bass.
Pub Date: 6/04/98