view counter

Fishing

Action is needed to rescue our iconic species

     A handful of vehicles, mostly pickup trucks and SUVs, lined up behind a small steel gate on a warm summer morning. Inside them was the regular 7:30am crowd, striped-bass fishermen patiently waiting for the Thomas Point ranger to arrive to give them access to one of the Bay’s most sought-after fish.     In opening the gate, the ranger is allowing the men their daily shot at a species that can often grow upward of 50 pounds and offers some delicious eating. Excitement charges the air.

Canadian company to blow past menhaden ­harvest cap

      Omega Protein Corp., which has battled for years to harvest more menhaden from Chesapeake Bay, says it intends to exceed recommendations from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for the company’s takes this year.          Two years ago, the regional commission recommended a 40 percent cut to 51,000 metric tons — or more than 112 million pounds — in Omega’s annual take. The company, which operates out of Reedville, Va., converts baitfish from the Chesapeake into fish oil supplements.

Lionfish “Taking Over the Atlantic”

       We encountered a lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago, and they still swim around in bad dreams.             They look like no other sea creature, colored like a VW love bus from the 1960s but with venomous spines that protrude like spears.

We’ll soon be dividing shares of a diminished striped bass pie

     Once again our rockfish are in trouble. They have been overfished, commercially and recreationally for some time. The overall Atlantic population, including in the Chesapeake, has become depleted and the larger fish of the species seriously so. That is an accepted fact, based on thorough studies by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

Must we eat our way out of this problem?

     Stopping at Bob Evans Seafood in Shady Side, Lou Hyde reports he routinely finds blue catfish in his 240 crab pots in Herring Bay. Some of the horned invaders are so fat that he tears up his pots cutting them loose.       Mick Blackistone, fishmonger, worries that they’re eating juvenile crabs.
You have to get up early if you’re going to fill your basket
     “Nothing is better than being on the water in the morning,” I tell my skeptical family as we head out the door at 5:45am.       We are meeting Captain Trey Plumb and my colleague Audrey at Collins Marine Railway in Deale. Plumb, owner of FishMermaniac Charters, is a Maryland native and a lifelong waterman. He has been fishing the Bay, its tributaries and the Atlantic Ocean for more than 30 years. Five years ago, he expanded his business by offering crabbing charters.

Live-lining Norfolk spot sacrifices a fish to catch a bigger fish

The Chesapeake tide was ebbing to almost placid. Rockfish prefer their dinner be swept to them by moving water. But in this case the stalling currents allowed them more freedom to gather around the structures where we were fishing. Our bait was their favorite snack this time of year, Norfolk spot.

Dam Snakeheads Nabbed in Migration

 

     If there’s slight consolation in Chesapeake Country’s invasion by snakeheads, it could be that more of them are hightailing it north up the Susquehanna.

For the 32nd straight year, Fowler will lead friends and family into the Patuxent to make a point. For the first time, Betty Fowler won’t be with him.

 

      When 95-year-old Bernie Fowler leads people into the Patuxent River on Sunday, the river in his heart will be one neither you nor I can imagine.      For the chain of followers linked arm in arm with the river champion in the annual test of water clarity, statistics tell the story of the river’s woes or redemption. Can the put-upon river with its D-grade report card achieve its Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan targets for 2025?

Snakeheads and catfish are plentiful

 

     Over Memorial Day weekend, I heard a new, amusing joke.       Question: Why are snakeheads and channel catfish the most numerous fish caught this year?       Answer: Because they’re the only two species Maryland Department of Natural Resources hasn’t tried to help.