It’s less than 24 hours away now–Opening Day of Maryland’s Trophy Rockfish Season–and thousands of anglers will hit Bay waters within Maryland tomorrow for a chance at catching the striped bass of a lifetime. And if you’re fishing in the PropTalk-sponsored Boatyard Bar & Grill Opening Day Rockfish tournament, you’re likely hoping you catch, photograph, and release the biggest striper of the tournament participants tomorrow, which means a $5000 Anglers gift certificate.
But before you go rushing out on the water tomorrow, here’s a survival guide to opening day, including tips on weather, regulations, licensing, and most importantly, what areas PropTalk’s fish gurus are betting on as hot spots.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast (as usual) varies by whom you choose to listen to, but expect west winds around 10-15 knots with gusts up to 20 knots from the opening gun throughout the rest of the day.
Certain areas of the Bay are completely off-limits on Opening Day, others are open to catch-and-release fishing only, and others yet are open. Also make sure you have your Maryland fishing license. Tomorrow is the first angling day of the year for many fishermen, and many forget to procure a valid license, which is an expensive mistake if you’re caught. First the rules, and then a map showing the open and closed areas:
|Hook & Line||4/20/2013 – 5/15/20135:01am – 11:59pm||28″ or greater||1/person/day|
Restricted to the mainstem Chesapeake Bay from Brewerton Channel to the Maryland/Virginia Line, Tangier & Pocomoke Sounds (no Tributaries)
Maximum two charter boat trips/day.
Most of PropTalk’s fishing Jedi concur that that striped bass have already spawned in the Choptank, Chester, and Nanticoke rivers. While that doesn’t mean that further spawning won’t occur, anglers may draw the conclusion that a significant number of post-spawn striped bass will be/are exiting those rivers, meaning traditional Mid-Bay haunts such as buoy “84” and False Channel will be productive. Many also will try the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant discharge, which up until a week ago, was still holding fish.
Maryland’s DNR Fisheries Service offers this advice: The Striped Bass pouring out of the Choptank River will most likely follow the False Channel out into the bay before turning south; the Nanticoke fish will slip through the Hooper Island Straits, Kedges Straits or head down Tangier Sound. The Patuxent and Potomac Striped Bass will of course move down the rivers and directly out into the shipping channel areas. The steep western edge of the shipping channel from Chesapeake Beach south to Cove Point is always a traditional good location to troll as well edges like Buoy 72. In the lower Potomac River channel edges near St. George’s Island and Piney Point are excellent places to troll.
Good luck out there, and send your fishing photos to firstname.lastname@example.org