Rock­fish tour­ney ben­e­fits youth, the Bay and its re­sources

Record Observer - - Sports -

The Boat­yard Bar & Grill 15th an­nual Spring Fish­ing Tour­na­ment is slated for the open­ing day of the spring striped bass sea­son, Satur­day, April 16.

The event’s catc­hand-re­lease phi­los­o­phy and pro­ceeds help sus­tain the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay’s rock­fish pop­u­la­tion. No fish are brought in to be mea­sured. Win­ners are de­ter­mined from dig­i­tal photos of the fish taken next to a Boat­yard Mea­sur­ing De­vice, bet­ter known as the “yard­stick” (even though it is 48 inches long to ac­com­mo­date the best fish!) or as the “fish-sticks.”

The reg­is­tra­tion dead­line is April 13 and is lim­ited to 150 boats. On­line reg­is­tra­tion and pay­ment is pre­ferred.

Prizes will be awarded for the first three long­est fish with the win­ner’s name fea­tured on a Boat­yard ceil­ing beam. The tour­na­ment also in­cludes a ju­nior divi­sion.

Pro­ceeds ben­e­fit the Coastal Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, the An­napo­lis Police Dept. Youth Fish­ing Camp, and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion.

A skip­per’s meet­ing is 5-7 p.m. on Fri­day, April 15. An­glers should be in line for the mea­sure- in by 4:30 p.m. Satur­day, with a party and awards cer­e­mony from 4-8 p.m.

The last post-tour­na­ment party was about 1,000 strong of cap­tains, an­glers, fam­ily, friends, and lo­cals.

Dick Franyo, Boat­yard Bar & Grill owner and event founder, said, “We started this tour­na­ment be­cause ev­ery­one was out on the wa­ter any­way, so giv­ing them a means to re­ally cel­e­brate the day and help out these im­por­tant causes caught on. We share a pas­sion with an­glers for a health­ier bay and pre­serv­ing the sport of fish­ing for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

*** Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice One of Pheas­ants For­ever and Quail For­ever’s long­est tenured staff mem­bers, Dave Nom­sen, was hon­ored last week at the 81st North Amer­i­can Wildlife and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Con­fer­ence with the Ge­orge Bird Grin­nell Me­mo­rial Award for Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice to Nat­u­ral Re­source Con­ser­va­tion.

The award was ini­ti­ated 16 years ago in the mem­ory of Ge­orge Bird Grin­nell, the ac­knowl­edged “Fa­ther of Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tion.” Among many ac­com­plish- ments, Grin­nell was a found­ing mem­ber, with Theodore Roo­sevelt, of the Boone and Crock­ett Club. He also or­ga­nized the first Audubon So­ci­ety and was an or­ga­nizer of the New York Zo­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Nom­sen is Pheas­ants For­ever’s di­rec­tor in South Dakota fol­low­ing more than two decades as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s vice pres­i­dent of gov­ern­ment af­fairs. He has spent the last two decades as the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s voice on Capi­tol Hill and is one of the most re­spected and knowl­edge­able ad­vo­cates in sup­port of fed­eral farm con­ser­va­tion pro­grams, in­clud­ing the Con­ser­va­tion Re­serve Pro­gram.

*** Fish­ing Re­port Most of the tribu­tary rivers drain­ing into the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay have had good spawn­ing runs of white perch, and for the most part the spawn­ing in the up­per reaches of those rivers and creeks is about over as wa­ter tem­per­a­tures reach the low 50s. Post-spawn white perch are mov­ing back down the rivers and can be in­ter­cepted in ar­eas be­low the spawn­ing reaches. Deeper holes at low tide are good places to work your fa­vorite lures.

Alewife her­ring are cur­rently spawn­ing and they will be seen splash­ing and milling around shore­lines and shal­lows. In a few weeks, blue­back her­ring and hick­ory shad will also be spawn­ing when wa­ter tem­per­a­tures be­come warmer. All of these species are strictly catch and re­lease. The alewife her­ring can pro­vide some fun light-tackle catch-and-re­lease ac­tion on small shall darts, blue­backs on small gold hooks, and hick­ory shad on small flashy spoons, shad darts, and brightly col­ored wet flies.

Spawn­ing adult rock­fish are mov­ing into the ma­jor spawn­ing rivers. The Po­tomac, Patux­ent, Nan­ti­coke, and Chop­tank tend to re­ceive the first wave of spawn­ing fish. Wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are still in the low 50s in most rivers and it will be a while be­fore the spawn­ing ac­tu­ally be­gins. An­glers are re­minded catch-and-re­lease fish­ing is il­le­gal in the des­ig­nated spawn­ing reaches and vi­o­la­tors face li­cense sus­pen­sions and stiff fines.

Catch-and-re­lease fish­ing for striped bass is al­lowed in the main stem of the Ch­e­sa­peake and more than a few an­glers have been light-tackle jig­ging at the Calvert Cliffs Nu­clear Power Plant warm wa­ter dis­charge. Some are also shak­ing the cob­webs out of fish­ing tackle and giv­ing boats a test run by trolling along the ship­ping chan­nel edges in the mid­dle and lower bay ar­eas.

On the fresh­wa­ter scene, large­mouth bass are mov­ing into shal­low re­gions of ti­dal rivers, lakes, and ponds. Tran­si­tion zones along chan­nels, sunken wood, and fallen tree tops are also a good place to look for them. Soft plas­tics, small crankbaits, spin­ner­baits, and jerk­baits are all good choices to use.

Crap­pie are ac­tive and tend to be hold­ing near struc­ture in slightly deep wa­ter. Fallen tree tops, rocks, ma­rina piers and docks, bridge piers, and sunken wood all pro­vide the cover they seek this time of the year. A min­now or small plas­tic tube or grub un­der a bob­ber and slowly re­trieved is a great way to catch them. Bluegills and sun­nies are al­ready suck­ing down pop­pers land­ing lightly from a fly line.

Chan­nel cat­fish and blue cat­fish fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties should not be over­looked this time of the year. There are lots of chan­nel cat­fish in most of the bay’s ti­dal rivers. Fresh cut bait such as white perch, nightcrawlers, shrimp, or chicken liver makes good bait and a sim­ple bot­tom rig com­pletes the pack­age.

*** Duck blind know-it-all Skew­ered scor­pi­ons, deep fried and sprin­kled with spices, are con­sid­ered a del­i­cacy in China.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss Email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CHRIS KNAUSS

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