Team Floyd wins in­au­gu­ral Rod and Reef Slam tour­na­ment

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Sports -

Species di­ver­sity was the name of the game Satur­day dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral Rod & Reef Slam fish­ing tour­na­ment tar­get­ing three ar­ti­fi­cial reefs in the Til­gh­man Is­land area.

The team of Herb and Rhonda Floyd, of Trappe, caught nine dif­fer­ent species of fish to win the tour­na­ment, edg­ing Lenny Ru­dow and team Fishtalk, which caught eight.

The tour­na­ment al­lowed fish­ing at three reef restora­tion ar­eas: the MARI Til­gh­man Is­land Reef just out­side Knapps Nar­rows, the Har­ris Creek reefs, and the Cook’s Point reef ball field in the mouth of the Chop­tank River.

Size didn’t mat­ter in this tour­na­ment as the hosts were more in­ter­ested in how ef­fec­tive the re­stored reefs have be­come in at­tract­ing dif­fer­ent species. Mul­ti­ple part­ners have worked to­gether to build the reefs, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Of­fice, Coastal Conser va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion, and Mar yland Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. All those or­ga­ni­za­tions were well rep­re­sented at the tour­na­ment awards cer­e­mony and party at Lowes Wharf Ma­rina in Sher­wood.

Twelve dif­fer­ent types of fish (ma­rine species) were caught and recorded: white perch, striped bass, spot, floun­der, sil­ver perch, oys­ter toad­fish, north­ern puffer, blue crab, spot­ted sea trout, naked goby, weak­fish, and floun­der. The oys­ter reefs are def­i­nitely work­ing, not only at­tract­ing more di­ver­sity of ma­rine life but also help­ing to clean the water.

The diminu­tive naked goby ap­par­ently fell out of a clump of oys­ters.

Blood­worms, crab, store­bought shrimp, and other bait at­tracted most of the ac­tion and an­glers also jigged to try to catch as many species as pos­si­ble.

With the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Kayak An­glers Rock­to­ber­fest also go­ing on Satur­day, no die-hard pad­dlers com­peted in the reef tour­na­ment, leav­ing those three prizes un­awarded. An­drew Miller won the youth di­vi­sion with three species caught: a striped bass, a white perch, and a toad­fish. Sec­ond place in the youth di­vi­sion was won by Brian Sands and Aaron Ro­den­hausen and Conor Traxel tied for third.

Most of the an­glers re­leased their fish. The tour­na­ment used the ian­gler tour­na­ment phone app to lo­gin en­tries. It’s a pretty cool sys­tem that al­lows an­glers to photo their catch with an iden­ti­fy­ing mark along with catch in­for­ma­tion, and the photo and data is in­stantly sent to a tour­na­ment leader­board avail­able on the in­ter­net.

John Paige Wil­liams of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion, which ser ved as the main spon­sor, said plans are al­ready in the works for next year’s tour­na­ment. A tip of the hat to Hi­lar y Gib­son who put to­gether a well-run tour­na­ment and to CCA Mary­land Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor David Siko­rski for com­pil­ing the re­sults and calm­ing pro­tes­tors:

“No, a sea squirt does not count.”

“But it has a ver­te­brae in its lar­val stage.”

I think that back­bone thing is ac­tu­ally called a no­to­chord, but more re­search is in or­der.

*** Fish­ing re­port Spot to catch for live-lin­ing are still avail­able at the Sandy Point area and also the mouth of the Ch­ester and other Mid-Shore rivers, but they’ll prob­a­bly be on the move soon. Bait is ex­it­ing tidal rivers, so jig­ging along steep chan­nel edges can be pro­duc­tive. That tac­tic is al­ready catch­ing fish at Pod­ick­ory and Love points as well as shoals, reefs, and knolls in the mid-Ch­e­sa­peake re­gion. Trolling a mix of um­brella rigs, spoons, and buck­tails has also been pro­duc­tive at th­ese same ar­eas but take some weight or plan­ers to get down to where fish are sus­pended.

White perch are start­ing to show signs of school­ing in the deeper parts of the re­gion’s tidal rivers. Jig­ging with ei­ther a sinker and drop­per flies or a small jig is a great way to catch them. Bot­tom rigs baited with clam snouts, shrimp, blood­worms, or peeler crab is also a good way to catch a mess of fat white perch.

Striped bass are also be­ing caught on the chan­nel edges of Tol­ley’s and Thomas points, the out­side edge of Hack­ett’s, and the False Chan­nel. The shal­lowwa­ter striped bass fish­ery is im­prov­ing in many ar­eas. Sub-le­gal stripers below 20 inches tend to be a large per­cent­age of the catch but of­fer plenty of fun on top­wa­ter lures.

Far­ther south, large red drum con­tinue to be caught and re­leased in the Mid­dle Grounds and Tar­get Ship ar­eas by jig­ging and trolling.

In the mid-Ch­e­sa­peake, crab­bing has been fairly good but bushel catches are hard to come by — what you can catch though are usu­ally large and heavy.

On the freshwater scene, large­mouth bass are be­com­ing more ac­tive dur­ing the day. Grass beds are de­clin­ing and sunken wood and chan­nel edges help pro­vide some cover for large­mouth. Small crankbaits, spin­ner­baits, and a va­ri­ety of soft plas­tics are good choices around th­ese types of cover.

On the At­lantic Coast, the heavy surf that pounded the Ocean City area has sub­sided and surf fish­ing is now a bet­ter pos­si­bil­ity. Surf an­glers are catch­ing small blue­fish on cut bait or fin­ger mul­let. King­fish and spot are be­ing caught on blood­worms.

At the in­let, fish­ing for sheepshead at the north and south jet­ties re­mains ex­cel­lent with some im­pres­sive catches be­ing made. Sand fleas, pieces of green crab, and clams have been pre­ferred baits. Floun­der are mov­ing through the in­let and headed to off­shore waters. An in­com­ing tide tends to of­fer the best fish­ing. Floun­der can also be found on some of the nearshore shoal ar­eas as well as wreck and reef sites.

*** Duck blind know-it-all Once the sea squirt be­comes sta­tion­ary, it eats (re­ab­sorbs) its own brain. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Herb Floyd shows a oys­ter clump that he hooked while fish­ing in Har­ris Creek dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral Rod and Reef Slam fish­ing tour­na­ment Satur­day. The Floyd team of Herb and Rhonda won the tour­na­ment by catch­ing nine dif­fer­ent species of fish. Oys­ters did not count.

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