Date night was a success
Last month, my husband and I made a date night out of the Southern Maryland Recreational Fishing Organization meeting in Solomons. There are so many good options nearby for dinner beforehand, so he doesn’t really mind tagging along with me.
There were several new faces in the crowd that evening, and even a few folks who were just getting their ears (and lines) wet for the first time, and they received a warm welcome aboard.
SMRFO was formed to protect Maryland’s fisheries for recreational anglers, and one of its goals is to pass on the fishing tradition to the next generation.
Along those lines, one of the newest SMRFO members introduced at that meeting was Isaac Dreibelbis of Prince Frederick, who at 9 years old, already has a lot of fishing experience. Dreibelbis passed on some good tips during the fishing report segment of the meeting. It’s great to see kids
getting involved in the organization.
Capt. Phil Langley (301-9040935 or www.mdcharterfishing.com to book a fall rockfish charter) was the guest speaker that night. You’re not going to find a nicer fellow to talk fishing with in all of Southern Maryland.
Capt. Langley was just a minute late for his spot in the lineup, but he had a very good explanation — why, he’d been out fishing. No one in the audience could fault him for that.
Capt. Langley then dove right into answering questions ranging from how to find fish to how to target the bigger ones once you do find the fish.
A topic of much interest to those in attendance was how
climate change is affecting the migration and range of gamefish in the Chesapeake Bay.
Capt. Langley talked quite a bit about the trends he’s noticed over the 35 years that he’s been a charter boat captain. Cobia, what seems like a relative newcomer to the summertime mix, has become a bigger player recently.
Capt. Langley recounted that when he first got his charter boat captain’s license, “old timers” told stories of catching cobia around the wrecks in the bay. But he’d never seen one himself in those days. Indeed, cobia weren’t even regulated until this year, when Maryland adopted a minimum size and limit. The season has already closed for the year.
Capt. Langley said 2018 was “probably the best” year he’s ever had for cobia. About 50 percent of those he caught this past summer met the keeper-sized 40-inch minimum. On several trips, his boat limited out with three keepers.
This year we did not see an abundance of croaker or weakfish in our local waters, and over the last decade, it’s been nearly impossible to catch a keeper flounder locally (as one person at the meeting joked, “I’ve caught plenty of 6-inch flounder in my crab pot this summer, but I want to know where are his big brothers and sisters?”
It’s been almost as hard to catch a legal-sized red drum. Also known as redfish, anglers can keep only one fish that measures between 18 and 27 inches. Capt. Langley mentioned that most red drum he caught this year surpassed the 27-inch upper limit.
Perhaps, as Maryland saw a need for adopting regulations for the cobia fishery, it’s time to reexamine red drum and the slot requirement.
Trout fishing is underway
Anthony Hancock, manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, asked me to pass on that trout fishing is fully underway at Wheatley Lake.
There have been quite a few visitors to the park trying their luck to catch some of the fished stocked in the lake last week. If you haven’t been yet, carve out some time this weekend.
The beauty of the trout fishery is you can catch them from the shore as well as by boat or kayak. On cloudy days or early in the morning, they can be caught shallow, but as the sun gets higher in the sky they head for deeper water.
You can’t go wrong with live worms or PowerBait fished near the bottom. Others may prefer small
flashy spoons or spinners on light or ultralight tackle. Hancock recommends small Mepps and rooster tail spinners in bright colors along with Super Dupers and Little Cleo spoons. He has seen a few kayak fishermen recently having success trolling across the lake with small spoons.
For the fly fisherman, wooly buggars and other streamers as well as small nymph patterns fished under a dropper can be effective and rewarding.
Hancock said hasn’t seen anyone catch the 25-inch, 8-pound trout that was stocked in the lake last week yet. That giant is still on the loose.
Of course, Gilbert Run Park isn’t the only place you can find stocked trout this time of year. Last week, ponds in Calvert County (Calvert Cliffs Pond and Hutchins Pond) and ponds in Charles County (Hughesville Pond and Myrtle Grove Pond) each received 450 trout.
Black bear season concludes
Maryland’s five-day black bear hunting season has concluded for 2018.
A total of 135 bears were taken from Allegany, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties. That
number is on par with last year’s harvest of 131 bears. The largest bear weighed 575 pounds.