Date night was a suc­cess

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­

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 or­char­ter­fish­ 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.

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