the day trolling back and forth across the channel in about 60
to 80 feet of water. For Butch it was practice day for the spring
season to come. On board were the mate Junior Bernard and my two
brothers, Ted and Antone. I needed to get the kinks out
of the gear and run the boat. Its been a long winter and I wanted
to get in at least one day of spring training, said Butch.
He knew he had a number of spring rock trips lined up, and the
bottom fishing game was to follow, so rockfish opening day was
the dry run for the season. We volunteered for the tough assignment.
Well spring training started off quickly, since it wasnt
20 minutes into the trolling run that we had our first fish, a
nice 33-inch rock. The next fish hit just as we were about the
net that kick-off fish. And it was an absolutely beautiful day
the channel methodically; crossing it back and forth on imaginary
transects. Running at about 2 knots, we barely made a wake in
the flat sound waters. Butch doesnt like to use planner
boards. Instead he pulls about a dozen rods from the stern and
cabin hood rod holders. I like to keep things simple. We
may not get as big a spread as other boats, but out here theres
not much other traffic, so the fish arent as spooked,
he said. Matter of fact we only saw five other boats out trolling
that day, so there was plenty of room to spread out.
On this fine
morning we pulled an assortment of gear, all fished anywhere from
50 feet to 150 feet off the back of the boat. Rigs included bucktail
tandems, parachutes and the ubiquitous umbrella rigs.
lures for rock have been daisy chains, in white and green. I find
they are easier on the angler, since they allow for a nice fight
with the fish. Plus they are not as complicated to drag through
the water column, added Butch. He knew his stuff since the
third fish we caught, was the second to fall for a daisy chain
rig, and it was the biggest of the bunch. This spring it seemed
the hot colors for rock lures were white with a purple head. Sure
chartreuse caught a pile of fish, but many captains said they
scored more morning fish on the white/purple color combo.
had another knockdown, there were no more hook-sets. So by 11
am we were done. We had three nice healthy looking fish in the
boat box and it was a quick way to kick off the rockfish season.
When we came back to re-fuel we had only burned about 36 dollars
in gas! Now thats budget fishing at its finest.
is now bottom fishing Tangier Sound for croaker, spot, trout and
flounder. I feel very lucky to be close to an area that
produces a lot of quality fish throughout most of the year. Tangier
Sound has been good to all the charter boats in this area. Id
rather fish here than anywhere else on the Bay, he said.
Since we got
back to the dock early, we had plenty of time to clean fish and
get them ready for the BBQ that evening. Marinating a whole side
in garlic, olive oil and wine, along with a handful of crazy spices,
we feasted. Chased by good wine and followed by cheap cigars,
we also felt lucky to have had the chance to catch some beautiful
early season stripers, only a 15 minute boat ride from the Crisfield
harbor entrance. Im sure those fat, healthy rockfish will
be back in Tangier Sound again next spring.