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The companionship of fishing endures even when the fish don’t 

 

      One of the rod tips in the stern holders bounced a bit, then again, then bent down deeply. The severe deflection was caused by a hefty rockfish attempting to flee the area with a 7/0 circle hook in a corner of its jaw....

With big fish around underwater structures, your only hope is that your line will withstand the abrasion 

 

      I felt just the slightest tap 16 feet down, and set the hook. First there was a solid resistance. Then everything just went to hell. My rod slammed down hard, almost hitting the gunnel as I did my best with one hand to keep the heavily arced shaft somewhat horizontal....

Chumming ground-up baitfish lures the big fish to you

 

     Though my buddy and I had been doing very well drifting fresh soft-crab baits around the Bay Bridge structures, that tactic was going to be short-lived. Soon we would have to search for rockfish over much wider areas. For that kind of fishing, the soft-crab approach is not very effective.

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Good luck on the Bay is not a sure thing, but the adventure is always exhilarating

 

      I felt the light tap-tap on the line of my baitcaster and brought my arm up smartly. The rod jerked down, bending hard, and the line peeled off the reel, howling against a firmly set drag. Then the fish angled the line across a nearby barnacled pier and cut me off. I slumped down in defeat yet again.

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Hobbes goes to sea

      Taking a dog out onto the Chesapeake does not seem like a complicated task. I didn’t expect many difficulties from my new pup, Hobbes, as Labradors were bred long ago to accompany fishermen on their voyages. We had complications.

      As we would eventually be some distance from land, it was not only prudent but essential that the young, inexperienced pup have some extra flotation.

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Snakeheads and catfish are plentiful

 

     Over Memorial Day weekend, I heard a new, amusing joke. 

     Question: Why are snakeheads and channel catfish the most numerous fish caught this year?

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You don’t need a license to catch a dozen, but you’ll need a little luck

    I had just set the last of my four lines when the first run occurred. Surprised at the suddenness but carefully fingering the cotton line, I looked out of the corner of my eye for the net.
    Despite my pressure on the string, my quarry continued to move away. My heart beat faster, too. One does not want to blow the first opportunity of a seemingly perfect morning.
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Recreational anglers share the blame

      Now that most federal, state and associated conservation organizations are agreeing that the striped bass population is again in crisis, the finger pointing has started. Some are laying the blame on the recreational fisheries, some on commercial entities and others on over-harvest of the forage species on which rockfish rely. All play a role.
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Bad weather, bad news

      The opening day of Maryland’s trophy rockfish season was a bust, principally because April 20 was a windy mess with southern gusts to 30 knots. A quick survey of the Sandy Point Marina, where hundreds of boats are usually launched on the first day, revealed only two boat trailers in that enormous parking lot. A drive by the most popular shore-based fishing area, the Sandy Point Beach, showed a similar lack of anglers.
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Hobbes is a seven-week-old Lab pup

     When Hobbes arrived at our home Saturday evening, two things became apparent. Neither order nor melancholy can survive around a seven-week-old black Labrador puppy. Chaos and laughter, however, grow exponentially.
     It’s been more than three years since our female German shorthair pointer Sophie passed, long enough for the pain and sorrow of her absence to fade.
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