view counter

Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle

Here’s what you need to have fun

Afish caught on the fly is easily twice as much fun as one caught any other way. Right now is an ideal time to fish the long rod for rockfish and white perch. The first rule is to leave your conventional tackle at home. If you’ve decided to use the fly rod, it’s best to be fully committed.

When the days are too hot, try the hours before midnight

The temperature in the low 70s seemed cool after the scorching sun, just a few hours ago, had sent the mercury into the high 90s. The multitudes of motorized craft churning the waters had long ago headed for home. I had the spot to myself, a rather surreal feeling in the silence and darkness.

10 tips to keep you catching

Chumming is one of the simplest ways to catch your limit of nice rockfish on light tackle. It involves a minimum of fuel, since you’re fishing anchored, and that helps cover the cost for the chum and bait. It is also an excellent way for anyone of any experience to tangle with the Bay’s premier gamefish.

For good sport and good eating, white perch deserve respect

The day was a success from the beginning. Son Harrison and I were on a perch outing, and the very first structure we targeted was rich with sizeable whities. Both of us were fishing six-foot light-action spin rods spooled with six-pound line and baited with one of the most productive lures in our box, spinner baits. Our tackle was constantly being strained to its limits.

But when half of all crabs are ­harvested each year, we’ve got to work to keep the population steady

After almost three decades of effort, Maryland’s treasured Chesapeake Bay crustacean, the blue crab, has achieved a major scientific benchmark. The number of spawning females has at last reached the minimum target level for optimum species viability: 215 million sooks.

Our battle against heavy winds, stalled tide and slack current paid off

Small-craft advisories and a forecast of 15- to 20-knot winds made canceling our planned outing a no-brainer. For those who chose to disregard the warnings, however, that day proved to be a placid beauty with five-knot winds, a slight overcast and a red-hot rockfish bite almost all day long off Hackett’s Bar.

Where else can you be when ­nothing goes wrong?

There is nothing like an early June morning on the Chesapeake.     A bit of smoky haze was still rising off of the Eastern Shore in the far distance as we cleared the ramp and eased out of the channel onto  glassy Bay surface.     The quiet burble of our outboard was the only sound, and for a long while neither of us cared to hear anything else. At last, looking around at the rocky piers we were approaching, I took an already rigged light spin outfit and prepared a cast.

While not a beautiful swimmer, the channel catfish provides the sweetest flesh a seafood fanatic can hope for

Pulling on my weather gear, I headed out in the morning gloom to hook up the skiff. The forecast was poor, but I had cabin fever and had to get out on the water.     The white perch were up the trib shallows, I felt sure, and there is no better cure for poor weather than the promise of a good perch fry that evening. Now all I needed was the fish.

In May, it could be full of worms

The second rockfish season opened just days ago to mock my expectations of another great fishing year.     Day one saw me headed to just below the Bay Bridge Western Shore rockpile, where the fishing had been gangbusters on the opener the last two years. Finding a dozen or so boats scattered there did not bother me. That early bite had been no secret, and I saw good marks on my finder throughout the area.

With resident rockfish season, ­fishing becomes catching

Trophy rockfish season ends Monday, May 15. On Tuesday, May 16, the second Chesapeake Bay rockfish season begins. At the change, the size limit changes from one fish of over 35 inches to two fish 20 inches or larger, only one of which may be longer than 28 inches.