- The Washington Times - Friday, May 17, 2002

The season for catching and keeping a couple of 18-inch-and-up rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay is now up and running. It began yesterday when those fishing the Maryland portions of the Chesapeake could start keeping a couple of the rockfish, but remember that only one of the two you keep can be over 28 inches long. In the Virginia parts of the bay, almost identical rules prevail: Two stripers that measure from 18 to 28 inches, or keep only one of that size, and one of 32 inches or better.

If you're looking for a wonderfully mixed bag of catches, you couldn't do much better than the Eastern Shore town of Crisfield and its Tangier Sound waters. Last weekend the sound produced a 55-pound black drum, an 11-pound gray sea trout, a flounder that just missed measuring 25 inches, and a 21½-inch flounder that struck a trolled bucktail of all things. Even some spotted sea trout are hooked. Now add the many croakers, spot, stripers and young bluefish, and you can see how the Tangier Sound could be a super choice.

Closer to home, that much-needed rainfall that all the TV weather people talk about so much is materializing and it's turning a lot of mountain river bass anglers into grumpy campers. The upper Rappahannock, James, Potomac and Susquehanna could still be a bit cloudy this weekend, so think about that before driving many miles to a favorite smallmouth bass area.

In the upper tidal waters of the Potomac, Patuxent, Choptank and Nanticoke rivers, you can find bass, a few stripers, some fat white perch and plenty of catfish. And as far as sport crabbing is concerned, the DNR's Angel Bolinger says a few blueclaws are nabbed on handlined chicken necks behind the camp store at Point Lookout State Park, Smith Creek and inside St. Jerome's Creek all of them in St. Mary's County.

You can e-mail Gene Mueller at gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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