- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2005

A 66-1/2-pound striped bass that would have been a Virginia state record has been disqualified because it was caught by a commercial fisherman who held a hook-and-line license, says reporter Lee Tolliver of the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot.

Alvin Wimbrough caught the whopping rockfish last Friday just south of Sandbridge in the Atlantic. The fish was weighed at Long Bay Pointe Bait & Tackle and would have beaten the current state record striper, caught in January by Paul Kleckner of Greenbackville, Va., by an even three pounds.

Wimbrough, who lives in Virginia Beach, was made aware that rules set by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which oversees state records and presents awards for significant catches, prohibit commercial hook-and-line fishermen from participating in the program.

“We can’t get into the mind of a commercial fisherman when they go out on a trip,” said tournament director Claude Bain, who told Tolliver, “The rule was designed to prevent one from going out, catching a big fish and then saying that they weren’t commercial fishing. More often than not, the trip started as a commercial trip.”

Wimbrough, who was fishing from a charter boat, said he plans to fight the ruling.

Not much happening locally — Local fishermen who eagerly awaited a late-February yellow perch spawning run are disappointed. The run can be described as little more than a crawl. This being March 10, the run should have come and gone by now. At Charles County’s Allen’s Fresh, a few little bucks were caught this week, as well as some mediocre-sized white perch. That was it. In the Nanjemoy Creek, boaters could get a five-fish limit of eating-size yellow perch, but it might require a daylong effort.

The weather forecasts aren’t the best either, so we doubt there’ll be much fishing done in these parts until next week at the earliest and by then the beginnings of a white perch run should be noticed. It usually happens in the latter half of March and into early April.

Not all about trout fishing show — Frank Smith of the National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited says the 30th annual National Capital Angling Show on March 19 is “not all about trout this year. We’re leading off with C. Boyd Pfeiffer on shad and finishing the afternoon with Mark Kovach & Co. on regional smallmouths.”

Not to worry, though. There’ll be displays, demonstrations, flyfishing paraphernalia, a tackle swap shop and many other items of interest that include, of course, a large helping of trout fishing, including a presentation by John Perry called “The Majesty of Western Montana Trout Streams,” Marcia Woodman doing “Yellowstone Insights and Updates” and Dave Strock presenting “Effective Nymph: Out West and Back East.”

The show will be held at Landon School, 6101 Wilson Lane, Bethesda, starting at 10 a.m. General admission is $10 (16 and under get in free). Go to the Web at NCC-Tudor, or call 301/587-4792 or 202/966-5923.

Illegal gill nets found — The end of February marked the end of the striped bass drift gill net season in the Chesapeake Bay. Maryland Natural Resources Police officers working in the upper eastern regional area of the bay confiscated 63 illegal gill nets during the last week of the season. More than 1,200 pounds of fish, along with waterfowl, were removed from those nets.

Twenty-three nets were seized in Queen Anne’s Chester and Corsica Rivers, 19 in Dorchester’s Choptank River and Fishing Bay, 12 in Talbot County’s Blackball Point area and nine from Kent County’s Chester River. These nets were unattended and unmarked, and some were anchored.

Drift gill nets must be attended by a licensee in a boat within two miles of the net while it is in waters of the Chesapeake Bay, or within one mile when the net is in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, its coastal bays and their tributaries, or a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. An anchor gill net is a net that is stationary in the water and secured to the bottom by conventional anchors or heavy weights.

No arrests or charges have yet been filed on any of the nets while the violations are still under investigation.

I have a better idea: Outlaw all gill nets. It was done in Florida. What makes us think we can afford to net more fish than Floridians can?

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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