Before there was turkey hunting, there was spring rock fishing and that’s what I did, and what I still love to do. Trophy rockfish season opened this year on Saturday April 20th in Maryland and I was turkey hunting but my crew was out there and I joined them on Monday. Spring season was chilly and slow this year but we got it done as always. I go rock fishing every spring on my good friends fathers boat ” The Chesapeake Lady” owned and operated by Dale Emerson. Dale and his son Peyton are two of my best hunting buddies and good friends. It’s always a pleasure to spring time with them in the spring fishing and enjoying the time on the water. Dale is a excellent captain with years of experience that matches any of the professional guides that roam the Chesapeake Bay. This is the first year that I didn’t get to reel a fish in but I wanted to share the success of my friends cause their success is mine as well.
This was the biggest fish caught this spring, it was 45″ and weighed 45 pounds, what a beast. Here’s a little recap directly from Captain Dale: We fished a total of 13 days. Even with rough-weather and/or rainy conditions occurred almost every day, and the very slow migration of the fish from spawning areas persisted during most of the first two weeks of the season due to low water temps, we still managed to take 39 fish, a far cry from 71 and 50 in 2011 and 2012. But, even with those conditions, we did very well as compared with my good friends in the charter fleet. We did catch our limit several days. The cold water in the main Bay was generally accepted by experienced fishermen as the main reason for lack of fish in the area. The majority of the fish were still up in the shallow areas of the rivers, in spawning mode, and reluctant to move to the colder water in the main Bay where we are allowed to fish during this early season. Heavy spawning activity was still being reported in the upper reaches of the rivers and creeks during much of the two weeks. The migration out of the rivers and down the Bay began later than normal, and more fish began to show up in our area about Wed of the second week. Wed was my break/ make-up day, so had no crew and did not go out that day— mistake! Good weather and fish catches started that day. I caught fish during the morning bite on Thu and Fri, and headed for the dock early both days. That’s fishing. I believe everyone took home enough fish to have a good meal or more of fresh rockfish. Can’t beat the taste of fresh rock!
Sam Thacker pulled in the biggest fish- 45 inches and about 45 lbs. It took 25 minutes to bring that real trophy to the boat. He did a great job of playing that fish just right. During the two weeks, we had 6 fish in the 40 inch + class (citation size).
Thank you Mr. Dale for one hell of a good time as always. I’m glad to be part of such a great tradition with such great friends. Remember memories last forever but the rockfish fillets got eaten quickly. Peace ya’ll.
SHOOT EM WHEN YOU SE EM!!!