Weak Opening to 2017 Season
April 18, 2017 | Opening day for the 2017 rockfish season was not good.
Bay trollers were mostly skunked, but some got one or two. Sunday was better with fortunate charter captains landing as many as five or six per trip. In previous seasons, that many would be caught in an hour.
The fish are not concentrated and the trollers report that catches are randomly scattered. Trollers out of Solomons found stripers "straight out" of the mouth of the Patuxent. Monday was even better, but overall the fishing is still poor.
The Potomac was truly bad with only a handful reported all weekend.
Theories abound for the lack of fish. My predictions of good fishing at the beginning of the season were shattered over the weekend, so my crystal ball is broken. The gradual improvement mid-Bay is a good sign. Some suggest that the fish are still up the rivers and Bay spawning and will start out the next few days. Others suggest that the fish spawned early and are already gone.
The 2016 season found the fish not hitting stride until the second week of the season - that pattern may go for this year too. Tides went from super high last week to very low. We need a decent tide flow and some low pressure and rain. This may trigger a rockfish movement and bite.
A few croaker have been caught in the nets of commercial fishermen in the mouth of the Potomac.
There have been reports of croaker caught off the public fishing pier under the bridge at Solomons Island. We have yet to have anyone claim the $25.00 gift certificate that Tackle Box gives for the first croaker of the year. There are also $20.00 prizes for the first 10 rockfish of the season that fishermen bring in to have photographed. None of these have been claimed yet.