Ocean City Today

Fish or cut bait

The Public Eye
By Stewart Dobson | Mar 29, 2018



printed 03/30/2018


Well, hooray. The state Department of Natural Resources this week announced the size limit for flounder has been reduced from 17 to 16.5 inches, which for me means that as of April, I cannot catch fish that are 2.941 percent smaller than the ones I didn’t catch last year.

If, as they say, a rising tide floats all boats, it also would be true that an outgoing tide drops all boats. In other words, if the limit were lowered to, say, 16 inches, I’d catch 15.5-inchers, just as a 15-inch limit would lead to an abundance of 14.5-inchers on my line.

It’s nature’s way of keeping me humble, apparently, not that I have any trouble with that in the pursuit of angling. I am the guy, through some perverse cosmic interference, who always should have been there yesterday.

Except that, were I there yesterday, I should have been there the day before (see outgoing tide reference above).

Even though I’m not given to buying into crazy conspiracy theories — Idaho Spuds instant potatoes do not now and never have contained gluten, even though shadowy potato conspirators are now labeling this product “Gluten Free!” in an attempt to convince us that potato barons of old foisted a glut of gluten on us — I have concluded that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has it in for me.

I know, without proof, which is what any good conspiracy theory requires, that these fishery folk gathered around a conference table somewhere in the past year and asked, “Should we go with slow torture or take the limit all the way down to zero, so all he’ll catch is fish that don’t even exist?”

I already do that, of course, which is why I have tons of fishing tackle that I never use.

“You spent $20 on one monster fishing lure?”

“Yeah, well, I’ve been thinking about tuna.”

“In the inlet?”

“It could happen.”

But tuna in the inlet or 16.5-inch flounder behind Assateague, it’s all the same to me. Besides, there’s always rockfishing season, when I can catch much larger fish, up to 27 inches, the limit, naturally, being 28.

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