Launched from Sandy Point at 7:15 am with fellow Tfer Blue Lou. Light rain but predicted to clear up. Only few other trailers in parking lot. Got out to jetty and saw fog but had about 1/2 mile visibility and radar.
Running east along bridge - had to dodge what looked like a faded clam line marker. No idea why it would be right there - bad place for it.
We ran SE towards Mattapeake - watching meter. Slowed in 45 feet on west edge and set a southerly course. Put over port board and ran five lines. One single and four tandems - various colors. Lou put 6th rod 250 feet back off transom - 8/3 tandem.
With lines set - we shook off rain gear as drizzle stopped. Fog stayed though - bay was flat.
We worked near Brick House bar - one of my favorite areas. Radar showed a few other boats but we stayed away from them. Bay was so calm - radar was showing birds sitting in 60 feet so we headed there. Meter showed a few fish down about 40 feet - these usually will not bite. Lou pointed out a Menhaden swimming in a circle on surface - we thought it had been hit by a Rockfish. We circled this area and soon saw many more dead and dying Menhaden.
Not good - talked to others fishing and they reported same thing. Checked lines a few times - and had a close call. Before helping Lou reel in lines - I would move radar out to 2 miles to see if course was clear.
No boats near us other than the anchored ships and two other boats trolling about 2 miles away. We were checking lines when a large boat - " Bella " ran along our starboard side at about 20 knots - maybe 75 feet away. We could clearly see an open array radar unit but it was not spinning. Called them on VHF # 16 - he apologized for running so close.
I did quick math and figured Bella must have been just outside the 2 mile radar range and at roughly 20 knots - covered the distance to us in about 7-8 minutes - exact time I was in cockpit.
Lesson learned - check radar every 2 minutes when pulling lines.
Fog slowly lifted and soon we saw dead Menhaden in larger numbers. The Sea gulls were pecking at them but not eating them. We netted a dead Menhaden - it looked very fresh with no marks. Scary what is killing them.
We trolled all around # 87 - # 88 markers - another favorite area. I could not believe not getting any hits - conditions were good. No waves , no other boats around , 55 -56 * water temp. nice incoming current. We fished until 1:30 and slowly pulled in lines.
The Severn River Rod and Keg club holds a raft up at 2:30 so we ran over to join the party. Seven other boats had fished - no one had caught a Rockfish. Boats fished from just north of bridge to as far south as Bloody Point.
We all discussed lack of Rockfish over a few cold drinks - fun way to end the day. Left the party about 3:30 and ran north to Sandy Point. Running just inside Hacketts can marker - saw a tide line full of dead Menhaden that looked few days old. This went on for over a mile.
Got home and talked to some other fishermen - from Deale all the way to Solomons - no one caught or heard of any Rock caught - other than a few at the CCNPP by guys jigging. One side note - some 2-4 pound Catfish ( Channel and Blue ) caught from Sandy Point beach and jetty.