One good thing about fishing in cold weather is that it produces stellar quality fish. Monday through Friday at 3 am, local
fishermen head out into the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay. They start out of ports like Rock Hall, Tilghman Island, or
Chesapeake Beach, frequently breaking ice to get out and lay off their 3 boxes of drift gill-net in the dark. The fish “gill” better in the dark, before the sun comes up. The fish are especially susceptible to the gill-net at the change of the tide, also called
When there is no tidal current (occurring for about 20 minutes every 6 hours each day), the fish aren’t able to use their lateral line system to tell what is directly ahead of them. The lateral line is a line of pores on each side of the fish’s body, running from the head to the tail. Inside each pore are very sensitive hair follicles that let the fish know what’s ahead. When the tide is running, the fish can “feel” the net in front of them and will swim over it (gill-nets only fish the bottom 10 feet of the water column), or they will swim around the end of the net.
The bottom line is that local rockfish are the freshest fish you can buy right now. Rockfish are 24 hours from swimming blissfully in the Chesapeake and prices are extremely low to boot!