A day without wild rockfish at Congressional Seafood is like a day without sunshine. Out of the 52 weeks in the year, the most challenging time to procure wild rock is between now and June 1. Some years we make it without an issue, while others we don’t.
All of Maryland (in the Chesapeake Bay) has been closed since March 1. The Potomac River closed ten days ago, and Virginia has a size limit of only 28 inches. Delaware Bay fishers are pretty much tagged out. Effectively everyone is going crabbing for big money except a small group of fishers in West Ocean City that wait until the market gets high before they go.
The jumbo rock will migrate up the beach for the next month into the breakers. You can even drive out onto the shore of Assateague Island and watch them. Fishers use small shallow-draft boats and drive through the breakers to set the anchor, almost on the sand. They then have to turn the boat around and drive back through the breakers again to set the rest of the net perpendicular to the beach.
It is a harrowing experience with waves crashing all around the boat. An inexperienced captain can easily swamp his boat. These guys earn their money. Good Lord willing, we should have an ample supply of beautiful jumbo rock for the rest of April at the very least.
Prices are subject to change.