Tiki? Nah, Gone Fishin' Instead

One right after another, the signs of the new season come upon Southern Maryland. Friday, it was the opening of the Tiki Bar and the party began. Saturday, trophy rockfish season began and the world is right, once again.

Saturday morning before dawn, a different crowd from the revelers of the night before descended on Solomons Island. These people were fishermen, forced to endure an additional day before their right of passage from winter to spring emerged in the form of roaring diesel engines, clicking Penn reels, stripping line and the shout, “Fish on!”

The Bay Net hitched a ride on Miss Susie, captained by Greg Buckner, and mated by Jason Wimberly for this first of the season charter. Our gracious host, Lester Severe, owner and CEO of Gateway Property Management welcomed The Bay Net aboard with open arms. Soon Miss Susie’s engines roared, the lines were cast and the party of ten was underway.

As soon as the 44-foot boat rounded the corner of Marina, the race to get to the fish was on. Mate Jason scurried around the cabin, lining up reels and rods and lures in preparation for the day’s fishing. There was little chatter in the cabin as the early morning charter group waited in anticipation.

One of the group, Pat Savage told The Bay Net, “We always go with Greg. He always puts us on the fish and never let’s us down.”

Severe stated that he has been treating his employees to fishing for some time. “It is a great way to relax after a long winter. They deserve it.”

First, the group performed a ritual to decide who got to reel in the first fish. Dave Croft drew the Ace and the pecking order was set. By 7:15, the first rod snapped loose from the planner board rig and the game was on. Everyone watched eagerly as Croft worked the heavy fish to the boat. At 7:20 the next rod sang and this time, it was Richard’s turn, and then came Jeffery and Ari, and Ken and Kerney and Lester and Jesse … Then everything stopped.

Buckner smiled, “The bite slowed, we’ll go across again.”

He guided Miss Susie one more time across the channel and there was nothing for 15 minutes, then turning back toward the ‘Gas Docks’ a second time, Mark finally got his turn.

Savage said, “If Greg can’t find the fish, they aren’t there.”

And so it went until planer wars disrupted the plans for the morning. It seems that not every captain pays attention and the waters were getting crowded. Miss Susie had just boated its limit of rock and was preparing to reel in and head for home, when another private boat decided to troll across Miss Susie’s planer board, carrying eight fishing lines on the starboard side.

After a few ‘interesting’ moments when all was once again secure, Buckner finally said, “Well, at least it didn’t happen at the beginning. We have our limit and it was time to wrap it up.”

Tell that to Kerney. During the tangled mess of the planner wars, one of the rods went off and the man was left on his own to reel the gigantic fish to the boat, dodging lines and adjusting to turning vessels. After finally boating the fish, the exhausted man sat down and smiled.

Despite the minor tussle, Severe and his Gateway Property Management crew had a great time. So did everyone, except for ten very large rockfish!

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