Two weeks ago, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources issued a memorandum changing the rules for bass fishing tournaments on the Potomac River and upper Chesapeake Bay. The rule change kept the 12 inch minimum size and five bass possession limit in place, but only one of those could be over 15 inches between June 16th and October 31st.
The rule change came about because of three years of poor catch values and suggestions made at a roundtable in February.
With a number of large tournaments scheduled for the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay this year, including a Bassmaster Elite Series event in August and three FLW events , the new rule would have made for some pretty boring weigh-ins.
After the rule change became public, DNR received a host of new feedback.
“In the past two weeks the Department received a lot of feedback regarding the possession limit,” said Joseph Love, Tidal Bass Manager for DNR. “It also reached out to larger tournament organizers (FLW, B.A.S.S., ABA) and to some of the smaller clubs. Based on feedback from the tournament anglers, the Department drafted two options that directors could choose. The first option is the possession limit. The tournament organizer may choose the second option, though, which will allow the anglers to fish normal regulations (5 fish creel, min size of 12") but additionally meet the expectations of the Department by requiring directors to adhere to special conditions in organizing the tournament.”
Love says tournament directors were much more open to being able to choose from those two options and added B.A.S.S., FLW and ABA are all still on track to hold their tournaments out of Smallwood State Park.
It’s great anglers and tournament directors took action and let DNR know what they thought about the rule change. It’s also great DNR was willing to be flexible and adjust the rule to include two options from which directors can choose.
And if you’re looking for a bass tournament around the state to either fish or just check out, DNR compiled a list you can check out here .
* Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page . You can read more of his columns here .