TILGHMAN ISLAND, MD - On the opening day of striped bass fishing in Maryland, recreational anglers and charter boats ventured out onto the Chesapeake Bay, but not all were enthusiastic about the start of the season. New regulations set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) aimed at bolstering the struggling rockfish population in the Chesapeake have left some captains and guests apprehensive.

Charter boat captains, such as John Motovidlak, voiced concerns about the impact of the regulations on their business. "I'm gonna say I'm between 30 and 40 percent short on my bookings," Motovidlak lamented.

Under the ASMFC's new rules, only one fish within the 19 to 24-inch slot size is allowed to be kept, with larger fish over 25 inches designated as breeders. Some charter guests expressed frustration, deeming the regulations overly restrictive and detrimental to the industry.

"Way too restrictive. Killing the industry. I've come down for 30 years and never been shut out today. Got no fish, not even a bite. It's killing the industry, the captains, the people like us who come down to do sport fishing," remarked charter boat guest Alan Ademski.

However, there were differing opinions among guests. Michael McGroerty voiced support for the regulations but advocated for fairness across the board, suggesting that recreational anglers should also be required to report their catches.

"I can do with taking one fish home. If I can catch fish and turn them loose I don't care. I support the limits; I just think they should be fair across the board," said McGroerty.

Despite some guests backing the regulations, captains remain apprehensive about the potential repercussions on their business. "We're out there to make money. If we don't catch fish for our people, they ain't coming back," Motovidlak emphasized.

Anglers are advised to adhere to specific regulations during the striped bass fishing season. From the opening day until May 31st, fishing in tributaries is prohibited. However, from June 1st until July 15th, both tributaries and the bay are open to fishing in Maryland. Click here for regulation map.