February Meeting – Ernie Rojas
Now in our 28th Year

February Meeting – Ernie Rojas

Long-time club member Ernie Rojas will talk about his favorite fishing spots across the U.S. and beyond, including outings on the Potomac River, to the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries, and to South Florida.

  • WhereMcLean Community Center – Stedman Room, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, VA 22101
  • When: February 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 for socializing)
Ernie Rojas
Ernie with a nice Chesapeake Bay striper

About Ernie

Ernie Rojas was born in Havana, Cuba. Ernie came to the United States in 1960 when he was 9 years old. He became a US citizen and has been living in Northern Virginia since his arrival. He proudly served in the US Navy Reserve from 1972 to 1978.

His first memories of fishing are off a pier at the Havana Yacht Club. He doesn’t remember what he caught his first times out. But later he fished out of a rowboat off Varadero Beach, a long isthmus that juts into the sea pointing at Florida, and caught some great snappers. He claims, “I had no clue what I was doing,” but like today, he was putting fish in the boat.

Ernie’s grandfather, who he never got to meet, was a shark fisherman.

While Ernie started fishing at a young age, and it was always enjoyable, it wasn’t until he started fishing with his friend Carl in 1984 that he became a passionate fisherman and fishing became a lifestyle. Carl made fishing an “excursion.” Everything about it was to be enjoyed. Riding in the car, getting breakfast, being skunked, or catching tons of fish. Everything was a memorable event, and today Ernie follows the same philosophy. Carl passed away 5 years ago, and in memory of his good friend, Ernie tries to instill his passion for fishing in others.

Ernie says that he is probably happiest when fishing for white perch, which he calls “the Carl influence.” Catching a 12-incher is a “monster.” He says that the largest fish he has ever caught were a mid-40s tarpon and striper as well as a 50+” wahoo. He explains that he doesn’t measure and weigh fish much anymore, except white perch, where a 1/4″ makes a big difference.

Ernie caught his first fish with a hand line and a bait-less hook when he was 6 or 7 years old. Now he uses St. Croix and Loomis rods, Shimano spinning reels and Abu Garcia Revo baitcasting reels with artificial bait, and likes to throw the long rod as well. There are not too many species that he won’t chase. He says that his favorite lures are soft plastics, jigs, and top-water plastics. He adds that most are interchangeable in concept.

So don’t miss our February 24 meeting, as it will be a very special night with Ernie.

January Meeting – Steve Leathery (NOAA)

Steve Leathery of NOAA will discuss walleye fishing in the Potomac.

  • WhereMcLean Community Center – Stedman Room, 1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, VA 22101
  • When: January 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:00 for socializing)

Steve Leathery (NOAA)

Some of the best walleye spots are only a few miles from our meeting place in McLean, and Steve will be happy to tell us where and when to fish. According to Steve, walleye are a very interesting and mysterious fish, and he has only ever caught them or seen them caught in certain places under certain conditions. Steve will discuss seasonal timing of spawning and availability of fish to fishermen, gear, techniques, and shoreline fishing locations.

About Steve

Steve Leathery assumed the position of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator in the fall of 2007. In his current position Steve advises NMFS leadership and works on numerous and varied NEPA and environmental compliance issues, including work with the fishery management councils to revise and update agency NEPA procedures under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, updating the NOAA NEPA Administrative Order, and working on a wide range of NEPA actions in support of fishery management, habitat conservation and restoration, and conservation and management of marine mammals and species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Steve has worked in a number of positions for the NOAA Fisheries Service the past 18 years. He was the former Chief of the Protected Resources Permitting Division that issues scientific research permits under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, and incidental take authorizations under the MMPA. In addition, Steve served on a 15-month detail from NOAA to the U.S House of Representatives on the Natural Resources Committee during 2001 to 2002 to work on Magnuson Act reauthorization, and a 3-month detail in late 2002 working in the NOAA Office of Legislative Affairs.

Prior to working at NOAA, Steve worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, from 1977 to 1985 and the Smithsonian Institution National Zoo Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, VA, from 1985 to 1997. In both those positions he worked hands-on as an aviculturist, animal keeper and bio-technician with numerous native bird, mammal and other exotic wildlife species, including whooping cranes, bald eagles, Andean condors, many types of parrots and waterfowl, Pacific Island birds, black-footed ferrets, and clouded leopards.

Steve lives with his family in Jefferson, MD, and frequently paddles white water kayaks on the Potomac near Great Falls and the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers near Harpers Ferry, WV. Steve has fished the Potomac for smallmouth since he was a child and has fished for Potomac walleye ever since he caught his first one in the early 1980s. He is also an avid light tackle tidewater angler and recreational crabber.

November Meeting – Member Night

This month marks the return of Member Night. This is PRSC’s annual get together for current members, non-members who are joining for the coming year, and past guest speakers. It’s our way to say thanks to the membership and speakers for making this such a great organization and to welcome new members.

We’re meeting a week early to avoid Thanksgiving week. Be there on time for the BBQ dinner.

Member Night

The main event, as always, will be the raffling off of contributions made to the club from a variety of tackle dealers and other businesses, as well as PRSC members themselves. Each club member in attendance whose membership is up-to-date for 2014 will get one raffle ticket. Members who renew for the coming year will get a second raffle ticket. New members and past members whose membership has lapsed can join PRSC by paying the dues for 2015 and receive a raffle ticket.

As usual we will give out awards for the PRSC fishing contest in all categories, including the coveted Grover Cleveland award for the Biggest Fish of the Year.