- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Glenn Cumings, the park naturalist at Montgomery County’s Black Hill Regional Park, needs help. He’s going to hold a “Women Only” fishing workshop on three separate days next week, and he says, “I have only one woman signed up. I need more.”

That touches a nerve with me. Over the years, all the women in my life (wife, daughter, nieces, friends) complained that I didn’t show them enough about fishing. When I finally succumbed and taught them what to do, they frequently outfished me.

It’s true; women apparently have a finer sense of touch. Let a fish barely touch the bait or lure and they seem to know. They can set the hook with lightning speed. Just ask my friend Dale Knupp, whose wife, Nancy, often outperforms him when they’re fishing.

So come on, ladies, take Cumings up on his offer and you will learn all the basics from proper tackle selection to effective fishing techniques for local waters. The workshops are Aug. 11 from 6 to 10:30 p.m., Aug. 13 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. and Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Learn to fish in a mellow, low key environment and catch some fun and adventure out on the water,” Cumings said.

On Aug. 11, the participants will meet at the Black Hill Regional Park Visitor Center and then travel by van to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World for an ultimate overview. On Aug., 13, they will go over tackle, tying knots, reading the water and making lure selections. That is followed by a day on the water Aug. 16.

“We’ll start at Little Seneca Lake for hands-on instruction followed by a van trip to cool water for wet-wading,” Cumings said.

Participants should bring a medium-action spinning rod with an open-face reel loaded with 6-pound test line. Also bring polarized sunglasses, a hat and nonperishable lunch that can be eaten at water’s edge.

The fee is $50. Register at ParkPass.org, set up an account and select course No. 54959. You also may register by phone after you set up an account by calling 301/962-1477. For additional details, call Cumings at 301/444-3143.

La Plata hunting expo - If you can’t wait for the hunting season, rejoice. The annual Maryland Hunting and Outdoor Expo begins Aug. 16-17 at the Charles County Fairgrounds, just south of La Plata on Route 301.

Come and learn waterfowl secrets from the Phil Robertson, participate in “The Bowhunters Challenge” 3D archery tournament or watch Tim Bradley of Team Benelli put on an amazing exhibition of sharp-shooting. You also will be able to see Bill Crutchfield’s Maryland record 28-point, or you can have your own trophy scored for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources trophy deer contest.

For children, there will be a youth archery clinic, live raptors - including a bald eagle - a 20-foot-tall inflatable deer head, a gem-mining station, rock-climbing wall, petting zoo and the 56-foot Kongo Crazy inflatable slide.

If you enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and boating, you will like this event. There will be door prizes, raffles and giveaways on both days. For more information on exhibits and schedules, visit somdexpo.com.

Learn how to use a GPS - There will be a series of “Navigating with National Geographic” clinics at a number of REI stores in the D.C. area during the week of Aug. 18. Jeff Caulfield of National Geographic will show participants how to use a GPS with map software to plan a day hike or backcountry adventure. For information about participating stores and locations, contact Cindy Beidel at cbeidel@ngs.org or 202/862-5286.

President signs boat act - In case you haven’t heard, while aboard Air Force One, President Bush signed S. 2766, “The Clean Boating Act of 2008.” It restores a long-standing exemption from requiring recreational boaters to buy special permits. There had been an EPA proposal to license boaters further under the Clean Water Act, but the signing of the bill capped a lengthy campaign to eliminate the permit program for recreational boats that would have insisted on certain procedures actually intended to police industrial polluters.

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