- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Last Wednesday's column about the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and a reorganization of key personnel that some of the state's hunters and anglers believe is a huge mess had the expected results as far as our readers are concerned.
A small avalanche of e-mails arrived none of them complimentary about the current DNR leadership or the governor, who appears to be an animal rights advocate yet must appoint people to run a department that deals with hunting and fishing (commercial and sport), which, of course, includes the occasional, perfectly legal killing of wildlife on land or in the water.
We are withholding the names of the letter writers because a former Maryland governor William Donald Schaefer didn't like what a citizen once wrote in a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun, and before long a Maryland state trooper knocked on the man's door along with the little governor to berate the letter writer. I wouldn't put it past Gov. Parris N. Glendening to do the same.
"I am a lifelong Maryland hunter and fisherman," said one e-mailer. "Needless to say, I am incensed over the way Glendening has politicized the DNR. This man is a blight on the landscape, and it will take years to erase the damage he has done to the department."
Another reader wrote, "Your column was right on. As an avid waterfowler, charter boat captain and an Annapolitan, trying to discern what's going on inside the Maryland DNR seems more than impossible. Your column focused on just some of the craziness Maryland hunters and fishermen are now facing. Add to that the recent firings of [wildlife chief] Mike Slattery and [tidal fisheries director] Pete Jensen, and then the abrupt resignation of the DNR secretary, Sarah Taylor-Rogers. It makes us all wonder what is going on in the Glendening administration."
One e-mailer who lives along the Chester River in Kent County even threw in the name of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend the woman who probably will succeed Gov. Glendening. "I must give a real cheer to you," the correspondent began. "The DNR is a major joke. Glendening and Lieutenant Governor "KKT" [Townsend] have packed the house with PETA members. As a longtime avid hunter and fisherman, [I must say that these people] can screw up a one-car funeral."
A St. Mary's Countian wrote, "Without the superbly qualified Bob Lunsford to head the freshwater fisheries and the tidal-water bass fishery, I fear the worst for us anglers. Where will all this end and just what is it this new guy, [DNR Secretary J. Charles] Fox, wants? What is his agenda?"
Yankee wins South bass event Not many northerners shine in a sport that is dominated by anglers from the South, but New Jersey bass fishing pro Michael Iaconelli put an end to a minor slump in his young career Saturday by winning the $477,000 CITGO Georgia Bassmaster Tour event on Lake Seminole.
Iaconelli, 29, had two national victories and more than $250,000 in earnings to his credit before the Georgia victory. Now he can add another $110,000 to his bank account. His slump is over.
"My career has really been in a rut the last year or so, so to be here as a result of making the right decisions this week really feels good," Iaconelli said. His combined four-day catch of bass weighed 55 pounds, 2 ounces, outdistancing Arizona's Brett Hite (50 pounds), reigning Bass Angler Sportsman Society Angler of the Year Mark Davis of Arkansas (47 pounds, 1 ounce) and Japan's Kotaro Kiriyama (46 pounds, 10 ounces).
The winning lures and casting patterns involved fishing cover-filled river ledges in the Flint River. Iaconelli alternated between two Mann's crankbaits, the "15+" and the "Baby 4-Minus," along the ledges, depending on the depth of each spot.
Hite, 23, used a western fishing technique to earn second-place honors and $48,000. Hite is a master of the drop-shot rig, alternating three different plastic baits to fish around trees on a river ledge. Davis finished third on the strength of a pattern that involved casting a Shad Rap crankbait along ditches and openings in Lake Seminole's famous hydrilla beds.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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