- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2003

As far as I'm concerned, anytime you see a photo of world-class fly angler Lefty Kreh grace the cover of a book, you can safely assume that the content will reveal a wealth of fishing information. That deal still holds in the new Flyfisher's Guide to Chesapeake Bay, by Ed Russell and Bill May ($28.95, Wilderness Adventures Press, www.wildadv.com or 800/925-3339).

Kreh, a native Marylander, is used to draw our attention, but don't let the flyfishing title fool you. This book is a useful guide for all anglers, no matter what their preference in fishing gear.

I found only two flaws in the nicely illustrated, 383-page paperback. The first is the subliminal suggestion that every boater or wader in the Chesapeake region is into flyfishing and if anybody isn't, maybe he or she ought to think about it. Sure, flyfishing is growing, but spin- and bait-casting tackle users outnumber fly anglers by a monstrous margin and always will because conventional fishing tackle is easier to use and cheaper to buy. That part is a no-brainer.

My other complaint is of a personal nature. The Potomac River that I spend so many happy hours on is practically ignored, but far lesser fish producers receive royal treatment. That part of the book is an inexplicable mystery. Along with the "Mother River," the Susquehanna, the Potomac is the biggest all-around fish nursery in the Chesapeake region, so why give it the cold shoulder?

All the same, Russell and May did plenty of research elsewhere, partook of many a fish outing, and talked to hundreds of sport fishing insiders in every corner of the Chesapeake Bay area, along the way listing restaurants, marinas, repair facilities, tackle shops, private and public launch ramps all over the region.

If you want to know when, where and how to fish the Susquehanna River for stripers or shad, it's there. In fairness to May and Russell, they also provide information not only on the proper streamer or popper that should be used and ways to present them, they also bring conventional tackle into the information package. Good for them.

If you need to know how to motor into the Honga River, get around Hooper Island, learn what might be biting at various times and where the best fishing approaches are, it's in the book. Not only that, after you check out the Honga map on page 205 and then flip to page 206, you'll be greeted with, "Once you round the turn into the Honga, you are faced with several choices, all good. The mouths of the Wicomico River, the Nanticoke, and the Honga come together at this point. All offer excellent opportunities."

Of course, the chatter about the Wicomico concerns the one on the Eastern Shore. The writing duo apparently doesn't know that there's a Wicomico on the western side of the Chesapeake, a Potomac River tributary that also offers "excellent opportunities" and is just as much a part of the Chesapeake Bay system as its namesake in the east.

The book also doesn't address the great striper, bass, shad, croaker and perch fishing in the main stem of the Potomac, other than the fishing that might be found around the Point Lookout area (but mention of the great Point Lookout public fishing pier is absent). It has no trouble, however, traveling upstream in the Choptank to the town of Cambridge and providing details about piscatorial pleasures in that part of Chesapeake Bay country.

Would I recommend the book? Yes. Despite the above-mentioned failings, Russell and May worked too hard on this book to see it collect dust on shelves. It's worth the price whether you're an upper Bay or Eastern Shore angler, or a lower Rappahannock, as well as a Tidewater Virginia fisherman. Just don't plan to use it as a Potomac River guide. Everything else, however, is nicely done.

Washington Boat Show on its way The biggest indoor boat show in the Middle Atlantic region, the annual Washington Boat Show, returns to the Washington Convention Center, from Feb. 13 to 17. Admission is $9 (children 6 to 12, $4).

This year's event will feature more than 500 vessels of every variety, including motor yachts, power boats, cruisers, sailboats, fishing boats, jet skis, catamarans, etc. Of course, all manner of marine accessories, such as depth locators, global positioning units and radar, can be viewed (and purchased). The Convention Center at Ninth Street and New York Avenue NW is accessible via Metro. For information, call 703/823-7960 or go to www.washingtonboatshow.com.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected].

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