Wednesday, May 12, 2004

With the arrival of what appears to be permanently warm weather, the fishing has burst wide open. In the tidal rivers and reservoirs, the largemouth bass can be found three different ways: in a pre-spawn mode, in full spawn or post-spawn. Some of the bass are finished, while others are only now beginning.

In the tidal Potomac, Rappahannock and Susquehanna rivers, the shad fishing is slowly petering out, but bass, perch and catfish easily take up the slack. If the weather co-operates and heavy downpours stay away, the smallmouth bass in the mountain rivers will be on the feed — big-time.

The Chesapeake Bay’s rockfish trophy season will switch to two-fish-a-day limits Sunday. All this amid reports of continued great catches. Oddly, in the lower Chesapeake in Virginia the black drum hookups are good one day, terrible the next. The big bottom feeders soon will move toward Stone Rock and Sharps Island Light on the eastern side of the bay in Maryland. Here’s hoping the fishing will be better this year than last.

However, look for excellent red drum opportunities. They’re being caught now along the barrier islands of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, as well as inside the Chesapeake Bay, from the Bridge-Tunnel across to Cape Charles and above.

And how about that 40-pound landlocked rockfish that was caught in Lake Gaston, on the Virginia/Carolina line? A local from Bracy, Va., near the lake, caught the huge striper.

National Safe Boating Week has its annual observance May22-28. This year’s theme concerns life jackets and how all boaters should take command of their safety by wearing the life-saving devices that, thanks to new designs and cooler fabrics, are easier to wear than ever before.

The week will kick off with a May22 event in the District that features a fashion show of the latest life jackets. Celebrity boating safety advocate and Emmy-nominated actor John Amos will participate. According to the Coast Guard’s latest available statistics, 750 boaters died in 2002. Eighty-five percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets, though in many cases, life jackets were aboard. For details visit


Free Annapolis boat show today through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Annapolis Harbor, 309 Third Street. Multihull Magazine and the Chesapeake Catamaran Center present America’s largest catamaran show. New and used cruising “cats” from 30 to 60 feeet, plus seminars, prizes, food and demonstrations. On-site financing. Information: 800/228-2010 or

Sporting Clays Classic — May 21-22, Pintail Point, Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Benefits the National Kidney Foundation. May 21, 5 to 8 p.m., sponsors party at Pintail Point’s Manor House. May 22, 10 a.m., registration, beginners clinic and shooting lessons, followed by lunch and entertainment. Competitive shooting starts at 1:30 p.m. with 100 targets, 17 stations (shells provided). Prizes include trophies, snow goose, quail and pheasant hunts. Four-shooter team, $1,000; individual entry, $250. Registration: Claudia Hartmann, 202/244-7900, ext. 18;

Freestate Fly Fishers spring outing — May 22, Trappe Pond State Park, Laurel, Del. Caravan assembles 7 a.m. at MacDonald’s on Route 50 east, just before Bay Bridge. Information: Don Fitzhugh at or 301/261-5799.

Surf fishing school — Sept. 9-12, Oct. 21-24, Outer Banks in Nags Head, N.C. Each session is scheduled to coincide with productive fishing periods. Pro guides Joe Malat and Mac Currin are instructors. Cost: $250. Contact Malat, 252/441-4767; Motel reservations, 800/334-3302.

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