- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ever wonder why I write about bass fishing so frequently? Or does it bother you that so many of the gosh-awful, boring fishing shows on cable television deal with bass, especially the largemouth variety?

The firm Southwick Associates, through its monthly consumer-monitoring service, Angler Survey, found that just about 60 percent of all freshwater anglers in the United States target largemouth bass. That’s 60 percent of somewhere between 50 and 65 million recreational fishermen.

There is no accurate count of all the American anglers because, after you tally up the fresh- and saltwater fishing licenses sold, you still don’t know how many license-exempt children under 16, seniors 65 and over, servicemen and women on leave or private pond-owning landowners wet a line.

Either way, the largemouth bass is the favorite, followed by panfish, which includes the bluegill, other sunfish species and the crappie; close to 37 percent of freshwater anglers target these smaller fish. Then comes the smallmouth bass (25.3 percent), trout (20.1 percent) and catfish (17.4 percent).

Among the top five saltwater species that are targeted - not necessarily caught and brought home - the spotted sea trout is tops. Close to 30 percent choose it as their favorite. The redfish, also known as channel bass or red drum, is second with 29.2 percent of all saltwater fans naming it as their favorite. In third is the flounder (27 percent) and finally Maryland’s state fish, the striped bass (24.5 percent). After the striper, of the thousands of people questioned, 23.9 percent named “any fish that bites” as their fifth favorite.

Public meetings on striped bass - Atlantic Coast states from Maine to North Carolina have scheduled hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum II to Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic striped bass. Among other subjects to be discussed, Draft Addendum II proposes to allow unused coastal commercial quota of striped bass to be rolled over from one year to the next. Options include state eligibility and the amount of unused quota that may be carried over.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in Newport News. The contact is Jack Travelstead, 757/247-2247.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will have its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Tawes State Office Building, C1 Conference Room in Annapolis. Call Harry Hornick at 410/260-8305 if you have questions. This public comment session will also discuss the Shad Draft Amendment 3 and Menhaden Draft Addendum IV.

About those Virginia’s WMAs - The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is doing a study to see how often the state’s hunters use any of its 38 wildlife management areas. The VDGIF owns and maintains the WMAs that total nearly 200,000 acres, offering many wildlife-related recreational opportunities.

These areas were acquired and are maintained by using wildlife restoration funds derived from excise taxes assessed on hunting and fishing equipment and supplies, as well as hunting, trapping and fishing license revenues and a variety of other sources including grants from partner organizations. WMAs are particularly helpful for newcomers to the state who do not have a place to hunt. Check out the Department’s Web site at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

This can help boaters - The Marine Trades Association of Maryland has a new Web site featuring an interactive map and business listings to provide boating enthusiasts every aspect of boating information in Maryland.

GoMarylandBoaters.com lists a range of Maryland businesses that handle repair services, marinas, boat sales locations and other professional services, including boat insurance. A guide to boat ramps and fuel docks is also available.

Look for Gene Mueller’s

Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing

Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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