Curious how charterboat skippers have suddenly become so popular. Their phones are ringing off the hook -- but, alas, not all calls are to book charters.
Everyone is calling the pros to ask where to fish for rock when the season reopens tomorrow. I know a couple captains who aren't answering the phone.
One fellow had the gall to phone a skipper to inform him that his father fished with him 30 years ago -- so he thought he was entitled to the latest fishing info. Understandably, he didn't get it.
It's going to be a madhouse out there, especially at the Bay Bridge, where it has been busy the past several days as many anglers illegally "test" waters for rock -- and, I might add, with success.
Those who have a favorite piling or deep hole had better be anchored on it early tomorrow, or they're going to find things too crowded for good fishing. But, they better not start fishing until the legal 5 o'clock opener. Jumping the gun can cost a fellow $1,500 a fish in addition to the possible seizure and confiscation of his boat.
Stripers appear ready to cooperate. Yesterday, there were big schools of mixed rock and blues breaking from the mouth of the Magothy southward. When's the last time you saw that thrilling sight? Hacketts Point, the Kent Island Shoreline, Belvedere Shoals, the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, and the lower Choptank also will be exceptionally busy places.
In the haste to prepare for fish, many have overlooked the weather. It appears like a great morning, warm and probably with light west winds -- but they could pick up to as much as 20 knots later in the day and make things a bit bumpy depending on a front that is expected to move by today.
* Tomorrow: Opening of the Maryland squirrel and ruffed grouse hunting seasons. Squirrel hunting should be exceptionally good, predicts Josh Sandt, who heads Department of Natural Resources forest game projects. A combination of early cold weather last year and gypsy moths last summer cut into mast crops drastically, which means bushytails will keep on the move to get mast -- acorns and hickories in particular.
Once again Mepps is buying squirrel tails at 21 cents each for use in dressing up spinners. Write Mepps, Dept. ST91, 626 Center St., Antigo, Wis. 54409-2496.
* Tomorrow: Opening of the four-day 21st annual U.S. Sailboat Show at Annapolis City Docks. Several hundred boats will be on display. Hours though Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission, $8; children under 12, $4. Call 1-301-268-8828.
* Tomorrow: Fish until midnight at Downs Park, Pasadena. Must pre-register and be in the park before dark. Call 222-6230.
* Tomorrow: Free Harvest Moon Night Hike, 7 to 9 p.m., Oregon Ridge Nature Center. For reservations, call 887-1815.
* Saturday: Isabella Kast will exhibit her watercolors of wildlife scenes, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. For daily use, there are walking trails and a 12-mile vehicle driving tour route -- also a photo blind, which is available on advance request subject to its schedule. Incidentally, the first of the geese are moving in. Call 1-302-653-6872.
* Saturday: Fellowship of Christian Anglers Fishing Seminar, 6 to 9 p.m., John Hanson Middle School, Waldorf. Five pros on the BASS circuit will appear including Jimmy Houston and Woo Daves. Call Ken Penrod, 1-301-572-5688.
* Saturday/Sunday: Twenty-third annual Ward Exhibition of Wildfowl Art, Wicomico Civic Center, Salisbury. More than 150 exhibitors. Hours Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 1-301-742-4988.
* Sunday: National Trapshooting Day shoots will be held at Loch Raven Skeet and Trap Club, National Capital Skeet and Trap Club at Seneca Creek State Park, and Mount Airy Izaak Walton League Gun Club. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Sunday: Navigating Our Future is the theme of Coast Day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., University of Delaware Marine Studies complex, Lewes, Del. Forums, speakers, exhibits and demonstrations, also crab cake cook-off, and seafood cookery demonstrations. Admission, $1 per vehicle. Call 1-302-645-4346.
* Sunday: Muzzleloader Shoot, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fort Frederick State Park. Call 1-301-842-2155.
* Tuesday: Baltimore Bird Club walk, 9 a.m., Lake Roland. Call 377-6583.
* Wednesday: Bowhunter Safety Course, 7 to 9 p.m., continuing Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. until completed, Howard County Fairgrounds. Call Phil Wagenbrenner, 461-3007.
* Oct. 10-12: $175,000 Maryland BASS Master Invitational on the Potomac out of Smallwood State Park. Standby reservations being accepted. Call 1-205-272-9530.
Names and places
* If you're surf fishing Assateague Island, Ocean City and waters just off there, and get a jolting strike you might have a king mackerel on. Paul Bodolus reports they occasionally leap six feet out of the water there -- and the other day when fishing he hooked one of about 25 pounds and had it on for about four minutes.