This is the time when Prettyboy Reservoir fishermen thin bass or big white perch, but not Linda Keeney of Finksburg. She got a fish so large, her husband Larry Zile doesn't think it realized it was hooked -- until it was too late.
"It didn't start fighting until I netted it, so the fight only laste about five minutes," said Zile. "But then all hell broke loose."
Zile said the biggest problem was freeing the hook from a whit surface popper, measuring the fish, and then getting a picture before it was released. Yes, released, and what is probably Prettyboy's largest gamefish ever is again swimming around where anyone else has a chance at it.
It's a fish the likes of few would believe available at Prettyboy, s perhaps it's best if someone else does catch it -- just to back up Linda's tale. This muskie stretched as close to 4 feet as Zile could measure.
The fish was anxious to get back in the water, and the coupl was anxious to get it there. "We almost killed a big pike in Pennsylvania before we could get it back in the water, so we hurried with this fish," said Zile, who compared the measurement with poundage for muskies and figures it weighed between 25 and 30 pounds.
Zile's boat scale only registers up to 10 pounds, so an accurat weight wasn't possible. The Fishing In Maryland record for muskies is 31 1/2 pounds by Dan Wise of Darlington, who was night-fishing an eel for rock on the Susquehanna River in June of 1966.
"We really didn't appreciate how big it was until we saw th pictures," said Zile. "We were too busy trying to get it back alive. There was just too much excitement."
Zile said he and his wife never keep big fish -- just get pictures That's why this trophy won't adorn a wall. "We settle for pictures," he added.
The catch was made in a cove between Hoffmanville an Beckleysville bridge. Later they caught big white perch, but understandably that was anticlimactic.
* Today: The outlook is poor for the opener of the DelawarCanada goose season.
* Saturday: Maryland Chapter of Trout Unlimited annual banquet 5:30 p.m., the Inn at Cross Keys. Call 335-2146.
* Saturday: Chesapeake Gun Club at Ridgely, wit radio-controlled clay target releases, reopens.
* Monday: Opening of Maryland fall wild turkey season. Se Page 23, Maryland Hunters Guide.
Names and places ...
* It was a rather sad occasion the other day at Clyde's SportShop as the old-timer captivated an audience of anglers who remembered when his rockfish bait was the hottest thing around. Sad because he is putting his popular lure to rest.
Holding court was Bob Meushaw, whose Meushaw Jig wa probably the most famous and productive lure the Chesapeake has even seen for rock. This small lead-headed feathered jig caught rock at the Bay Bridge when nothing else did. The green and white version was my favorite for rock, big or small; it was also deadly for casting to late-season blues.
Meushaw, a long retired Baltimore City Fire Department officer facing back surgery, said, "I'm too old to make and market lures anyhow." So there he was, selling the last cards of lures that -- before the rockfish drought -- were in every upper bay tackle box. If you see any, get a few. They still catch fish.
* Jeff Everhart got with a bow one of the biggest deer ever t come from Baltimore County. The corn-fed 8-pointer of 243 pounds field dressed, was taken off Shawan Road near Cockeysville.
"It would have weighed close to 300 pounds on the hoof," sai Jack Barnhart, who weighed it in at Outdoor Sportsman. Now that foliage is thinning out, archers are hunting more -- and getting more, according to Barnhart, who has checked in more than 40 whitetails. Too many chiggers and ticks before the weather cooled, he added.
* On the last day of the charterboat rock season, Harfor Countian Randy Hunton caught what is a pending IGFA world record on a fly off Love Point. It took him 3 hours and 10 minutes to get the 8-pound, 13-ouncer with a 4-pound tippet to which was tied a Thunder Creek deer hair that looks like a bucktail.
He was aboard Capt. George Crosby's Four Daughters fishin 12 feet of water -- and that fish filled the creel of four for him and George Rosensteel. All the other fish took eels.
* Because of the added interest in landlocked rock and hybrids the boating season at Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs will be extended to Dec. 16, reports George Balog, director of Baltimore's Department of Public Works.
Question box ...
* Baltimorean John Kiningson wants to know if the free snogoose hunting at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna, Del., is worth pursuing.
Our answer: We turned the question over to refuge manage Paul Daly, who told of one party of four that got 18 the other day. The bag limit is five.
"We're averaging just under one a day," said Daly, who adde the hunt is living up to its goal of reducing marsh eat-outs. About 45,000 snows roost there.
The season could run well into January. Usually there ar openings all day.
"There really is no need to be there an hour before legal shootin time for site drawings because we're never filled," said Daly. All hunters need is steel shot, a small boat, and decoys -- the more the better. Call 1-302-653-9345.
* NOTE: To have an item or question included in the Outdoor Journal, write Bill Burton, The Evening Sun Sports Dept., 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.
BILL BURTON'S BEST BETS
* BOMBAY HOOK: Inexpensive snow goose hunt-ing; see Question Box.
* SHARPS ISLAND FLATS: Still hot from here to Poplar IslanHook for blues.
* LOVE POINT: Good for blues just below here at the Pipe.
* BELVEDERE SHOALS: White perch on drop-offs.
* PATUXENT: Sea trout in the lower river for trollers.