Show time, Maryland. The outdoor show circuit starts tomorrow with one of the most compact, but best -- the 14th annual Chesapeake Sportfishing Show at Annapolis Armory. This event is primarily targeted to tidewater and ocean. Look for better freshwater coverage at the Maryland Hunting and Fishing Show Feb. 15-17 at Pikesville Armory.
Some of the latest in fishing tackle will be exhibited -- all of it for sale -- and many guides and charterboat skippers from New York to Cape Charles will man booths and accept bookings.
As usual, promoter Al Tourney has lined up a busy seminar schedule for the show, which will run from 6 to 10 p.m. tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The seminar schedule:
* Tomorrow: 7 p.m. Don Carpenter, the bay's first combination outdoor writer and charterboat skipper, Fishing the Chesapeake; 8 p.m., Capt. Bob Spore, Rockfishing the Upper Bay; 9 p.m., Ken Penrod of Outdoor Life Unlimited, Rockfishing the Potomac.
* Saturday: 11 a.m., Keith Walters, author of Chesapeake Stripers, Light Tackle for Rockfish; noon, Ken Penrod, Fishing the Potomac (with emphasis on bass); 1 p.m., Gary Diamond, Rockfish of the Susquehanna; 2 p.m., Offshore Fishing; 3 p.m., Bob Spore, Upper Bay Rockfishing Techniques; 4 p.m., Glenn Peacock, the guide who took President Bush bass'n, Bass Fishing Techniques (primarily the Potomac and Eastern Shore tidal rivers); 6:30 p.m., Bob Pond, originator of the Atom Plug, Plugging for Rockfish (with blues also covered).
* Sunday: 11 a.m., Bob Spore, Upper Bay Rockfishing; noon, Offshore Fishing; 1 p.m., Ken Penrod, Bass Fishing Techniques; 2 p.m., Bob Pond, Plugging for Rockfish, 3 p.m., Glenn Peacock, Potomac Rockfish.
Admission to the show is $5; free for those under 15. Tourney also promotes a third popular show, the Delaware Bay Sportfishing Show, Jan. 25-27, at Nur Temple Shrine, Wilmington, Del. Call 841-6974.
Saturday: Close of the last segment of the Maryland duck season. Puddle duck numbers have dropped off, with the exception of mallards, on the Eastern Shore. Some buffleheads are present, but most diving duck shooting is off appreciably, though yesterday after the first day of DNR's January survey waterfowl manager Larry Hindman said about 25,000 scaup were seen in the Chesapeake just south of Tolchester in Kent County -- and another 22,000 in the Tilghman Creek sector of Queen Anne's County. Sea duck shooting continues through Jan. 19, with the best concentrations at the mouth of the Choptank, also in the Poplar Island area, with some at the mouth of the Chester River.
* Saturday: Close of the muzzleloader season for deer. Anything but wet weather should prompt a big hunter turnout with kill to match. Interest in muzzleloading has skyrocketed this year -- one local outdoor shop sold more than 200 front-end loaders, and Sportsmen's Service Center at Kent Island reports overall blackpowder business double that of last year.
Jan. 11-13: Seventh annual Bass Expo, Cow Palace, Timonium Fairgrounds. Call 574-6139.
* Jan. 12: Opening of seventh annual International Auto Show with its biggest display ever of 4x4 and other outdoor oriented vehicles at Baltimore Convention Center. Call 385-1800.
Continuing through January at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, Healing a River: 50 Years in the Life of the Potomac.
Names and places
James Stiars of Baltimore has received a Mepps Master Angler Award for the catches of a 2-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River, a 2 1/2 -pound pickerel and 1 1/4 -pound rock bass at Loch Raven, and a 2-pound rainbow trout on the Gunpowder.
* Baltimoreans Johnny Rogers and Peter Baum got 23 huge white perch on tiny jigs at Lake Anna after trying several hours for landlocked rockfish. Late in the day they saw several anglers take large rock on big white Sassy Shads.
* M&M Hunting Lodge at Smyrna, Del., will close at the end of the waterfowl season as the state takes over ownership of its extensive land holdings. Popular among Marylanders, M&M is the largest facility of its type on Delmarva. The Delaware Canada goose season closes Jan. 12.
* Too many deer, so Pennsylvania will extend its Southeastern Pennsylvania and Allegheny County antlerless season by bow, muzzleloader and shotgun until Jan. 26. It was scheduled to close Jan. 12.
* Once again, Maryland outdoorsmen will get their own hunting, fishing and conservation publication in magazine form, according to DNR secretary Torrey Brown. In recent years, a small version has been incorporated in Maryland Magazine.
Baltimorean Jim Negley is having difficulty in adapting to steel shot and asks for some tips on how to improve his success. He also wants this writer's opinion as to whether steel is crippling more waterfowl.