* If you find decision-making tough, beware of the Cow Palace where a quarter of a million bass lures will be on sale at the seventh annual BASS EXPO, which opens a three-day run tomorrow. Pro bass chasers will offer seminars, and the latest in tackle and bassboats will be on exhibit.
Look for a complete schedule in tomorrow's column. Adult admission is $5; 10 to 14, $2; under 10, free. Call 574-6139.
Opening a 10-day run Saturday at the Baltimore Convention Center is the seventh annual International Auto Show with more four-wheel drive and other outdoor-oriented vehicles than ever, including the new Ford Explorer that is beating out the other popular priced utility vehicles, and the Range Rover, considered the queen of all 4x4s.
Saturday hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekdays, 5 to 7 p.m., with the exception of closing day Jan. 21, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission, $6 for adults, $3 for children. Call 385-1800.
* Saturday: Close of Maryland Canada goose season.
* Sunday: Annual meeting of Dorchester Hunting Retriever Club, 10 a.m., Garyville Farm, Cambridge. A good opportunity to become active in dog circles on the Eastern Shore. Call Jack Scanlon, 1-301-942-5699.
* Wednesday: Free monthly Fly Tying Clinic, Free State Fly Fishers Club, 7:30 p.m., Hillsmere Elementary School. Call 647-4949, or 721-2663.
* Hardly anything is more confusing and frustrating than trying to be properly licensed when fishing the Potomac in the District of Columbia area and downstream a dozen miles or more. You have to know where you're fishing, and have the proper license -- and sometimes it's easier to catch a 5-pound largemouth than buy a license in the District of Columbia.
Currently, a Virginia resident need only purchase a $5 Chesapeake Bay permit, and he can fish the Potomac and its tributaries in Maryland. To do the same in Virginia, a Marylander must buy a $30 non-resident Virginia license, which isn't fair. So Virginia, the District and Maryland are working out a three-way reciprocal deal -- but it needs the approval of the Virginia General Assembly.
Traditionally, Maryland has been too generous in its dealings for non-resident hunting and fishing licenses. So unless the Old Dominion's legislators give us a break, perhaps our fee structure warrants review. Enough said.
* Thirty-five years ago when Bob Pond used trash soft plastic to make his Atom Plug for rock and blues, everyone laughed -- until the new concept starting catching fish. Eventually it grew to one of the best all-around lures.
While at last weekend's Chesapeake Sportfishing Show in Annapolis, Pond introduced his new Bottom Grubber, a bait that looks something like a spinnerbait, but incorporates a Mister Twister body instead of a skirt. Designed for drum, flounder, sea trout and other saltwater bottom species it has a heavy lead head, and the blade is twisted to keep it from bumping the twister.
It is available from 1/2 to 2 ounces, and in many colors, bounces bottom, and works snagless through aquatic vegetation. And, darned if it doesn't seem worth a try for largemouth bass in cold weather -- also large yellow perch and crappies. Write Atom, 880 Washington St., Box 3045, Sout Attleboro, Mass., or call 1-508-761-7983.
Names and places
* Maryland muzzleloaders didn't get the 5,000 deer predicted, but they did set a record in their recent deer season, in which they handily topped 1989's bag. DNR's forest game manager Josh Sandt said the kill was 4,463 -- 676 above the 3,787 scored in '89.
* Despite rain on the opener, and rain and high winds on the second day, followed by more wet days -- though helped by some snow -- nearly every county reflected an increase. Baltimore County was among those showing the biggest increase percentage, and all of Southern Maryland did very well, so did the three westernmost counties. Surprisingly, Dorchester was down slightly.
Following is the county kill with last year's bag in parentheses: Garrett, 747 (536); Allegany, 555 (518); Washington, 630 (583); Frederick, 422 (471); Carroll, 245 (235); Howard, 93 (66); Montgomery, 99 (91); Baltimore, 198 (137); Harford, 79 (66); Calvert 73 (22); Anne Arundel, 105 (152). (This year's Anne Arundel County kill did not include Fort Meade, which had an early season during which five to 60 were taken).
Also, Prince George's, 37 (30); Charles, 167 (106): St. Mary's, 100 (52); Cecil, 163 (143); Kent, 218 (224); Queen Anne's, 156 (85); Caroline, 63 (36); Talbot, 81 (50); Dorchester, 96 (108); Wicomico, 47 (27); Somerset, 38 (9); Worcester, 51 (40).
Meanwhile, the bow season continues through the remainder of the month. Robin Hood activity continues very strong, according to Sandt, who is confident they will also set a record. Bowmen are afield everywhere, he said.