Little is happening on the fishing front, as most anglers find it difficult to leave television sets for meals, let alone any activity not associated with the gulf war.
The commercial fishing season continues, with the netters reportedly on their best behavior. As you might expect, these fishermen are under a magnifying glass right now. Any infraction will be reported.
So far only one minor incident has come to light: A fisherman caught more than his daily limit and returned the excess fish to the bay.
Unfortunately, some of these fish did not survive, but the number was not significant.
The spring rockfish issue is not yet grabbing any headlines. A proposal for the governor is being prepared by the state Department of Natural Resources.
No one is talking, but itprobably goes something like: "Environmentally speaking, there is noreason Maryland anglers should not participate in a modest spring fishery."
The issue is strictly political, as the various groups struggle for control.
An aide to Gov. William Donald Schaefer told mea fair number of marine-related industries have written the governorin support of a spring striped bass fishery.
Maryland's marine industry is terribly depressed right now and anything that will get people into boats or excited about boating will help this corner of our economy.
On the other side of the coin, you will find groups opposed to the spring fishery. Some of these groups have significant war chests and effective lobbies.
The situation reminds me of a cartoonI received from a senior DNR manager years ago. The manager has left, but the cartoon is as true now as it was then. It was drawn by an Atlantic States
Marine Fisheries Commission biologist and depicts a rockfish being crucified. The rockfish's final words are: "Forgive these self-serving turkeys, Father, for they know not what they do."
At this point, the establishment of a spring rockfish season would require an emergency regulation because normal channels, which are clogged with red tape, would delay implementation past May. Then the regulation would most likely require ASMFC approval.
The ASMFC has already approved a "trophy season" proposal for Maryland that would permit anglers to keep one rockfish per boat if the fish is 45 inches or greater. It is possible nine or 10 fish this size might be caught if atrophy season comes to pass.
The largest rockfish ever caught on my boat was 49 inches long, and I may have caught a half-dozen between 45 and 49 inches over the years. I do have a beautiful mount of a 41-inch trophy rockfish I caught years ago.
Fortunately, today you do not need to have a dead rockfish to get a wall fish. In fact, few taxidermists do skin mounts any more. Most of the saltwater fish mounts are made from fiberglass bodies because of the oil in fish skin.
After a few years, the oil comes through the skin, lifting the paint off the mount. It looks like hell. Fiberglass mounts, on the other
hand, can last a lifetime.
Tomorrow is the last day of the seventh annual International Auto Show at the Baltimore's Convention Center and Festival Hall. The majority of the boats sold in the UnitedStates sit on trailers when they are not in the water.
Getting the boat to the water requires a tow vehicle. Vehicles with enough power to tow camp
ers and boats were commonplace 10 years ago; today, fewvehicles on the market could tow your boat to Crisfield for bottom fishing in Tangier Sound.
Having a wide variety of tow vehicles under one roof makes the selection of a new vehicle much easier. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Next weekend, the Delaware Sportfishing Show runs from Friday through Sunday at the Nur Temple Shrine in New Castle, Del. For more information, call 841-6974.
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.