On Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources an representatives of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association put overboard 5,000 pounds of structure to replenish the state fishing reef off Love Point at the mouth of the Chester River.
The tonnage of concrete-and-tires, donated and constructed by the MSSA at a cost of nearly $5,000, was placed in about 28 feet of water.
In all, the MSSA membership has made available 200 blocks of low density concrete, each studded with four automobile tires. Low density concrete, which has the same density as the bay bottom, was used to keep the project from sinking into the mud.
In all, the tonnage will exceed 60,000 pounds and provide hard substrate for colonization by clams, mussels, oysters, and other filter feeders.
Those lifeforms will provide filtering of the bay water in the area and attract small fish to live around the reef and draw larger fish.
"One of the problems we have in the bay is that there are no real resident reef fish," said DNR supervisor John Foster. "The fish here are seasonal and opportunistic."
Still, by late summer, Foster said, enough underwater growth will have accumulated on the reef project to provide an opportunity for spot, white perch, some croaker and blues.
So, if you happen to be fishing Love Point this summer near the fishing reef marker and have a good day, drop a note of thanks to the MSSA.
The MSSA project managers are Harry Scheller and Tom Hare of the Kent Island chapter and chairman Ed Fuller of the Annapolis chapter.
* The Annapolis Spring Boat Show opens Thursday at the Annapolis Yacht Basin on Compromise Street. The show will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission will be $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. For more information, call 301-268-8828.
From May 2-5, the Annapolis Brokerage Show will be in Annapolis. Show hours and admission charges will be the same.
* Senate Bill 575, the Rockfish Preservation Act of 1991, is dead for this year, at least. The Senate Economic and Environmental Committee pulled the bill back to committee because of time constraints in the legislative session and expected opposition to the bill.
The committee had sent the bill to the Senate with a favorable 6-4-1 vote.
* Satellite imagery of bay and ocean water temperatures received last week by the DNR indicates that the bay is warming faster than the ocean this year and conditions are favorable for a good run of bluefish. Blues reportedly are being taken in nets below Point Lookout and below Hooper Island. The DNR also reports that good numbers of baitfish in the lower bay. Keep an eye on the shallows for big blues in about two weeks. . . . Rockfish permits for the spring season should be at distribution centers now. They were distributed by DNR at midweek.
* The Maryland DNR and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies are tagging American shad during their spring run into the Chesapeake and its tributaries and offering cash rewards for tags returned.
The tagging survey is used to obtain information about the habits of shad in our rivers and to estimate the population in the upper bay and the Nanticoke River.
The tracking of shad began in the upper bay in 1980. In that time, the population of American shad in the upper bay has increased from 5,000 to 125,000.
It is illegal to fish for or keep American shad in Maryland, but fishermen who happen to catch a tagged shad are encouraged to return them.
The DNR tags are yellow tubes three inches long with a message "Tidewater Adm., Annapolis, MD. 21401" and a four-digit identification number. Fishermen returning tags to the DNR at that address will be rewarded $20.
The University of Maryland tags are fluorescent orange and bear the message: "Hocutt - UMD (five digit number) P.O. Box 775, Cambridge, Md. 21817." These tags will be rewarded $5.
To report the catch, clip off the tag and mail to the appropriate address with your name, address and Social Security number.