Though not in schools, lunker blues make grade
* If you're a Chesapeake Bay fisherman who likes big fish, now is the time to get out on the water. The lunker blues are from the mouth of the Potomac to Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Don't plan on loading the boat. They're not traveling in large schools; instead, they're scattered. It's a pick-one-here, pick-one-there situation, but one of these fish is worth a dozen of the size we have been getting the past several years.
The first of the Bay Bridge catches turned up yesterday on a big white bucktail trolled by Billy Creek. When checked in at the Anglers, it weighed 15 pounds.
Greg Frank took one of 14 pounds at the mouth of the Severn; Harry Barrett got a 13 1/2 -pounder at the mouth of South River; and George Fowling nailed two of 13 pounds at the mouth of Eastern Bay.
Still, no smaller ones are evident, but boats out of Chesapeake Beach won't be interested in them over the weekend. That's the headquarters for the ninth annual $20,500 Pro-Am in which fish can be checked in at both Calvert Marina in Solomons or the Rod 'n Reel Docks at Chesapeake Beach.
The largest blue wins $10,000, and there's a daily $1,000 prize for the biggest both Saturday and Sunday. Second best blue both days gets $500; third best, $250. In addition, the daily sea trout prize is $1,000. And if the angler who catches the top blue also takes the winning trout, there's a $5,000 bonus.
The entry fee is $85 a day, $150 for both days for private boats; $125 and $225 for those aboard charterboats. For last-minute entries, call 1-301-257-2735.
Rich Novotny, executive director of Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishermens Association, is holding his breath. If these big blues stick around, he figures more than 1,000 boats will sign up for the May 18-19 eighth annual $200,000 MSSA Bluefish Tournament, in which a world-record catch will be worth $100,000. Call 768-8666.
The bluefishing pattern of last week holds -- go either deep or near the surface, but target deep waters. Most of the fish are taken in waters at least 40 feet deep.
Some are cruising near the surface and others are down near the bottom. It's about even, but few are in between. No. 11/0 Crippled Alewives and 21 Tonys appear to work best, though a few have hit 9/0 CA's and 19 Tonys.
If you go the bucktail route, or prefer smaller spoons, use a 6- to 12-inch steel leader just ahead of the bait. These fish have huge mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth, which can mean bye-bye lure and fish. Use a long monofilament leader of at least 40-pound test; 50 is better.
To troll deep, go with wire line and 10 to 16 ounces of sinker. For working a lure near the surface, you only need a couple of ounces of sinker on a monofilament line rig -- and pay out at least 50 yards of line.
* Today: Another boat show opens today, the first in a planned annual series of Annapolis Brokerage Boat Shows, which will feature used sailing and power craft. Only boats represented by professional yacht brokers or boat dealers are on display -- no private deals.
Boats of up to 60 feet are in the water at Annapolis Yacht Basin and Harbor, and ashore are smaller boats, some of them new. More than 20 tents at the docks feature boating equipment, accessories and services including finance and insurance.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults; $3 for children. Call 1-301-268-8828.
* Today: Springfest '91 comes to Ocean City featuring music, food, entertainment and a recreational vehicle and boat show at Shantytown Village and Pier on the west side of Sinepuxent Bay. Big Bee Boats will exhibit its new Sunchaser line. Show hours are 11 a.m. through 6 p.m., through Sunday. Admission is free. Expected to arrive during the celebration is the new OC Princess, an 88-foot headboat that will fish thereabouts daily.
* Tonight: Trap doubles, 6 p.m., Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Club. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Saturday: Patuxent River Discovery Day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, 11704 Fenno Road, Upper Marlboro. Wildlife tours, bird watching and a self-guided critical area driving tour are among the activities. Call 1-301-888-1410.
* Saturday/Sunday: Third annual Calvin Michael Memorial Trap Shoot, traps open at 9:30 a.m., Cedar Gun Club, Darlington. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Saturday/Sunday: Open House, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, Rocky Gap State Park. Spring flower walk on Sunday. Call 1-301-777-2138.
* Saturday/Sunday: Dogwood Classic mountain bike race (NORBA sanctioned). Practice and register Saturday, and the big event starts Sunday at 11 a.m. Call 1-301-777-2345.
* Sunday: Eight-mile Mountain Club of Maryland hike at Soldiers Delight. Call 356-5297.
* Wednesday: Two MCM hikes. For one at Loch Raven, call 647-0734. To make another at the National Arboretum at Washington, meet at 10 a.m. near Value City at Westview Shopping Center to car pool.
Planning ahead ...