Look for the mother of all nautical traffic jams Saturday in Chesapeake Bay waters south of the Bay Bridge as Maryland's 17-day trophy rockfish season opens, the details of which we will cover tomorrow.
For those who prefer other fishing, how about the surf at Assateague Island?
Thus far, fishing has been slow there, but it's due to break ope -- and with a bang. A few biggies were taken the other day far off Ocean City, and over the weekend several smaller ones turned up in the surf at Assateague. But, as a recent day with old-time beach-runner Bill McCabe proved, you don't need to catch anything to enjoy a day at Assateague.
Take the family for an outing, and get in a day's fishing. N crowds, a beach that puts OC's to shame and a chance to catch a few nice fish are reasons enough. Plus, there are all kinds of sea shells, driftwood and such in the sand for beach walkers to collect.
For returning anglers it's an all-new ballgame. Winter storm wipe out the old sloughs and create new ones. Watch for spots where the breaker line is irregular. They indicate holes, where fish move in to gobble up goodies swept by the tide and rollers.
Bring an assortment of bait -- frozen mullet, mackerel, or spot fo blues; frozen squid for early kingfish, flounder and possibly a rockfish or trout; and bloodworms for kings and flounder. Watch for birds because they're watching for baitfish pushed to the surface by feeding blues, and they have a pretty good idea of where the action is likely to erupt.
Relax in a lawn chair, and watch the rod tip. Enjoy the sights an the sound of the Atlantic sloshing on the sand and the shorebirds racing the receding wash as they try to grab a morsel before it's swept away by the next wave.
There's modern camping at Assateague State Park and primitiv camping at adjacent Assateague National Seashore. You need a permit to run the sand in a vehicle at the federal area, and special equipment is required. Beach-running is banned at the state park, but there's really no need to drive at either park. The fishing is within hiking distance.
Call the state park at 1-301-641-2120 or the national park a 1-301-641-1441.
* Tonight: Trap doubles, 6 p.m., Loch Raven Skeet & Trap Club. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Saturday/Sunday: 22nd annual Crab Trap Shoot, 10 a.m. Carney Rod & Gun Club, Baltimore. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Wednesday: Public meeting, 6 p.m., on DNR rockfish proposals for fall striped bass fishery, Department of Agriculture building, Harry Truman Parkway, Annapolis. An alternative proposal to Striped Bass Advisory Board's recommendations will also be aired. Call Frances McFaden, 974-3365.
Planning ahead ...
* May 18: Safari Club International banquet, with much of the proceeds going to the Save African Endangered Species Foundation, 7:30 p.m., Key Bridge Marriott, Rosslyn, Va. Call Ed Wenzlaff, 828-1313.
* May 18/19: Eighth annual $200,000 MSSA Bluefish Tournament. Call 768-8666.
* May 19: Beach clean-up, Ocean City. Call Sandy Hornug of STOP (Students Tackle Ocean Plastic) at 1-301-289-6119.
Names and places ...
* Talk about a photo finish. Tom Cockerham just about had $10,000 pocketed, when in the waning moments of the ninth annual Rod 'n Reel Pro-Am Bluefish Tournament, Calvert Countian Kenneth Walls walked up to the scales with a fish that cost Cockerham $9,000. And the difference was .01 pound.
The $10,000 fish Walls took on a large spoon on the private boa Ace of Spades near the Targets south of Solomons weighed 16.41 pounds; Cockerham's 16.40-pound fish, which had been the leader from the start, dropped to a $1,000 daily winner. Competition doesn't come any closer. Fishing for blues was good, but for the second time in the tournament's history no sea trout were caught, and a couple of thousand dollars in prize money went begging.
* Sonny Adrincula of Alexandria, Va., won the annual Tackle Bo of Lexington Park award for the first shore-caught bluefish in St. Mary's County -- a 16-pounder that took a cut spot bait at the Goose Creek sea wall near Cedar point.
* The headboat Tom Hooker skippered by Capt. Tom Rials no sails on weekends out of Chesapeake Beach for white perch in the Choptank, where catching is improving. It will fish daily from Memorial Day weekend through the summer. Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the cost is $25. Call 1-301-855-8351.
* You'll never recognize the 65-foot headboat Mariner that sail out of Ocean City's Talbot Street Pier and is skippered by Capt. Darrell Nottingham. She has been totally refitted, covered with 'glass and sports a sparkling new teak deck. Her configuration is streamlined with a swept bow and sleek modern cabin. Now of blue and white and with a 22-foot beam, she sails daily and will commence evening cruises Memorial Day weekend. Call 1-301-289-9125.