Every once in a while, the federal, state or local government will do something smart and make you feel better about paying taxes.
Earlier this week, my wife, Cathy, and I went to Crisfield, Somerset County, to attend the grand opening of the charter boat facility at Somers Cove Marina, a facility owned and operated by the state.
When you turn on to Route 413 from U.S. 13, you drop back 50 years and your watch begins running on Crisfield time, which is more leisurely than you are used to.
Crisfield is not one of those places you stop by while on your way to someplace. It is the end of the line.
You take U.S. 13 south out of Salisbury and turn right on to Route 413, about 15 miles or so later. Route 413 ends at Crisfield on Tangier Sound.
Crisfield always has been a waterman's town, known forits hard-shell and soft-shell crabs. It also is known as a fishing center for both Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.
Currently, sea trout and flounder are the prized species, but in the late 1960s and early '70s, Crisfield was known as the rockfish capital of Chesapeake Bay.
Tourism now ranks as one of the chief Crisfield industries. Five orsix years ago, you could barely find the town, but on this day we passed six or seven big billboards announcing daily cruises from Crisfield to Smith and Tangier islands, as well as other Crisfield attractions.
Several years ago, the state started constructing Somers CoveMarina, a facility that would feature more than 500 slips for boats up to 100 feet. Most of the construction has been completed, and the state has done a first-class job.
Wednesday, the state invited themedia to see the latest addition to Somers Cove Marina, the new charter boat facility. The marina has slips for more than 100 charter boats, fish-cleaning facilities and comfort stations that include showers and a laundry.
We arrived early enough to get in a little fishing with Capt. Butch Tawes aboard his Prime Time. It's been several years since I've fished out of Crisfield and I think we either were at the upper end of Hurley's or the lower end of Ditch Bank.
Butch drifted the area until we started catching fish, then dropped the hook. We fished bottom for approximately three hours and caught cobia, puffers, Norfolk spot, bluefish, sea trout, spotted sea trout, porgy and summer flounder. A good morning's catch.
Back in at the marina, I christened the new fish-cleaning facility, freshened up and joined the crowds at the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab/Clam Bake.
There's always the question of whether the state or the private sector should develop facilities. In the case of Somers Cove Marina, no one was interested in opening a commercial marina in Crisfield.
This addition will hopefully help the depressed charter boat industry in the area.
The 1991 General Assembly enacted legislation affecting licensing and the harvest of living resources from Maryland's waters. The Department of Natural Resources started implementing the new legislation July 1.
The following is a brief synopsis of the changes in tidal fish laws.
* A person may not catch oysters for sale without possessing a valid tidal fish license and paying an annual fee of $300.
* A person licensed to catch finfish, crabs, oysters or clams for sale, and dealers, must pay a $10 surcharge every year to pay for marketing activities. This $10 surcharge does not apply to the unlimited tidal fish license. Both surcharges apply to harvesters, even if you don't have to pay for your license.
* The calendar year for a tidal fish license to catch crab non-commercially has been changed to Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the same year. A non-commercial license purchased after Sept. 1 will be valid until Dec. 31, 1992.
* Tidal fish license fees to catch finfish for sale were increased from $200 to$300.
* A person may not use more than two hooks, or two sets of hooks, for each fishing rod or line. Artificial lures, or plugs with multiple hooks, are considered one set. This law does not apply in Maryland waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
* Seizures of equipment or property for fisheries violations will be left to the discretion of theNatural Resources Police.
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.