Alex Tilley, maker of the world "not-quite-so-famous" hats and otheroutdoor clothing under the Tilley Endurable label, once told me about a yachtsman who lost his Tilley hat over the side during a storm.
Many weeks later, the gentleman received a package in the mail containing his hat. Tilley always recommended putting your name and address inside the hat for just such instances.
Recently an incident occurred that brought this story to mind. Amonth or so ago I misplaced my Tilley. The only thing I could think ofwas that I must have taken it off on one of those hot fishing trips,and somehow it must have blown over the side of my boat.
Earlier this week my son came home on leave, having graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger Course. One of the items he had daydreamed about was a Beefalo Bob's open-pit beef sandwich. We stopped in for lunch at the Mountain Road establishment last Wednesday.
Jeff Fisher was servingsandwiches behind the bar. When he saw me, he raced into the back room and returned with my lost Tilley.
He said he saw my picture in the paper, but didn't know how to contact me. My hat is a couple of years old, and the address has faded away after dozens of washings. Infact, the hat is beginning to show signs of wear.
I believe I hold the record having worn out three (soon to be four) Tilleys in the past 10 years, but then I doubt if anyone, with the exception of Tilley himself, wears his hats as much as I do. Like my pipe, my Tilley long ago became my trademark. And if you wear out a Tilley hat, he willreplace it.
If you are interested in trying on a Tilley, the company's representatives will be at both the U.S. Sail and U.S. Powerboat shows in Annapolis next month. The hats are not cheap, but then quality never is.
The American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association released a report last month saying that fishermen are dropping out. They are leaving the sport!
Besides the expected reductionto the recreational fishing industry, this exodus also will have an impact on the boating industry. Although not all boaters fish, most fishermen use a boat.
"Fishing Charlie" Ebersberger, manager of Anglers Sport Center in Annapolis, says he has noticed a significant impact in sales this year. Not only from anglers switching from fishing to golf, but also because of the recession.
He says his number of sales is about the same, but the problem is that he's selling hooks and night crawlers when he normally would be selling rods and reels. Overall, Ebersberger says this is one of the worst years he has ever seen.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police advise me that they have nothing to do with enforcing the federal recreational user-fee sticker program.
In fact, the representative I talked to said that he knows senior U.S. Coast Guard officials who are opposed to the user fee.
I have received no information regarding Coast Guard activity over the weekend on user-fee sticker enforcement.
But I did see an inflatable stopped by marine police on the Magothy, because he did not have a state registration sticker and numbers displayed. That was a state issue, not federal.
By the way, fishing is very good right now. Mostly all over.
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.