This weekend ...
* The phones at the enforcement branch of the Coast Guard at Curtis Bay beeped busy signals throughout the late yesterday afternoon so it wasn't possible to determine how the roundup is going of boaters who don't have the new user fee sticker on their boats. But you can be sure enforcement of the sticker has commenced, and without it you can be in trouble.
The grace period expired Monday night, and keep in mind there are no guarantees penalties will be light -- say around $100 -- if you are ticketed. Failure to comply means a hearing (no warnings, the CG claims), and the maximum fine is $5,000. Good as the late season fishing is now, and with the fall rockfish season opening Wednesday, it's not worth the risk.
Again, to order the sticker by phone -- the best way to get it in time for the rock opener -- call 1-800-848-2100. As for the rockfishing outlook, we'll cover it tomorrow.
* Today: If you see beach vehicles on the sand at Ocean City through Saturday, don't figure the ban on them has been lifted and drive out yourself. Under way is the popular annual Ocean City Surf Anglers tournament with teams from throughout the East Coast -- and for which an exception is granted. Join the crowd uninvited, and you could be ticketed.
* Saturday: Opening of the Maryland squirrel and grouse seasons. Outlook is good for bushytails, fairly good for grouse. Also the opening of the Pennsylvania bow season for deer -- with 250,000 hunters going afield. Last year they took 19,032 deer as compared with 33 in the first bow season in 1951,
* Saturday/Sunday: Ward Foundation's annual fall exhibition of wildfowl carvings, including two-day auction of rare decoys worth more than $1 million. Hours Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; Sunday, noon to 4 at Salisbury Civic Center. Call 1-301-742-4988.
* Sunday: Two shoots marking National Trapshooting Day: Metro Gun Club, traps open at 9 a.m., Malcolm, Md., and traps open at 9:30 a.m. at Mount Airy Izaak Walton League facilities. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.
* Sunday-Saturday: Cadillac Columbus Cup Match Racing Regatta will be sailed daily on the Patapsco upriver from Key Bridge. This is Baltimore's top international competition. Harborview Marina and Yacht Club will be headquarters. Call 783-0034.
* Monday: Living on the Edge, an 18-minute environmental program on creatures, including humans, who live on the Chesapeake will be shown on Baltimore County cable, channel 17, at 9 p.m. Several additional runs throughout October. Call 522-1452.
Planning ahead ...
* Oct. 11-14: 22nd annual U.S. Sailboat Show, Annapolis City Docks. Call 268-8828.
* Oct. 18-20: 20th annual U.S. Powerboat Show, Annapolis City Docks. Call 268-8828.
* Oct. 20: International Bowhunter Education Program, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Successful completion makes one eligible to hunt with bow on federal refuges. Make reservations by Oct. 14. Call 1-804-336-6122. Call the same number for info on bow and gun hunts for sika deer, also wheelchair hunts for deer.
* Virginia is now accepting applications for participation in its Nov. 4-Jan. 31 tundra (whistling) swan hunt. Deadline is Oct. 18. Call 1-804-367-9147.
Names and places ...
* Connecticut won the Wrangler/BASS Federation Eastern Division Championships on the Connecticut River, but Baltimorean Paul Koluch -- with 12 pounds 9 ounces -- qualifies for the BASS National Championships. David Barnes of Maine took 28 1/4 pounds in the three-day event, but Connecticut's team total of 78 pounds 5 ounces was tops.
Maryland was 10th in the field of 13. The Maryland individual catch: Koluch, 12 pound 9 ounces; Robert Martin (son of Dick Martin, three-time Maryland Mr. BASS winner), 7-6; Thomas Barlow, Germantown, 4-6; Steve Schanberger, Baltimore, 3-3; and Robert Miller, Linthicum, 2-7.
* Baltimorean Calvert Bregel is relieved now that the upper Chesapeake Bay whale has been spotted by others and is the object of a search. He was fishing alone in his boat last Friday when the whale surfaced 30 feet away to blow its spout, then broke again 100 yards away. He told someone shoreside of the incident shortly afterward who didn't believe it. "It was a startling experience," he said.
* Local favorite Woo Daves of Spring Grove, Va., won $35,000 first-place money in the $188,000 BASS Master Illinois Invitational fished on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, but others who fished the BASS Masters Classic here in August didn't fare so well. Of the 25 classic contenders fishing, the average finish was 116th. Daves got 18 pounds 13 ounces; former Marylander Roland Martin was 201st in a field of 321 with a catch of one bass of 1 pound 5 ounces.