This weekend ...
* The upper Chesapeake Bay fall rockfishing was off to a good start yesterday despite brisk breezes from the southwest, which when combined with unbelievable boat traffic, made drifting eels a tough assignment, especially at Love Point. Concern that legal rock of from 18 to 36 inches would be scarce there were unfounded. A rundown on early season activity tomorrow.
If rockfishing isn't your thing, head to Assateague Island or Ocean City where surf fishing is improving -- and will continue to do so as weather and waters chill.
In the surf, blues are the big fish in popularity, but not in size as evidenced last weekend when Ocean City Surf Anglers Club held its 12th annual surf fishing tournament from the boardwalk north almost to the Delaware line. Contest rules dictate that to be eligible blues must measure 12 inches -- and relatively few did. And for the first time in the competition's history flounder predominated.
And here's a new twist. Man of the flatties were taken on sand fleas, the same bait that tautog fishermen dig from the beach to use at the North Jetty. Cut spot was another flounder favorite.
With 65 teams of six anglers each signed on, once again a local team picked up the marbles. Pier Dog House struck it rich on the first morning of the two-day affair, and could have quit then -- and still won easily. Dan Hager, Ed Cropper, Bob Quillen, Donnie Hudson, Maggie Megee and Dean Bunting were lucky enough to have drawn 38th Street for the first round just as a big school of flatties moved in.
In a couple hours the Dog House gang scored 44 points -- based on a point or two for a fish of minimum size and a point an inch above it. The winners finished with 90 points. Berlin-based The Scales was second with 28 points, and a Carroll County Team, Tangier Crab House, was third with 26 points.
Only 284 eligible fish were caught, but don't let that mislead you. Many hundreds of blues just below 12 inches were taken. Big fish honors went to John Hollaway, 15 1/4 -inch kingfish; John Beam and George York, tie, 16 1/4 -inch flounder; Jim Chenoweth, 20 1/2 -inch blue; Paul Bishop, 19-inch red drum; Donnie Post, 24 1/2 -inch shark; Bobby Quillen, most eligible fish for men, 10; and Agnes Worthen, most fish for ladies, 6.
No eligible hardheads, trout or black drum showed, but about 15 rock did and were promptly released -- including a 33-incher. This tournament -- one of the biggest and best on the East Coast and drawing teams from the Carolinas to New York -- is seeking a larger headquarters facility to enable it to add another couple dozen teams. Much of the proceeds go to Grant-A-Wish Foundation.
* Today: Cadillac Columbus Cup Match Racing Regatta continues to be sailed daily on the Patapsco upriver from Key Bridge through Saturday. Harborview Marina and Yacht Club will be headquarters. Call 783-0034.
* Tomorrow: Oct. 11-14: 22nd annual U.S. Sailboat Show, Annapolis City Docks. Several hundred sailboats and 350 shoreside displays. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Monday when it closes an hour earlier. Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for children 12 and under. Call 268-8828.
* Tomorrow: Opening of Virginia's rockfish season. It closes Oct. 27, then has a Nov. 21-Dec. 5 encore. For details on obtaining free permits, call 1-804-247-2238.
* Saturday: Free fall colors hike on Appalachian Trail out of Greenbrier State Park, 10 a.m. Call 1-301-791-4767.
* Sunday: OC Princes will sail its last overnighter of the season for tuna out of Ocean City. Call 1-301-289-8121.
Planning ahead ...
* Oct. 18-20: 20th annual U.S. Powerboat Show, Annapolis City Docks. Call 268-8828.
* Oct. 26: Leisurely canoe trip down Tuckahoe Creek from Tuckahoe State Park. Free, and canoes, paddles and life preservers provided. Call 1-301-634-2810.
* Oct. 20: International Bowhunter Education Program, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Call 1-804-336-6122.
* Last call for permits for Virginia's Nov. 4-Jan. 31 tundra (whistling) swan hunt. Deadline is Oct. 18. Call 1-804-367-9147.
* Throughout this month, campers at Rocky Gap State Park will get the free use of a canoe if they register for two consecutive nights; senior citizens can get two nights camping for $10.50 -- also the use of a canoe on the park's lake, which incidentally held for a couple years the Maryland bass record. A package involving rides on Western Maryland Scenic Railroad is also available. Call 1-301-777-2138.
* For information on obtaining permits for deer hunting by bow, or waterfowl at Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area, call 974-3771.
* Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge will hold gun, bow and wheelchair hunts for sika deer this fall. For information on obtaining permits, call 1-804-336-6122.
Names and places ...