This is probably one of the busiest weekends of the year. The U.S. Sailboat Show hoists its sails at the Annapolis City Dock for a five-day run, and this is the first weekend of the 1991 fall rockfish season.
What could you possibly say about the U.S. Sailboat Show that hasn't already been said during its 21 years in Annapolis? The nice thing is that you don't have to say much.
If you are into sailboats, you know that the U.S. Sailboat Show is the biggest and best sailboat show around. And, it takes place in our own back yard at the Annapolis City Dock.
An interesting oddityat this year's show is the 54-foot fixed-wing trimaran, which is thefirst sail-less sailboat to cross the Atlantic. The two fixed, vertical wings look something like an airplane wing standing on end. It's different.
Another little craft you'll want to check out is the 64-foot, $2.5-million Amoco Procyon yacht. It, too, has a few interesting and radical features that make it stand out in a crowd.
And a crowd is what you will encounter as you take in the hundreds of new sailing vessels and related marine goodies at this year's show.
Yesterday was the trade and VIP day, so the show really opens today and runs through Monday, which is a holiday for many. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. Admission is $8.
If you are an old hand at Annapolis boat shows, you know that the only place to park is in the designated parking areas; follow the signs and catch the shuttle bus to the show. If you are not an old hand at attending these shows, you should still park in the designated parking areas and catch the bus. Go early, and see it all.
The fall striped bass season opened Wednesday. There was just enough hoopla about the event to make it stand out, but nothing like last year.
I still think last year has to be considered a fluke. The season opened to four 85-plus degree days on Columbus Day weekend.I think everything that floated was out there chasing rockfish last year.
Wednesday, I started on a lump off Gibson Island and there was not a boat within a half-mile of me. I did find a few more boats when I moved to Love Point.
I also have a new definition of luck. While drifting eels, a big striper grabbed a bait and ran. It pulled the rod out of the hands of one of my anglers. A short time later, a young woman on a nearby boat began wrestling with a big striper.
The angler who had lost the rod yelled, "My rod's on that fish!" And sure enough, it was. She had hooked the line between the rod and the fish and landed both. She gave back the rod and kept the fish, which I figure was a fair trade.
I wish, however, she had given back my eel, which was still in the rockfish's mouth when she landed it. Eels can be worth their weight in gold at times.
As predicted, it was ininteresting opening day. In many instances, the fish were not where they were supposed to be. Several good captains had poor openers because the fish weren't there. I know that during recent scouting trips I saw very little in the traditional fall fishing places. We probablyare going to have to be retrained.
When many think of rockfish, they think of Pooles Island. I know one good captain who spent much ofthe day there and did not collect a legal fish.
Eastern Bay, which was a well-kept secret last year, yielded very little on Wednesday.The fishing reef off the West River was good if you got there early.A few were caught at Love Point and Swan Point, but nothing like last year. Time to look around.
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.