Tomorrow is the last day of the 1991 U.S. Sailboat Show. At 6 p.m. whistles will blow, and the transformation will begin that will turn the U.S. Sailboat Show into the U.S. Powerboat Show in just two days. If you say it can't be done, just watch.
Hundreds of boats will bemoved out, and hundreds of boats moved in and secured by Tuesday afternoon. Some of the 350 on-shore exhibitors work both shows, but manydon't, so those exhibits must be packed up and shipped out while others are waiting to get in and set up.
Most people don't realize it, but miles and miles of power and phone cable must be run on the miles of floating docks to the boats. Itis like moving a small city. Well, it is the largest in-water powerboat show in the world.
The U.S. Powerboat Show is known for the 30- to almost 60-foot sportfishermen and cruisers on display, but to meit is the little stuff in the tents that makes the show so intriguing. Sure, much of this stuff is in catalogs, but here factory representatives explain all the features of the various gizmos.
To me, theU.S. Powerboat Show is a homecoming. I've worked the show for the past 10 years or so, and many of the exhibitors are old friends, even though I only see them once a year at the show.
I've gotten to knowproducts that are real winners and some that are real losers.
I could go on and on about the neat outdoor and marine products you'll find at the U.S. Powerboat Show -- just visit the show and see for yourself. Last year I had so much fun at the shore-base exhibits that I never looked at a boat. I don't want to recommend anything so radical, so make certain you have plenty of time when you visit the show to see everything.
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Thursday is Trade/Press/VIP Day, which means it will cost you $20 if you want to be a VIP and miss the crowds. General admission is $8; tickets for children under 12, including infants, are $4. Baby strollers are discouraged.
Mate Harold Madtes will be there with me at the Fishing Information Center tohelp answer all your fishing questions, such as "Where are the rockfish?"
Speaking of rockfish, a little frustration is showing on several fronts. Not many fish are being caught, and they are not necessarily being found in their normal fall locations.
Several of the fish we've caught have slack stomachs as if they hadn't been feeding. Yet, we caught them in an area that is loaded with bait fish. A mystery? Or maybe they are just coming out of the rivers.
A note or two on fishing etiquette. There are a few places where the fishare schooled up, and the boats drift over them offering live eels orother such goodies. When you take a couple of breezy days, add 50 or60 boats trying to get in the same spot, you are bound to have difficulties.
For example, light plastic boats and woodwork boats do not drift at similar speeds. It was not unusual for everyone to get lined up in a neat formation to drift over an area where the fish are supposed to be.
Ten minutes later the wind has jumbled all the boatstogether. Boats will bump and you can't expect someone to move out of your way because someone's boat drifts differently than yours. You grin, push the boat off and bear it.
Most of the fishermen have handled the situation well. A few have let their frustrations get away from them. Besides not knowing how to handle a boat under this type of pressure, these fishermen also do not know how to catch fish.
Ifyou find yourself in such a situation, just relax. Take it easy and work your way out of the pack of boats. Watch the boats that are successful. See where they hook the fish, and how they are rigged. Then you do it.
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captainfrom Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.