Today is the last day of the 1991 U.S. Powerboat Show, which startedin 1972 as a little sister to the U.S. Sailboat Show. The show is entering its third decade and has become one of the largest in-water boat shows in the world.
It is no secret that the boating industry has been dragging lately, but signs of new life are evident. The U.S. Sailboat Show, which preceded the powerboat show, registered good sales in both boats and accessories.
The U.S. Powerboat Show is a bit smaller than in record years, but you still can find plenty of the 20- to 80-foot yachts in the waterand more than 250 craft on display ashore.
A couple of interesting toys are an electric canoe and a pedal boat. The canoe is powered by a MinnKota 36-pound thrust electric motor. The motor has been retooled to add a skeg to protect the propeller and rudder.
Canoes don't normally draw much water, and this one with motor only requires 10 inches. The craft, called Whisper, is built of fiberglass. For a few dollars more, you can even get a window or two in the bottom, although that's not much of a plus in the Chesapeake or its tributaries. In clear lakes or streams, it would be interesting.
I found the Whisper a bit pricey at $2,800, but nice.
Another neat toy is a pedal boat for about half the price of the Whisper. The pedals and paddles sit on two pontoons that would support about 500 pounds. I've seen several of the plastic Inner Harbor-type pedal boats on the Magothy. This pontoon version appears much sturdier.
The show runs till 6 p.m.today, but don't come at 4 p.m. expecting to see the show. Although it doesn't close until 6, most exhibitors begin packing up after 5. By 5:30 they are ready to put the big stuff away, and by 5:45 some have headed for the gate. After four days of this show, they have had all the fun they can stand.
If you've never watched the show end, itis worth seeing. At 6 p.m. the whistles blow and the boats begin departing the floating docks. Next, floating docks are unhooked and towed away. A second layer of boats departs, and so on.
Show staff usually have an informal pool to estimate when the bridge between the Fleet Reserve Club and the City Dock is pulled out.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met in Baltimore recently. One of the items on the agenda was Maryland's spring striped bass fishery request to lengthen the season from the May 12-31 in 1991 to all of May in 1992. Maryland also requested a reduction in the minimum-size limit from 36 inches to 32 inches.
Paul Massicot, head of the Tidewater Administration, argued long and eloquently on Maryland's behalf.I have been very critical of Massicot in the past, and I would like to point out that he did an excellent job for Maryland's fishermen.
However, the ASMFC only gave us half of what we asked for. The 1992spring striper season will run from May 1-31, with a minimum size of36 inches.
The Department of Natural Resources police are trying to check as many rockfish and fishermen as possible. In the first five days of the season, they checked 7,067 boats and 13,116 fishermen, inspected 3,030 striped bass and issued 36 citations and 162 warnings.
The majority of the citations were for fishing without a license, but citations were issued for undersized fish, exceeding the daily creel limit, not having striped bass tags, switching tags and not tagging fish. Most of the warnings were issued for not tagging the fish.
I admit that a cardboard tag does not work well on a stripedbass. I simply fold my tags and stuff them in the striper's mouth. When I was checked, the officer thought it was a good idea.
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.