ANNAPOLIS -- The last place bass outfitter Glenn Peacock wanted to be over the weekend was manning a booth at the 15th annual Chesapeake Sportsfishing Show. He'd rather have been fishing -- and why not? Last week, his party caught and released 30 largemouths -- including a 6-pounder -- and also took some dandy crappies and yellow perch from the Potomac at Washington. The fish took small grubs and metal Silver Buddies. Call Peacock at 1-410-589-1644.
Also at the show was Ken Penrod, whose Outdoor Life Unlimited will soon be carrying bass'n parties on the Potomac and Eastern Shore rivers. The Coast Guard license hassle has grounded Penrod, and his top guides Bob Denyer and Charlie Baden. Also Jay Holt and Ken Wilson, who operate Bass Fever (call 1-410-953-1722) will be over when they take their CG tests later this month.
Why river guides need a license applicable to six-pack Chesapeake Bay runs remains questionable, but one can't fight City Hall. Denyer, fishing for fun, has found a great winter crappie run at Matawoman Creek.
Capt. Eddie O'Brien, who fishes out of Chesapeake Beach when not attending meetings of the Striped Bass Advisory Board, said a few bookings are trickling in for the May trophy rockfish season, but he's worried about the future of the charterboat industry in these days of strict regulations.
Capt. Monty Webb of Cape Charles has doubts about future black drum runs down that way, but said cobia have returned in large numbers, also more red drum. Black runs have declined for five years said Webb, who is curious how they could have eluded the Cape Charles fleet only to turn up in large numbers off Tilghman Island.
"Only two ways they could have got there -- by the bay, or Greyhound," said Webb, who over the holidays loaded up with sea bass and tautog, five bushels for five fishermen. He will begin sailing regularly for tautogs in April. Call 1-804-331-3235.
Rich Novotny, executive director of Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermens Association, doesn't think there will be another march on the Statehouse this year -- "the time isn't right" -- but says MSSA will push to raise the bluefish minimum to 12 inches. "What good is an 8-inch blue?" he asked.
Novotny was signing contestants for MSSA's ninth annual $195,000 Bluefish Tournament May 16-17. Call 886-2121. Break the IGFA world record bluefish mark (31 3/4 pounds set in North Carolina in 1972) and you get $10,000 a year for a decade.
That record was taken on a Bruke Flexo-Eel, much like the J & J Eeel displayed at the show. It's of soft plastic, has a swimming head and tandem hooks. It should also work for big rock.
What does a fellow do when he catches a trophy rock and wants to both eat and mount it? Exhibitor Carnes Slimmer of Fair Chase Taxidermy, Baltimore, takes the measurements, uses a mold to recreate the big fish, and sends you home with something for the table.
Slimmer also mounts crabs, says it's a growing business. For $45 he paints them lifelike, then mounts them on driftwood for an exceptionally attractive trophy. Call 477-4484.
Bob Pond, president and founder of both Atom Plugs and the conservation group Stripers Unlimited, said to the north of us last year's striper fishing was like it was in the '70s. "Montauk, for instance, was great, everywhere it was blues or striper, take you pick, big fish," added Pond who attributed the comeback to an abundance of small menhaden baitfish.
He's still concerned about continued effects of pollution -- especially PCBs, and warned "the fish are there, now we have to figure out how to keep them."
Best new bass lure shown was the French's spinnerbait with Ultraflex skirt and double cow-bell style -- curved half-blades that twirl like a couple small baitfish. In the works is a triple-blade model, also with four coats of no-chip paint -- that should drive any bass wild.
Potomac outfitter Mark Kovach said upper Potomac waters were so low in '91 that anglers didn't need boats or guides, instead waded in and cast to honey holes. So many Dam No. 3 bank fishermen took -- and kept -- big fish that it was difficult for us to take trophies, said Kovach, who can be reached at 1-410-588-8742.