The BASS Masters Classic will not make a repeat performance in Baltimore this summer, officials of the Bass Anglers Sportsman's Society said earlier this week. Instead, it will be held in Birmingham, Ala., from July 26 to Aug. 1.
"It is not that we felt anything bad about Baltimore," said Helen Sevier, CEO of B.A.S.S. "We loved Baltimore.
"But we felt that our 25th anniversary should be held closer to home for the benefit of our organization, our staff."
B.A.S.S. is headquartered in Montgomery, Ala.
Sevier did not rule out the possibility of a return engagement for Baltimore in the future, saying that the fishing was good, the crowds were good and the support by local and state government agencies was excellent.
Carol Fox-King, spokeswoman for the Maryland Office of Economic Development, said last year's Classic was a benefit to the state in terms of exposure to the public and economic impact.
"More than 140 million were exposed to Maryland through association to the Classic," Fox-King said. "More than 10 million of them were exposed by watching television programs in 22 states."
Some 25,000 bass fishing fans attended over the three competition days of the tournament and during the week the Classic was in town. Fox-King estimates that the tournament accounted for 3,000 hotel rooms in Baltimore.
This year's Classic will be held at Logan-Martin Lake on the Coosa River. Fishing operations will be based at Pell City Lakeside Park, with the Classic outdoors show at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Civic Center and Coliseum complex.
"Maryland was competitive, and we would like to return in the future," Sevier said. "But for the anniversary, we just wanted to stay down home."
White perch have been running in tidal rivers for several days, with the Patuxent River in the Jug Bay area turning up several hundred pounds per day to one commercial fishermen. The run is expected to last another two to three weeks.
Grass shrimp or bloodworms are good bait for the white perch, which in some areas are mixed with yellow perch. White perch are fair game in all of Maryland's tidal rivers, but yellow perch is closed in many areas.
Check the Maryland fishing guides for restricted yellow perch areas and use barbless hooks when fishing for white perch, to protect yellow perch that are inadvertently caught.
Good areas for white perch are the Patuxent, the Chester up toward Millington, the Choptank toward Red Bridges and at Martinak State Park, the Tuckahoe, the Blackwater near the wildlife refuge bridges, and the Pocomoke near the state parks.
Shoreline fishing at Liberty, Prettyboy and Loch Raven reservoirs has been picking up on crappie, bass and bluegills. Area pond fishing may have taken a step backward with the cold weather moving in at mid-week.
If you are headed bassing on the tidal Potomac River this weekend, an agreement signed Tuesday now allows a person with a Maryland Chesapeake Bay saltwater license to fish the Virginia tributaries of the Potomac from the Washington line to the Route 301 bridge. Virginia licensees now may fish the Maryland tributaries without a Maryland license.
In D.C. waters, however, a separate license still is required.
Trout fishing has picked up over the past week, with Morgan Run a hot spot earlier in the week.
The mackerel run continues off Ocean City, with several headboats going out daily.
Fishermen or boaters headed out on Chesapeake Bay this weekend are asked to keep an eye out for a 35-foot whale that cavorted around the Bay Bridge at mid-week. If the whale is sighted, please call (800) 628-9944
Sunday: Essex-Middle River Chapter of MSSA flea market, Commodore Hall, 1909 Old Eastern Avenue in Essex. 9 a.m. New and used fishing gear, electronics, door prizes, refreshments, etc.
Sunday: Fisherman's flea market sponsored by Reisterstown Moose Lodge 1577, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 1101 Westminster Pike. Door prizes, new and used equipment, tackle, crafts and boats. Call (410) 876-6511 or (410) 833-4209.
Monday: DNR Wildlife Division public meeting on proposed 1992-1993 hunting and trapping seasons, bag limits and regulations for upland game, furbearers and forest game. 7 p.m. Mount Savage Fire Hall, Foundry Row, Mount Savage.
Tuesday: DNR Wildlife Division public meeting on proposed 1992-1993 hunting and trapping seasons, bag limits and regulations for upland game, furbearers and forest game. 7 p.m. Loch Raven High School, 1212 Copwens Avenue, Towson.
March 19: DNR Wildlife Division public meeting on proposed 1992-1993 hunting and trapping seasons, bag limits and regulations for upland game, furbearers and forest game. 7 p.m. District Court Multi-purpose Center, first floor conference room, 201 Baptist Street, Salisbury.