DAYSunday the state and nation will...

HUNTING AND FISHING

September 23, 1993|By PETER BAKER

HUNTING AND FISHING DAY

Sunday the state and nation will observe Hunting and Fishing Day, a day set aside to recognize the contributions of sportsmen to statewide and national conservation programs.

Hunters and fishermen have supported laws to establish fish and wildlife agencies and to increase taxation to pay for such programs.

In 1992, the 158,765 licensed hunters in Maryland -- through the purchase of licenses, tags, permits and stamps -- raised more than $4.4 million for wildlife programs run by the Department of Natural Resources. Those funds were supplemented by federal contributions of $1.7 million for wildlife restoration and hunter education programs.

Maryland's 536,648 licensed fishermen contributed more than $3.6 million for fish conservation programs in 1992. Those funds were supplemented by $2.8 million in federal dollars.

ADVOCACY GROUP

Maryland hunters and fishermen support wildlife and fisheries programs with annual contributions and matching federal funds well in excess of $12 million.

Rockfish/gamefish legislation is are one example. The development of the fine trout fishery on the Gunpowder is another. The closure of the Baltimore City reservoirs while zebra mussel prevention programs were instituted is yet another.

While the rockfish-gamefish bills failed to pass the legislature despite the best efforts of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association, the Gunpowder program, worked out between Trout Unlimited and the Baltimore Department of Public Works, has been a tremendous success.

The work with watershed managers and the zebra mussel restrictions at Prettyboy, Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs continues, and out of that battle with bureaucracy, the Maryland Aquatic Resources Coalition (MARC) was formed.

MARC now counts some 15,000 fishermen and hunters among its membership, as well as conservationists and preservationists. Its goal is to provide political leadership for Maryland sportsmen.

At the outdoors shows, look for the MARC booth, stop to hear the pitch, and then decide whether the organization fairly represents your views and can support them throughout the state.

The Mid-Atlantic Division of Trout Unlimited, the MSSA, the Maryland BASS Federation and the American Bass Federation already have joined the coalition, and their presidents sit on the MARC board of directors.

MARC will have a booth at the Eastern Shore Hunting and Fishing Expo at the Ocean City Convention Center tomorrow through Sunday.

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THE FISHING REPORT !

SALT WATER

Ocean Inshore -- good -- Maryland's coastal season for striped bass rockfish) over 28 inches is open, and a few keeper rockfish were taken from the surf at Assateague on cast spoons. Snapper blues have been hitting cut millet at Assateague and North Ocean City and kingfish have been taking bloodworms. A 28-pound red drum was taken from Assateague near crossing 11. Tautog have been active on sand fleas at the Ocean City jetty, and the east channel near the Route 50 Bridge and the Coast Guard station has been a good spot for flounder to 5 pounds.

Offshore -- good -- Spanish mackerel, false albacore and small dolphin at The Lumps. Washington Canyon has turned up yellowfin tuna in the 100-pound class and some white marlin have been hooked and released. Weakfish and croaker at Little

Gull Shoals.

Chesapeake Bay

Lower bay -- excellent -- Mixed schools of Spanish mackerel to pounds and bluefish to 5 pounds have been working throughout the region, but bottom fishing has been sporadic except in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, where there have been good catches of sea trout, croaker and bluefish to 2 pounds, jumbo spot, sea bass, porgies, some flounder and blowfish. Best of bottom fishing elsewhere has been at Hooper Island Light, Mud Leads and Cedar Point, where sea trout, croaker, spot, sea bass and porgies can be taken. Blues and mackerel can be taken while chumming, trolling or casting into breaking schools.

Middle bay -- excellent -- Spanish mackerel and bluefish to 4 pounds continue to be active in mixed schools at Hackett's, Tolly Point, Thomas Point, Gum Thickets, Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, Herring Bay, mouth of the Choptank and below Chesapeake Beach. Trolled spoons work best for mackerel and dark hoses seem best for blues. The Stone Rock and Taylor's Island have started to produce keeper flounder on minnows drifted in 20 feet of water. Croaker and medium to jumbo spot have been taken at the pier in Cambridge, the mouth of the Choptank River, Eastern Bay and Hackett Point.Upper bay -- good -- Fort Smallwood, Love Point, Swan Point and Tolchester have been good sites for bluefish to 4 pounds on trolled hoses, cut bait or spoons cast into breaking schools. White perch, croaker and spot have been taken at Kent Narrows and Eastern Neck Island in the Chester River. Podickory Point, Belvedere Shoals, 7-Foot Knoll and Tolchester have been other good spots for white perch.

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