New fishing guide can chase away those icy blahs

ON THE OUTDOORS

January 14, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

During the first five days of the Blizzard of '96 and its aftermath, a snow plow came down the road in front of the house once. On the sixth day, the plows came in platoons -- baring the asphalt and, of course, plowing in the drive that had been open since Day One.

The kids had the week off from school, the introductory hours on America OnLine had been squandered on computer explorations with chatty schoolgirls and erstwhile hockey players, and the refrigerator had been emptied and filled and emptied again by a parade of 12- and 14-year-olds who came in announced and unannounced from the cold.

The house had taken on the crowded look and feel of a cabin, and the curious fever that comes from too many hours spent indoors was peaking.

Until midweek, when the winds died off, the shoreline of the bay had been a fascinating place for a walk. Thousands of ducks and swans and a handful of geese had gathered in the lee of the high ridge, riding comfortably in open water and out of the gusts from the northwest. But as the winds died away over several days, the water along the shoreline froze, and the bulk of the waterfowl went elsewhere.

The rabbits and the fox who had been the hunted and hunter in the wooded acreage beyond the back fence were no longer visible in the evenings -- the fox skulking among the blow-downs, the rabbits streaking across narrow alleys among the drifts before disappearing into the hollows beneath snow-covered bramble.

Several trips had been made each day across the back yard to clear the snow and ice from the blue poly tarp covering a 21-foot wooden boat that should have been halfway re-planked last week. The blizzard, of course, had put the restoration project on hold, but the 31-year-old Owens Sea Skiff was bearing up well, the hull snow-free and the engine's freeze plugs intact.

The shopping list of fasteners and caulks, plywood and mahogany had been tucked under the couch, along with a handful of essential catalogs and directories that had arrived with the new year, all already well-thumbed through and dog-eared.

There were Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, West Marine, L.L. Bean, Orvis, and a new addition, the Angler's Yellow Pages, a directory published by The Outdoor Directory Group of Dallas, Pa.

In midwinter, when there is too much snow and wind even for effective ice fishing in most parts of Maryland, the Angler's Yellow Pages can chip away at winter's hold on the psyche.

Rather than a how-to book, the Angler's Yellow Pages is a directory of information for fishermen and covers more than 2,500 locations and contacts in all 50 states, Canada and parts of Russia, Australia, the Bahamas, Central America, Mexico, New Guinea, New Zealand and South America.

In between trips to the driveway entrance, where shoveling long since had given way to running the truck back and forth to make a path through the mounds left by the plows, fingers walked through the fishing hot spots of the Southern Hemisphere, where it is the height of summer rather than the dead of winter.

In the directory, in each locale it is possible to get an idea of the species available, the approximate cost and general services available.

A phone call and a healthy budget can make arrangements to get you there -- once the airports here are open -- and soon afterward put you on barramundi, peacock bass, marlin, sailfish, tuna or freshwater trout.

The Angler's Yellow Pages, in its first printing, costs $19.95 and is available at some area book stores and sporting goods shops or from the publisher by calling (800) 242-9722.

Miscellaneous

* If a trip to the Southern Hemisphere is out of the question, the early forecast for this week calls for high temperatures to be in the upper 30s and there are no forecasts for snow through Tuesday.

* The Chesapeake Bay Boat Show opened at the Convention Center yesterday and runs through Jan. 21, with a full array of boats and equipment for fishermen, skiers and day-trippers. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children 6-12.

* The Fly Fishing Show at Reckord Armory on the University of Maryland campus in College Park ends its two-day run today and includes fly tying and casting demonstrations, seminars and retail vendors of tackle, rods, books, videos, artwork, clothing, 00 etc. The show opens at 9 a.m.

* The Greater Philadelphia Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show, Fort Washington Expo Center (Exit 26 off Pennsylvania Turnpike), opens Jan. 17 and runs through Jan. 21. Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for those ages 5 to 12 and younger children will be admitted free.

* On Thursday, Bass Expo '96 opens at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The seminar schedule is superb and vendors are the best. The show opens at 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 10 to 14.

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