No fish? So what? Relax, enjoy the sun Record-tying warmth brings out anglers even with no nibbles

February 26, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

The fish weren't biting at BGE's C. P. Crane power plant near Essex yesterday, but more than 100 anglers of all ages turned out anyway to enjoy camaraderie and balmy weather.

Longtime fishermen rely on the smokestacks at the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. plant off Carroll Island Road near Essex as a gauge for the day's fishing: If the stacks are smoking, the fish are biting, they say.

But it didn't matter yesterday that the stacks weren't smoking. It was good enough to be outside. Yesterday's balmy high of 73 degrees tied the 1976 record at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

"I've been coming here for 20 years, to relax, get away from the house, to enjoy the fishing or the weather like today's," said Bob Lorick, 46, of Middle River.

The warmth may not last. Today's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-60s and a 30 percent chance of light rain, Dick Diener, a spokesman for the National Weather Service at BWI, said yesterday.

Tomorrow's temperatures are expected to dip slightly, to the low 60s, but with a 40 percent chance of rain, he said.

Few who were fishing yesterday could agree on the best bait, the best time, the best tide or the best location to stand or sit.

Some preferred fishing from the two-lane bridge that separates Seneca Creek from Saltpeter Creek and links the power plant property to Aberdeen Proving Ground at Carroll Point.

Others sought quieter spots among the high reeds along the creek banks. Some even donned waders -- booted, chest-high suits -- and fished away from everyone.

Most know the fish are generally plentiful -- and hungry -- when the plant is operating and discharging water that warms the creeks to 50 or 60 degrees. That's why anglers check the smoke stacks: If they're smoking, the creeks are warming.

To some, such as Scott Sewell, vice president of the American Bass Association of Maryland, fishing the warmer waters especially endangers largemouth bass that spawn near power plants.

"Members of our association believe in catch and release, and won't even go near a power plant to fish," said Mr. Sewell, a security chief for USF&G in Mount Washington.

Mark Bubczyk, 40, of Aero Acres, said the catch-and-release argument has been around for years.

"It's about 50 percent," he said. "Older people hook 'em and cook 'em. The younger ones usually release them."

"We're strictly catch and release," said Alice Duval, 37, and Marilyn Pagani, 51, who came from Lansdowne for the first time.

Ms. Duval said they usually fish every weekend, in and out of state, but would like to come back when the wind wasn't so strong.

The National Weather Service at BWI reported northwest winds of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts to 45 mph yesterday.

But for Mark Handley, 15, his father, J. R., and their friend Matt Weber, 12, those issues were secondary to the good fishing. They travel from Arbutus in southwest Baltimore County almost every weekend to fish.

Mark caught a pickerel and released it yesterday.

"Some days are better than others," Mr. Handley said.

Not to mention the weather.

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