`Miss Kitty Sauce' spices up start



April 27, 2003|By CANDUS THOMSON

"Miss Kitty" Bryant makes a mean hot sauce.

It cut right through the morning mist on the opening day of trophy rockfish season. Cleared my sinuses. Got my head on straight in a way a mug of black coffee never could.

How good is "Miss Kitty Sauce"?

Good enough that it was just about the first question asked of Charlie Bryant when he stepped aboard the Jil Carrie last Saturday morning and greeted the real Jil Carrie, wife of Capt. Jim Brincefield, who chose to go fishing to celebrate her 35th birthday.

With all the pressure on opening day -- the entire bay fleet plus 100 boats -- the trip is less about catching fish and more about getting caught up. OK, that's not all together true. It's nice to pull in that first rockfish of the season and begin thinking about the ways to fix it for dinner.

We left the dock at Happy Harbor just a little past 5 and it wasn't long before we were at the Old Gas Buoy and the Deale fishing reef, pulling white and chartreuse Prime Time Bucktails and "E.T." bucktails and parachutes.

The first mate, Capt. Al "The Living Legend" Jones, was his usual debonair self as he set the rigs, while Ed Mechlinski, "Big Peetie" Peake, D.W. Greenway and Jim and Brian Boland drew cards to establish who would go first.

The birthday girl went first and landed a 33-incher.

By then, the food and beverages were out (it's happy hour somewhere, right?) and Bryant pulled from his duffel bag bottles of "Miss Kitty Sauce" for dipping pretzels, slathering on sandwiches and spicing up already spicy chicken wings.

The inventor says she's been making the tomato-based concoction since 1961, when she married Charlie, a submariner, who used to come home raving about the hot sauces of the Caribbean.

She steered clear of the tonsil-burning variety, preferring to make "an all-purpose sauce that you can use on lots of things."

"I had a lot of floppos before I got it right," says the 61-year-old, laughing. "The kids didn't suffer. I didn't try it out on them."

After he retired from the Navy, Charlie opened a bar in Temple Hills, near Andrews Air Force Base. "Miss Kitty Sauce" was served.

The Bryants sold the bar, but the sauce lives on.

Now, Kitty whips up batches of the secret recipe -- several gallons at a time -- "when friends call me and say they're out." It's bottled in whatever she has handy.

View from top

It makes Scott Sewell's blood boil when he hears about poachers and drunken boaters or bozos who run over other anglers' lines.

Now, he can do something about it.

Sewell, 52, is the new top cop for the Natural Resources Police, and he starts walking the beat Thursday.

"I'm thrilled. This is like a dream come true," Sewell says. "Employees at DNR are going to be seeing more of me than anyone before. I won't be sitting at a desk in Annapolis. I'll be out there from Deep Creek Lake to Snow Hill to Conowingo."

The peripatetic lawman is replacing Col. Douglas DeLeaver, who is going back to his old job as chief of the Maryland Transit Authority police department.

Sewell lives in Essex with his wife, Irene. He spent 20 years in the Maryland State Police and resigned to be U.S. Marshal for Maryland during the first Bush administration. Since then, he has worked in corporate security.

He is conservation director of the Maryland Bass Federation, and fishes three tournament circuits. When I reached him last week on his cell phone, he was on his bass boat on the Potomac River.

I first ran into him last summer at the BASSMASTERS Classic in Birmingham, Ala., where he was attending seminars by U.S. Fish and Wildlife and other natural resource management groups.

He was clearly itching to do more to promote Maryland's outdoors opportunities, and now he has that chance with the Natural Resources Police.

But Sewell clearly has his work cut out for him. The division charged with enforcing wildlife, fish and boating laws, and conducting search and rescue missions is down about 30 officers.

"I'm going to look at moving some people out from behind desks, if possible, to put some more personnel on patrol," he says.

Sewell says he will post his state e-mail address and the Catch-A-Poacher phone number (800-635-6124) prominently on the DNR Web site.

"We will make the most of what we have. We need the citizens of Maryland to be our watchdogs," he says.

And if Sewell needs backup, he can always radio for his daughter, Rebecca Reynolds, a Baltimore County police officer for a decade.

Red-letter regs

A tip of the cap -- camo pattern with the Marine Corps insignia front and center, please -- to charter Capt. Ed O'Brien for suggesting a solution to the sometimes maddening problem of fishing-regulation booklets that don't keep up with the times.

The booklets, issued when anglers get a Maryland license, are often outdated by the time the season gets hot. Revisions by the legislature or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission early in the year on creel and size limits and season dates can't be reflected in books printed the preceding winter.

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