Virginia angler hauls in a real catch

March 25, 2007|By CANDUS THOMSON

TOKYO -- I almost packed a fishing rod. But the thought of making the local newspapers for illegally taking carp from the Imperial Ponds gave me pause.

It's tough to recall what day it is here at the World Figure Skating Championships, where Bel Air's Kimmie Meissner was defending her title.

If you want to try something different, try keeping skaters and stripers straight.

Can't wait to get back and do some fishing. Right now, the only fish I'm seeing is sushi, and that's nothing but fancy bait.

News travels fast, even if I am 13 hours and one day ahead of y'all. (I assure you, it won't last.)

Capt. Jim Brincefield may have moved his marvelous fish-catching business from Deale to Virginia, but on his charter boat, the Jil Carrie, records just keep on falling.

Brincefield was behind the wheel March 10, when Doug Deese of Hampton, Va., reeled in what appears to be a blueline tilefish big enough to set the Virginia record and the International Game Fish Association mark.

Deese was part of a charter party, fishing the offshore wrecks. The tip of tail-to-snout length was 35 inches and the fish was 20.5 inches around and weighed 18 pounds, 10 ounces. Squid was the "come to papa" bait.

Hats off to angler and captain.

License fees rejected

Coastal Conservation Association Maryland's rejection of a plan to raise fishing license fees to boost the anemic budget of the Department of Natural Resources isn't necessarily a bad thing - short term.

As expected, the group's leadership, which helped draft the legislation to raise the fees in return for more say in fisheries management, ultimately decided the idea wasn't ready for prime time.

In a statement, CCA MD chairman Bill Curry called Senate Bill 1012 "well intentioned, but hastily conceived."

"While it contains provisions addressing our long-term goal of fisheries management reform and offers needed funding to support such management, it came at such a late date in the legislative session that we were unable to effectively engage our membership and the public on these far-reaching issues," he said.

Curry and others are concerned about chatter on Web sites such as Tidalfish.com, where anglers complained of being blindsided by the bill and wondered about the motives of its proponents.

As I said earlier this month, that's no way to make good law and build good relations for the long haul.

But it's time for the new DNR leadership to reach out to its customers, and it's time for CCA and other groups to strike while the iron is hot and everyone is talking about this issue.

Nothing would be worse for the Chesapeake Bay and those who enjoy it than to have this concept locked in the dark closet of "good ideas that require hard work."

Ken Lewis, CCA MD's legislative liaison, believes that recreational saltwater anglers will agree to pay more once they see "a real commitment to major change in fisheries management philosophy."

That's a good start. But when Lewis says "recreational saltwater anglers," I hope he means all of them. That includes Maryland's bass fishermen, who were sacrificed under SB 1012's proposed license fee increase, in the name of boosting tourism. The bass boys and girls would have been stuck paying the same fee as nonresidents for no additional benefits, which hardly seems fair.

Learning experience

If you can swing the two days off - and I know that's a tough order - it might be worth it to register for the 10th annual Chesapeake Bay Fisheries Symposium being held next month at the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge.

The fishing powwow, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will cover all our favorite topics: ongoing research on the bay's menhaden population, a status report on the health of striped bass and the impact of mycobacteriosis, and a look at pending blue crab issues.

Participants also will discuss bay monitoring and economic studies, the engines that will drive any restoration projects.

Heck, It will almost be like having your own personal biologists tutoring you to make you the smartest kid on the block.

The symposium is April 10-11. You can register on the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office Web site.

Animal talk

Last week, Paul Peditto, head of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service, attempted to raise the level of critter discourse in the pages of this newspaper, when he waxed poetic about canvasback ducks: "They're sort of the king duck of the Chesapeake, whereas the Canada goose is the goose king and the rockfish is the fish king."

Peditto denies he actually uttered the word "whereas," but put up no defense for the rest of his statement.

His semi-literate friends, nearly overcome by the overheated prose, issued a challenge to nominate other species to Maryland's royal family, then primed the pump with these offerings:

Diamondback terrapin: "King of the Mascot Reptiles"

Black bear: "Ursus, God of Rugs and Trophy Hunting"

Hard clam: "Archduke of Saltwater Bivalves"

Sperm Whale: "Prince of Whales"

Whitetailed Deer: "Patron Saint of Body Shops"

Thoughts, anyone?

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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