Couple land 2 giant stripers

May 06, 2007|By CANDUS THOMSON

Toni Quigley caught my fish.

After looking at the photo below this column, I'm betting she caught your fish, too.

Heck, there's enough fish there for an entire Boy Scout troop.

Sadly for us, however, Quigley is the angler of record.

The Pasadena woman was trolling off Chesapeake Beach last Tuesday with her husband, Steve, aboard Backfin.

They bought their boat three years ago and named it in honor of their other passion, crabbing.

Steve has been fishing for 20 years; Toni, since they got the boat.

They own a graphic design business, so getting a day off wasn't that hard.

Steve said he was hoping Tuesday that his wife would catch her first 40-plus-inch striped bass to top her first-ever catch of 39 1/2 inches in 2004.

His heart fell when the first fish of the morning struck while Toni was in the cabin. It fell farther when it turned out to be a 44-inch striper (We won't double the pain with a photo of that one, too).

"Little did I know that an hour later, she'd get her revenge," he said.

Toni saw the rod bounce and bend in a way that gets the heart pumping.

Twenty-five minutes of reeling, hossing and cranking brought Quigley's down under to the surface: a striper measuring 52 inches long, 27 1/2 inches around and weighing 43 pounds.

Steve's fish hit a chartreuse umbrella rig; Toni's, a white one.

Both fish, the Quigleys say, were spawned out.

They checked the fish at Tyler's Tackle in Chesapeake Beach and snapped some photos.

Let's recap: The Quigleys had lines in the water at 6:15 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, they had the first fish on board. Sixty minutes of slow trolling later, they had No. 2.

Two passes, two fish and back at the dock by 8 a.m. And Steve was back at the grindstone by lunchtime.

Toni? She was on the phone "to everybody we know."

"People who say women are bad luck on a boat never fished with my wife and me," Steve said with a laugh.

Flounder at 20 paces

Next time the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation has a banquet, they'd better hire Pygmies with tranquilizing blow guns instead of bartenders.

At Thursday's fund-raising outing on the Eastern Shore, the head honcho of one of Maryland's largest fishing organizations slapped his counterpart during an argument over the recently passed law that will raise fishing license fees July 1 to cover some Fisheries Service expenses.

And they say women are emotional.

One group helped write the bill, threatened to drop its support if certain provisions were removed and then didn't follow through on the threat. The other group helped write the bill but ended up opposing it.

Sitting between the slapper and the slappee was the man who started the whole bill thing in the first place. Does it get any better than that?

On the one hand - the one that likes Hunter S. Thompson, booger jokes and Caddyshack - this is funny stuff and I'm sorry there isn't a YouTube video.

But the sober, adult side of me - the one that swears she watches Nova and listens to the Metropolitan Opera - wonders if this is the kind of behavior that is going to lead to productive talks about the future of recreational fishing.

These groups can't even sit at the same table. How are they going to negotiate, by teleconference?

Hunting groups used to have a contentious relationship that allowed anti-hunting interests to divide and conquer. They wised up and got Sunday hunting, a black bear season and more say at the Department of Natural Resources.

If I'm running the Maryland Watermen's Association, this is exactly the kind of childish display that brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Maybe instead of hiring blow gun-packing Pygmies, the foundation should raise money next year by running a Whack-A-Mole game with this past week's combatants as the whacker and the whackee.

High and dry

The fish passageway alongside Bloede's Dam in Patapsco Valley State Park is filled with sticks and mud and even a deflated basketball. But no water, which could be a bummer if you're a spawning fish going upstream.

The dam, named for Victor Bloede, who created the nearby Avalon water works, was built 100 years ago. The passageway was added in 1993 amid much hoopla and a visit by then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

But, says DNR's Gina Hunt: "It's never been effective due to the location of the passageway opening."

Its effectiveness was further reduced last winter, when the baffles inside the passageway that direct water were damaged.

Instead of trying to make chicken salad out of a chicken byproduct, DNR is going to remove the passageway within the next two years.

It won't be a huge loss because the passageway only opens up another 1 1/2 miles of the Patapsco River before another blockage crops up, she said.

Happy 100th

Which brings me to my final (I promise) note.

Set aside the evening of June 4, when the non-profit Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park will have a 100th anniversary fundraiser at the Elkridge Furnace Inn.

The get-together will mark the date that Catonsville's John Glenn donated 43 acres of his estate to create the park, which has grown to 16,000 acres that hug 32 miles of the Patapsco River.

Members of his family will be at the event.

For more information, e-mail Friends president Paul Farragut at and include "Friends of Patapsco" in the subject heading.

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