Fish hook some young anglers on hot, sunny day

July 13, 2008|By CANDUS THOMSON

There are many times when fishing with kids beats fishing with grown-ups.

Sure, you might spend a great deal of time baiting hooks, wiping fish slime from tiny hands and dodging the occasional incoming bobber.

On the other hand, you don't have to talk about gas prices and spineless politicians while scrambling to think of a compliment for fried chicken that tastes like it came in close contact with WD-40.

For me, it's no contest.

Yesterday morning, as the sun was turning the Chesapeake Bay into the world's largest bowl of steaming bouillabaisse, families willingly left the protection of the cooling woods of Downs Park to take part in the Pasadena Sportfishing Group's fishing derby.

With fishing rods and cups of worms, young anglers lined the railings of a 300-foot fishing pier that juts into water just below where the Patapsco River meets the bay. In minutes, they set to work, putting fear into the hearts of white perch, croaker, spot, tiny rockfish and even one or two blues.

Prowling the pier with rulers and clipboards, PSG members looked for bent rods and listened for squeals of delight, signals that someone was about to land a fish. They never had to wait long.

The sun's intensity was no match for the kids (although the adults looked a little wilted), who couldn't get enough of casting and catching. Each catch was logged, and family pictures were taken before the fish were released with a splash.

Back in the shade, PSG members prepared a hot dog lunch and sorted prizes. Being soft touches, they made sure no kid left empty-handed.

Some kids were veteran anglers.

"I got a doubleheader," said Caroline Story, 5, of Sparks. "That's two fish on the same line."

Durant Kelly, 6, of Pikesville also scored a doubleheader - a 6-inch spot and a 6 1/2 -inch spot - that made him the envy of family members Tyree Price and Kevin Davis, both 6. All three boys kept grandparents Sinclair and Gloria Eaddy busy with fish-wrangling chores all morning, not that they were complaining.

The state estimates that there are 216,000 anglers between 6 and 15. Trying to increase that number, the Department of Natural Resources this year incorporated a series of youth fishing rodeos and derbies into the Maryland Fishing Challenge competition. Prizes included fishing trips for the winners and their parents or guardians.

Fishing clubs such as PSG - the largest in the state - also sponsor events of their own to boost the effort. The group charges just a couple of bucks a head to register for its fishing derbies, but most of the financial juice comes from its annual February flea market - the biggest and best in the region.

PSG was even responsible for prodding Anne Arundel County into building the kid friendly $330,000 Downs Park pier, which opened two years ago.

The next PSG derby is Sept. 20 at Fort Smallwood Park near Riviera Beach.

As Jeff Stone of Shipley's Choice and I chatted about the fact that no one has caught the Maryland Fishing Challenge's tagged "Diamond Jim" rockfish worth $25,000, his 7-year-old daughter, Izzie, cast and retrieved a few feet away.

Her patience paid off as she enticed a croaker to take her bait.

"A $25,000 fish?" she asked as her dad unhooked the croaker. "Sweet."

For more information on PSG and its activities, go to www.heyfish.com.

Mountain to climb

Maryland's favorite mountaineer has found a new way to beat the heat.

Chris Warner is leading an expedition attempting to climb Pakistan's 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth-tallest mountain.

It's a nasty hunk of rock and ice with the nickname "Killer Mountain."

Nanga Parbat has been climbed 276 times, with 64 climbers losing their lives in the process, giving it a summit-to-death ratio similar to K2, the world's second-highest peak.

Warner, an Annapolis resident and owner of Earth Treks climbing gyms, has reached the top of Mount Everest and K2. This time, he is leading a Shared Summits team that includes Eric Kapitulik, a Navy graduate and former Marine captain; Earth Treks guides Dan Jenkins, Nelson Laur and Evan Horst; and Annamaria Cherubin of New York City, who hopes to become the first American woman to reach the peak.

They made base camp Thursday and will be filing reports, photos and video during the expedition. Warner's documentary on the K2 Shared Summits Expedition was nominated for an Emmy Award this year, so the quality of his dispatches won't be like something from Uncle Fester and his camcorder.

Follow the trip and feel the icy winds at sharedsummits.com.

candy.thomson@baltsun.com

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