There aren't many things more meat and potatoes than a hearty helping of Lefty Kreh.
So there I was Tuesday night, playing hooky from a mundane government meeting to fork down protein and starch with the greatest fly fisherman, author and teacher of them all.
Kreh, weeks from his 85th birthday, was at the Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport to swap stories, tell jokes and watch a cult fishing movie with old pals and admirers. His guest appearance was part of an eight-week "Cabin Fever" program hatched by Dick Franyo, the establishment's owner, and Joe Evans, a man about town who recently was given one of the decoder rings at the Department of Natural Resources.
The fever boys didn't charge admission, but they should have. Not for the movie, a cult flick named "Tarpon." For Kreh.
The man may eat his beef well-done, but his jokes are over easy and his wisdom is rare. (Of course, he crossed me up by eating fish and chips on a "Meatloaf Tuesday," as the Boatyard calls it.)
Kreh is still writing, still touring and still spreading the gospel of the good cast. His latest project, airing on ESPN2, is a series called "Pirates of the Flats," which began during the holidays and ends Jan. 31. Today's episode is at 9 a.m.
The series asks the question: What if you let a bunch of famous guys go on a weeklong bonefishing adventure in the Bahamas and include a dose of teaching by Kreh and a conservation and research lesson or two from the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust?
The answer is, you get a fairly entertaining hour with great photography that will help chase away the winter blahs.
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (tarbone.org), founded more than a decade ago, hopes to save the dwindling populations of both fish through research. It is run by Aaron Adams, a Towson boy and graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland who also is manager of the Fisheries Habitat Ecology Program at the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Fla.
"He was the most interesting person on the trip," says Kreh, which is mighty high praise, considering the rest of the cast of characters: journalist Tom Brokaw, actor Michael Keaton, writer Thomas McGuane and Yvon Chouinard, mountaineer and founder of the Patagonia outdoor clothing company.
Adams' Web site (fishermanscoast.com) is just as interesting, I might add, and another great way to pass a gray winter day.
The "Pirates" episodes will be in reruns through the end of March. You can see the profile of Kreh at 9 a.m. Feb. 14. Check ESPN Outdoors for the schedule.
The Cabin Fever series at the Boatyard continues Jan. 26 with the movie "Chasing Silver." The rest of the schedule can be found at boatyardbarandgrill.com.
Scales of justice
On Friday afternoon, Courtroom 4 in Anne Arundel District Court had its usual array of defendants, police and lawyers.
And two sets of antlers.
It was the opening act in what law enforcement and the judicial branch hope will be a more effective means of dealing with those accused of violating natural resources and boating safety laws. On the third Friday of the month, all Anne Arundel cases will be on the same docket. Colin Kelly, an assistant state's attorney up to speed on natural resources law, has been assigned to prosecute them and appears ready to do so with vigor.
Judge Megan Johnson, herself a former prosecutor, was crisp and all business in dealing with the 60 cases on the docket. "Your request for postponement is uninspiring," she told a defendant looking for another continuance in a 2008 case. "Sit down. We'll be back with you."
She fined illegal crabbers, drunken and reckless boaters, and deer and fish poachers. "It'll be a costly deer for you," she told a man as she fined him $950 for Sunday hunting and for hunting with an illegal weapon in Annapolis.
Everyone seemed pleased with the first day of the pilot program that officials hope can be used in other counties.
There are a few kinks to iron out. It was a light caseload; as the weather warms, the docket could overwhelm the system or require more court time than the half day now set aside. Not all judges are as efficient as Johnson. And, finally, having all the Natural Resources Police officers from the same patrol district in court on the same day raises the question: Who's minding the store?
But these things are fixable. Hats off to the folks who made this happen.
The final harvest numbers still aren't in from the feds (Hello? Anybody home?) that would allow the Fisheries Service to craft options for this year's recreational flounder season. But here's the best guess.
If overfishing last year was about 14 percent, as early returns indicate, the state will likely propose an 18.5-inch minimum size and a three-fish creel for both the Chesapeake Bay and the coast.
If the overfishing was closer to 25 percent, look for a 19-inch minimum, three-fish creel.
In either case, the state probably would ask regulators for permission to extend the season for a few days. Because of angler activity, more fish are caught in the fall than the spring, meaning there's a likelihood any significant add-on days would come in April rather than October.