view counter

Articles by All

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio raced across America with local support

The race to end polio has stretched farther than Race Across ­America’s 3,000 miles, all around the world. It has lasted longer, 39 years instead of a week. But this year’s race brings the killer closer to eradication. In its third year racing, Team Rotary Race Across America’s Polio raised an all-time high of $1 million to destroy the dread disease in its last strongholds, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Team Rotary RAAMs Polio reached new personal bests in both time and sponsorship. As well as raising more money for polio vaccinations, the four international RAAM racers reached Annapolis less than seven days after setting out from California.

Two racers from Austria, Ruth Brandstaetter and Markus Mayr, and one racer from Germany, Kurt Matzler, joined Tulsa’s Bob McKenzie in the United States for the race. McKenzie has ridden in Race Across America with Rotary for three years running. “I tell the team every year in Oceanside that we’ve already won because we have provided immunization for the kids against polio,” McKenzie says.

Rotary, an international organization, has been focused on eradicating polio since 1979, thanks to John L. Sever. In 1979, the year when the final case of polio was diagnosed in the United States, Sever was both a Rotarian and head of the National Institutes of Health’s infectious diseases branch. Awed by the conquest over smallpox, Rotary International president Clem Renouf challenged Sever to find Rotary an equal task. Sever suggested polio as the Rotary target.

The challenge succeeded. Incidences of polio around the world have decreased by 99.9 percent. As the vice chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee, Sever is after the last of the germ. Low vaccination rates and unexpected occurrences still keep the disease alive. Ukraine, for example, was declared polio-free in 2002 — until two cases were reported there three years ago. Only 50 percent of that nation’s children had been vaccinated against polio. The disease won’t stay down if people are not vaccinated against it.

Local Rotary clubs have supported the campaign since its beginning. For this year’s Race Across America, the Rotary clubs of Parole, Annapolis and North Shore contributed, raising $4,000.

“The club tries to contribute $2,500 to the PolioPlus campaign each year,” said Bob Smith, president of the Parole Rotary Club. This year, the contribution went higher, thanks to the additional efforts of the Annapolis and North Shore Rotary clubs.

It cost $60,000 in equipment and maintenance for Team Rotary RAAMs Polio to compete. In their arduous race, they were able to raise enough money to deliver more than 1.6 million polio vaccines.

“It’s pretty spectacular when you think about it,” Smith says.

This film franchise should go extinct

    The Jurassic World theme park was abandoned after a disastrous security breach left tourists maimed, eaten and heavily inconvenienced. The company went bankrupt, and the island of person-eating dinosaurs (some of which can fly) was ignored by the governments of the world.
    Five years later, the dinosaurs are set to lose their haven. Isla Nublar’s long-dormant volcano is active and about to erupt. When the volcano blows, dinosaurs will go extinct again. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard: Gold), the former manager of Jurassic World, leads a non-profit dedicated to preventing a second extinction.
    Claire is underfunded and fighting a losing battle, but there is hope. Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell: Marshall), John Hammond’s former partner and a founder of the technology that revitalized dinosaurs, has a plan. He wants Claire to help capture a few of every species and transfer them to safety on a new island he’s bought.
    There’s a hitch: The government has decided to allow the dinosaurs to die, making this rescue mission tech­nically off the books.
    To help save the creatures she considers to be a miracle of nature, Claire recruits ex-boyfriend Owen (Chris Pratt: Avengers: Infinity War). He overcomes his reluctance for the sake of rescuing Blue, a dinosaur that once saved his life.
    Will saving dinosaurs from a second extinction throw nature off balance? Is something nefarious lurking behind Lockwood’s plan? Will moviemakers ever stop tainting the memory of Jurassic Park with these terrible sequels?
    This summer blockbuster offers big-budget effects and so little else that it manages to make dinosaurs mundane.
    The one bright spot is the director, J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls), who spices up rote scenes with innovative camera work. Bayona and cinematographer Óscar Faura (A Monster Calls) craft an opening sequence with great tension and pepper the story with original shots.
    But grand camera angles and sweeping pans do not a story make. Plot twists and turns are so telegraphed that they might as well be handed out on a pamphlet before the movie. When humans appear, the film grinds to a halt. Their dialogue is terrible, they fail to understand human interaction and, most troubling, they take precious time away from the dinos.
    Even seasoned performers like Howard, Pratt and Cromwell seem either bored or embarrassed. Pratt and Howard still have negative romantic chemistry, so every scene featuring their banter is painful as well as unnecessary.
    Even diehard Jurassic fans will be disappointed.
Poor Prehistoric Action • PG-13 • 128 mins.
 

Maybe that's because it's what this sparrow eats?

    Many animals are named by the sounds they make or the food that they eat. The grasshopper sparrow is named for both. These little birds live in grasslands from Canada to Florida, where they like to perch on any stick or fence and sing a song that sounds like a flying grasshopper. They also feed on grasshopper and other grasshopper-like insects.
    In the summer, they make nests by clumping grass near the ground. Thus their nests are at risk during hay cutting. Some farmers purposefully put off cutting while the birds are nesting. With fewer open grass fields, more grass cutting and many other reasons, the population has dropped 75 percent since 1968. The Florida sub-species is almost extinct.
    To help protect populations of grass-nesting birds and animals, most states have established large tracts of grasslands that are not cut until after nesting is finished. In Maryland, the largest tracts are at Fair Hill and Soldiers Delight, with a smaller grassland at Sands Road Park.

Join a July 4th Parade

Cape St. Claire Celebration

10am from the Fire Department to the Main Beach for fun from 11am-2pm: tug-of war, sand-castle building contest, water-balloon toss, spoon and egg races, watermelon-eating contest and the Cape’s BBQ ribs and patriotic dessert contest: 410-757-1223; www.cscia.org/cape-st-claire/cape-st-claires-annual-july-4th-celebration

 

Severna Park Parade

10am from St. Martin’s in-the-Field Church, to Severna Park High School, to Evergreen Road to B&A Blvd to Cypress Creek Park: 410-647-3900.

 

Shady Side Parade

10am from Cedarhurst to the Shady Side Community Center on Snug Harbor Road. Roads close to traffic at 9:45am. Eddy Boarman: 443-370-8720.

 

Galesville Parade 

1pm down Main Street, which closes to traffic around 12:45pm. Parking $5/car on the athletic field at Anchors Way and Main St.: [email protected]; 703-328-6669.

 

Annapolis Parade

6:30pm down West Street from Amos Garrett Blvd., around Church Circle, down Main Street, then on Randall Street to Market House: www.annapolis.gov.

They're convenient, can be planted early and give higher yields

    If your soil does not drain well and gardening is in your blood, you should build raised beds. If your land is sloping severely, terraces  will help prevent erosion. Terraces are essentially raised beds using existing soil,  and are quite common in many Asian countries and in South America.
    For beds used exclusively for growing flowers or fruit, the walls can be built of almost any type of material. However, if the raised beds are to be used for growing root crops and greens, avoid using lumber treated with copper chromium arsenate. The arsenate in the wood moves into the soil, where it can be absorbed by roots and translocated into leaves of plants. There is no evidence that it will translocate into fruit or seeds.
    Wood treated only with micronized copper can safely be used for building raised beds. Copper is an essential plant nutrient. Other species of wood that can be used without chemical treatment are redwood and cedar. The fibers in these species are composed primarily of lignins, making them rot-resistant. However, they will rot in time. Lining the inside walls with four- to six-millimeter polyethylene sheeting, to minimize soil contact, will increase their useful life.
    A Bay Weekly reader recently told me he built his raised beds with four- and six-inch-diameter black locust logs. Dry black locust is used by cattle farmers for fence posts because it resists rot for at least 40 years. This reader built his walls three logs deep and secured them by drilling three-quarter-inch-diameter holes and pounding rebar through the logs into the ground.
    Cement board and cement blocks can also be used for building raised beds.
    If the raised beds are to be used for growing flowering plants, greens and small fruit, they need only be eight to 10 inches deep. Root crops need a depth of 14 to 16 inches.
    A common mistake in filling raised beds is using potting mixes. Most potting mixes are extremely high in organic matter, and their volume shrinks rapidly. The cellulose and hemicellulose in the organic matter oxidize and are digested by microorganisms, causing shrinkage. Another drawback of organic matter is its inability to retain water and nutrients, thus making it necessary to water and fertilize frequently.
    Raised beds should be filled only with sandy loam soil. To drain well, the soil should contain a minimum of 60 percent sand and not exceed 15 percent clay. The remaining components will be silt and organic matter. Organic matter can always be added by incorporating compost into the top four to six inches prior to planting.
    If you have a choice, purchase a manufactured soil containing 65 percent sand, 15 percent clay, 12 percent silt and eight percent organic matter. For soil for growing vegetables, flowers and most small fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries specify a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.  For growing blueberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, andromeda and the like, specify a pH not to exceed 5.0.
    Raised beds can be planted earlier due to warmer soils and offer higher yields per square foot. It’s also easy to use plastic mulch to control weeds and to conserve moisture in raised beds. Design them three to four feet wide, and the center will accommodate most mulching-grade plastics and can easily be reached from either side. Raised beds will also make you do less bending.

Ask The Bay Gardener your questions at [email protected] Include your name and address.
 

How could losing 147 million sooks be healthy?

    Good news is scarce these days, so I was relieved when I saw Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ results of the 2018 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey.
    But I did a double-take when I read in the report,  “Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Population Healthy.”
    I was confused. Expecting to see the basis for the claims of health, I came upon the revelation of a 42 percent plunge in spawning female numbers. Wasn’t that seriously unhealthy?
    When, for the first time ever last year, the number of females reached the target level for healthy species reproduction, DNR celebrated. What had changed in a year? Wasn’t female abundance important any more? Aren’t spawning females key to growing and maintaining the overall population? How could losing 147 million sooks be a positive health indicator?
    Next I read that adult crabs were decreasing, too. We’d lost 23 percent — that’s 84 million crabs — in a year. Claims for a healthy crab population seemed to be getting more spurious.
    I was momentarily heartened when I read of a 34 percent increase in juvenile recruitment — until I recalled that last year’s juvenile counts were in the basement. Thirty four percent might not amount to much.
    By now, I suspected not-so-good news was getting a rosy package— not suprisingly as this is an election year.
    I found myself seeing the report as one more troubling signal that the commercial fishery may again be gaining political sway over species consideration. Among earlier troubling signs was the abrupt firing of Brenda Davis, the respected and successful manager of the department’s blue crab program. Rumor was that she had rebuffed a handful of watermen demanding the legal size of blue crabs be lowered by a quarter of an inch.
    That firing sent shock waves through the department ranks, already nervous after the sacking of some effective and popular fisheries program managers the past two years, again allegedly due to commercial displeasure.
    Then came the kicker. As I prepared a final draft of this column, the department published the annual Female Hard Crab Catch Limits for commercial crabbing based on the results of the 2017-2018 Winter Dredge Survey.
    Comparing these limits to last year’s, I hoped to see a reduction in female harvest numbers reflecting the severe winter mortalities. Yet this year’s limits were the same as last year’s — despite that 42 percent population drop. Yes, changes could come later in the season, post October 31 — just at the onset of cold weather, which is never easy on crabs.
    Arguably, but just barely, crabs could absorb another year of these now highly optimistic harvest limits. Unless, that is, we have another poor spawn or another severe winter. In that case, our beloved blue crabs may slip back into crisis, as they so often have. But the elections will be over by then.

Killing AA Co's polystyrene ban puts us there

    Here in Chesapeake Country, we spend a lot of time living in the past.
    We celebrate our heritage not just back to 1634, when Lord Baltimore’s colonists sailed in to stay, but all the way back to native times. We love our historic buildings, tracing many back to those heroic days of Independence we celebrate this week. We retrace historic footsteps along the Capt. John Smith and Star-Spangled Banner trails.
    We say we try to preserve what’s best about our past as the foundation on which we build our future.
    We’re even acknowledging the sins of our past. Grappling with the monumental wrong with our slave-holding heritage, we’ve erected new monuments of reconciliation — the Alex Haley Passage — and recognition — the Thurgood Marshall statuary grouping.
    We say we reckon with the mistakes of our past so we can do better in the future.
    So in many ways we’re reckoning with the past rather than living there.
    This week, however, Anne Arundel County pretended that it’s cheaper to live in the past than reckon with the future. County Executive Steve Schuh joined the Anne Arundel County School Board in voting for our right to bury ourselves in an avalanche of polystyrene. That’s the ubiquitous and virtually indestructible synthetic hydrocarbon polymer we love to serve our food and drink in.
    Yuck!
    It’s bad enough that polystyrene makes an unappetizing plate and cup. It’s way worse that the brittle stuff is virtually indestructible except by fire. It breaks down, yes, but into ever-smaller particles that are now omnipresent in human fatty tissue and high-ranking as litter in oceans and on beaches.
    Our counties don’t recycle polystyrene. In other words, almost every bit of it is trash. Yet billions of pounds are produced every year — and that’s in America alone.
    So the Anne Arundel County Council had come down on the right side of environmental history when it banned polystyrene earlier this month. Our Council of seven pretty average Americans — men not too rich or too poor, mostly not flaming liberals or die-hard conservatives — decided by a vote of four to three that we’d contributed enough to the mountains of eternal waste under which we’re burying our beautiful Maryland.
    They voted to ban the use of polystyrene as food containers starting in 2020, giving restaurants and quick stops plenty of time to use up their stock.
    In doing so, they overruled the penny-wise-pound-foolish opposition of business and industry lobbyists, and even our own public schools, who’d argued that they just couldn’t afford to do the right thing.
    Apparently our education leaders don’t trust the students in their charge to be smart or inventive enough to devise a better cup or carry-out container.
    Perhaps the four councilmen on the right side of history had compared, to our disadvantage, our legacy of non-biodegradable white foam to the Indians’ oyster shell middens. Perhaps they were feeling shock waves from China, which has had enough at any price of being the world’s dump. Perhaps they just thought we, who are so proud of our past, can do better by our future than bury it under trash.
    The District of Columbia already made that move in 2015. Baltimore followed this year. Annapolis is considering the same resolution. Juisdictions like those, including many in California, are recognizing that we undercut our future by living short-term on the cheap.
    Now Steve Schuh — a county executive who prides himself on looking out for Anne Arundel’s future — has made just that cut. Instead of leading us into a sustainable future, he has pretended we can still live in a heedless past.
    In terms of managing the waste we make, we’re getting more leadership from Ronald McDonald. ­McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, will end its use of polystyrene by the end of this year — globally.
    Here at home, maybe you can get your own favorite restaurants to do the same.
    Maybe you can convince Mr. Schuh to move Anne Arundel County from the past into the future. If not, you can send him your message on November 6.


Sandra Olivetti Martin, Editor and publisher
email [email protected], www.sandraolivettimartin.com

Your guide to fireworks, parades and celebrations

Friday June 29

Historic St. Mary’s Fireworks: Pyrotechnics follow Chesapeake Orchestra’s birthday concert in honor of Leonard Bernstein, with music of Sousa, Tchaikovsky and more. Bring lawn seating and a picnic or buy from food trucks. Arrive early at this thronged summer favorite. 7pm, Townhouse Green, St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s City: www.chesapeakeorchestra.org.

 

Saturday, June 30

Chesapeake Beach Fireworks go up from two barges anchored beyond the town jetties, visible from the water and from land along the Bayfront from as far south as Willow Beach to north of North Beach. Watch the 25-minute spectacular from North Beach Boardwalk; at Rod ‘N’ Reel, where Split 2nd performs 5-9pm; on water onboard the Miss Lizzy (8pm, Chesapeake Beach Resort, $35, rsvp: www.cbresortspa.ticketleap.com); or take in the view from Chesapeake Beach Water Park (www.chesapeakebeachwaterpark.com). Fireworks 9pm, Chesapeake Beach: www.chesapeake-beach.md.us.

St. Michael’s Fireworks: The Shades of Blue Orchestra plays at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (7-10pm) for Big Band Night and St. Michaels’ fireworks. The orchestra performs at the historic Tolchester Beach Bandstand with dancing under the tent, and fireworks beginning at dusk over the Miles River (rain date July 1). Bring chairs, picnic blankets, food and drinks, but leave non-service dogs at home. Food, ice cream and non-alcoholic beverages sold; sponsored by Eastern Shore Tents & Events: www.cbmm.org/bigband.

 

Tuesday July 3

Sherwood Forest Fireworks: See this private community show from the Severn River from your boat. Or book on the Harbor Queen, with light snacks and cash bar. 7:30-10:30pm from Annapolis City Docks, $50 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com.

Herrington Harbour Fireworks: Fireworks set off from a barge illuminate Herring Bay. Marina grounds are reserved for members. But the view is great from boats, private docks, lawns or beaches. About 9:15pm, Herrington Harbour South, Rose Haven: www.herringtonharbour.com.

 

Wednesday, July 4

Baysox Fireworks: With an extended finale follow the Bowie Baysox baseball game against the Harrisburg Senators; rsvp for barbecue picnic buffet ($40 w/discounts). Picnic 5:30pm, game 6:35pm, Prince George’s Stadium, game tickets $7-$17, rsvp: www.baysox.com.

Annapolis Fireworks rise from a barge anchored in Spa Creek, illuminating Annapolis Harbor. Spa Creek Bridge closes to traffic at 6pm and local garages may fill up early; $1 shuttles run from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to Lawyers Mall 5pm-midnight. Town and water views including from the Harbor Queen (7:30-10:30pm, Annapolis City Dock, $55 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com) or Schooner Woodwind (6:30-10pm, Annapolis Waterfront Hotel dock, $89 w/discounts, rsvp: www.schoonerwoodwind.com ): 9pm over the Severn River: 410-293-2291. 

Solomons Fireworks shoot from a barge anchored in the Patuxent River, giving the entire island — plus boaters — front row seats. Arrive early for the boat parade (noon); stay to stroll the Riverwalk and see the town. Rsvp by June 30 to watch aboard the Wm. B. Tennison on a Calvert Marine Museum cruise (8pm,  $35: 410-326-2042, x41). 9pm, Solomons: 443-324-8235.

Greater Baltimore’s Fourth of July fireworks illuminate the Inner Harbor, where the fun starts with the Commodores U.S. Navy Jazz Ensemble playing at the amphitheater (7pm). Come early for a heightened view on land or water, watch from the Top of the World observation floor, World Trade Center ($50 w/discounts, rsvp: 410-837-8439) or from a Watermark yacht (8-11pm, $59 w/discounts, rsvp: www.watermarkjourney.com) or on the Spirit of Baltimore (7-10:30pm, Inner Harbor, $115-$200, rsvp: www.spiritcruises.com). Fireworks begin 9:30pm over Inner Harbor, Baltimore: www.promotionandarts.org.

Washington, D.C. Fireworks: Celebrate America with high drama, music and special effects as the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery blasts cannons as fireworks burst over the capital. Tens of thousands of celebrants gather early on the National Mall for the National Symphony Orchestra’s annual concert (8pm). The nation’s capital begins the day at 11:45am with the Independence Day parade down Constitution Ave. and 7th St., traveling toward the Lincoln Memorial. Prime views include the Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and the Ellipse: 9:09pm on the National Mall: www.nps.gov/foju. 

 

Saturday, July 7

Laurel Fireworks: Arrive early for parade (11am), then visit food and craft vendors, a classic car show, hot-dog eating contest and field events; Oracle plays music. Then settle in for fireworks set to music shot from the far side of Laurel Lakes. 9:15pm at Granville Gude Park (Laurel Lakes), 8300 Mulberry St., Laurel: www.laurel4th.org.

Some plants want one, some the other

Anybody can shear plants, but not everybody can prune plants properly. Black and Decker, Stihl, Echo and other manufacturers of hedge clippers have caused many landscapes to look alike. Foundation plantings are shaped into cones, balls, cylinders or squares. Sheared plants lose their identity and begin to look alike regardless of species.

Pruning, on the other hand, helps plants exhibit their most desirable attributes. Spring-flowering plants like forsythia, weigela, spirea, viburnums and strawberry bush and summer-flowering plants such as roses, crape myrtle and hibiscus benefit from proper pruning.

Properly pruned forsythia, spirea and weigela should resemble fountains when in bloom. This characteristic can only be achieved by selectively removing the older stems near the ground and allowing only strong, healthy brownish-green stems to grow and arch. When pruned immediately after petals have fallen, the new stems will be covered with large flower buds that will burst open next spring. Properly pruned, these plants will develop stems four to six feet long in one growing season. They will need tending only once during the year. If you are shearing, you must do so almost monthly, if not more often.

With regards to viburnums and strawberry bush, you need only to prune out crossing branches and branches that are detracting from the appearance of the plant. Shearing these species removes most of the flowers.

Woody species that are adapted to shearing include azaleas, camellias, fir, hollies, junipers, pine, privet and yews. When shearing, shape the plant so it is narrower at the top and broader at the bottom. When the top of the plant is broader than the bottom, the bottom leaves are shaded out, leaving the lower part of the plant bare.

Allow an inch or more of current seasonal growth to remain on the plant. Shearing away all new growth, especially on older plants, results in individual small branches turning brown and dying.

Do not shear azaleas or camellias after mid-July. Flower bud initiation for these species begins in mid-August, so shearing in late July and August will result in fewer flowers the following spring. Flower bud initiation occurs only on young, vigorous-growing new shoots.

Heavily shearing junipers often results in plants becoming infested with spider mites. To avoid this problem, shear only once a year. Most species of junipers will generate two flushes of growth each year. The first flush generally ends in late June, and the second generally does not begin until mid-July. Delay shearing until the beginning of the second flush of growth.

Soon after you notice new light-colored growth at the ends of the branches, begin shearing. This will allow the plant to develop a feathery appearance and will minimize conditions favorable for spider mites.

Do not shear pine or spruce until the needles of the new growth are at least half the length of mature needles. Shearing these species too early will result in breaking many of the new branches.

When pruning and cutting roses, pay attention to leaf patterns. The leaves on roses have either three or five leaflets. If you examine the stem, you will notice that the leaves just below the flower buds have only three leaflets followed by several leaves with five leaflets. To promote the development of strong stems, always cut the stem above the bottom five-leaflet leaf.  The vegetative bud in the axis of the five-leaflet leaf is always larger than the vegetative bud in the axis of the three-leaflet leaf, resulting in stronger and longer stems.

Never prune or shear boxwood plants. The disease that causes boxwood decline is easily spread from plant to plant on the blade of pruning shears and hedge clippers. Boxwoods are best pruned by breaking stems on a cold winter day.

 

Ask The Bay Gardener your questions at [email protected] Include your name and address.

The true music of nature is silence

One evening several years ago, when the Chesapeake had experienced a generous influx of gray trout (weakfish), I found a school outside the mouth of a small tributary south of the Magothy. It was just after dark, the tide was falling and the fish were positioned a long cast from the inlet to intercept the baitfish, shrimp and small crabs being carried out by the tidal current.

Throwing a black Clouser minnow on an eight-weight rod with floating line, I was letting the weighted fly sink and swing across the current along the channel cut. On every third or fourth cast, just as the line straightened below me, a fish would gently take the fly and I would set the hook. 

They were nice fish up to 23 inches. The fish fights were often extended, uncertain affairs as seatrout are known for their delicate mouth structure. Avoiding putting too much strain on them was a perfect application for the long and supple fly rod.

Anchored close and off one side of the inlet, I was fishing out of a small 14-foot aluminum skiff that I had modified with flush fore and aft deck areas suitable for fly casting. It was a handy little boat with one drawback: Its thin metal hull could be noisy.

I was very careful moving about, and if I did make a noise, I would wait long minutes before resuming any activity. It was a lovely, calm night, and the waters were extremely flat.

During that particular evening, it was so quiet I could make out the distant croaking that the seatrout — members of the drum family — often make underwater when feeding in schools.

Bringing a particularly heavy specimen on board, I rapped it between the eyes with the weighty end of an aluminum flashlight. It quivered and stiffened. Assured it was sufficiently stunned, I slid it into the ice in my cooler.

Giving the night a few minutes to settle, I once again took my place on the stern casting deck. I had just missed a strike on my last cast when a violent thumping and rattling broke out from amidships. Apparently my seatrout had regained consciousness.

The sound in the still of that evening was loud and raucous, and despite the fact that I waited a number of minutes before resuming my casting, the bite was over and done. The school of fish had fled the area and did not return that night.

The lesson of that evening often comes into mind as I’m fishing. Fish have acute hearing and depend on it to keep them safe. Sound beneath the waves travels five times faster than it does above. Being a thousand times denser than air, water is also an ideal medium for propagation. Sound travels farther, much farther, underwater than above. And fish hear it all clearly.

The Chesapeake’s excellent angling makes it easy to forget that noise discipline is an important factor in fishing success. Sure, some anglers catch fish with their engines running, rock and roll blasting and themselves exuberant. But the smarter, bigger fish have most likely already vacated the area. That’s a fact to keep in mind.