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Regulars (Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle)

If you love Maryland wildlife, thank a hunter

I expected rancor, high emotion and fireworks. Who wouldn’t complain, years into a recession, at being targeted for a substantial hike in fees?
    What happened at last Saturday’s hunters’ roundtable was nothing of the kind.
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Fortune favors the relentless

The fish were big and fat: two limits of golden-yellow perch that barely fit into a large bucket. What a haul! Beautiful, healthy fish, most over 12 inches and a few that exceeded 14. Unfortunately they weren’t ours.
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But proposed registration increases need tweaking

Fishing and boating on Chesapeake Bay are among Maryland’s great attractions. But you’ve got to pay to play.
    The list of what needs doing is long and constant:

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February is the grand finale of the rabbit hunter’s year

Charles Rodney was poised precariously atop a low pile of downed tree toppings, matted with honeysuckle and woven through by sharp briars. The bright orange of his hunting shirt and hat made him visible through the thick undergrowth. He held his shotgun safely off to the side, and stomped the brush pile, first with one foot, then the other.
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After 143 years, it’s time to win this battle

At long last, Maryland’s commercial oyster industry is about to come under control of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Comprehensive recommendations like these are the only way to save that great public natural resource.
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Yellow perch are here

Daylight hours have been getting longer, yet most days, temperatures keep us in winter. But the yellow perch know that their springtime is here.
    Moving now into the deeper water of the tributaries, they are forming large schools and staging. Yellow perch are the earliest fish to spawn in the Tidewater, and their run is the first trumpet sounding the Bay’s piscatorial spring.
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Eat, drink, see movies and strengthen your skills

Ye gads it’s been a difficult winter!    
    Today it’s bitter cold and windy, and the long-range forecast looks like a lot more of the same, except for the charming likelihood of a few days of freezing rain. With two of my offspring still in college, there is no fiscal possibility of escaping to the tropics.
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Who can resist the water on a mild day?

January’s first Saturday afternoon was a beautiful time to be on the water. It was near 70 degrees, sunny, calm and the incoming tide was making up nicely. Drifting in my small skiff over a shell bottom at the mouth of the Magothy, I threaded a piece of worm on a size-two hook. The upper hook on my top and bottom rig already sported a small, wriggling bull minnow.

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Out with the old, in with the new

Winter has been kind to us. I said farewell to the old year drifting under the Bay Bridge in calm and temperate conditions, catching (and releasing) a few fat five-pound rockfish.
    Our weather was so unusually mild during the last of 2011 that the water temperatures in parts of the mid-Bay rose three degrees. Judging by the 10-day forecast, into January I can still hold off on winterizing my skiff.
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It was a mostly great year

The rockfish season this year was, on the whole, great. It didn’t start until June because spring was a three-month mix of heavy rains, high winds, muddy water and low temperatures. While that early scenario was disappointing for anglers, it was fantastic for the fish, because just about every species that reproduces in the Chesapeake had a very successful spawn.
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