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Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle

For chumming, I’ve got my answer

     Casting out our four rigs baited with fresh menhaden chunks, we awaited the bite. This was the third phase of an opportune experiment. It happened some time ago during a red-hot rockfish chum bite that stretched from the Bay Bridge down past Tolley Point and lasted well over a month. The bite was so consistent for so long we knew it would end soon.

Don’t lose fish to tired old line

      As the 2019 fishing season begins, the most important thing you can do — aside from renewing your fishing license — is also the most affordable: replacing your fishing line. It is also the one thing most commonly ignored.

Yellow perch are staging in our rivers

      The first signs of an active yellow perch run showed last Saturday, February 16. Returning from an action-filled rabbit hunt in Dorchester County with Charles Rodney and his six hounds, we crossed over the many small bridges that span the crisscrossing branches of the Blackwater River.

Bundle up, pack a long rod and head to Sandy Point

      The first signs of the spring rockfish run come to Sandy Point and Matapeake parks. Surf rods, some of them 12 to 14 feet long, will be strung out, poised in rod holders along the pier and beaches. Bundled up in insulated winter coats and camouflaged hunting attire and settled in on aluminum lawn chairs, these anglers have found the cure for cabin fever.

The count has started: Get ready …

     You may not be able to wet a line in February, but you can immerse yourself in Maryland fishing shows.      Flyfishers won’t want to miss the 19th annual Lefty Kreh Tie Fest, put on by longtime conservation and fishing enthusiast Tony Friedrich. He has been gathering the who’s who among East Coast fly-fishing and fly-tying to share their knowledge, skills and love of the long-rod sport.

The ice is thick and the fish are ­biting at Deep Creek Lake 

    Got a mid-winter hankerin’ to tangle with a five-plus-pound walleye? How about a citation-sized yellow perch, crappie or bluegill? If that doesn’t tempt you, how about some big smallmouth and largemouth bass, trout or a fat winter pickerel?

The first fish of the year start ­moving in February

     Yes, I know temperatures have plunged into single digits lately. It’s best to consider these events as just the last freeze before the thaw.        The days are getting longer, and already a number of finned species are beginning to respond. February is only a week away, and that’s when yellow perch begin staging to ascend the tributaries to spawn. That’s a cause to rejoice.

Wildlife photographer Jack Turner captures nature’s hidden gems

      Many of Maryland’s hidden gems, its wild wetland birds and animals, are not-so-obvious treasures that few of us fully notice. Unless you’ve the fiery curiosity of youth coupled with the unusual desire to brave hungry mosquitoes, gnats and biting flies, you’ll usually be unaware of the many species of hawks, herons, owls, kingfishers, waterfowl and even the eagles that reside and flourish among the Chesapeake’s wetlands.

Being in shape is not an option for sportspeople; it’s a necessity

      As I walked down a row of cornstalks a half mile long and firmly grasping the seven-pound shotgun in my arms, my breath in the 10-degree air was coming a little harder with each step. I slowed my pace to keep abreast of my two partners, and we continued to push out that last narrow growth of corn, all that remained of a crop that was in the final stage of harvest. We strongly suspected a bunch of big ringneck pheasants were moving just in front of us.

Why hunters love the ancient sport

      Someone in our blind hissed, “Four coming in, right in front. ” We had been straining our eyes for almost an hour, peering out over a broad river for a sign of waterfowl, and now these had appeared as if from nowhere. My hand eased toward my long black Benelli leaning in its perch along the front of our hide.