Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week
These are the good times on Chesapeake Bay. We want rain to be the worst disaster to our precious months outdoors, in and on the water. So we’re delighted to take pointers from Boat U.S. on how to get the best out of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs through June 8.
Brush up on your fishing skills. Sure, you can learn a thing or two at www.BoatUSAngler.com (click on Angler How-To’s), as they suggest. But as a Bay Weekly reader you can do better: You’ve got Dennis Doyle’s Sporting Life and Bill Burton’s encyclopedic wisdom in your hands every week plus all their past columns in our archives at www.bayweekly.com.
Teach your kids how to measure a fish or crab. They’ll be impressed, and they won’t wind up in Natural Resources Police beat, with the morons who don’t know how to tell what’s legal and what’s not. Bill Burton’s column this week tells you not only how to measure a fish but also how to do it on computer.
Learn the right way to catch and release. Once upon a time, fishermen caught all they could, often far more than they needed. That’s one of the reasons so many of our fish are rarities rather than familiar neighbors. For many fish, it’s still fine to keep what the law allows and all you can eat. But to preserve threatened species, many fisheries in Maryland and across the nation are catch-and-release occasionally or exclusively.
Take a stranger to the Bay boating. After the water has enchanted them, hand them this week’s Bay Weekly and point to Al McKegg’s reflection, “Who Owns the Bay.” Other weeks, Alice Snively’s Gunk-Holin’ column will get them dreaming of more. Or send your friends to www.discoverboating.com or www.discoversailing.com for free DVDs on getting started in powerboating or sailing.
Keep safe on the water. All the stories we’ve been talking about have happy endings, and that’s how we want to keep it. You really don’t want to be featured in the story about somebody who fell overboard.
There are a lot of don’ts in avoiding that fate, and a couple of essential dos.
Don’t drink on the water. Don’t overload your boat, with people or equipment. Don’t go out on the water when the weather’s threatening. Don’t let that wonderful, carefree feeling you get on the water lull you into carelessness.
Do keep an eyes-peeled lookout, entering, on and leaving the water. And do wear a life jacket.
Wearing life jackets is the law for kids. One of Boat U.S.’s best services is its Foundation’s free Kids Life Jacket Loaner program. Borrow free child and youth life jackets for the day, afternoon or weekend at over 350 waterfront sites across the U.S. Find the one near you at www.BoatUS.com/foundation/LJLP.