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Volume xviii, Issue 9 ~ March 4 - March 10, 2010

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Salving Winter's Wounds

The Eighth Annual Tie-Fest was a welcome antidote to the
oppressive winter weather

Imagine a room with not only the preeminent national stars of your favorite sport present but also the best area practitioners, outfitters, craftsmen, conservationists and writers. The Eighth Annual Tie-Fest at the Kent Island Yacht Club was just such a stellar event packed with angling enthusiasts.

Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics, Steve Farrar, Steve Silverio and Blane Cocklett plus other recognized masters of the art held forth on wide-ranging fly-fishing topics as well as giving free casting lessons and demonstrations in their areas of prowess. The very latest innovations in saltwater flies were omnipresent and impressive.

The Yacht Club is a modest-sized venue, and the many interested and interesting anglers that filled the rooms and circulated through the exhibits could not help but rub shoulders and converse with each other as well as the experts representing every area of the art of fly fishing.

The increasing crossover appeal of the long rod was even more evident this year with many fishers who normally engaged in conventional light-tackle fishing present and considering the myriad custom baitfish imitations for their own applications. A number of them were even considering taking up the artful sport as a new angling challenge.

Local tackle stores supporting the event offered especially tempting deals on fly tackle, fly-tying materials and spinning and casting equipment. Chesapeake light-tackle guides Gary Neitzey, Kevin Josenhans, Mark Galasso and Sarah Gardner and her husband Brian Horsely were booking future trips and spending time circulating and chatting with old friends and making new ones.

Organized by Tony Friedrich, the executive director of Coastal Conservation Association, the event was again sponsored by their Kent-Narrows Chapter. Lefty Kreh — the author, photographer, instructor and legendary pioneer promoter of saltwater fly angling — was there for his eighth consecutive visit and to celebrate his 85th birthday.

Bob Clouser, the creator of the famous Clouser Minnow fly pattern and master smallmouth bass guide, gave an extensive workshop on the fly-casting techniques for using his weighted streamers. The Clouser is widely recognized as the most popular and effective fly used in the salt as well as an excellent freshwater lure.

Fly rods were made available by St. Croix, Anglers Sport Center and Shore Tackle Custom Rods for any angler to try out on the club’s back lawn. Casting practice and informal instruction went on outside most of the day with many anglers benefiting from the expertise present.

Project Healing Waters (, the wonderful group that promotes taking wounded vets fishing, had a presence as well as Chesapeake Women Anglers (, Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware (, Trout Unlimited ( and, of course, The Coastal Conservation Association ( Collectively they are all dedicated to the angling art and conserving Maryland’s natural resources.

The sporting camaraderie at this event was a welcome antidote to the most oppressive winter weather I have ever experienced on the Tidewater and proof that the hope for spring is eternal with an angler, especially a fly angler.

Fish Are Coming

The yellow perch run has been slow in starting though the fish are well schooled in the deeper holes of the tributaries. A few warm days and a little rain should start them up into the headwaters soon. Pickerel fishing is possibly at its best now with the fish becoming more aggressive with the approaching yellow perch spawn as well as their own imminent procreation. Look for them moving up toward the headwaters along with the perch. In freshwater impoundments they will be moving into shallower waters around submerged brush and laydowns.

Crappie fishing will be hot in the near future as well. Look to submerged trees, brush and other structure along the shoreline. All of these fish will fall to a lip-hooked minnow on a small spoon or a shad dart retrieved slowly under a bobber. Grass shrimp are also excellent bait when available.

In Season

The snow goose conservation season is the only action open to hunters right now. Spring turkey season opens April 19 with the Junior Season opening two days earlier on April 17.

Conservation Notes

Excellent work by our Natural Resources Police has once again been frustrated by weak effort on the part of the State’s Attorney’s Office. Lawrence Ritchie Powley was charged with 116 counts of commercial striped bass fishing violations when he was caught red-handed in Dorchester County with rockfish illegally taken by pound nets. Though, reportedly, Mr. Powley’s arrest record was extensive over his 35 years as a commercial fisherman, the trial in St. Mary’s District Court resulted in a plea bargain with the State’s Attorney that reduced the charges to just 10 violations, a $2,500 fine and probation before judgment so the violations will not go on his record as convictions. The frequently arrested Mr. Powley is also a member of the Striped Bass Industry Workgroup advising Department of Natural Resources on striped-bass sustainability and commercial regulations and vice president of the Dorchester Seafood Producers Association. Comments on this one should go right to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s office at 800-811-8336.

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