Chesapeake Outdoors
Acts on Credit
by C.D. Dollar

I must blame the slow fishing not on the tide (which wasn't running) or the weather (which was suffocating) but on another factor quite unforeseen.

Our tale starts at Truxton Park public boat ramp, where I met the brothers Colbeck for an evening fish. When I stepped out of my truck, I was met with a blast of heat equal to that of a pizza oven. The stifling heat was not enough to keep us from going after some croaker, but only just barely. Something else would take care of that.

As soon as I met my partners at the ramp, a man with sheepish look, worn out from a hard-luck day, asked me if I was the captain, to which I replied "depends on why you're asking." I wasn't and said as much, but that didn't seem to deter him. Turned out his engine quit and he needed a tow, though his vessel was a sailboat. Not wanting to upset the gentle balance of karma, we took him and his crew through the Eastport Bridge.

At the bridge, we had to wait until the bottom half of the hour when the tender let us through, a delay of 15 minutes on the falling tide. During that time, Kevin jumped aboard the sailboat to try to get the small outboard to turn over as I slalomed through mooring buoys.

Finally, the bridge parted; I gunned the engine slightly to get steerage to make the pass.

Suddenly, as the two spans were nearly vertical, a fire truck came screaming down Duke of Gloucester Street to a dead stop in the center of the bridge. Frantically, the tender reversed the gears to close the bridge as we - equally as frantic - changed course. When the drama subsided, the fire truck continued on its way.

The additional delay afforded us a chat with the other boaters. They boldly asked us to extend our service and take them to Back Creek. When we suggested that they raise a jib or reef a mainsail once through the bridge to take advantage of a slight westerly breeze, they looked at us as if we had told them we would have to remove their spleens before going any farther.

By now we had had enough. With all due 'props' to the gods that govern good deeds, it was time to fish or cut bait.

In the end, we compromised and agreed that they would raise a sail and we would take them out of Annapolis Harbor to Horn Point. Perhaps we shamed them a bit by calling into question their sailing acumen, but so be it.

As they thanked us for the tug and we wished them fair winds, I asked them the name of their vessel. Albatross came the reply. Go figure.

What about the fishing, you ask? In the limited time we had left, the tide went slack. We scored only a handful of undersized rockfish in the shallows of Tolley bar and a nice fat hardhead in the deeper water.

More importantly, perhaps, for towing those sailors we get good mojo points that I can add to the credit I got when I helped a broken-down waterman get back to Crisfield last month. Experience has taught me that you can never tell when you are going to need a line, so you give one even to a sailboat that doesn't like to sail.


Fish Are Biting

Overall, Bay fishing has been great for those anglers who put in the time. Spot, rockfish and croaker are plentiful and decent numbers of flounder are being reported. Also, a few bluefish and Spanish mackerel are beginning to appear, with more reports of cobia in pound nets near the Honga River.

Chummers working the areas around the Bay Bridge - Sandy Point and Love Point - score keepers, but it has been hit or miss for some anglers. Thomas Point and the edges off the West River are definitely worth a look.

To the east, Kent Narrows can produce rockfish on crab or drifted live fish.

Chester River has white perch galore, apparently, and Hacketts and Tolley points have nice croaker and white perch. The shell bottom and edges in Eastern Bay have spot and croaker, with the best fishing in the evening on crab baits or squid.

| Issue 27 |

Volume VII Number 27
July 8-14, 1999
New Bay Times

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