Chesapeake Outdoors
Hunting Dove a Lazy, Sunny Afternoon
by C.D. Dollar

Compared to opening day, this past Saturday's dove shoot was a little slow. Don't get me wrong: It was still a quality hunt. It is just that the September 1 hunt was exceptional, like the last three opening-day dove hunts I've been invited on by local guide Kevin Colbeck. This most recent opening day, 13 clients joined Kevin in a sunflower patch in the heart of Charles County for this pre-autumn ritual, and all walked away with spirits raised.

Dove season welcomes in the hunting season like a gracious host. A midday start, an idyllic setting and generally fast-paced action combine to make a September dove shoot special. True, on opening day more birds flew and the folks who hunted with Kevin had more action, but this last outing - perhaps the last I will make for doves this year - afforded its own magic. Kevin had already done the hard work, and those of us fortunate enough to gun with him reaped the benefits of his labor.

On a vibrant day in Southern Maryland, signs that the summer's devastating drought had taken its toll on his field were clear. Lack of rain also had beaten down the hundreds of acres of soybeans that bordered the patch.

The hunters assembled in varying degrees of attire. I find the dress code of the outdoorsman or woman, be they fisherman or hunter, interesting and often amusing. Some people look like they have sprung from the pages of Cabela's, others from Soldier of Fortune and still others from K-Mart. I've hunted with a guy who tromped around a dove field in worn-out leather boat shoes.

In addition to his regular clients, Kevin invited Craig Colerick and Ralph Riddle, both of Annapolis, plus his dad, Jim, and me. I have hunted with Craig, who has some good stories, and Ralph and I played high school lacrosse together.

After 15 minutes of idle chatter, Kevin placed us in strategic spots around the patch. Each hoped that his spot was the main flyway.

We got a planned late start, but that didn't matter because the birds hadn't shown up, either. To my mind, it seemed as if the birds were educated and avoided flying directly over the patch, which made for some interesting challenges for the shooters.

By late afternoon, however, things began to pick up, and we had ample opportunities to take game. Even the guy with loafers downed a bird or two.

When our day afield ended, we sat around sipping cool drinks and absorbing the pleasantly warm near-autumn evening. Trees and beans stretched as far as the eye could see. It was the perfect close to a long hot summer.

To hunt dove or waterfowl with Kevin Colbeck, call 410/991-1419.


Fish are Biting

Hurricane Floyd is threatening the Carolinas with the punching power of Floyd Patterson in his prime. Forecasts for our area expect us to experience the heavy rains from the outer bands of the hellacious storm as New Bay Times hits the stands on Thursday. Until whatever remains of Floyd blow through Chesapeake Country, all bets are off for predicting the fishing.

Joe Bruce, fly fisher and proprietor of The Fisherman's Edge, caught an 18-inch Spanish mackerel off Fort McHenry in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. He took the mack on a yellow-over-white Clouser minnow. Joe also reports that the lumps on Belvedere Shoals and edges and lumps in Chester River are holding rockfish.

After reports that the winds and strong currents and tides dispersed the breaking schools of rock and blues, earlier in the week it seemed breaking fish were reverting to earlier patterns. Willy Agee and Bart Jaeger took a few blues and hooked some undersized rockfish at the Bay Bridges on Rattle Traps and bucktails.

Eastern Bay had been picking back up, and the Poplar Island narrows was holding spot and croaker. Kent Narrows had been holding bigger rockfish, up to 24 inches, in the first couple days of this week. Puppy drum have been caught in the Patuxent River, and flounder, bluefish and croaker are being taken along Hooper's Island. Gas Docks and Cedar Point rip have produced some rockfish.

| Issue 37 |

Volume VII Number 37
September 16-22, 1999
New Bay Times

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