Chesapeake Outdoors
All an Outdoorsman Wants for Christmas
By C.D. Dollar

My esteemed editor's generosity knows no bounds. She not only agreed to print my 'wish list' for this holiday season, but she has offered to pick up the tab for my satchel of contraband. Is she great or what? In the spirit of the season, I have taken some liberties with this list. Some are tangible and others are, well, less than tangible. So many goodies, so little time.

· A year supply of chew toys for Huck, the newest addition to our canine family. A rambunctious Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy, he has mistaken our pointer Finn's ears for the highly desirable pigs' ears.

· Adoption of a slot program for size limits for the rockfish fishery by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. It will work and will ensure stability of future stocks.

· A clue for Virginia. Hello, McFly? It's time to move forward with the rest of the Bay states, Virginia, and pass an effective nontidal wetlands protection program. With federal regulations weakened by that nonsensical and Grinch-like decision known as the "Tulloch loophole," it is crucial that all key Bay states have both tidal and nontidal wetland protection.

· For Gov. Parris Glendening, a two-million candlelight power spotlight so that he may finally see the light and expose Site 104 for what it really is: A bad plan that is out of step with all efforts to clean up the Bay.

· A new 14-weight fly rod (St. Croix, Sage or G. Loomis; I am not picky) with an Abel reel to match so I can chase tuna and sailfish offshore. (Sandra, they sell these outfits at the better outdoor and tackle stores around the area or through the higher end fly-fishing magazines.)

· A Benelli Nova 12-gauge shotgun. (Sandra, several area outdoors stores either stock this gift or can order it for you.)

· A quality pair of binoculars (10 x 50 at least) to get a closeup view of tundra swans. I have seen them in three different habitats in the last two weeks: on the Patuxent River; a large farm pond on Maryland's Eastern Shore; and on Tangier Sound eating the sprouting eel grass. What a magnificent bird!

· More money for underwater grass restoration. Currently, the Bay has only about 12 percent of its historic acreage left. Thank you, Gov. Glendening, for your pledge of an additional $25 million for oyster restoration. Now how about some cash for SAV?

· Four or five books about natural history, fishing and history of the Bay and the Civil War.

· A real Bay-wide restoration and protection plan from the Bay Program that tackles the tough issues of land use and sprawl and that has specific and realistic goals to improve the Bay's health.

· A Si-Tex ProFish III or similar sounder that distinguishes between sea trout and a log on the bottom at 60 feet.

· Full complement of jig and fly-tying materials in an assortment of colors: hackles, bucktail, Crystal Flash, Flashabou and variety of eyes.

· Patience for my fellow boaters, even those from landlocked Pennsylvania or Illinois. Better yet, free boater safety courses for those in need.

What's that you say? Programs like this already exist? Then a dose of common sense for inexperienced boaters so they realize that they need to take them.

· A 14-foot jonboat with a 15hp four-stroke Suzuki (or Honda, OMC, Mercury or Yamaha. I'm flexible). If Sandra buys me this, I pledge to you, fine reader, that I will research the shallow marsh guts and small backwaters to bring you the most comprehensive look at our natural capital. At the very least, I'd have a great time trying.

· Increased protection of existing wetlands and forests, more restoration of impaired wetlands and increased forested buffer plantings to give habitat for the tens of millions of wildfowl, waterfowl, and song birds that migrate through Chesapeake Country every year.

· Last, a liturgy of wishes: A cold beer on a hot day, a warm fire on a cold night, hard strikes and tight lines, graceful tolls by beautiful birds to our decoy spread, quiet and remote waters for a tranquil paddle and lots of friends to share the splendor of the greatest natural gift of all: Chesapeake Bay.

| Issue 50 |

Volume VII Number 50
December 16-22, 1999
New Bay Times

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