The boat was running fine until, sure enough, Gary and Anna heard a lurching sound. The boat stopped. Gary thought it had broken down.

"We had to literally chuck the banana into the water," Anna said, giggling, "and we saved ourselves from blowing up or something — that's probably what would've eventually happened."

Anna fished so much that it pretty much consumed her summer. She passed up a trip to her grandmother's house because she wanted to catch her two species for the day. She tried to persuade her cousin, Joey, to fish with her, but he did so only once. Anna said that after that, he was probably afraid of being out-fished by a girl.

"We have to trick Joey into doing it," she said. "I don't know, maybe someday I'll say, 'Hey, Joey, my hands are broken, can you hold this for me?'"

When the summer finally came to a close and Anna returned to The Key School in Annapolis, she had done the improbable. With a little persistence and a little luck, she had moved into first place and won the first Youth Angler of the Year award.

Her reaction?

"I was like, 'What is happening? What is happening?'" she said, grinning.

This year's contest will begin April 21 and run concurrently with the striped bass catch-and-keep season, which ends Dec. 15. The MSSA also will hold one youth fishing seminar every month until then, including lessons on everything from fish biology to boating safety and a one-day trip aboard the Miss Chesapeake out of Chesapeake Beach. All events are free and open to the public.

This summer, Anna's goal is to catch a citation rockfish, which would be 40 inches long, and maybe a bigger flounder.

"I'm hoping our fishing's just fun this year," Gary said. "The fishing every day, as much as I like it, is a lot of fishing. I'm just hoping to do different species and have fun."

When asked whether this summer would be similar to her last, Anna's face lit up. She grinned, nodded her head and looked at her father. He smiled and looked back at her.

"We'll see."

MSSA Youth Fishing Seminar Series

Next topic: Fish Biology & Their Ecosystem

When: May 22, 6 p.m.

Where: Alltackle, 2062 Somerville Road, Annapolis

More information: For a complete schedule, go to or call the MSSA at 410-255-5535