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Outdoors commentary: A chance to learn from one of the best

Discover the secrets of finding and catching striped bass (rockfish) on the Chesapeake Bay. Learn how to locate stripers during the different seasons and all about the variety of techniques including trolling, chumming, live lining, and light tackle.Ever wonder which equipment is best or where to fish in which season? Learn how to set out your lines to troll and the best places and ways to catch large rockfish on light tackle.

Join Capt. Richie Gaines, who I have long considered one of the finest guides working within Maryland's borders and one of the acknowledged top light tackle guides on the bay, for this one-day seminar at the Chesapeake College in Wye Mills on March 16.

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Gaines has been featured in several national fishing magazines and television shows. The course is designed for beginning and experienced anglers. Bring a brown bag lunch. The course fee is $54. The hours for the class are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for registration. Contact Anne Slater at 410-827-5810 or email at

. I can strongly recommend this class to all anglers.

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St. Croix announces a great-looking crank bait rod

I like to fish with crankbaits when fishing for area largemouth bass, especially in the tidal Potomac river areas. For a number of years my stand-alone choice has been one of the crankbait series rods from G Loomis, but now it looks like they may have a serious competitor in the exciting new St. Croix Mojo bass Gklass Target Cranker that reportedly allows us to cast crankbaits spot on like a pro!

Seasoned crankbait anglers know a spot-on cast is truly the secret to bass catching success. It's all about lure whacking against wood at the waterline; a cast made up and under an overhanging branch so it can be ripped over a steep break riddled with rocks or cranked in like crazy alongside docks and cribs. Or squarebills bounced off underwater timber into narrow strike windows, like BASSMASTER Elite "finest cranker" James Niggemeyer. My favorite tidal Potomac bass guide, Dale Knupp, uses St. Croix rods like this one exclusively and is the single best bass angler I have ever shared a boat with!

After the strike and perfect lip-piercing set, the rod must allow the hooks and lure to stay put right where they belong - in the fish's mouth, not slinging back at your eye level after being ripped free during the jump or after a twisting bulldog battle.

According to St. Croix, all 17 models in the Mojo bass line up use 100 percent linear S-Glass blanks. They're perfect for for doing battle with a boisterous bronzeback, yet forgiving enough for when a fish takes a stab at a crank up close and personal. The secret, they say, is the unique S-Glass blank which is extremely lightweight and provides the moderate-action so critical when fishing treble hook lures like crankbaits. The rod carries a five-year warranty.

I really like the looks and feel of the Mojo Bass line, especially model No. MBGC610MM, a 6-foot-10-inch rod fitted with a Fuji ECS reel seat mated to a split-grip/premium grade cork handle with Flex Coat cure finish and thin-ring aluminum-oxide guides wrapped with nylon thread and priced at $110. Check these rods out!

Here comes the .17 Winchester Super Magnum

I can hardly contain my excitement for the new .17 Winchester Super magnum (WSM), a Totally new rimfire cartridge that leaves the popular .17 HMR in the dust! At 3,000 feet per second (fps), it is the fastest rimfire in the world and has 2½ times the down range energy of the .17 HMR and shoots 50 percent flatter with substantially reduced wind drift over the .17 HMR.

The new cartridge is 600 fps faster than the 17 HMR. The velocity with a 20-grain bullet is an astounding 3,000 fps. And the 25-grain bullet load clocks in at 2,500 fps, both substantially faster than the 17 HMR. Accordingly, both the 20 and 25 grain bullets, when zeroed at 100 yards, will impact .4 and .5 inches at 125 yards, respectively.

Winchester rates them as solid choices on varmints up to the size of large groundhogs and foxes to 175-200 yards. Initially,Winchester will chamber it in the great Model 1885 Low Wall. I expect other quality rimfire rifles, such as the CZ, Anschutz, Browning and Cooper to also be offered in this chambering. Winchester designed a totally new case fo this .17 WSM - not a version of the .22 magnum used by the .17 HMR. I predict it will be darn near perfect for area varmint use. I can't wait to get my mitts on one - hopefully a Cooper bolt action!

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