This is the time when white perch school well, especially on the lower ends of drop-offs. Scott Sewell, Calvert Bregel and I found them thick just inside the mouth of the Magothy -- and among them were some of 10 inches or more.
We took 40 keepers, and released more than 20 others, in just one long drift as time was running out after trying to locate blues by trolling. All our spoons would take just above and below the Bay Bridge were small rock, a few of which also struck inside the Magothy.
The only blue we got was one of a couple pounds that struck a piece of cut spot fished for perch. The cut spot, incidentally, seemed to take larger perch. Frozen spot is available in some tackle shops. Cut it into thin V-tailed strips and hook it only once on a small beaded spinner hook.
We also used bloodworms, which took both perch and small spot -- the latter providing us with fresh bait. Fishing was simple, all we did was drift a long stretch of water 18 feet deep, lightly jigging tandem bottom rigs on the bottom. As the weather gets colder, perch retreat to deeper waters, but there should be several more weeks of perch'n.
Tomorrow: Opening of the 20th annual Waterfowl Festival at Easton, which is expected to match last year's attendance of 18,000. Through the years, this affair has generated more than $2 million for waterfowl conservation projects.
The World Championship Goose Calling Contest starts Saturday at 7 p.m. at Easton High School with Middletown (Del.) guide Keith McGowan back to defend his title. Carver Jim Sprankle's Red River Rockets featuring three greenwing teal in flight will be the decoy centerpiece at Tidewater Inn. Thousands of decoys, hunting paraphernalia, wildlife art, and other outdoor items will be on exhibit, many for sale.
Hours tomorrow and Saturday are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8; $20 for all three days -- children under 14, free. Shuttlebus will run from Tred Avon Mall and Easton High School. Call 1-301-822-4567.
* Tomorrow: Opening of the first phase of the Delaware shotgun deer hunt, which continues through Nov. 17. The outlook is excellent. Last year hunters bagged a record 4,500 whitetails in Delaware, two-thirds of them bucks. The early Delaware duck, goose and snow goose seasons closed yesterday, but the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge snow goose shoot continues.
* Tomorrow: Close of the Maryland railbird season. You didn't miss much.
* Tomorrow: Hunting Seminar, 7 to 9 p.m., Oregon Ridge Nature Center; everything from wildlife management to hunting techniques and dressing game. Call 887-1815.
* Saturday: Last day of wild turkey season in the Western Zone. Hunting is good.
* Saturday: Ecology of winter waterbirds will be the topic of an 8 a.m. lecture at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Lothian. Reservations required. Also, 10 a.m. this day a Jug Bay marsh ecology canoe trip. Call 1-301-741-9330.
* Saturday/Sunday: Deer hunters, including muzzleloaders, can sight in their rifles -- with assistance from experts -- from 10 a.m. until dark at the range of Associated Gun Clubs of Maryland on Marriottsville Road at Wards Chapel Road, 3 1/2 miles west of Liberty Road, Randallstown. Another session is scheduled the following weekend. $3 donation requested.
* Monday: DNR public hearing, 7 p.m., Sykesville Middle School, Sykesville, concerning opening that portion of Patapsco State Park within Carroll County to deer hunting. Hunter spokesmen claim support for the plan is needed. Call George Maloney, president of Maryland Bowhunter Society, at 477-3717, or Brad Vosburgh at 1-301-848-4368, or 876-6595.
* Tuesday: Bike the NCRR Trail with Mountain Club of Maryland. Call 486-1787.
* Wednesday: Shooting should be fairly good for the opening of the Maryland Canada goose season.
* Next Thursday: Opening of Maryland rabbit, quail and pheasant seasons.
Names and places
At last, hunters won a round. The courts have given the green light for a special deer season at Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge in Fairfax, Va. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it was necessary to combat deer not only eating themselves out of house and home, but also the habitat needed for other wildlife. The Humane Society and others claimed hunting endangered eagles, humans -- and, of course, deer.
* Baltimoreans Rodney Rockwood and Hank Barker got their limit of two rockfish each in Virginia's season that opened Monday and continues through Dec. 5. Rockwood said their fish -- taken on white bucktails at the Middlegrounds -- were of about 20 inches. There weren't many other trollers in the area, but more than 35,000 anglers have applied for necessary permits. Call 1-804-247-2238 for permit info.
* Towson angler George Hermann used a large shiner to take a landlocked rock of 16 pounds at Liberty Reservoir. A week earlier he took took two of several pounds each on shiners.
* For the first time since its inception in 1934, a woman -- Nancy Howe of New Hampshire -- has won the federal duck stamp drawing. Both she and her art will be at the Waterfowl Festival.
cp,8.2,9 * Baltimorean Mike Hadwen says some of his hunting buddies have advised him to trade his 30-30 carbine for a more powerful rifle for deer hunting. "Should I?" asks Hadwen, who uses a 12-gauge shotgun and slugs.
Our answer: The 30-30 is adequate for most Maryland deer hunting. It packs enough wallop, is accurate at reasonable distances, and it's a pleasure to carry around because it's light. Though considered by many to be a brush gun, it's among the most popular, ranking with the 30-06, which costs $50 to $100 more.
I have both, but almost always choose the carbine because it's lighter -- and I'm primarily a walk-and-stop hunter. I recall only two instances in more than 40 years of going afield with a 30-30 that I spotted a deer too distant to take a reasonable shot with the smaller rifle that might have been tried with a more powerful one.
I hunt primarily forests, or mixed forests and fields or marshes. Unless you want to get involved in expensive scopes and long distance shots, don't be concerned about using a 30-30 -- it will do anything (and better than) your shotgun has done. Spend the money you save on a pair of quality hunting boots. Keep the shotgun. You might need it for shotgun-only counties closer to home.
* NOTE: To have an item or question included in the Outdoor Journal, write Bill Burton, The Evening Sun Sports Dept., 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.
Bill BURTON'S BEST BETS
UPPER POTOMAC: Hot for smallmouth bass on jigs.
* BELVEDERE SHOALS: White perch still on drop-offs near here.
* GARRETT COUNTY: Bow hunters find deer hunting con-
siderably improved with the leaves gone from the trees.
* EASTON: Waterfowl Festival this weekend. See Calendar.
* UPPER CHOPTANK: Largemouth bass'n upriver from Martinak State Park.