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The Chesapeake Bay Boat Show has a soft place in its heart when it comes to fishing. Fisherman's Row is a separate section, kind of a show within a show at this, Baltimore's largest boat show.

Fishermen's Row concentrates many of the fishing-oriented exhibits into one area. You might consider it a day-care center for fishermen who visit the show. You need not search throughout the Baltimore Convention Center and Festival Hall, most of the good stuff is all together in Fisherman's Row.

In addition to the commercial exhibits, the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show has installed an anglers information center at this year's show. The information booth will be staffed by bass fishing guide and author Ken Penrod. Penrod is the ramrod of a fishing guide service called Outdoor Life Unlimited Service. He employs more than a dozen guides, who run over 1,000 fishing trips annually.

Penrod also has writtentwo books and currently is working on another. His "Fishing the Tidal Potomac" and "Upper Potomac Fishing" are available. His new book, "Tidewater Bass Fishing," will be released next month.

In addition to all of the above, Penrod is also a field representative for Lorance Electronics, maker of the finest depth finders available for the recreational fishermen.

Matter of fact, had it not been for Penrod, my rockfish season would not have been nearly as successful as it was. He was able to reach into his bag of tricks and solve a serious technical problem that was plaguing me at the time. On top of all of these great things, Penrod is a very kind and gentle man. You will enjoytalking with him.

The fishing information booth also will cover fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and out of Ocean City. The booth will beopen through all show hours, with Penrod and guides Bob Donyor and Charlie Baden present full time.

Donyor specializes in the Potomac,Patuxent and Lake Anna; Baden specializes in the James River, Potomac River and Chickahominy Creek. Other special guests today are: Ritchie Gaines on the Patuxent and Potomac rivers and the Chesapeake Bay; Bob Troupe on the Eastern Shore and the Potomac River.

Tomorrow, the guest speakers are: Bill Glofelty on the James and Potomac rivers.Tuesday: Dean Atchley on the Potomac River, Buggs Island and Lake Gaston. Wednesday: Steve Folkee on the Upper Chesapeake, Northeast River and Susquehanna Flats. Thursday: Larry Dixon on the Potomac, Nanticoke and Choptank rivers. Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Gaines and Troupe on the Patuxent and Potomac rivers.

I've had two queries this week on selecting the best all-around boat for the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. One of them doesn't really count because the individual was interested in water skiing and family cruising. He said he didn'tfish that much.

I think we all have found that the best all-around boat is a compromise. Few of us can afford the ultimate boat or boats. You might be interested in a sleek center console where your wifewants a few more creature comforts than a green plastic bucket.

The result, unless you are into pain and divorce court, is a compromise that will give you a craft with some fishing space and some space for milady. The amount of space is dependent on available money and common sense.

If it is your first boat, it will be a learning experience. Your second and third boats will be much closer to your ultimate all-around boat.

The Chesapeake Bay Boat Show is a very good place to select your first, second and third boat. You have a wide selection of boats and dealers to satisfy your boating requirements.

One final point; selecting a dealer can be just as important as selecting your boat. There may come a time when you need warranty service. How ready, willing and able is your potential dealer to satisfy this requirement? Do a little homework on your potential dealer.

The Chesapeake Bay Boat Show runs through next Sunday. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, 5 to 10 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m Saturday. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children.

Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.

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