Often, there exists an adversarial relationship between state regulators of natural resources and those of us who write about the great outdoors.
For example, I've had spells during which 90 percent of my columns about the state Department of Natural Resources activities were negative.
Either I've grown soft in recent years or the DNR has become moreresponsive to the needs of those who care about recreation and our natural resources. Sometimes DNR managers even discuss issues and actions with us and ask our opinions.
I was thus totally blown out of the water when I learned last Thursday that the DNR had secretly drafted and sent to the Administrative Executive Legislative Review Committee the most mindless emergency regulation I've ever heard of.
The AELR Committee is an oversight group of the General Assembly. One of its functions is to approve emergency regulations from the various state departments.
One of the AELR Committee aides -- who asked not to be identified -- asked whether I had heard about the eel regulation.
"What eel regulation?" I asked.
And he said: "08.02.05.01fDNR: Tidewater: Fish: Methods of Fishing in Tidal Waters: Use of Bait, the emergency regulation on the May 1991 Trophy Striped Bass Season."
Translated into English, that says the draft regulation would prohibit the use of eels in any tidal waters.
Anglers would be allowed to use only artificial lures in the area designated for striped bass fishing, that is, the main portion of the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Bay Bridge.
I'll grant you that the majority of anglers up our way will be primarily concerned with catching their creel limit of one trophy rockfish during the spring season. But down the bay, anglers may be more interested in chumming bluefish.
And what happensto the angler who gets lucky and catches his trophy? He may want to chum bluefish or bottom fish for white perch. This regulation would make such activities illegal. The whole thing is dumb.
There is no reason to prohibit the use of eels during this time of the year. Eels become effective in the summer when the fish pile up on the bottom; these fish will be cruising near the surface as they return to the ocean.
Whoever drafted this regulation knows only enough about fishing to make him or her dangerous. Had this regulation followed normal,rather than emergency, procedures, these points could have been raised by knowledgeable anglers during a public hearing.
However, unless a delegate or senator asks the AELR Committee for a hearing, the emergency regulation could be made law. For those of you who are on speaking terms with your lawmakers, please ask them to call a public hearing on this regulation.
And speaking of public hearings, the AELR Committee will sponsor one tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. on the May 1991 Trophy Striped Bass season.
The hearing will be in Room 120, where the House Judiciary Committee meets.
Check with the Legislative Reference folks at 841-3870 on any last-minute schedule changes.
The biologists say sufficient migrating striped bass stocks exist for a conservative season on these big fish.
Yet there are still those individuals who just know -- they don't say how they know -- but they just know we should not open the fishery.
Sometimes I don't understand!
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in TheAnne Arundel County Sun.