THB, Banditos, Wayward and more confirmed for Cosmic Cocktail!

Why wait? Crabs are plentiful, if small,...


Why wait? Crabs are plentiful, if small, and moving up bay

* Although not large, crabs are plentiful -- and they're quickly moving up the Chesapeake and into its tributaries. Larger ones will be available after a couple more sheddings, which should make late-summer activity super productive. But, why wait? Most crustaceans now available are of the legal minimum of 5 inches, point to point. Necks and other fatty chicken pieces are top bait choices whether used on ring traps, collapsible traps or hand lines.

Crabbers now do fairly well at Point Lookout State Park and at the Department of Natural Resources' Point Lookout Fishing Pier. Another good bet down that way is the long fishing pier at Scheible's Fishing Center at Wynne especially early and late in the day. It is possible frequently to scoop up swimmers working by within inches of the surface. There is no charge for use of the pier.

Probably, the best bet of all remains the Wye, where perch also are biting. Many upper bay tributaries also offer some crabbing now.

Calendar ...

* Today: Continuing through Sunday's finale is the nine-day Lightning Class World Sailing Championships in Annapolis. Headquarters at Severn Sailing Association, Eastport,

* Tomorrow: Fish 'til Midnight night at Downs Park, on the Chesapeake at Pasadena. Pre-registration required. Call 222-6230.

* Tomorrow: Free trailered boat Coast Guard Auxiliary spring safety checkup, 5 to 8 p.m., parking lot of BOAT/US Towson Marine Center, 6863 Loch Raven Blvd. Call 761-5901.

* Tomorrow: Evening trap shooting, 100 and 50 target events, 6 )) p.m., Carroll County Gun Club off Liberty Road. Also, evening shooting June 14, July 5 and 12. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.

* Saturday: Boating Fun Fest featuring boating exhibits, demonstrations and even a how-to-fix-it program, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sandy Point State Park. Call 974-3017.

* Saturday/Sunday: Trap shoots, 9 a.m., Metro Gun Club near Waldorf. Regular shoot Saturday; first annual Escaline Banks Memorial Shoot on Sunday. Call John Stevens, 679-4199.

Planning ahead ...

* June 15: Opening for fishing through Oct. 15, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 54-acre Cash Lake at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel. Shore or boat fishing free by permit only. Write Fishing Program, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel-Bowie Road, Laurel, Md. 20708. Random drawings will decide who fishes.

* June 15/16: Call 974-3771 to sign on for a weekend canoe trip along the Potomac out of Green Ridge State Forest. Experienced paddlers only; $60 covers canoe rentals, transportation and meals.

* July 8: Loch Raven bass guide John Hauserman will start a week-long fishing course on that reservoir for young and beginning anglers. Sessions will run three hours a day -- covering bass, crappies, carp and bluegills. A good hands-on approach to learning how to fish. Call 882-2307.

Names and places ...

* Still no decision on Maryland's fall rockfish dates, but an announcement is expected by the weekend for Virginia's season. Word is it will be a split affair of 31 days (Oct. 12-27 and Nov. 21-Dec. 5) with a limit of two a day. No decisions yet on minimum length.

* Army Engineers are raising the level of Jennings Randolph Lake, which is on the Potomac, shared by West Virginia and Maryland, and located near Bloomington. Fishing success is always best during and immediately after the filling stage, said Bernie Dowler of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

* The new headboat OC Princess out of Shantytown Pier, West Ocean City, has added nighttime bluefishing to its schedule, and has found 5- to 10-pounders about an hour's run offshore. She sails nightly Wednesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m., returning at 2 a.m. She also sails daily at 7 a.m. for sea bass and other bottom feeders, and on June 16 she will make her first overnight trip for sharks. Call 1-301-289-0926.

* John Pohlmeyer took a mako shark of 59 pounds, and said he lost one of twice that weight while fishing whole mackerel near the Jackspot off Ocean City. The mako run should continue through the month -- and a few blue sharks also have arrived.

* Maryland Fur Trappers Association continues to promote its industry; the latest strategy being the donation of a $7,500 full-length, red fox fur coat to the winner of the Miss Maryland Pageant June 22 (8 p.m.) at the Maryland Theater, Hagerstown. DNR is working with the group in publicizing the fur trade, and handouts will be available on trapping, furs, wildlife management, and river otter, said MFTA president Ron Leggett of Boonsboro. For ticket information, call 1-301-3500.

* Who says the fair sex isn't tough? Eileen Davis, who teaches bass fishing at Wallace College in Alabama, was struck with a kidney stone attack after the first day of the Producto Lures Georgia Invitational on Lake Seminole. She checked out of the hospital into a bass boat and went on to take 42.31 pounds of fish, the second best ever on the Bass'n Gals circuit. Immediately after the weigh-in she returned to the hospital.

Another lady angler, Liz Hogan of Okeechobee, Fla., took a 56-pound tarpon on 2-pound test line at Marathon, Fla. Nothing new for her; last year she got an IGFA world record 136-pound, 10-ounce striped marlin on 4-pound line in 90 minutes off Mexico.

* Short casts: To lessen chances of injuring or killing rockfish, only doughballs, scent baits, chicken livers and worms can be used when fishing from Conowingo Catwalk through Sept. 15 . . . Curt Gowdy has been named Fisherman of the Year by the

Sports Fishing Institute . . . Aberdeen artist Christopher White's acrylic painting of striped bass at spawning time won the 1992 Chesapeake Bay sportsfishing stamp design contest promoted by the DNR.

Question box ...

* Is there really any advantage to using more expensive beaded spinner hooks for spot and white perch? So asks Johnny Stowe of Annapolis, who complains he loses lots of rigs when bottom fishing for panfish.

Our answer: This has been argued for ages -- and will be for ages to come. This writer is in the beaded spinner camp, has been for years under the assumption that the flash of beads and spinner will catch a fish's eye, which helps attract it to the hook.

Yet, there have been many days when I have seen plain hooks score about as well. However, when the going is tough, I believe the ornaments on a rig work to the advantage of the angler -- and that includes in the surf. One thing is sure; colorful luminous spinners and beads don't lessen chances, so why not use them? There's not that much difference in cost.

Incidentally, when flounder fishing, dressed up hooks always outproduce plain hooks. No matter what the target bottom fish is, it's always best to have the bait near the bottom, and jiggled lightly periodically, and most important of all to have fresh bait.

Fish have highly developed senses of smell -- and stale baits can turn them off. Change baits every 15 minutes or so -- and always keep bait on ice -- and if cut up and left on a bait board, cover it with a wet rag.

* 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.

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