I don't know about your neighborhood, but a walk around the countryside in my neck of the woods must be followed this summer with a careful body check for ticks.
Dr. Glen Needham of Ohio State University specializes in tick study and recently told me, "Adult ticks may live for several years without eating or drinking water. Their long life is due to a slow metabolism and an ability to suck moisture from air at high humidities."
Needham and I recently shared a chumline while fishing with a mutual friend, Ted Burns of Jessup, and he offered us tips on protecting ourselves from ticks and the diseases they may carry.
* Avoid tick areas by staying on paths or roads when feasible. "Ticks don't drop from trees. They most often get on you from vegetation that is at or below waist level," he said.
* Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and pants legs. "The light color allows you to see ticks more easily. Also, tuck the shirt into the pants and the pants into socks to prevent access to skin," he said.
* Use repellents containing 30-50 percent DEET.
* Do frequent tick checks.
* Pull ticks off immediately by grasping the head as closely as possible to the skin with a pair of tweezers, if possible.
Despite a documented rise in Lyme disease cases in Maryland this summer, especially on the Eastern Shore, Needham said that most ticks do not carry the disease.
Rockfish season recap
Just about everyone who spent time on the Chesapeake in June will admit that the month furnished a great striped bass (rockfish) season.
Anglers have been allowed to keep one 26-inch or larger rockfish daily during the season, which will conclude Tuesday. I managed to fish the mid-Bay area rather thoroughly, but preferred sticking around the area of Eastern Bay and the Choptank River from Cooks Point upstream to Cambridge.
For the most part, chumming was the most productive and effective method. After Tuesday's closure, striped bassing will be limited to catch and release until the fall season kicks off Sept. 1.
Throughout these hot summer days, cast to breaking schools with a fly-rod outfit or rattle-trap-type spinning lures. Be sure to bend hookbarbs or use barb-less hooks and handle the fish as little as possible.
Everyone is eligible to participate in Maryland's free Sportfishing Tournament. All fish must be registered at an official weigh station.
Anne Arundel County weigh stations are Angler's Sport Center, Annapolis; Bart's Sport World, Glen Burnie; South County Marine, Deale; C&EJ;'s Hunting & Fishing, Lothian; Fishbone's Bait & Tackle, Pasadena; Fish-n-Barrel, Pasadena; Happy Harbor Inn, Deale; Marty's Sporting Goods, Edgewater; On Target, Severn; Skipper's Pier, Deale; Cobe Sport & Marine Center, Pasadena; Warren's Bait Box, Glen Burnie.
Sample minimum sizes in the Chesapeake Bay Division include bluefish, 28 inches; croaker, 12 inches; flounder, 20 inches; Spanish mackerel, 18 inches; spotted seatrout, 20 inches.