Restrictions in place for Whitbread restart Coast Guard sets up exclusion zone for boats


The Whitbread Round the World Race leaves Maryland today after a 12-day stopover in Baltimore and Annapolis, and boaters should be aware of restrictions posed by the restart.

The race will resume at 1: 45 p.m. today just north of the Bay Bridge, and it is expected to draw as many as 6,000 spectator boats as well as tens of thousands of spectators at Sandy Point State Park and on the Bay Bridge. The restart coincides with the annual Bay Bridge Walk.

The Coast Guard has closed a 1-mile by 7-mile zone of the bay from Sandy Point to Thomas Point from 10 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. for the restart. Boating traffic will not be allowed to pass through the exclusion zone during those hours.

Annapolis Harbor and the Severn River will be closed to all traffic except official Whitbread vessels from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

DNR public meetings

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a series of public meetings this month to discuss proposed changes to non-tidal fishing regulations for 1999.

Proposed changes include establishing an upper boundary (Valley Mill Road) to the Little Falls put-and-take trout area and changing the lower boundary to the Gunpowder Falls put-and-take area (I-95 bridge).

The hearing schedule:

May 12: Visitors center, Cedarville Natural Resources Area, Prince George's County, 7 p.m.

May 13: The Rod Rack, 181 Thomas Johnson Dr., Frederick, 7 p.m.

May 14: Patapsco Valley State Park, Hollifield Headquarters, Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City, 7 p.m.

May 19: Frostburg State University, Louis Ort Library, Frostburg, 7 p.m.

May 20: Rising Sun Library, 111 Colonial Way, Rising Sun, Cecil County, 7 p.m.

May 21: Natural Resources Police Eastern Region Office, Routes 209 and 404, Hillsboro, Queen Anne's County, 7 p.m.

Spinnerbaits for spring bass

Jimmy Houston, two-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year and not coincidentally a big booster of Terminator Titanium Spinnerbaits, offers the following suggestions for spring bass fishing, when the largemouths are preparing for the spawn, spawning and during the post-spawn period:

When water temperatures range from 45 to 62 degrees, pre-spawn bass tend to be located toward the deeper side of potential spawning sites, often in 4 to 7 feet of water. During this time, they also are feeding heavily and have a preference for larger prey.

Houston says to take advantage of both location and feeding habits by fishing large, willow leaf-blade spinnerbaits with chartreuse and white skirts and an extra long trailer.

The large-profile spinnerbait is likely to draw more strikes from larger bass, he says.

Once bass are on the spawning beds, Houston says, the key is to cast to the bed rather than past it. A cast to the bed most likely will draw a defensive strike from a bass protecting its eggs.

Post-spawn bass often are found suspended a foot or two under the surface and close to cover. Here, again, Houston says, his choice is a half-ounce or three-quarter-ounce spinnerbait, but he replaces the willowleaf blade with a large, turtleback blade.

"There's no doubt the spinnerbait is my top tool for springtime bass fishing," said Houston. "For bass holding in cover, the attraction of a spinnerbait is something anglers should be taking advantage of right now."

White Marlin Open

The White Marlin Open, the highlight of the Ocean City offshore tournament season, will be held Aug. 3-7, and the pool of cash prizes is expected to be almost $1 million.

Baltimore angler Craig Dranbauer won the top prize last year, catching a 75 1/2 -pound white Marlin worth $366,000. John Brown of Broad Run, Va., took home the world-record payout of $413,000 for a 73 1/2 -pound white marlin caught during the 1996 tournament.

Prize categories include white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and shark. The entry fee is $750 per boat.

For more information, call 410-289-9229.

Pub Date: 5/03/98

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