This is the time of year when chumming becomes the preferred method of many Chesapeake Bay fishermen angling for rockfish, blues and sea trout, and Richard Novotny has come up with a new twist to an old idea.
Chumming is the process of baiting the water with fish oils and bits of flesh to attract fish, bringing them up current into the chum line where baited hooks await.
On charter boats, head boats and hardcore recreational fishing boats, alewives are fed into a grinder and spooned or ladled over the side steadily enough to entice the fish but not heavily enough to feed them.
In the heat of summer, being the chummer can be a thankless, smelly job -- until the fish begin to bite.
Novotny, executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association and a charter-boat captain, has a way to keep the smells and mess to a minimum and, given the right conditions of tide and current, the fishing at a maximum.
Take a five-gallon bucket and drill a series of quarter-inch holes in the sides and bottom. Tie a length of line to the bucket, leaving enough to tie off on a stern cleat.
Buy frozen or fresh chum, depending which is available at your tackle shop, and place it in the bucket once you are anchored at a suitable location, preferably up current from an edge or a series of humps that will hold fish. The chum will seep out through the holes in the bucket and create a chum line carrying over the edge or across the humps.
Francis Hughes Jr., of Baltimore, caught the largest rockfish in the recent Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association Spring Tournament -- and came in second to an angler from Falls Church, Va., who caught a fish of equal size.
According to tournament officials, Kenneth Studds checked in his 40 1/8 -inch striper at 3: 37 p.m. and Hughes checked his at 3: 52 p.m.
Under tournament rules, the first fish checked wins first prize.
Studds won $10,000 and Hughes took home $3,568.
Stuart Burgoon Sr., of Glen Burnie, took third place with a 40-inch striper worth $1,000, and Bruce Coulson, of Taylors Island, finished in fifth place but won $10,129, including skill-level prizes.
Bluefish -- 1. Fred Jordan, Lusby, 15.36 lbs., $1,000; 2. Mark Bystry, Fairfield, Conn., 14.01 (no cash prize); 3. Richard Jenkins, Pasadena, 13.77, $750; 4. Bill Mullinix, Pasadena, 13.50, $2,190.
Kids division -- 1. Amy Andercyk, Arnold; 2. Kevin Aley Jr., Brandywine; 3. Justin Hart, Upper Falls.
Catch and release -- Christopher Geyer, Silver Spring, 168 releases, $500; Timothy Mills, Federalsburg, 142 releases, $400; 3. Ronald Eversman, Germantown, 119 releases, $350.
Santa Maria Cup
Two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Betsy Alison heads the field of skippers entered for the Santa Maria Cup women's match racing championships to be held in Annapolis Wednesday through Sunday.
Alison, of Newport, R.I., won the competition last year.
The field for the Category II event also includes top-ranked Paula Lewin, of Bermuda; Marie Bjorling (No. 5), of Sweden; and Marie Klok (No. 7), of Denmark.
Cory Sertl, of Rochester, N.Y., who also is a former Yachtswoman of the Year; Jane Moon of the Cayman Islands; Sandy Grosvenor, of Eastport; and Karen Long, of Edgewater, complete the field.
The Department of Natural Resources again will offer its "Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs" program for ages 7-13 at a number of locations in the state in July and August.
Sessions run three hours a day Monday through Thursday during the weeks of July 6, 13, 20, 27 and August 3.
For registration information or to volunteer, call 410-260-8809.
Pub Date: 5/24/98