Casting for news, some to throw back


It's bad news when the new pen stops writing before the packaging hits the waste can. Then you notice a little gummy tag on the side: "To revive ink, keep writing."

It doesn't say how long. Hope my laptop doesn't have that kind of sticker.

Keeper: It's nice to see that Baltimore made the Field and Stream list of best fishing cities, coming in at No. 19. The July issue picked Miami as the top urban spot, with San Diego runner-up. Charm City edged out Portland, Ore. Editors called Baltimore "a fishing mecca and part of the legendary Chesapeake Bay estuary system. A great local fishing access and fishing promotion system run by city parks."

Throwback: Good thing the magazine folks didn't wander a little farther down the bay and find Mill Creek in Arnold. Recent high bacteria counts forced health officers to close the waterway from its headwaters above U.S. 50 to where it empties near the Naval Academy. The most recent test, on Tuesday, came just after a downpour, so runoff is suspected. The creek was re-sampled Thursday, with results expected early this week. Folks who get splashed by Mill Creek water are being urged to wash body and clothes ... presumably not in Mill Creek water.

Keeper: Spiffy article about Lefty Kreh in the July edition of Saltwater Sportsman magazine (ditto the photo). The interview ends with a piece of sage advice from the 81-year-old casting master: "The best way to end a day of fishing is with a big fish." Hear, hear.

Throwback: If the state's "$1 Million Fishing Challenge," now in its fourth week, is such a big deal, how come the suits at Department of Natural Resources headquarters can't quickly update the winners' list on the Web site? The field biologists are busting their behinds to release tagged fish statewide and certify catches. The least the fourth-floor executive desk jockeys can do is process the information. On Thursday morning, the latest entry was still June 11. Keep the momentum going, gang.

Keeper: Upper bay fishermen, be on the lookout. Five more "Diamond Jim" rockfish were released Tuesday not far from the mouth of the Patapsco River as part of the state tournament. Those fish became eligible for an instant $25,000 at midnight last night and will remain so until midnight Friday. No one has caught one of the fish with the neon-green tags. From a promotional standpoint, a winner this weekend would be boffo.

Throwback: Perhaps the reason the DNR Web site is running results at a Stone Age-pace is because the top gun in the communications office was diverted Tuesday from his paying gig to baby-sit the governor's electric rate hearing. Can you say "Committee to Re-elect"?

Keeper: But once the public relations wheels started turning after a well-placed phone call Thursday evening, we learned that Dewayne Boswell of Severn caught four tagged largemouth bass at Howard County's Centennial Lake. Another local hot spot is Piney Run Reservoir in Carroll County, with three catches.

Throwback: Why do I find it hard to believe that if you or I fell off a boat in the Chesapeake Bay, three helicopters, an airplane, a sonar unit and an armada of taxpayer-funded boats would spend a week and a half looking for a body? Authorities insist they would. Who are they trying to fool?

Keeper: Home-field advantage was the charm during the Maryland Watermen's Association annual striped bass tournament in Rock Hall earlier this month. Winner of the $10,000 prize was David Lindsay of Rock Hall, with a fish that weighed 19.9 pounds and measured 35 3/4 inches. Willy Beck and J. Robert Colemen finished second and third, respectively. The event attracted 164 boats.

Throwback: Natural Resource magazine, a publication of DNR, is full of great photos and articles, ranging from the status of brook trout to how navigational aids in the bay are maintained. One quibble, though: Why is the cover photo of a sailboat from Virginia? What, we have a blow boat shortage here?

Keeper: Natural Resources Police doubled the size of its canine unit this month with the addition of "Bear" and "Blu." The two pooches and their handlers --Cpl. April Sharpeta and Officer Curt Dieterle, respectively -- received 400 hours of training in Florida. Bear will be stationed in Central Maryland and Blu will call Western Maryland home. Two other dogs and their handler are stationed on the Eastern Shore. The dogs will be used for search and rescue, anti-poaching operations and evidence recovery.

Throwback: The clock is running. Last week, members of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and its fundraising foundation signed a pledge to take someone out who has never fished to wet a line during the next 12 months. Mark this date on next year's calendar: June 22. We'll be checking to see who's been naughty and nice.

Keeper: Instead of a photo op and a rush to be "first-in-the-nation" to sign a hollow pledge, let's see those same lawmakers vote to put money into the DNR budget in place of forcing anglers and hunters to foot the bill for the agency through license fees.

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