Consider it my Christmas gift to you that I abandoned several column ideas before meandering down this train of thought.
My initial plan was to do a mashup of the 12 Days of Christmas, Chesapeake style. Thankfully, I only got through three stanzas — 12 oysters a shuckin' — 11 teal a wheelin’ — 10 perch a bitin’ — before realizing it was a truly horrible idea, so cheerily it died a quick and merciful death.
I then toyed with launching an all-out assault on the new Administration’s troubling trend to gut decades long environment and conservation efforts. Specifically, ripping out the heart of the Chesapeake Bay Program. It seems bipartisan Congressional support has prevailed to restore the $73 million cut, yet threats remain to bedrock regional and national conservation initiatives, both integral to our basic hook and bullet pursuits. Our continued vigilance is essential.
And finally, I floated the prospect of a Good Ole Santa Bashing. I chalk that misstep to lack of sleep or not enough coffee, thinking a forensic takedown of the western world’s most Jolly a good idea. You gotta admit, however, there’s enough saccharine, sycophantic sentimentality wafting through your wassel to choke an elephant. A dose of reality is required on occasion. I also take exception to the hubris of this Red Jumpsuiter judging me naughty or nice. Nonetheless, I canned (OK, only kinda) my version of Festivus, which you may recall begins with the airing of grievances. Invented by the inestimable Frank Costanza, today it has reached new heights and enjoys year-round celebration thanks to our 45th president.
Which leads me, though not sure how, to reflect upon the just ended rockfish season that for me and many other many fishermen proved to be most excellent, right up until the very end. Since Thanksgiving, traveling anglers have launched out of Point Lookout, Crisfield and even Cape Charles to deck large stripers, while others stayed local and found quality rock. In the days leading up to the Dec. 20 deadline, a welcomed slug of big rockfish pulsed off Bloody Point and Thomas Point.
To wit, Annapolis angler Kevin Thomas, like many of us, scored quick limits in the waning days, jigging over live bottom. He also traveled south to Point Lookout, along with friends Kris Jones, Nick Long, and Joshua Swett, where they fished with Capt. Greg Shute, and although they “never got the slob (monster striper)…we managed to pull in plenty up to 31 inchers.”
Like many fishing families, 2017 brought many highlights for Jason Zagalsky and young sons Brian and Darin. They took first place in the CBangler Rockfish Challenge and also The Norm tournament, a “great end to their great season,” Jason said.
On the waterfowl front, it’s been pretty much game on for those hunting Canada geese. Several hunters have told me in recent days it’s more or less automatic to get your limit. Friday, a friend shared he and buddies had honkers perform righteous tolls to their water blind on the Chester River. Jimmy Bieler, son of Marty’s Bait & Tackle owner Jim Bieler, a great friend to this column, joined friends Jacob and Mark Lagana, and Kaylie Seabrease to take a limit of Canadas outside of Trappe. The upper Bay Flats is holding lots of ducks and geese, though puddle duck action in the marshes has been slower. Expect sea ducking to improve weekly, according to a couple guys who do that style of gunning regularly.
So there you have it, whatever that is. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, as well as a safe and joyful holiday as you pursue your outdoors fun. And let’s try to be kind to one another.
Jan. 3: Free State Fly Fishers meeting. 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Davidsonville Family Rec. Center, 3727 Queen Anne Bridge Road, Davidsonville.
Jan. 13: 9th annual MSSA Frederick Chapter Fishing Expo. Expert speakers and fishing vendors. Frederick Fairgrounds Building 9, Frederick.
Jan. 30: Angler’s Night Out. Film “Buccaneers & Bones with Lefty, Season 2.” Hosted by CCA-MD, Boatyard Bar & Grill, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Happy Hour & food specials 5-7 p.m., film begins at 7 p.m. Fourth & Severn, Eastport. Details at boatyardbarandgrill.com.
Feb. 10: Tri-State Marine Fisherman’s Flea Market, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Free admission, $50 per table rental. Call Dawn Yoder to reserve table, (410) 867-2398.
Feb. 17-18: Pasadena Sportfishing Group's 26th annual Fishing Expo. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. both days. $5 each day, 12 & under free. Earleigh Heights Fire Hall, 161 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park.
Feb. 24: MSSA Annapolis Chapter’s annual Saltwater Fishing Expo. Held at Annapolis Elks Club, doors open at 8 a.m.
Feb. 24-25: Lefty Kreh’s Tie Fest. Admission $10 per day, $15 for both days. Anglers 16 and under and active military personnel admitted free. Lowes Annapolis Hotel, 126 West Street, Annapolis. Contact Tony Friedrich, (202) 744-5013.
Feb. 27: Angler’s Night Out. Film “Best of Catch Magazine, Season 3.” Hosted by CCA-MD, Boatyard Bar & Grill, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Happy Hour & food specials 5-7 p.m., film begins at 7 p.m. Fourth & Severn Avenue, Eastport. Details at boatyardbarandgrill.com.
March 10: The “Mid-Shore Fishing Seminar,” American Legion Post #18, 2619 Centreville Road. (Rt. 213) Centreville 21617. Featured speakers include Capt. Mark Galasso, Capt. Jeff Lewatowski and Joe Bruce. Hosted by CD Outdoors and Tacklecove.com. More details at email@example.com.
March 27: Angler’s Night Out. Film “Fly Fishing for Permit.” Hosted by CCA-MD, Boatyard Bar & Grill, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Happy Hour & food specials 5-7 p.m., film begins at 7 p.m. Fourth & Severn Avenie, Eastport. Details at boatyardbarandgrill.com.