Bad news for black bass

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

The Black Bass Ad­vi­sory Sub­com­mit­tee met this week to fi­nal­ize their rec­om­men­da­tions to the Sport Fish­eries Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion, which will meet in Oc­to­ber.

If Tues­day night’s meet­ing is any in­di­ca­tion of what is go­ing to hap­pen, not much is go­ing to be done to re­store black bass in the Po­tomac River.

There was even talk of walk­ing back the ban on culling tools for tour­na­ments with waivers. Science has proven that warm wa­ter can be deadly to tour­na­ment bass; the culling tool ban makes sense to pro­tect bass when they are most vul­ner­a­ble. How many more years of de­clin­ing num­bers will it take be­fore some sub­stan­tive changes are made to black bass man­age­ment prac­tices?

Last night, with all mem­bers in at­ten­dance, the is­sue of sanc­tu­ary ar­eas was dis­missed with a vote of 8-4. To scope out the pub­lic’s opin­ion of the catch-and-re­lease ar­eas, 1,000 Mary­land an­glers were sur­veyed and 81 per­cent were in fa­vor of clo­sures to pro­tect spawn­ing bass. There is strong op­po­si­tion from tour­na­ment di­rec­tors and an­glers, and now it seems that the voice of a few will have prece­dent over the cit­i­zens who live and pay taxes in Mary­land.

Sanc­tu­ary ar­eas are prob­a­bly not go­ing to hap­pen, so if you are con­cerned about the black bass pop­u­la­tion in the Po­tomac River, you can head out to Na­tional Har­bor this week­end to help build ar­ti­fi­cial habi­tat for black bass and other na­tive fish.

The Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Foun­da­tion and Na­tional Har­bor have teamed up to con­struct 80 small con­crete reef balls and re­lo­cate them to the bot­tom of Smoots Bay in the Po­tomac River to help re­store it as a prime large­mouth bass en­vi­ron­ment. They will be in­ter­spersed with woody struc­ture to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for ju­ve­nile bass who de­pend on sub­merged grasses that have been in de­cline the past decade.

The task­force is look­ing for vol­un­teers over the age of 16 to help with the ef­fort. The reef build­ing will take place Fri­day to Sun­day at the Na­tional Har­bor. Vol­un­teers will help mix and pour con­crete into molds, “hatch” the balls, and clean the workspace. Lunch will even be pro­vided.

To reg­is­ter as a vol­un­teer, go to other/md/na­tional-har­bor-reef-ball-event-reg­is­tra­tion. For more in­for­ma­tion, call Pat Beall at 443-482-2065. South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — Anthony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager at Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, re­ports that the bass fish­ing has been good lately, although the fish are on the smaller side in the 10- to 14-inch range with a nice 2- to 5-pounder thrown in for good mea­sure.

Early in the morn­ing top­wa­ter lures should be your goto. When the sun is high, soft plas­tic tubes, fi­nesse worms

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