Striper season is coming to an end
Time is running out if you are aiming to have a rockfish in your freezer before Christmas.
Striped bass fishing continues just a few more days in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Beginning Dec. 21, all Maryland portions of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries become catch-and-release only. The striper season ends in the tidal Potomac River on Dec. 31 and becomes catch-and-release on Jan. 1, as well. Along the Atlantic coastline, the limit is two fish per day between 28 and 38 inches or 44 inches or over.
Also, the printed version of the 2016 Maryland Fishing Guide has erroneous information that is no longer current. Maryland Department of Natural Resources urges anglers to always check the online digital version for the most upto-date fishing regulations.
Water temperatures are cold now, and striper fishing is slowing down. The folks at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) say catches are averaging between 22 and 28 inches. Nothing big has been reported, and none of the stripers have visible sea lice.
Specific spots that have been kind to anglers are Buoy 72, Buoy 72A, and the Target Ship. Trollers and jiggers are catching fish, and small bucktails are recommended. Aqualand Marina (301-2592222) reports anglers are catching rockfish north of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.
Perch fishing in the Patuxent River has been good lately for the anglers who can get their hands on bloodworms this time of year. The fish are suspended at depths of 40 to 50 feet over hard bottom.
Deer numbers are in
The numbers are in and Maryland hunters harvested 24 percent more deer on the opening weekend of the 2016 firearms season. Officials say good weather conditions on the Sunday of opening weekend contributed to the increase.
While the numbers in Western Maryland were nearly iden- tical in 2015 and 2016, in Region B (which includes Southern Maryland), there was a marked increase in both antlered and antlerless deer killed.
The total deer harvested was estimated at 13,488, with 239 reported in Calvert County, 435 in Charles, and 312 in St. Mar y’s.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Of course that’s not always the case. The sticky stuff on Post-It notes and penicillin were discovered by accident. But most innovations come out of the need for a solution to a problem.
During the Civil War, the Confederacy found that it couldn’t keep up with the Union’s navy. A trio of inventors worked on a prototype of the modern day submarine, the H.L. Hunley, named after one of its developers. It was the first ever submarine to sink an enemy vessel, but
innovation often comes at a price. The enterprise was a deadly undertaking, and the H.L. Hunley sank a few times, killing both its namesake and crew.
Sometimes it just takes a contest with monetary compensation to spur innovation. In 1795, Napoleon couldn’t get food to the soldiers on the front lines of his armies before it spoiled. He offered a prize of 12,000 francs to the person who could find a better way to preserve food, which led to the development of canning food in jars under high heat and pressure. We still use that method today when putting up tomatoes at the end of the summer.
Billiard balls were originally made from ivory, but that was an expensive and scarce material. When John Wyatt saw an ad offering $10,000 for a suitable substitute, he came up with the first celluloid billiard ball, which
spurred the development of the modern-day plastics industry. Wyatt never did get the prize money for his invention, but he did found a major manufacturing company that made him a millionaire during the beginning of the car-making boom in America.
Money sure is a good motivator. So NASA is sponsoring its own contest, offering up to $30,000 to inventors who can come up with a new way for astronauts to use the bathroom in space.
I’ve never given going to the bathroom in space much thought at all, but apparently it’s a pretty complicated endeavor since there’s no gravity and no wastewater treatment plants in space. After reading up on the topic, I can guarantee that if I win the lottery, I won’t be ponying up the millions of dollars for a rocket ride into space or volunteering for a spot in a colony on Mars.
The International Space Station has two toilets onboard, both outfitted with special contraptions
to make going to the bathroom in zero gravity possible. Astronauts have to undergo special training to learn how to use them. The urine is recycled through a very intense filtration system, and becomes the water the astronauts drink. Talk about managing natural resources well. It’s supposedly purer than the stuff we drink on Earth, but I think I’ll pass.
Astronauts, up until now, have used diapers to take care of bodily fluids when they wear spacesuits on moonwalks or in emergency situations. With space exploration ramping up, NASA is looking for something better, an in-suit waste management system that can handle six days of bathroom needs. It’s a complicated challenge. The invention can’t use gravity, must be entirely hands-free, and has to work for both men and women.
Put on your thinking cap this weekend because the deadline for this contest is Dec. 20. For more information about the Space Poop Challenge, go to www.nasa.gov/ feature/space-poop-challenge.