Striper sea­son is com­ing to an end

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors @out­

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.

NASA con­test

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 fea­ture/space-poop-chal­lenge.

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