Get­ting out­side in the win­ter

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­

The weather can be un­pre­dictable this time of year.

The sun can hide for a week at a time and driz­zly gray skies could be the norm. Other days the mer­cury tops 60 de­grees and short-sleeves feel com­fort­able.

I’ve no­ticed the daf­fodils are pok­ing up about four or five inches in my yard. It makes me giddy just know­ing spring is around the cor­ner. Some­thing else that makes me look for­ward to the re­turn of warm tem­per­a­tures are all the out­door shows that take place in late win­ter, whet­ting my ap­petite for the sum­mer that’s com­ing.

The Salt Wa­ter Sports­man Na­tional Sem­i­nar Se­ries, in its 30th year of tour­ing, will be stop­ping at Old Mill High School in Millersville (in Anne Arun­del County) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4. The sem­i­nar touts both na­tional and re­gional head­lin­ers who are guar­an­teed to re­veal prime fish­ing spots, the best time to fish them, and the most suc­cess­ful baits and lures to use.

The sem­i­nar has sev­eral stops along the eastern seaboard with each sem­i­nar tai­lored to the ins-and-outs of the lo­cal fish­ing scene. For our re­gion, that means in­struc­tion on live-bait­ing for tro­phy striped bass, cut­ting-edge trolling tac­tics, se­crets of fish­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, how to con­sis­tently lo­cate and catch tro­phy floun­der, and how to chum like the pros both in­shore and off­shore.

Tick­ets cost $55 for five hours of fish­ing in­struc­tion from an­gling au­thor­i­ties such as Capt. Lon­nie John­son who runs LJ’s Light Tackle Char­ters out of Calvert County and Beth Synowiec who spe­cial­izes in catch­ing red drum, co­bia, sheepshead and speck­led trout in the lower Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. With spon­sors like Columbia Sportswear Com­pany, Yeti, Ra­pala and Bass Pro Shops, you know there will be some se­ri­ous door-prizes up for grabs.

For more in­for­ma­tion and to pur­chase tick­ets on­line, go to­tion­alsem­i­

Win­ter Water­fowl Trip at JPPM

One of the ben­e­fits of writ­ing the out­doors col­umn is hav­ing the per­fect ex­cuse to ig­nore some of my more te­dious adult re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on the week­ends and head out­side to ex­plore South­ern Mary­land in­stead.

Over the past year I’ve checked a lot off the list of places I want to go, but there’s still work to be done. Some­where I haven’t been yet is Jef­fer­son Pat­ter­son Park and Mu­seum in St. Leonard.

This com­ing Satur­day, I’ll be dodg­ing some do­mes­tic du­ties and head­ing to JPPM to at­tend the South­ern Mary­land Audubon So­ci­ety’s Win­ter Water­fowl Trip. Hey, even if the weather isn’t great, spend­ing four hours out­side and tak­ing in the sights and sounds of JPPM’s 560 scenic acres sounds a lot bet­ter than do­ing the laun­dry.

The park con­sists of some var­ied en­vi­ron­ments in­clud­ing

river shores, open mead­ows, wood­land trails and cul­ti­vated fields, which hope­fully will lead to some re­ally great bird­watch­ing. Loons, mer­gansers, sea ducks and dab­blers are likely, of­ten in great num­bers, and if the calm weather holds, par­tic­i­pants might even catch a glimpse of some rare water­fowl in­clud­ing the Tufted Duck and Bar­row’s Gold­en­eye.

RSVP to leader Tyler Bell by email jtyler­bell@ya­ to reg­is­ter for this free event. At­ten­dees should meet at the park­ing lot near the mu­seum at 8 a.m. sharp.

And make sure to bring your cam­era along. While you’re ex­plor­ing the park, try your hand at tak­ing some con­test-wor­thy pho­to­graphs for the “Wish You Were Here” photo ex­hibit at JPPM.

The best pho­to­graphs will be se­lected for reprint­ing as postcards for JPPM. The dead­line for sub­mis­sion is Feb. 15. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.jef­ Head to Green­well

Mary­land’s Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has re­leased the of­fi­cial num­bers for 2017’s First Day Hikes that took place Jan. 1 to usher in the new year.

The weather couldn’t have been more lovely for a Jan­uary day. The sun was shin­ing and it was warm enough to forego win­ter coats and just wear a jacket or sweater.

A to­tal of 2,034 hik­ers walked 4,030 miles that day. Spend­ing time out­doors in one of Mary­land’s scenic state parks was an es­pe­cially fit­ting way to be­gin 2017 for my fam­ily. We en­joyed a two-mile hike at Green­well State Park in Hol­ly­wood along with about 40 other peo­ple and quite a few dogs.

We are not strangers to Green­well. Our fam­ily has been en­joy­ing the beaches, trails and spe­cial pro­grams there for about a decade now, at first for Na­ture Time when my old­est was just a tot. When my girls were old enough, they took horse­back rid­ing classes on days off from school and have at­tended quite a few sum­mer camps at Green­well.

Their school even hosted a wel­come back pic­nic at Green­well last Au­gust. We’ve spent a lot of time ex­plor­ing, hik­ing, fish­ing and bird­watch­ing at Green­well.

I must have vis­ited Green­well 50 times in the last 10 years or so, and of course I thought I re­ally knew the place. But, the route of our first day hike took turns that I had never trav­eled be­fore. We walked some of the horse­back trails, ex­plored paths through an old for­est, skirted agri­cul­tural fields and got down to the beach through a route I didn’t even know ex­isted.

It’s re­ally quite a gem, with so much ter­rain to ex­plore that even old hands can ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing new at Green­well.

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