Get pre­pared for that first fish­ing trip

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

If your fish­ing gear is col­lect­ing dust in the garage, now’s the time to gather it all up and get ev­ery­thing in work­ing or­der be­cause, ready or not, spring fish­ing is al­ready un­der­way in South­ern Mary­land.

Be­fore your first fish­ing trip, go ahead and ex­am­ine your gear and make sure ev­ery­thing works as well as you re­mem­ber. New line is a must on all your reels and, while you’re at it, pack in a dab of grease. It’ll get dis­trib­uted nicely while you’re crank­ing the new line on the spool. Clean up your tackle boxes, fix what you can and re­place what needs re­plac­ing.

And if you need pro­fes­sional help fix­ing a lure, rod or reel, try talk­ing to the folks at your lo­cal tackle shop. They have lots of years of ex­pe­ri­ence and can be a great re­source for you. You’d prob­a­bly ex­pect to walk in and have them try to sell you some­thing new, but I have had good luck with get­ting help to trou­bleshoot and fix a few things I just wasn’t ready to re­place yet. A spe­cial tip of the hat to the guys at the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park for their ser­vice over the years.

Hatch­ery trucks have al­ready be­gun mak­ing their de­liv­er­ies across South­ern Mary­land for anglers who are itch­ing to get a jump on spring fish­ing.

The folks from the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources have al­ready dis­patched thou­sands of rainbow trout across Calvert, Charles and Prince Ge­orge’s coun­ties. Stocked wa­ters in­clude Hutchins Pond in Calvert County; Hugh­esville Pond, Myr­tle Grove Pond and Wheat­ley Lake in Charles County; and Cosca Lake, Mel­wood Pond and Tucker Pond in Prince Ge­orge’s County.

Now this stock­ing is the pre­sea­son round. Reg­u­lar spring trout stock­ing will oc­cur later in 2017 and ex­tend into May, and there will be one fi­nal round of trout stocked in the fall.

The hatch­eries di­vi­sion grows about 500,000 trout an­nu­ally for stock­ing and about 10 per­cent of these fish get to grow to tro­phy size. The trout that are stocked in our re­gion are from the Man­ning Hatch­ery in Cedarville.

If you’ve ever won­dered about the hatch­ery oper­a­tion, DNR has a short and in­forma- tive video about the pro­gram at the bot­tom of the trout put-and-take page on the web at http://dnr2.mary­land.gov/fish­eries/pages/hatch­eries/trout.aspx.

Fish­ing shows

‘Tis the sea­son for fish­ing shows. The weather will be up and down all of Fe­bru­ary, so when it’s too cold out­side to do any fish­ing, you can cruise the shows and sales in­stead to gear up for fish­ing sea­son.

Now’s a good time of year to check out what’s new and stock up when the price is right. With the mild weather we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced so far this

win­ter, you don’t want to miss a good fish­ing day if you’re pre­sented with the per­fect fish­ing op­por­tu­nity and you’re not pre­pared yet.

Bass Pro Shops in Hanover is hav­ing their an­nual Crap­pie Mad­ness event and sale this com­ing week­end and next. If you are just get­ting into fish­ing and haven’t been to a Bass Pro Shops store be­fore, you’re in for a real treat. The store is lo­cated in the Arun­del Mills mall, which is easy enough to get to.

Bring the kids along, too. They will en­joy see­ing some of Mary­land’s state record-hold­ing fish cruis­ing around the 23,000-gal­lon aquar­ium. I’ll bet you’ll like see­ing them, too. The staff there is al­ways help­ful, and the store has a fam­ily-friendly vibe.

The event takes place the week­ends of Feb. 3 and 4 and 10 and 11 at 7 p.m. Fri­days and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Satur­days. Learn some crap­pie fish­ing tech­niques from lo­cal pros at a free sem­i­nar. And the event co­in­cides with Bass Pro Shops’ Spring Fever sale, so you can do a lit­tle shop­ping af­ter­wards.

If the weather gods send us more spring-like days in the weeks ahead, you can hit up Wheat­ley Lake at Gil­bert Run Park for some of those afore­men­tioned trout, and you just might en­counter a crap­pie or two, as well. St. Mary’s Lake is an­other good des­ti­na­tion for crap­pie, and pick­erel are a good bet there this time of year.

Pen­rod at Great Amer­i­can Out­door Show

I’ve got a lit­tle more in­for­ma­tion about Ken Pen­rod’s pre­sen­ta­tions at the Great Amer­i­can Out­door Show that be­gins Feb. 4 at the Farm Show Com­plex in Har­ris­burg, Pa. If you were on the fence about mak­ing the drive, this ought to sway you.

Pen­rod and his guides from Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited are go­ing to be in Booth 2008. They’ll be on hand to dis­cuss fish­ing trips, the LO-PO Club, and what to con­sider if you’re think­ing of buy­ing a boat. Pen­rod’s books will be on sale, and you can talk with him about his sum­mer camp for boys who love to fish and hunt.

He and his guides will be pre­sent­ing 12 sem­i­nars over the nine-day show and you can sit in on one of those sem­i­nars to learn about fish­ing in the tidal and up­per Po­tomac River, the up­per Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and Eastern Shore rivers, and the Susque­hanna and Ju­ni­ata rivers. Want to know how to catch a snake­head or a musky? They’ll give you the in­for­ma­tion you need.

Plus, if you at­tend one their sem­i­nars, you’ll have a chance to win a door prize from one of their spon­sors. Ar­dent, Case Plas­tics, Sna­gler Lure com­pany and River­front Camp­ground are just some of the spon­sors do­nat­ing prizes for the draw­ings.

The Great Amer­i­can Out­doors show takes place Feb. 4 to 12. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.greatamer­i­canout­door­show.org/.

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