Deer, pick­erel and many more rea­sons to get out­side

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Sports -

No re­ports so far, as I write this, of any hunter fa­tal­i­ties, and we’re now headed for the fi­nal stretch of Mary­land’s two-week firearms sea­son for deer hunt­ing. That’s great news. I’ve heard and seen many re­ports of suc­cess­ful hunts with plenty of veni­son col­lected for feasts and a few very large bucks. Those hunts will serve as sus­te­nance, great mem­o­ries, and story ma­te­rial for many years to come.

It’s great get­ting out­side and see­ing the deer move about let alone hav­ing one to your lik­ing move within range. Let’s hope the weather co­op­er­ates and ev­ery­one stays safe for the rest of the sea­son.

Dur­ing my in­ter­net trav­els, I came across the Mary­land Hunt­ing Coali­tion and thought I’d steer you to some of the im­por­tant work the group is do­ing to keep hunt­ing a le­gal recre­ational op­tion in this state. Please take a look at their web­site when you can to get a look at some of the is­sues that need our at­ten­tion. The Shore is well rep­re­sented by coali­tion di­rec­tors and ad­vis­ers in­clud­ing Sean Mann, Larry Al­bright, Don­ald Travis, and Ja­son Wil­ley. You can join the coali­tion for free and they will keep you posted on leg­is­la­tion that may neg­a­tively im­pact wildlife and our hunt­ing tra­di­tions.

*** Pick­erel time Cold weather doesn’t keep pick­erel from bit­ing. You can test your skills at catch­ing them and see how your ef­forts com­pare to oth­ers by par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s CCA Mary­land Pick­erel Cham­pi­onship. The three-month tour­na­ment started Dec. 1 and runs through Feb. 28. Tour­na­ment di­vi­sions are open, kayak, fly, and youth. New this year, yel­low and white perch and black crap­pie di­vi­sions have been added. Mini tour­na­ments will be held on Dec. 16, Jan. 13, and Feb. 24.

The win­ners will be de­cided by the long­est 3-fish stringer recorded over the three months with prizes for largest pick­erel caught by fly, kayak, youth, and over­all and largest perch and crap­pie. This is a photo catch-and-re­lease tour­na­ment hosted through ian­gler­tour­na­ment.com.

The en­try fee is $50 for CCA mem­bers and $75 for new mem­bers. Com­plete rules and more in­for­ma­tion is avail­able on the CCA Mary­land web­site.

*** Fish­ing re­port With Ch­e­sa­peake Bay wa­ter tem­per­a­tures around 48 de­grees and drop­ping, fish are mov­ing to­wards win­ter hold­ing ar­eas or mi­grat­ing out of the bay. With plenty of cool wa­ter and oxy­gen from sur­face to bot­tom, you can find fish and avoid ar­eas with poor wa­ter clar­ity from re­cent heavy rains.

An­glers can find con­cen­tra­tions of fish in some of the slightly warmer bot­tom wa­ters lo­cated from the Bay Bridge south to near the Mary­land state line. Ar­eas with good struc­ture such as un­der­wa­ter points, oys­ter bot­tom, reefs, and chan­nel edges are good places to tar­get along with large schools of bait­fish.

Trolling with um­brella rigs in char­treuse with heavy in­line weights to get them down to depths of 25 feet to 40 feet is catch­ing keep­ers. Pop­u­lar lo­ca­tions in­clude the mouth of the Pat­ap­sco River, Swan, Love and Pod­ick­ory points.

The striped bass are be­gin­ning to stack up and can show up quite well on a good depth fin­der. Get­ting them to bite might take some ef­fort, but soft plas­tic jigs in pearl or char­treuse have been work­ing.

White perch have moved out into the deeper chan­nel ar­eas in the bay and are hun­kered down over hard bot­tom ar­eas. The larger ones can still be found at the rock piles at the Bay Bridge. Bot­tom rigs baited with pieces of blood­worms or drop­per fly rigs baited with the same will catch them.

Yel­low perch are mov­ing into the tidal rivers and are pro­vid­ing some fun fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Small min­nows on a bot­tom rig or tiny jigs are a great way to catch them. Chan­nel cat­fish are hold­ing in every up­per bay tidal river and part of the bay it­self, and they are ea­ger to sam­ple any cut bait you might of­fer.

On the At­lantic Coast, surf cast­ers con­tinue to catch small blue­fish on fin­ger mul­let rigs or small cut baits. An­glers soak­ing large baits are hop­ing that a few south­bound stripers will move along Mary­land’s shores soon. A few large rock­fish have been caught at the mouth of Delaware Bay, so the van­guard should ar­rive soon.

The boats headed out to off­shore wreck and reef sites are find­ing lim­its of sea bass with a mix of blue­fish, large floun­der, and a few trig­ger­fish. Off­shore, large yel­lowfin tuna were still be­ing caught at the canyons where warmer wa­ter was found. There has also been some ex­cit­ing catches of sword­fish and big­eye tuna at the Bal­ti­more Canyon.

*** Duck blind know-it-all The av­er­age life span for wild white-tailed deer is 4.5 years. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at ck­[email protected]­dem.com

PHOTO BY DAVID INS­LEY

Marty Bai­ley, left, and his brother, Romont Grif­fin, pose with Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Dan Do­bronz in this March photo.

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