Fishing can offer solace, comfort
The warm-up act to Monday’s phenomenal “super moon” didn’t wait for nightfall. It burst over the eastern horizon with a bravado and mysteriousness so compelling it pulled me in like a magnet. I now understand why ancient peoples, as sophisticated as they were for their times, would bow to its unknown power. And though mysticism has given way to science to prove how and why we view this orbital rock as we do it has a marvelously primordial draw.
Just before dawn on Monday the moon will be at its closest point to Earth since 1948, and won’t be this near again until Nov. 25, 2034. Since I could be gone by then, and because the forecast calls for clouds and showers, tonight is when I’ll gaze upon its heavenly splendor.
In that same sky yesterday, tundra swans hooted and cawed as they beat wings for refuge after their transcontinental trek. Also this week newly arrived mallards eased orange feet first into the sanctuary of my local creek, heads glistening like emeralds. Loons dove deep for food, then popped up like corks, letting out call so sorrowful it rivaled a Leonard Cohen song.
The natural world is in perpetual motion, and late autumn is no different. Peaceful at times, chaotic at others. Don’t believe me about the chaos? Observe up close large, sea-run rockfish chasing down large, sea-run bunker. An eagle plundering a goose. Or a whitetail buck driving off his rival.
So in the wake of another peaceful yet contentious exchange of democratic political power, a relative rarity in the modern world, there’s no doubt some of us have hurt feelings, angst and apprehension as to what lies ahead. For others, it is a time of optimism and hope. I cannot speak to which emotions you embrace, only that I have steadfast faith that as Americans, people who have held fast to the tenets of our Constitution through a bloody Civil War, two world wars and the Great Depression and Recession, we will endure again.
For me, being outdoors can be a soothing balm at such times. Which brings me to the Fish For a Cure rockfish tournament held last weekend. The organization, along with its hundreds of supporters, works to try and ease the pain, despair, and heartache of those suffering from cancer as well as bringing support and comfort to their family and friends. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, F4AC raised more than $311,000 for the Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The other day a friend remarked that perhaps I shouldn’t make too much of sportfishing. While he’s right in a general sense, not so for these kinds of life challenges, where fishing offers solace and comfort while rekindling memories of those with whom we once wet a line with yet are no longer with us. Here’s a recap of who won what category:
Captain’s Challenge winners: 1st place, PJ Dettor; Team Hullabaloo, $53,745; 2nd, Rob Schurr and Tom George; Team Just In Time, $33,012; 3rd, Brian Heller; Team Alternating Currents, $25,740.
Rockfish winners: 1st, Jeff Crane of Team CSF, 17.77 pounds; 2nd, Nicholas Garrott of McMorrows Maritime, 16.46 pounds; 3rd, Nicholas Garrott of McMorrows Maritime, 16.21 pounds.
Catch/Release winner (three longest rockfish): Nicholas Garrott of McMorrow’s Maritime, 81.875 inches.
Perch Winner (heaviest string of perch): Joseph Evans of First Light, 2.34 pounds.
Grand Slam winner (three unique species): Matt Baden of Susan’s Boys, Rockfish, perch, pickerel, 5.98 pounds.
CBF FISHERY DIRECTOR RETIRES: Should someday the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population rise above the mire it’s been stuck in for decades, we should all buy Bill Goldsborough a round, though probably not all at once. The long standing Chesapeake Bay Foundation fisheries director has spent his career as the Foundation’s voice for fish conservation. From rockfish and menhaden to crabs and oysters, Goldsborough has been on the front lines of those important issues, speaking up for science-based management, and after nearly 40 years he’s decide to retire.
Last month, Goldsborough received the Captain David H. Hart Award, the highest annual honor given by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. That made him the only person to score the ASMFC’s trifecta of awards, and deservedly so. In keeping with his low-key nature, Goldsborough told The Capital the honor was “pretty humbling.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a brief personal word on the man since I worked with him during the years I spent as a CBF editor and writer. From working on striper “catch and release” brochures and articles championing why menhaden matter to papers on the importance of bi-state crab management, I learned much from him during our conversations.
Writing for other people isn’t easy, particularly those prone to bloviation. Yet he always was collegial, collaborative and open-minded, just as he was during the seemingly endless stream of fishery meetings over the years. He deserves some kind of Cal Ripken, Jr. like award for his stamina to attend so many for so long! And as for his devotion to Parrot-headed style music, well, let’s just say I’m happy to overlook that minor character flaw.
While you may not have always agreed with his position on every issue, no reasonable person could question his authentic commitment to improving the Chesapeake and Atlantic’s fisheries. So as Bill Goldsborough steps away from the daily grind of trying to better our natural world, I wish him nothing but hard strikes, smooth beverages and fair seas, wherever the tides take him. He certainly deserves it.
MSSA’S FALL CLASSIC: Big rockfish have arrived in our bay waters just in time for next weekend’s “Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic.” You can sign up at one of the Captain’s Meetings, register online, mssa.net/fallclassic, or call 410-255-5533. Last year’s winner took home $40,000. This year a “Lay Day” rule is in effect, which is a nice precaution against snotty weather. Captain Meetings run from 6-8 p.m. with food and drinks available, as well as door prizes. They’ll be held on Monday at Island Tackle on Kent Island, and Wednesday at AllTackle in Annapolis.
Submit photos and outdoors calendar listings to [email protected].
Thru Nov. 25: 2nd Split of Duck Season. Black duck season open.
Nov. 14: Pasadena Sportfishing Group meeting. Capt. Charlie Sisson of Backdraft Charters on “Fall Trolling for Rockfish.” Also Bierbender Knife Sharpeners will recondition your blades at discount prices. Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company, 161 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park. Doors open at 6 p.m., talk begins at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16: MSSA Annapolis Chapter. Local angler Skip Zinck presents “Trolling for Rockfish Using Planer Boards.” Gary Richie’s custom “Spankin’ Striper” baits. American Legion Post #7, 1905 Crownsville Rd., Annapolis. Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 18-20: MSSA’s 24th annual “Chesapeake Bay Fall Classic.” Anglers can fish two of three days, “Lay Day” rule in effect. Register at mssa.net.
Nov. 19-25: 1st Split of Migratory (Atlantic Population) Canada Goose Season. Daily bag limit is two (2) geese and the possession limit six (6).
Nov. 21: MSSA Broadneck/Magothy #10 Chapter Meeting at 7:30p.m, American Legion Post #175, 832 Manhattan Beach Rd. Severna Park.
Dec. 3: CCA MD’s Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Symposium. CBF’s Merrill Center, 6 Herndon Ave., Annapolis. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Contact David Sikorski at 443-621-9186 for details.
Dec. 7: Public meeting for Menhaden Management Plan, 6 p.m. at Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis. Contact DNR’s Lynn Fegley at [email protected] or 410-260-8285.
Dec. 7: Free State Fly Fishers’ “Holiday Dinner.” Mike’s Crab House on the South River, Riva Road Bridge. Details at facebook.com/FSFFMD.
Dec. 13 thru Jan. 28: Final Split of Duck Season.
Dec. 16 thru Feb. 4: Final Split of Migratory (Atlantic Population) Canada Goose Season. Daily bag limit is two (2) geese and the possession limit six (6).
Jan. 14: MSSA Frederick Chapter’s “Saltwater Fishing Expo,” 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Frederick County Fairgrounds, 797 E. Patrick St., Building #9, Frederick. Regional experts as well as Ed “The Beard” from NatGeo’s “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.” Inshore/offshore tackle vendors, charter captains, custom rod builders, and crabbing supplies.
Jan. 26–29: Progressive® Insurance “Baltimore Boat Show at the Baltimore Convention Center. Details at BaltimoreBoatShow.com.
Jan. 28-29: MSSA’s Kent Island Fishermen 7th annual Fishing Flea Market, Kent Island American Legion Post # 278, 800 Romancoke Road, Stevensville. Show runs 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. Contact Dave Stith 410-643-3970 or [email protected].
Feb. 1: Free State Fly Fishers’ meeting. Capt. Chris Dollar talks on fly fishing and light tackle from SUPS and kayaks. 7:30 p.m. at Davidsonville Family Recreation Center, 3789 Queen Anne Bridge Road, Davidsonville. Details at facebook.com/FSFFMD.
Feb. 25: MSSA Annapolis Chapter “Saltwater Fishing Expo” 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Annapolis Elks Club, Solomons Is. Road, Annapolis.