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Regulars (Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle)

Even this time of year, you might find a rockfish. Or two.

The temperatures were actually mild the other day. Rain and wind were forecast as an all-day certainty, but I kept a close eye on the weather. Late that afternoon, sure enough, the stiff breeze lay down. With no looming sign of rain from the heavy cloud cover, I hooked up my trailered skiff and headed for the Bay. My heart was set on a fresh rockfish dinner.
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Joseph Capozzolli is one of a new species of Chesapeake waterman

A few hardy souls on the Chesapeake still fish to live.    
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I can’t resist South Dakota’s 7 million pheasants

We hadn’t gotten a dozen yards into the thick growth bordering the harvested cornfield when the first rooster burst out — behind me. I whirled, shouldering my model 12 Winchester (circa 1929), swung through the bird and fired. The ringneck dropped like a stone.
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Was this year’s good news because of — or in spite of — our fishery practices?

The Young of Year Survey for striped bass spawning success in the Chesapeake Bay for 2011 is a whopping 34.6, the fourth highest on record since the Department of Natural Resources began this statistical measurement 58 years ago. Since our resident rockfish population has declined by approximately 30 percent over the last decade, this is great news indeed.
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How to get your fair share when fish and birds are feeding

It had started as a brisk, calm morning, but the fish weren’t in the shallows where I had hoped to find them. After a futile hour, I followed Plan B to the Bay Bridge to find only little guys there. I was calling it a day and heading in when I saw a wisp of smoke to the north.
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When conditions are rough, the catch is all the sweeter

The 20-knot northerly wind was supposed to have laid down by dawn. Of course it didn’t. Mike and I nonetheless launched at first light and, despite the snotty weather, were soon anchored off one of the western-side Bay Bridge supports and tossing chunks of weighted soft crab back into the structure.
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Quietly and with hope

The tide was beginning to briskly move out as I lowered the hydraulic spike on my shallow-water anchor. Positioned a dozen or so yards off a long, heavy rock jetty in four feet of water, my skiff came to an abrupt stop, then swung about with the current. The light was already getting low in an overcast early evening gloom.
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Another week, I’m sitting home cleaning the gear

The past two weeks have been frustrating. Constant marine forecasts for morning rain and thunderstorms have been followed by calm, balmy mornings with lovely overcasts that have not only been rain-free but ideal for working the edges of the Bay for marauding rockfish.
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Use the down-time to clean your gear

Today I put on long pants for the first time since last June. Normally this is not entirely a bad thing because chilly fall weather means that bigger rockfish will be in the shallow water I love to fish. But not right now. Around our neck of the woods the fishing is pretty much on hold, and it may take some time before it returns to normal.
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When the fish bite, you gotta be there to catch them

First came Irene, then seven straight days of even greater deluge from Tropical Storm Lee. With so much forced inactivity, I was on the brink of angling despair. When the forecast suggested our first day of precipitation-free weather, I loaded my skiff.
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