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Regulars (Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle)

Good — and sometimes great — fishing in a cleaner Bay

One of America’s wryest philosophers, Yogi Berra, once noted that predictions were difficult to make, especially about the future. Despite his sage warning, I feel compelled to make some Tidewater prophecies for the New Year. 

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Over winter, the most innocuous fouling turns into hardened deposits

This year Old Man Winter arrived with an especially frigid blast. Closing the rockfish season almost two weeks early for most of us, the 20-degree nighttime temperatures have since turned our tributaries to ice, denying even pickerel anglers their bitter weather pleasures.

 

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A few ideas sure to please

Buying a special holiday present for an avid angler, hunter, canoeist or kayaker is fraught with difficulty. Most dedicated sportsmen and women already have the gear they need. Those who don’t have definite ideas of what they want — but it is almost impossible to divine just what. However, there are a few things this holiday season that can be counted on to give special joy to just about anyone who’s outdoor obsessed.

 

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And spring 2011 is just around the corner

Sub-freezing temperatures and lots of winter wind guarantee that you won’t find me fishing Bay waters the rest of this month, at least not in my meager skiff. The dismal weather appears to have sealed my angling fate for the remainder of the season, but I have memories to keep me warm over the winter.

 

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Adrenaline warms up the last days of rockfishing

 

The chill was familiar for this time of year, damp and penetrating. A soft gloom had settled over the water with the arrival of some heavy cloud cover, and I noticed that the tidal current running against a fresh wind had just added an eager chop to the mix.

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Big rockfish make foul-weather fishing worth while

Getting in on the early-winter rockfish bite can be quite unpleasant. Except for the lucky anglers with big, enclosed boats that can safely and comfortably ply our cold, windswept Bay, most anglers this time of year must simply deal with November’s increasingly nasty weather. 

 

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For pheasant, there’s no better place than South Dakota

The South Dakota countryside exudes a kind of magic this time of year. It’s generated by a particularly celebrated game bird, the ringneck pheasant.

Fish Are Biting

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If you’re thinking of giving a Chesapeake flavor to your Thanksgiving Feast this year, consider two of my favorite outdoor dishes with a Tidewater twist.

 

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Encounters under the full moon

An angler’s skunk may stink only metaphorically, but it can be every bit as unpleasant as an encounter with the actual Pepe Le Pew. I’m talking about a day spent fishing without catching a fish. 

 

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Saved by an old bait sporting a new name

It was extremely frustrating. There were rockfish working the rip in front of me, but they wouldn’t hit my lures. I could see their occasional feeding boils marking the surface, and it was obvious that they were eating — and at least a few of the feeders were good sized.

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