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Sporting Life by Dennis Doyle

Highs and lows on the trotline


Rod maker George Pavlik had agonized over this rod —
the perfect stick for casting to white perch


Forgetting that maxim, this dummy went home hungry


A gathering of these thick-bodied fish will fill your cooler and make a memorable dinner


Female blue crabs need our protection


This rockfish took me for a Chesapeake train ride


In the shift to shallow water, tackle makes the difference

Live-lining small Norfolk spot remains the surest bet for a limit of striped bass on the Chesapeake. But light-tackle lure fishing grows more exciting as our waters cools with September’s chillier weather, when striped bass behavior changes.

Top-water fishing’s all about how you play the lure

The quiet waterscape flowing around us was only dimly illuminated by the first blush of a calm and breaking day as my son and I made our casts. Drifting slowly in our skiff on the fresh start of a gentle ebb, we were moving about 100 feet out and parallel to a long, weathered bulkhead, footed by heavy, barnacled stone piled along its base.

All our canine companions evolved from the hunter

Watching my German shorthair pointer, Sophie, enter an autumn game field never fails to send a quiver of anticipation through my being. She operates with certainty in an arena where I can only guess at what is about to transpire. A hunting dog is grace, speed, focus and intensity. Humans are acolytes when we accompany a dog into the wild.

To play with them, you need to know the rules

The Chesapeake had at last become quiet. The Bay’s summertime revelers — with their boats, jet skis and water toys — had fled home hours ago. Even the gulls were finally mute, settling into their roosts for the evening. But as deep darkness descended, my fishing partner, Christian, and I sat motionless at anchor in my small skiff positioned about 100 feet from a heavy rock jetty.