Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 40

October 3-9, 2002

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Honoring John Page Williams

It was about eight years ago when I first met John Page Williams, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and an accomplished writer about Bay life. He helped me lead a Foundation field trip for the State Highway Administration, an excursion that took highway staffers to the headwaters of Whitehall Creek, to tour the wetland mitigation area that ran under Route 50.

After a couple hours of tromping through the marsh, I noticed Williams was spotless. His Oxford button-down was still pressed; his khakis revealed nary a fleck of mud.

How is that possible? I wondered. I took the same path as he, but I was a mess, with rich chocolate mud smeared on my face, socks soaked from taking water over my hip-waders and shirt torn from briars.

Since then, we’ve run a few more field trips together, from Tangier Sound to the Rappahannock River, where we showed outdoor writers the value of Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program restoration projects.

I’ve learned something new about the Bay and its fascinating and intricate workings on each of these trips. Williams’ breadth of knowledge about the Bay, its creatures, plants and people, is unparalleled. Although we come from different generations and backgrounds, we share a common passion: restoring and conserving what he accurately calls one of our nation’s most valuable natural treasures.

His has been a life dedicated to saving our beloved Chesapeake, and next week at the National Guard Armory on October 10, 2002, the Annapolis Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will honor his environmental commitment.

Thanks for the lessons, John Page Williams. Thanks for caring so much about our Bay.

Information? Bill Smith: 410/266-7848.

Fish Are Biting
Before heavy winds brought north by tropical storms dampened offshore and Chesapeake fishing pursuits, fanatical fall action was right on track. Two weeks ago, the Department of Natural Resources reported that a state record 236.5-pound yellowfin tuna was boated at the Washington Canyon 500 Fathom Tip by Mark Bennett of Salem, New Jersey. According to DNR reports, the big tuna measured 68.75 inches long with a girth of 48.5 inches. DNR officials also reported a potential state record black drum caught by Josh Sauer of Bishopville in the surf at Assateague Island. Once certified, the 80-pound drum would break the current record of 79 pounds set back in 1985.

In the Bay, Chuck Foster said that there are nice rockfish in the shallows. He used peeler crab to boat his limit, including an eight-pounder. Rob Jepson, fresh from the wetlands of Manitoba, heard that sea trout are schooling at the mouth of Eastern Bay. At the Summer Gooses, soon-to-be married Will Smiley may have caught his last rockfish as a single man. Dave Cola and Wookie Mullin were there to console him. (Best of luck, Will and Mollie.)

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly