Sun, 13 Dec 2009 00:00:00 ESTThis is my last outdoors column for The Post. When I wrote the first one 30-odd years ago I didn't know a fish from a duck. What a journey.
Sun, 29 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTI was lying in my bunk, pale and seasick, when the boat surged and the boys in the cockpit let out a whoop.
Sun, 15 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTThere are times when I wish I'd been born 100 years ago instead of 64 and could have lived my active years without the Internet and satellites, BlackBerrys, cellphones and computers cluttering the landscape. This is not one of those times.
Sun, 08 Nov 2009 00:00:00 ESTFirst, let us praise panko, the bread crumb mix that burnishes even a bland seafood concoction to spun-gold perfection.
Sun, 01 Nov 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe first time I saw a trophy-size saltwater fish released alive was in the 1970s. You could have knocked me down with a feather. It was Cape Hatteras, N.C., in the fall. A crowd of surf anglers was at Cape Point around dusk. Many stopped to watch a good fight.
Sun, 25 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt's been 20 years and more since City Dock in Annapolis was jammed with purpose-built boats this time of year. Back then, it was oystermen from the lower Chesapeake who tied up three-wide in Ego Alley at night. They worked the waters of the mid-bay daily till Christmas, sleeping in the tiny forepeaks of their rough, wooden craft, then heading back to Smith Island, Deale Island and Crisfield to ply the home waters till old man winter froze them in.
Sun, 18 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTWINCHESTER, Va. The worst thing about duck hunting is the hours. You're almost always late. Ducks fly at dawn, and you'd better have your decoys arrayed and be tucked into your hiding place before the first gray light streaks the horizon in the east.
Sun, 11 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTLegend has it that when Albert Einstein was learning to play the fiddle, his teacher, in an exasperated moment, blurted out, "Albert, can't you count?"
Sun, 04 Oct 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt's been a tough 18 months for Tom and Debbie Carrico, which made last weekend that much sweeter.
Sun, 27 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTLike our beloved Redskins, nature doesn't always follow the playbook. Things turn out differently than you expect.
Sun, 20 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt's prime time on Chesapeake Bay as the calendar ticks down to the year's best month. Water temperatures dropped more than 10 degrees in the past few weeks to the low 70s. North winds roil the surface, but the water is clearer as summer algae blooms die off. Fish are hungry.
Sun, 13 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTFour of us spent two weeks in August bringing a sailboat to Annapolis from Nova Scotia, stopping at interesting ports along the way. You have some wild experiences on a voyage like that.
Sun, 06 Sep 2009 00:00:00 EDTWhen hunting season opened on Tuesday, the world could not have been a brighter place. Clear skies and cool, dry breezes brought with them the first hints of fall, the mid-Atlantic's finest season.
Sun, 02 Aug 2009 00:00:00 EDTTeam New Zealand won the America's Cup from Dennis Conner in San Diego in 1995. After a victory tour, the Kiwis put the Auld Mug, the oldest trophy in modern sport, on display at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland.
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTGRASONVILLE, Md.
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe hardest part of boat ownership is naming it. There are just too many good ones. My personal favorites are Never Again XXVI, seen on a transom in Maine, and G Willie Makit, on a fishing boat in Block Island, R.I. New Englanders have that wonderful, dry wit.
Sun, 14 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTOne of the more loosely kept secrets in Washington is that there are fish in the shallow, concrete pool at Constitution Gardens at the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Early mornings you might catch a flyrodder down there casting from the banks for small bass and sunfish before work, though the Park Service discourages angling during the day when tourists are afoot.
Sun, 07 Jun 2009 00:00:00 EDTIt's not every day you come upon a school of big, plump, keeper-size rockfish stacked on the bottom of the Chesapeake in shallow water, feeding like locusts. "It's like perch fishing," gushed Don Schline. "We're catching 'em two at a time!"
Sun, 31 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTBy all measures, interest in fishing in Maryland is declining, which is bad news for everyone but the fish. It's bad for charter boat operators whose vessels sit idle most days and for the Department of Natural Resources, whose revenues fell with the 15 percent to 20 percent decline in license sales over the past few years.
Sun, 24 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTHow many hundreds of thousands of kids have grown up around Washington and never set foot in, on or even alongside the Potomac River? It's impossible to know, but the simple answer is: far too many.
Sun, 17 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTBOSTON
Sun, 10 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTExperience keeps a hard school, it's said. This spring brought harsh lessons when three athletes drowned in the Gulf of Mexico after their fishing boat flipped, then a boy and a man died in the swollen Potomac River while fishing near Chain Bridge.
Sun, 03 May 2009 00:00:00 EDTI like boats because you can fix them yourself. You can paint and patch them, spruce up the varnish, slap antifouling on the bottom, bleed the diesel, tune up the outboard and trace out a short in the wiring if you take your time.
Sun, 26 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTMost of the people we fish and hunt with have dirt or paint under their fingernails, bless them, but there are exceptions. Last week, the ambassador and the former foreign minister from Denmark came out to the Chesapeake one morning to fish. We didn't catch anything, but that's not always the point.
Sun, 19 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTSome days are better than others, and some are even better than that. Say you're trout fishing on the Little Patuxent River at Savage in a chilly rain shower one weekday morning and have the place all to yourself. That's pretty good.
Sun, 12 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTMaryland trophy rockfish season opens Saturday on the main stem of the Chesapeake and by all indications, it'll be a corker. Big rockfish are everywhere, from the Potomac in the District to the Bay Bridge off Annapolis to the Susquehanna Flats at Havre de Grace.
Sun, 05 Apr 2009 00:00:00 EDTWhen cormorants return to Washington, the fish are here. "They're not chasing algae," Mike Bailey said when he called to report the coming of the cormorants more than a week ago.
Sun, 29 Mar 2009 00:00:00 EDTThree cheers for old folks. When the towering sloop Ericsson 3 crossed the finish line in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday to win the longest leg ever in the Volvo Ocean Race, the guy behind the wheel was also the oldest and unlikeliest winner. Magnus Olsson, in his sixth 'round-the-world race but his first as skipper, turned 60 on Jan. 4. Sixty!
Sun, 15 Mar 2009 00:00:00 EDTThe good old days are gone but sometimes you get glimpses. So it was last week from one end of Maryland to the other as yellow perch, first fish of spring, popped up in plenty from the top of Chesapeake Bay down to the Virginia line.
Sun, 15 Feb 2009 00:00:00 ESTAUCKLAND, New Zealand
Sun, 25 Jan 2009 00:00:00 ESTSTUTTGART, Ark.
Sun, 28 Dec 2008 00:00:00 ESTCall it the rockfish season that never ends. Right up till the end of the year, Chesapeake Bay anglers are hauling in the biggest striped bass you've ever seen.
Sun, 21 Dec 2008 00:00:00 ESTI don't care much for deer hunting from tree stands. I'm from New York, after all, where humans don't sit still. On the other hand I'm fond of venison, which, properly handled and prepared, is as fine as any meat you'll ever encounter. And I love the woods and the little dramas that unfold there. Sitting quietly in a deer stand, you vastly improve your chances and see things you'd never see anywhere else.
Sun, 14 Dec 2008 00:00:00 ESTThe last sail of the year was a good one -- stiff breeze from the south, flocks of wintering sea ducks buzzing around close to the water and, as expected, the Chesapeake Bay as clear and clean as all outdoors.
Sun, 07 Dec 2008 00:00:00 ESTThe horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month understandably overshadowed a notable sporting milestone as the globe-girdling sailors of the Volvo Ocean Race stormed into Cochin, just 600 miles to the south along the Indian coast.
Sun, 30 Nov 2008 00:00:00 ESTNovember is for the birds. Usually that includes a big, fat, farm-raised butterball turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Can you imagine one of those things flying? They'd have the approximate glide ratio of a bowling ball.
Sun, 23 Nov 2008 00:00:00 ESTOf all the birds that fly south in the fall, none is more mysterious than the gentle brown woodcock. Descended from shorebirds, adapted to the forest, long-beaked eaters of worms, night-fliers, woodcocks arrive en masse on a bold north wind and leave en masse with the next one.
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 00:00:00 ESTCanada goose season opened yesterday across Maryland while goose and deer seasons started in Virginia, sending thousands of optimistic, camo-clad folks into the woods, fields and marshes from Old Rag Mountain to Ocean City. Few things get the heart pounding like the rustle of dry leaves as a buck sidles into a clearing or the eerie silence of a gaggle of geese oak-leafing down into your decoys.
Sat, 15 Nov 2008 17:08:36 ESTCanada goose season opened yesterday across Maryland while goose and deer seasons started in Virginia, sending thousands of optimistic, camo-clad folks into the woods, fields and marshes from Old Rag Mountain to Ocean City. Few things get the heart pounding like the rustle of dry leaves as a buck sidles into a clearing or the eerie silence of a gaggle of geese oak-leafing down into your decoys.
Sun, 09 Nov 2008 00:00:00 ESTEveryone thinks the life of the outdoors writer is all fun and games. Well, it has its bubbles but it's not always champagne. Many folks who fish and hunt and boat -- I'd say the vast majority around here -- are staunchly conservative, which makes rough sledding for a die-hard liberal like me.
Sun, 02 Nov 2008 00:00:00 EDTIt's a big weekend for sailing here, with the Melges 24 North Americans, Soling National Championships, IRC big-boat East Coast Championship and a handful of other regattas drawing racers big and small by the hundreds to the Chesapeake.
Sun, 26 Oct 2008 00:00:00 EDTWashington is blessed with wild, beautiful places nearby, mostly associated with the water. If you haven't been, you owe yourself an October visit to Mather Gorge below Great Falls, Triadelphia or Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Jug Bay on the Patuxent or Mattawoman Creek off the tidal Potomac, to name a few.
Sat, 25 Oct 2008 20:13:35 EDTWashington is blessed with wild, beautiful places nearby, mostly associated with the water. If you haven't been, you owe yourself an October visit to Mather Gorge below Great Falls, Triadelphia or Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Jug Bay on the Patuxent or Mattawoman Creek off the tidal Potomac, to name a few.
Sun, 19 Oct 2008 00:00:00 EDTWhen Sherman Baynard surveys the glittering high-rise condos along the beach at Ocean City, he sees miles and miles of fabulous habitat -- but not necessarily for humanity.
Sat, 18 Oct 2008 18:34:11 EDTWhen Sherman Baynard surveys the glittering high-rise condos along the beach at Ocean City, he sees miles and miles of fabulous habitat -- but not necessarily for humanity.
Sun, 12 Oct 2008 00:00:00 EDTA celebrity was in the mix when the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's Midweek Hikers tackled Corbin Cabin Trail in Shenandoah National Park last week.
Sun, 05 Oct 2008 00:00:00 EDTIt's now less than a week to a hallowed date on the calendar. Wood duck season opens Thursday in Virginia, nine days later in Maryland. What, you didn't know?
Sun, 21 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EDTWe've been buzzing around the mid-Chesapeake Bay for a month or so looking for telltale signs of surface-feeding schools of rockfish and blues, which make for some of the most exciting fishing in this region. It's been a hard slog with little success so far, but that makes it all the more satisfying when things finally fall into place.
Sun, 14 Sep 2008 00:00:00 EDTFor some years, Marylanders Mark Hoke and Tracy Groves have organized hunting outings for veterans coming back from the war with disabilities. They go to a lot of trouble arranging food to eat, fields to hunt and amateur guides to help. In the end the show goes on, but often few of the principals show, sometimes none at all.