Pictured at left is the United States national distance casting
champion, James Eric Williams, providing a thrilling casting demonstration
at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Wednesday, August 13th, 2002.
James and International casting champion Neil Mackellow from England
were sponsored by Penn Reels, and with the help of the Baltimore
Orioles and DNR, provided a thrilling casting exhibition just
before the start of the August 12 & 13th games vs. the Minnesota
Twins. The crowds of approx. 40,000 spectators each watched as
James and Neil cast regulation baseballs from home plate over
the centerfield wall and into the "sod farm" below the
jumbotron. Although the distance of their casts at the ball park
were in the neighborhood of 500 feet, both James and Neil have
exceeded distances of 750 feet in competitive casting tournaments!
The purpose of the casting exhibition was to draw attention to
the sport of fishing, which is as much an American pastime as
baseball. While James and Neil were thrilling the crowds on the
field, DNR staff were busy speaking to the crowds under the right
field grandstand. Staff from DNR's Park Service presented Scales
N' Tales, Fisheries Service brought a "touch tank" with
horseshoe crabs, oysters, diamondback terrapins and other Chesapeake
animals. Additional DNR staff presented the "Bay Game"
for passer byes to the DNR exhibit. DNR would like to thank both
James and Neil for helping us bring the sport of fishing to the
attention of the many people that attended the baseball games
those days. Of particular pride, James is a Maryland resident
from the town of Upper Marlboro.
The season for summer flounder reopened statewide a week ago,
on Monday, August 12th. Flounder catches in the Atlantic and its
coastal bays have been only fair, impacted by turbid water. On
the Chesapeake, some nice flounder to 24 inches have been caught
in many of the traditionally productive areas, including: Eastern
Bay, the periphery of Poplar Island, False Channel, and Tangier
Sound. The elevated salinity levels in the upper and middle Chesapeake
are evident as we receive reports of bluefish, croaker and Spanish
mackerel pushing further north. High pressure and associated windy
conditions along the coast have hindered fishing for marlin and
tuna and have clouded the waters of the back bays. Hopefully,
the winds will lighten and waters will clear in the coming days.
Drought conditions continue to affect central and eastern Maryland
non-tidal waters, with falling water levels in water supply reservoirs
and streams. Western Maryland streams and rivers have been less
impacted by the drought. There will be a Sport Fish Advisory Commission
meeting on Monday, August 26th at 6 PM in the C-1 Room of the
Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis, Maryland. The public
is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, call
877-657-0976 and ask for Martin Gary.
people have contacted Fisheries Service staff with what they believed
to be a snakehead caught in the Bay or a salty tributary. That
fish has typically been either a blennie (see photo) or an inshore
lizardfish. Blennies in our area are typically found inshore in
shallow water. They inhabit places with cover such as rocks, pilings,
and shell reefs. DNR Biologist, Harley Speir, provided the following
description of the inshore lizardfish.
The body is long and round and the mouth is filled with
numerous sharp teeth. These fish have been captured in bait
seines and on hook and line in tidewater. From descriptions
over the phone and photographs, which have been sent, we have
identified this fish as the inshore lizardfish (Synodus foetens).
lizardfish is a common summer visitor to the Maryland portion
of the Bay and we collect it in our summer Juvenile Finfish
Recruitment Survey generally in the salty lower Potomac River
samples. This year the Bay is very salty and the lizardfish
has expanded into more northerly waters. There may actually
be greater numbers of them and certainly more people are attuned
to the presence of alien fish and therefore the fish is more
likely to be reported. We have reports from the Patuxent, Tilghman
Island and the Choptank.
The fish is brownish or greenish above with silvery sides
and belly. The body is elongated and roundish, the snout is
pointed and the mouth is filled with sharp teeth, the caudal
(tail) fin is forked and the dorsal (top) fin is high and short
. Most of the specimens we will see in the Bay will range from
7 to 13 inches although the species may grow to 24 inches. As
you would expect from the teeth, the primary food is fish. The
lizardfish, sheepshead, red drum, pompano and other occasional
summer visitors, that have been taken by fishermen this year,
are what makes Chesapeake Bay fishing so interesting and exciting.
Snakeheads cannot tolerate saltwater.
few weeks ago an angler stopped by Fisheries Service in Annapolis
with a photograph of a fish he had caught in a Crofton pond. After
some research, fellow biologists identified the fish as a northern
snakehead. Key distinguishing features of this snakelike fish
include a long dorsal fin, small head, large mouth, and big teeth.
It can grow up to 40 inches in length and weigh up to 15 pounds.
This species is not native to Maryland waters and has the potential
to cause serious problems if introduced into our ecosystem. If
you come across this fish, please DO NOT release it. Fisheries
Service is asking that anglers euthanize this fish by cutting/bleeding
since it can survive for several days out of water. This fish
was introduced by an individual with an aquarium. Never release
aquarium fish into ponds and lakes!
click on the graphic to the left for a larger view and additional
photo's. Additional information on this topic is available online.
Media should contact the Office of Public Communications at 410-260-8020.
Other questions or comments should be sent to Steve
Early at email@example.com
COUPLE OF CLOSING NOTES...
With the assistance
of DNR computer whiz, Anthony Burrows, I have remodeled the
report so that it is easier for you to navigate throughout the
website. I hope you like as much as I do and continue to send
in your suggestions and comments. Boating safety information
is available off the DNR Natural Resources Police website at
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and crabbing photos accompanied with the story behind the photo.
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MD DNR Fisheries Service