Fishing in Public

by "Tackle Box" Billy Kelley
by "Tackle Box" Billy Kelley

2010 Season Preview

Hello, fellow fishing fans and ocean aficionados. It’s great to be back conversing once again. Boy, I get positively elated when this time of year rolls around. And hey, by the way, that was some winter! The climate seems to get a bit crazier every year, don’t it? What’d it snow, just once? The carnival had to be cancelled, tons of rain, and what seemed to be record numbers of snowmobiles taking the deep dive through weak ice — global warming more than the likely culprit, I expect. I also expect stranger weather on the horizon.

I hadn’t actually even expected to write a column quite this early (after all, the fish aren’t even here yet!). But with much prodding by my pal and sometime mentor, Cliff Gallant, and a timely phone call from my pal and editor, I decided to draft one anyway. Because they’re right on target. There is actually much to talk about. This winter was not quiet at all. Many things have gone on — big, big things.

The first, and what I consider the most important thing that happened, is not quite an event, but something I learned. I guess it’s like the old saying, “You’re never too old to learn.”

Now, I’ve been talking about the decline of stripers a lot. And I’ve blamed things like, say, the weather, overfishing, bycatch, foreigners, even New Hampshire (my arch enemy, by the way, whom I like to blame everything on). And I’ve put a lot of blame on pollution, but apparently not enough, for it turns out that the worst cause of all the decimation of stripers is pollution.

And what’s worse, it’s not even us that’s to blame. It’s Maryland, Delaware, and any other place that abuts the Chesapeake Bay area, because that’s where they fuck and have babies. Then they like to travel, as many folks do, up to New England. But years of things like chemical fertilizers and bad ocean habits in general down there have given the fish something called mycobacteriosis. And it’s like a cancer killing our fish. I just wanted to draw your attention to it for now. We will definitely be discussing this down the road.

The second most important thing that happened was more talk about registration for recreational ocean fishing. Registration is another name for a tax, I do believe. Now, I don’t think it’s quite as important as mycobacteriosis, but I can’t believe what a beehive gone berserk this has created. I argued against this in the past (I guess no one listened), but I think we better get back to this eventually. I’m damn surprised just what a ruckus this has caused.

We can put registration on the backburner for now. There’s to be no tax this year, and to be sure, the waters are quite murky on this. But not to worry — I won’t forget this one.

Another thing I think worth discussing: the railroad. OK, I can hear you now — Talk about left field, this guy’s out in the stands! But no, there is a connection here. There’s a lot of talk of making a new railroad heading north. And that, folks, could very well mean the destruction of my dearly beloved trestle! Yikes! Probably the best striper spot this city has ever seen.

Now, realistically, I could never do battle with this event, but please indulge while we visit the trestle once again this season. I know, I know — you’ve heard it all before. But the whole trestle area really is a vital spot, with a future. Just what future, I don’t know.

As always, I’ll be keeping you abreast of the whole fishing scene as developments occur. I’ll be getting my posse in place and getting their input out to you. I can’t wait to track down my coconspirator, Michelle. Don’t you love girls?

And I know it just don’t seem it, what with my radiator blasting away on April 28, but it’s really been above-average temperatures, which, barring any more weird weather upheavals, should signal an early season. So by next month, next issue, we might really have our poles in the water. Wishful thinking, I know, but all us fishing nuts get it.

And please let me add one more thing. (Ain’t I polite?) But this is very important. Please, please pay attention. Two weeks ago they pulled another floater out of the water. So listen up, especially if you happen to indulge in recreational mind-expanders: be careful. The water is still really cold, mind-numbing cold. Seriously. And should you fall in there might not be any way to climb out. I’d rather not read about any of you from that perspective.