Welcome to the Weekly Creel, a compilation of regional news and announcements for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts of the Chesapeake Bay region. Please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your organization’s news item or event listing considered for next week’s column. Per usual, here are direct links to the lastest, local fishing reports from Reel Chesapeake, On The Water, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anglers Sports Center, and FishTalk Magazine. The leading photograph (above): The calm before the storm; a view of Valentine Creek, Severn River, Maryland, on the morning of 9/21.
Multiple Events Postponed Due to Tropical Storm Conditions
Many outdoor events in the Chesapeake Bay region scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to the incoming tropical storm weather. Gale force windes, storm surges, and heavy rains are expected from the NOAA-classified “Potential Tropical Cyclone 16” we wrote about earlier this week, which has made its way up the Atlantic seaboard and straight into our region today.
Event organizers have pulled the plug on several fishing tournaments, including The Tangier Classic (rescheduled for 9/29 to 10/1), Tiki Lee’s Rockfish Open (moved to 10/13–15), and the expectation that Day 3 (today) of the MLF Toyota Series pro bass tourney on the Potomac River (Smallwood State Park) will be cancelled.
Other notable events rescheduled or cancelled include the Bay Bridge Paddle (moved to next year, 9/15/24), Mighty Matapeake Triathlon (considering options), Anne Arundel County’s River Days (cancelled), the Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival in Annapolis (considering options), and many others too numerous to list here. Hunker down, make some chili, and stay safe everyone!
Two State Record Fish Caught
This week, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources confirmed not one, but two, state record fish having been recently caught and certified! Interestingly, both catches hit on the same day, September 17th, on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay.
The first-announced was the new state record sheepshead caught by angler Brian Summerlin of Princess Anne, who was fishing the Tangier Sound out of Crisfield when a 16.6-pound fish sucked in his 8/0 hook with soft crab on a fishfinder rig. (Photo at right.)
The second record announced by DNR was a 6.44-pound Florida pompano caught by Bobby Graves, who was fishing around Bloodsworth Island for spotted sea trout with soft crab. (Photo at left.)
According to DNR, Florida pompano have become increasingly common in Maryland waters and given its increased frequency, the Department began recognizing the species for Maryland state records in 2019.
Interestingly, Graves catch is a mere 3 pounds shy of the IGFA World Record for the species—8.25 pounds, caught in Port St. Joe Bay, Florida, in October 1999. Congratulations to both Maryland anglers! Photographs courtesy Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources.
Tackle Warehouse Announces 2023 Viewer’s Choice Awards
Fishing tackle retailer Tackle Warehouse has announced it’s annual Viewer’s Choice Award winners—the contest that lets readers choose their favorite bass rods, reels, lures, tackle, accessories, and apparel.
According to TW, “We compiled thousands of entries from bass fanatics across the globe to come up with a list of products you thought were the best from ICAST and this summer’s new releases. After another season of innovative designs and unique new concepts from some of the biggest names in the industry, it’s time to see how your favorites stacked up against the competition!”
Renowned brand of all-things angling, Shimano, won the most categories of all, with six awards. Enjoy perusing the lists of winners, by visiting Tackle Warehouse’s awards page here.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake Announces New Director
Waterkeepers Chesapeake, an umbrella nonprofit that advocates for many local waterkeeper/riverkeeper orgs, recently announced the selection of Leda Huta to be its new Executive Director. She succeeds Betsy Nicholas who served as Executive Director from 2012 to 2022, before moving to Potomac Riverkeeper Network to be the VP of Programs in January.
Huta comes to Waterkeepers Chesapeake from the Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) where she led the national 400-group coalition since 2006. While at ESC, Huta transformed the organization from a watchdog group to a proactive and inclusive movement addressing the root causes of the biodiversity crisis. Huta’s long-term experience in setting strategic direction, advancing advocacy programs, and supporting coalition members will be a great asset for Waterkeepers Chesapeake’s 17 Waterkeeper members.
“The waterways and ecosystems of the Chesapeake have shaped my view of nature, people, and life itself,” Huta stated. “As the hub-of-the-wheel of the 17 Waterkeepers of the Chesapeake and coastal bays region, the organization has vast potential to advance shared goals. And my focus will be on uplifting the incredible commitment and dedication of the staff as well as the Waterkeepers and the communities they serve. Supporting the abundant grassroots capacities of this coalition is absolutely vital to secure the return of healthy, safe, and free-flowing local waterways in the region.” Photograph courtesy Waterkeepers Chesapeake.
First-of-its-Kind Environmental Fund Established
There’s good news and hope for underprivileged communities affected by dire pollution. This week, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, with nine other partners, has been selected to receive and administer a $17 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The Trust and its core partners will leverage these funds to establish and seed the Mid-Atlanic Environmental Justice Fund, the first large-scale environmental justice participatory fund in the region. A participatory fund is a method of grant-making in which members of impacted communites have the power to decide who and what to fund.
The Mid-Atlanic Environmental Justice Fund is the first of its kind in the Chesapeake region and stands to correct longstanding injustices for communities most affected by pollution by providing funding and resources directly to the communities and community-based organizations that have historically faced constraints in competing for funding to address environmental justice issues. The Mid-Atlantic Environmental Justice Fund’s website, portal, and resources hub will be launched in late 2023.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Creel. If you have news to share, please send an email to email@example.com.