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By James Drake

The Maryland Monster Rockfish Tournament and Festival returns for the third straight year Oct. 26 to 28.

Fishing will be on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 and Oct. 28 will be held in reserve if dangerous weather conditions make either of the two previous days unfishable.

The festival part will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 28 when the doors to the Manor House on the Greenwell Foundation property along the banks of the Patuxent River in Hollywood will be opened for several butler-service tastings.

On the menu will be delicious rockfish dishes that are guaranteed not to disappoint. Beer and wine will be served and the Washington Redskins game at the Pittsburgh Steelers will be available for viewing.

Some of the samples promised include rockfish stew, rockfish tacos, wine poached rockfish with spinach and cherry tomatoes plus several other dishes skillfully prepared by Chef Dan Roys.

The cost to attend the festival at Greenwell is $35 per person and that will give you unlimited tastings. Only 150 tickets will be sold, so you’d best not delay. To purchase a festival ticket, call the Greenwell Foundation at 301-373-9775.

The cost to enter the tournament fishing part of this weekend is $250 per team per day. If you want to fish both days, that cost is $400. A single boat/captain may go out both days with the same team, but they must enter under two different team names. The captain’s team members may also change on the second day and you’ll still get the same two-day discount.

The top three biggest striped bass caught per team will be weighed daily. First place will pay $10,000, $7,000 for second and $3,000 for third place for the heaviest three-fish stringer brought in during the two-day tournament. Those payouts are promised with a full field of 200 boats.

Should someone catch a Maryland record striped bass during this tournament (the current record is 67 pounds 8 ounces), that one fish will pay a guaranteed $100,000.

Creative Concepts Taxidermy will also mount the largest single fish caught during the tournament for free and present it to the angler who caught it. Also, if you plan on bringing in three striped bass over 28 inches on either day of the tournament, Maryland law requires that you have at least three fishermen aboard your boat.

Official tournament waters are Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Multiple weigh-in stations will be available with the following open in Southern Maryland: Point Lookout Marina, Calvert Marina, Breezy Point Marina and the Rod ‘N’ Reel Dock in Chesapeake Beach.

Several captain’s meetings are schedule bay-wide, with the nearest to us being at 6 p.m. Oct. 25 at Hilton Gardens Inn in Dowell.

There are also several optional tournament-within-a-tournament or Calcutta wagers available to tournament participants, including some for biggest daily bluefish and trout.

To learn more and see all the rules and regulations, go to www.MonsterRockfishTournament.com. Registration can be done online until Oct. 25. For more information, call 443-771-3200.

A really big show

The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association, is the largest trade show in the world for the fishing/boating community every year.

During this one huge outdoor show, manufacturers display, often for the first time, their latest and greatest products to distributors and dealers worldwide.

Next year, for the first time, ICAST is going to get far bigger because of a new partnership with the American Fly Fishing Trade Association to co-locate their annual show with ICAST.

Both shows now are scheduled to be held July 10 to 12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is expected this merger will increase the business opportunities with increased international attendance as well as simply more buyers available to both venues.

Tournament cheat

This past fishing season, the Walmart FLW tournament circuit held one of its divisional events on Lake Wylie in South Carolina.

Boater John Hoyle of Rutherfordton, N.C., finished in third place to win a check for $1,082.

However, Hoyle was later disqualified for a violation of FLW's Rule No. 9: Sportsmanship.

It seems one of his bass was discovered to have an 11-ounce weight in its stomach.

Hoyle’s tournament winnings were forfeited and fourth through eleventh place moved up one spot in the final tournament standings.

Hoyle will not be permitted entry into any future FLW tournaments for the rest of his life.

Waterfowl Festival

Maryland’s annual Waterfowl Festival will be held Nov. 9 to 11 in Easton on our beautiful Eastern Shore.

If you’ve never been before, consider indulging yourself this year for this truly is one of those very special events you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life.

Even if the only taste you have is all in your mouth, you just won’t be able to ignore the incredible beauty of the artwork you’ll see here on display. Some of the paintings and sculptures on exhibit in Easton are indescribable in their magnificence. This wildlife art comes from all over the world and I guarantee you’ll be amazed and impressed.

Some of it is just so extraordinary that you won’t be able to not have a wonderful and most memorable time.

Besides all the art, there will be activities for children, including a fishing derby, and everyone will enjoy the incredible retriever demonstrations, fly fishing displays, duck calling contests, beer and wine tastings for adults and even scheduled this year is a birds of prey exhibition they’ve dubbed “Skyhunters In Flight.”

This whole show is really done right and it seems nearly the whole population of Easton turns out as festival volunteers lay down the red carpet for visitors.

An admission ticket for all three days costs only $12 and children 12 and younger are admitted free. Proceeds from the Waterfowl Festival are used to help support wildlife and habitat conservation.

To learn more or purchase tickets online, go to www.waterfowlfestival.org.

zbasser@aol.com