Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is Coming, First Fish, and more Teeth

My quest to find all the fossilized shark teeth in the world continues, albeit unsuccessfully.

But - Spring is coming fast. The spring peepers call loudly each night, and the flowering trees are at their peak. When I took the picture of the just-budding magnolia, signs of spring were just emerging. Now, a week and a half later, that same magnolia is losing some of its magnificent flowers. I'll try to get some pics for another post.

I decided that, with the temps this nice, the bass must be moving in our little development pond. Went down there on Sunday and got my butt kicked. One strike (missed it) on a buzzbait. A ton of strikes on my little Cubby jig, but not one hookup, except for this little largemouth. Oh well - first fish of the year.

Our cat (yes, the cat returns) is adapting to the warmer weather by shedding mountains of her "winter coat" on a daily basis.

Finally, I made it over to an undeveloped State Park on the Potomac in Charles Co. It is supposed to have some sharks teeth there (it did). But, a better find occurred - I found out it is home to arguably some of the best shore fishing for largemouth in the Potomac. A bass boat was out a long cast from shore, so I engaged the fishermen in a little chat. Seems the big bay is matted with weeds all summer, but they are just emerging now. The guys were catching 1-2 pound LM pretty frequently on swim jigs and chatterbaits, and said the big fish were just moving in. I figure that, in 2 weeks, the weeds ought to be halfway to the surface, and I'm going to be there. Buzzbaits, Zara Spooks, swim jigs, and spinnerbaits ought to produce. I'm pretty psyched to give it a try - looks really nice.

Oh yeah - found a few teeth, too. Apparently these are from a different formation than the Calvert ones I usually find.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My New Favorite Hobby

What is this?? 3 posts IN THE SAME YEAR?? Yep, I've returned - better than ever! (Well, probably not, but at least I feel like writing again)

As you know, I moved last summer. The fishing opportunities in So. Maryland have been infrequent and, well, uneventful. At least so far. But, while fishing has always been my passion, I really like to do about anything outside around the water. And now I've found my new hobby.

I'm a fossil hunter.

A really bad one. One who doesn't know exactly what it is that I'm looking at on the rare occasion that I find something. But a fossil hunter nonetheless.

So. Maryland is home to a relatively unique feature along much of the Calvert Co shoreline on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. There are cliffs rising up from the bay. These cliffs are home to a LOT of fossils, which continually wash into the Bay via natural erosion. And once in the Bay, they wash upon the shoreline, or at least in the shell / stone / junk that accumulates in the waves and on the beaches. There are only a few public or quasi-public beach stretches here, but they all have the potential to yield a handful of fossilized sharks teeth on any given afternoon. I had read about the teeth found here, and researched it (we joined the Calvert Marine Museum, which is well worth any one's time if you ever find yourself in Calvert Co)so I decided I would go and try to find my very own shark's teeth. My wife likes to meander around beaches too, so this is a perfect escape for the two of us when we get some time.

Saturday we found we had some time and headed off to Flag Ponds Park. Only a few cars were in the lot. We walked the 1/2 mile trail toward the beach. Along the way we were greeted with lots of evidence of last summer's hurricane.

We checked out the salt pond where we saw the cooter last week. Another one was spotted but this one was very spooky and across the pond. I think we'll see lots of cool stuff in this pond when the water warms a little. Hopefully some diamondback terrapins.

A Northern Red Bellied Cooter across the pond

We made it out to beach and started looking. Neither of us were really sure what we were looking for. The teeth are usually tiny and there are a lot of shell fragments and junk in the wave wash. The experienced fossil hunters use a clam rake with 1/8 - 1/4" mesh screening. We just brought a couple of white plastic colanders. I'd scoop a bunch of junk from the water, swirl it around to get rid of the sand, and check for treasures. Nothing. At least at first. Then, I found my first one. Of course, I only found one more, and my wife found 5, but at least we had broken the ice. We also found some coral and assorted other "stuff"

The real fossil hounds can tell you the species of shark by looking at the tooth. I can't - at least not yet. But I can definitely see myself getting immersed in this hobby, and soon enough I'll know what it is that I'm looking at. I do know that they are from the Miocene Epoch, and are about 17 million years old.

There's something about finding 17 million year old teeth that I find fascinating.

While this is a departure from my usual fishing rambling, I hope you find some degree of interest in it. It still revolves around my love of the Flowing Waters - tides, this time, instead of streams. I still plan to fish as much as I can, and have some trips planned for this summer (Including fishing at least 3 of the states I need to fill my 50 state quest) but I'm sure I'll spend plenty of time looking for teeth this year. Follow along - might be fun!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Last weekend we were walking through Flag Ponds Nature Park near our home in Maryland. We walked out on a small pier to a brackish water pond and saw a big turtle right next to the pier. I didn't expect to see any turtle, let alone a big one, since it is still February and the water is still cold. But, it has been a very mild winter, so I guess spring was getting a head start for this guy. It was close enough to get a great picture, except for the fact that I didn't have my camera along. I watched it for a while and hit the online turtle ID sites when I got home.

What I saw was a Northern Red Bellied Cooter.

Cool turtle, and the name just cracks me up! Juvenile - yes. Immature - guilty as charged.