Issue: April 2012
BYPOINTS: What Winter?

Here it is April again, so it's time to tell you that (a) it is spring at last, and (b) several of our talented scribes were honored in this year's Boating Writers International Writing Awards. While you may find the latter less than surprising (our talented scribes always win lots of BWI honors, and I always brag about it in April), the former may have you somewhat confused, since spring generally follows winter, and we seem to have skipped winter this year. It was more like an extended late fall that somewhere along the way became an extended early spring. I'm not a climate scientist, so it has always been my policy in these situations never to make inane observations about global warming, one way or another. Rather, I prefer to say something like, what the hell? And move on.

But really, it's spring. The authorities say it is indeed almost time to put our boats back in the water. They say that boatyard mechanics, while somewhat confused, stand ready to de-winterize your engine, and that boating supply stores, also confused, will nevertheless gladly sell you 200 feet of 3/8-inch double-braid nylon (because lord knows you can't get another season out of those ancient dock lines on Bay Daze). They say that the magnolias and dogwoods and azaleas will likely bloom on schedule, that soft crabs will soon appear in shedding tanks and on restaurant menus, and that we should not feel guilty about enjoying any of these things just because winter never came. If you're still not convinced that spring is really here, just turn to page 36 of this issue, where you'll find John Page Williams's 2012 Fishing Forecast. You know as well as I that it must be April if John Page is talking excitedly about speckled trout and rockfish and 5-inch Berkley Gulp jerk baits and medium-size bucktails with pork-rind trailers.

And, as I've already mentioned, there are the BWI awards, which for our writers appear this time of year as predictably as cherry blossoms on the tidal basin. Senior editor Jody Schroath won first place in the environment category for her marvelous two-part article last spring on the Conowingo Dam ("Dammed If You Do, Damned If You Don't," in the April and May issues). Marty LeGrand also won a first prize for her April profile of Julie Ball, the Virginia Beach dentist/fisherwoman/calendar gal. The aforementioned John Page Williams won second place for his July Angler's Almanac column, "Find the Churn, Find the Fish," as well as an award of merit for his May Nautical Know-How column on side-scan sonar. And finally, Jane Meneely won two awards of merit, one for "Let There Be Pirates," her July article on the annual pirate fest in Rock Hall, Md., and one for "Byzantium Bound," her March piece about exploring Eastern Bay. My sincere thanks and congratulations to Jody, Marty, John Page and Janie. If you want to re-read the winning stories, just go to our website,, and look for the "BWI Winners" link.

And happy spring to all! Yes, really, it's spring. I checked.


Tim Sayles, Editor