David Jeffery Smith, the former executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association, has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 from the nonprofit group.

According to an article in the Capital Gazette, prosecutors will ask for a five-year sentence without time off for good behavior. The maximum penalty is 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Anne Arundel Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs agreed to Smith’s request to delay sentencing until April 30 to provide time for Smith to pay $136,239.50 in restitution.

In September, Smith was ordered in a civil lawsuit to pay restitution to the MSSA for using its credit card and checks to cover personal expenses like clothes, bar tabs, phone bills, airplane tickets, a Bahama vacation and a cruise. Smith also took out bank loans in MSSA’s name to cover debts he incurred. Prosecutors found that he improperly used his company credit card 150 times from late 2016 to January 2018.

Smith, 39, of 1655 Rosebrook Drive, York, Pa., beat me out when I interviewed for the executive director position in 2009. After many employment defeats, this is one time when I can definitely say I was the better man. Smith’s misuse of funds completely shut down the MSSA, which had been one of the largest recreational fishing groups in the state. It would be great if it could reorganize again. Anglers have formed smaller clubs throughout the state but one large central organization, with a director that isn’t a crook, can offer a more powerful voice to lobby lawmakers.

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Boat show time in Baltimore

Besides trout fishing, the Baltimore Boat Show offers another reason for traveling over the bridge. This year’s show at the Baltimore Convention Center runs January 23-26 with plenty of boats to look over, marine equipment to ogle, and activities to keep you entertained. The show has grown by 32,750 square feet and will feature more than 300 boats, educational seminars, shopping opportunities, and family-friendly activities.

New this year are the Discover Boating Experience, an entertainment hub with a place to relax and have a drink while taking in a variety of topics, seminars, and inspirational stories from exhibitors and local businesses. Also new is a Tackle & Fishing Store where you can watch demonstrations and participate in hands-on tutorials focused on trolling, tackle, and live-bait fishing. The station will also teach conservation techniques and cover the general ecology of the Chesapeake Bay region, relating to fishing.

Kids activities include Build-A-Boat where children ages 12 and under can create a model boat that they can take home as a souvenir.

The winner of the show’s 10th annual Crab Pickin’ Contest will receive a 55-inch 4K Ultra High Definition TV.

Complete show information, including ticket pricing and purchasing, is available on the show website (baltimoreboatshow.com).

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Snakehead festival

The inaugural Maryland Snakehead Festival, hosted by Blackwater’s Edge, is currently being organized with a scheduled date of Saturday, April 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Sailwinds West at Governors Hall in Cambridge.

Over 50 booths of vendors are already signed up and they’ll be offering tackle, rods, reels, kayaks, and anything that’s snakehead related. Educational seminars will cover everything from the history of the arrival of snakeheads in Maryland to how to prepare and cook them for a delicious meal. The entry fee will be $5 with kids 12 and under admitted for free.

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Duck blind know-it-all

Approximately 80 percent of creatures on Earth have six legs.

(I may have used that before. Feel free to email me if you’ve got an interesting nature fact; please include your name and hometown so you can receive proper credit.

Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at cknauss@stardem.com

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