IF FISHING is your angle, we know one whopper of a hole near George Quade's store in Bushwood, just a breeze from Route 301, via Route 239, on the shady Wicomico River.

Here, croaker, snapper, blues and perch swim close and jump high, with plenty winding up on your line. After two hours of not even trying, our cooler was full. (Purists, remember: salt, pepper and lemon are all you need to turn the river's bounty into a memorable meal.)

Life in this hamlet is sustained by fresh water, within a seagull's swoop of the tidal Potomac.

The wisp of shoreline is decked out with handsome summer estates that lend a silk-stocking feel to the place. Many of the homes have their own boat slips. But dust-coated Ford Broncos, Nissan Sentras and Olds Cutlass wagons with faded Redskins bumper stickers wheel into the parking lot. Out bounce revved-up fishing types sporting Budweiser caps.

One of those geared up for action is Bob Weddington. Five days a week, he toils as the conscientious, easygoing budget and financial requirements manager at Amtrak. Come weekends, he unleashes hellish fury on rod and reel and ice chest with three guys from the office.

The 38-year-old Arlington resident counts eight glorious seasons under his belt at Bushwood. He can do the 75-minute trip blindfolded.

Under Maryland law, Weddington explains, every fisherman who yearns to cast his line in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries must first purchase a license, with the revenues going to the Bay cleanup program. If you are planning on going fishing more than once during the March to October fishing season, you're better off paying the one-time fee of $8 rather than have to face a one-day license fee of $5 per person levied by the boat owner each time you rent.

More advice from the Voice of Experience: Make reservations. "The owner knows me," Weddington boasts, "and if I don't call ahead, he'll figure out a way to get a boat for me. He also sends me a calendar at Christmas."

Weddington, who became serious about fishing while a student at Geroge Mason University ("I didn't have a class in the afternoon"), and his pals would like to keep Bushwood their private little secret, but they know that can never be:: "We tried, but the word is gradually getting out . . . . " GETTING THERE -- South on Route 301, left on Route 5, right on MD 242, right on MD 239, go 1 1/2 miles to Quade's. Open 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. Boat rentals are $35 for up to 4 people, $40 for up 6; included is a motor, one tank of gas, life jackets, and an anchor. Call ahead, 301/769-3903.