Early fall is upon us and the fishing continues to be outstanding. Last Sunday, as the northwest winds bounced us all over the Eastern Shore side of the upper bay, my party had to hold on with one hand, grip the rod and reel with the other. But there were plenty of bluefish for everyone.

To get a little relief from the weather, I finally had to move us to the Western Shore side, where we found bluefish and more bluefish.

The bluefish aren't large -- they run from one to three pounds with most of them under two -- but they are quite numerous, fun to catch and good to eat. When they are large I think they get a little strong.

Bluefish start in good numbers at Swan Point and extend south. Hot spots change daily as the fish move back and forth across the bay. Love Point seems to consistently offer shelter for several schools of these snapper bluefish.

Directly across the bay, the area above Baltimore Light has been good, as has Dolly's Lump and Hacketts Bar below the Bay Bridge. Tolly's Bar, below the mouth of the Severn River, has also been productive in the upper-middle bay.

One woman exiting the Rod 'N' Reel's headboat last weekend said that she had never "wound up so many spot" in her life. Norfolk spot fishing in the Choptank River seems to be peaking. It is outstanding as these bottom feeders begin to pack up for the long migration south. Capt. Shaker Black, dockmaster for the Rod 'N' Reel, says it is the best he's ever seen. For more information, call 855-8351.

In addition to spot, the bottom fishermen are also catching a few legal-size flounder and many smaller than that, a few small trout and some hardhead.

Bluefish have been very numerous in the Hook, just below Poplar Island, and along the Western Shore below Breezy Point.

All in all, fishing is good the week before the opening of Maryland's 1990 rockfish season.

Several exciting activities await your attention next week. Thursday, the U.S. Sailboat Show rafts up at the Annapolis City Dock for the beginning of a two-week boating blast. The power boat show opens the following Thursday.

Rockfish, or striped bass, season opens Oct. 5 in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers (CORPS) will kick off their pipe show at Richmond's Holiday Inn on I-64 West. Details on the opening of rockfish season will be covered in Sunday's column. For more information on the CORPS pipe show, call me at 437-2715. And if you like sailboats or crowds or both, we have the largest in-water sailboat show in the world beginning Thursday, Oct. 4 and running through Oct. 8.

Thursday is considered trade/press/VIP Day at the show, so if you are interested in seeing the show with the smallest daily crowd, it's worth paying the additional entry fee (total $20) to be considered a VIP. VIPs are usually serious buyers who do not want to compete with the tire-kickers. Admission Friday through Monday is $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. This price includes infants.

Don't even think about parking downtown. Follow the parking signs from Route 50 and take the shuttle buses to the show. This is a no-hassle trip --trust me.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and to 6 p.m. on Monday.

The show will feature hundreds of sailboats from the largest to the smallest, five large tents and 134 smaller tents crammed with nifty boating stuff. All this is surrounded by Annapolis, which is just dripping with sailboat fever.

What more could any one ask for, except maybe a pipe collector's show?

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