Bits and pieces from the great Outdoors:

* "It's difficult finding out where the fish are because so few people are fishing," I said. "The economy is in sad shape, charters are down all over."

"I'll tell you about the economy," my friend said. "They'll buy hooks and worms, but I've got a whole warehouse full of rods and reels."

With the exception of black drum, fishing over the past few weeks hasn't been all that exciting. Consequently, I hadn't really noticed the reduced fishing activity. Lately, however, white perch have taken off in the upper bay and bluefish are moving up from the lower bay, so I expected the phone to start ringing.

* Fishing tournament activity also has been reduced. Some of it has been weather-related, but much can be blamed on the poor economy. The MSSA bluefish tournament was off several hundred boats, the Rod 'N Reel captain's tournament was down, and so is this week's Trout and Bluefish Tournament in Solomons.

Trout and Bluefish is a fun tournament, and the proceeds go to the Calvert County Cardiac Society, a very worthy cause. On topof that, plenty of bluefish are in the area, even a few sea trout. It will not be one of those fish-all-day-for-nothing tournaments.

The tournament starts tomorrow, so don't delay. For more information, call (301) 535-1554.

Another tournament of sorts also starts tomorrow. The Pasadena Fishing Group is having a fishing contest. It was going to be a bluefish tournament, but they decided to make it a whiteperch tournament because the blues were late this year. The entry fee is only $5 and most of the measure-in will be conducted at Sandy Point State Park.

For more information, call George Bentz at 255-3678.

* Fishing is beginning to look good. The lower bay has plenty of bluefish. Some days they're breaking and you have to troll for them. Some days they will come to chum. Action is good.

Wednesday a week ago, the bluefish were just below the Targets in the Solomons area. By tomorrow, when the tournament begins, they could be off Cove Point. You can find an occasional sea trout under the bluefish. You can also find trout around the old LP plant they call the Construction. Norfolk spot have moved into the Patuxent River in the Solomons area.

Bluefish were seen from Long Beach to Parker's Creek and on SharpsIsland Flats, but they are moving around and may not be in the same place two days in a row. Some fair size spot, small trout and white perch are being caught in the Choptank.

An occasional black drum isstill being caught on the Stone Rock and Poplar Island Flats.

In the upper bay, the white perch have started their spring thing. The best action last weekend was up the bay at Tolchester and Hodges Bar, but look for happenings on Swan Point Bar and Belvidere Shoals in thenear future, maybe even this weekend.

Ocean City fishing is very good. Head boats are bottom fishing for sea bass, a few tog and ling during the day and chumming at night. Shark fishing is drawing crowds, the first tuna have been caught and the first marlin have been seen. All in all, pretty good fishing.

Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.

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