On Sunday, with fall fishing patterns firming up on Chesapeake Bay, Tom Haller of Lusby caught a big piece of late summer action off Randall Cliffs -- a state-record Spanish mackerel.
For the most part, Spanish mackerel move out of Maryland's bay waters in early to mid September, as water temperatures begin to drop.
According to a catch report filed with the Department of Natural Resources, Haller was fishing aboard Capt. Charlie Marenka's charterboat, Jennifer Anne, trolling parachutes and large bucktails off the western shore for big rockfish.
The record mackerel hit a parachute trolled on 50-pound test line.
The catch was weighed in at Bunky's in Solomons and verified by Fisheries Service biologist Drew Koslow.
Haller's catch was 32 inches long and weighed 9 pounds, 4.5 ounces. It is the second record Spanish mackerel caught this year.
Fall fishing, meanwhile, is shaping up nicely, with rockfish and blues providing most of the action and sea trout starting to school off river mouths.
Fisheries Service biologist Martin L. Gary said bluefish remain as far north as Tolchester and are still fairly abundant in the middle bay. But, he said, the greatest numbers of blues are concentrating on the Middle Grounds in preparation for their migration out of the bay.
"If you have never experienced a late October trip to the Middle Grounds for the highly concentrated bluefish, now is the time," Gary said. "The mass of fish is sometimes beyond belief, and topwater action is always very much a possibility."
Rockfish action also is picking up in the main stem of the bay, where chummers and trollers have reported increased catches over the past week, including some reaching 33 inches.
Some of the better locations for chumming have been Love Point, Belvedere Shoals, the Diamonds, Point No Point Light and the eastern edge of the shipping channel south from Buoy 72A.
The best trolling for larger fish has been from Deale to Cove Point on the western edge of the shipping channel.
Rockfish also are turning on in bay tributaries, where light tackle anglers have been been doing well in shallow water during low light hours.
Sea trout have been moving often, but the Rock Piles at the Bay Bridge, Love Point, Hooper Island Straits, the Mud Leads and the Puppy Hole in Tangier Sound all are good bets for jigging.
Gunpowder River: Tricos hatching from York Road downstream between 8: 30 a.m. and noon. Also variable hatches of caddis, blue-winged olives and midges.
Casselman River: Water flows have returned to normal. Delayed harvest regulations in effect until Jan. 15, and fall stocking is due.
North Branch of the Potomac: Flows slightly below normal, but conditions are good, and trout are preparing to spawn.
Savage River: Flows are down, but river is very fishable. Sulfurs, light Cahills, Blue-winged olives and midges.
Middle and Upper Potomac River: Water temperature in the middle 60s and levels are up. Smallmouth bass hitting tube lures, grubs and jerk baits. Walleye hitting crankbaits and grubs. Also good action for channel catfish and sunfish.
Patapsco River: Good flows and very good smallmouth action on tubes, spinners and poppers.
Liberty Reservoir: Small minnows fished on dropoffs have been working well for crappie and bluegill. Channel cats off rocky points. Walleye in the canyon areas above Nicodemus Road Bridge. Stripers have been scattered.
Loch Raven Reservoir: The impoundment is in excellent condition, and bass fishing has been hot on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Yellow perch and pickerel along the drops outside weed beds.
Prettyboy Reservoir: Impoundment is still well down, but crankbaits worked to rocky ledges still work well for bass.
Deep Creek Lake: Yellow perch hitting nightcrawlers in 10 to 12 feet of water. Some trout hitting by the dam and smallmouth bass and pickerel have been hitting drifted shiners or deep-running crankbaits.
At a glance
What: 28th United States Powerboat Show, with more than 400 boats and a full line of gear and accessories on display Where: City Dock, Annapolis When: Today through Sunday. Show opens at 10 a.m. daily. Admission: $12 for adults and $6 for all children 12 and under Parking: Follow signs from Route 50 exit 24 (Rowe Blvd.) to lots. Free shuttle bus to show.