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By James Drake

There are a few spot and croaker left in local waters, but big numbers of these fish have already moved out.

On the flip side of that, it seems large schools of bluefish have invaded, and some of these toothy brutes are pretty nice size, in the 5- to 7-pound class. Theyíll be leaving soon, too, so hurry up to get in on that action.

Itís also still not too late to sign up for the big Fishiní Buddies Tournament at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville on Oct. 13. You must register by Oct. 10 and those forms are available at the park and from the main Charles County park office on Audie Lane in La Plata or call 301-932-3470 during business hours to obtain one.

Lastly, have you heard about the latest recommendation from the Office of Management and Budget?

Because of the Budget Control Act of 2011, $1.2 trillion must be trimmed from federal spending. To help this cause, the OMB wants to take $34 million out of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

That money originates from excise taxes paid on all recreational fishing equipment and is intended to be 100 percent returned to the states to enhance recreational fishing opportunities.

This is the first time in the 62-year history of the trust fund that the federal government isnít going to give it all back. It would seem we can't trust the OMB with the trust fund anymore.

When you hear about shenanigans like this, itís got to make you wonder how all those politicians currently in power in Washington, D.C., can even sleep at night.

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds A good fishing time in our little waters is anytime you can get out there and wet a line. Thatís especially so under cloudy conditions, but the waters are cooling and the fish have noticed. Theyíll be on a serious feed now for the lean times they know are coming.

At Gilbert Run Park, assistant park manager Anthony Hancock said that small bass, bluegill and crappie are being caught along the grass edges and this action goes on all day long. Hancock recommended that you let spinnerbaits and soft plastics slowly fall through the crystal clear water into the strike zone. Any wood cover you find along the shoreline could also be holding fish.

Mattawoman Creek If the tides are up, this is not the best place to be. However, during low water times, you should find some action upstream from Slavinís old launch.

Upper Potomac River The water is has gotten a bit higher bit, but itís still cooling and the smallmouth action is just fine.

The guides with Life Outdoors Unlimited (301-937-0010) continue to find it tough to work fast moving lures because of free-floating grass.

At Whites Ferry, Ken Penrod with LOU said that you can use any lure youíd like just so long as itís a tube. Work the quick water around Harrison Island as well as the pools and island-side rock formations.

At Lander, either direction from the launch is OK, but go upriver first. Don't waste your time pounding the shoreline but rather target underwater ledges. If youíre going to try your luck around Brunswick, the flats ledges have been red hot.

Tidal Potomac River Andy Andrzejewski with the Reel Bass Adventures stable of guides (301-932-1509) said that many river species are now becoming active. For the bass, Andrzejewski still likes poppers and buzzbaits worked over the grass beds or spinnerbaits, chatter baits and swim baits both over and around them. Lots of small striped bass are caught around bridge abutments and rock piles, especially at the beginning of an outgoing tide.

Some really nice bluegill are also showing up along the grass edges and some are big enough to take a tube bait.

Lower Potomac River Franco Foraci on Cobb Island told me the perch are stacked up off of Carterís Lumps, but the better grade of fish are out in deeper water. Foraci recommended that you target at least 30-foot depths. If itís puppy drum you seek, head to the shallows and try cut baits. Some speckled trout are in the lower river as well.

Patuxent River Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park reported great white perch action happening now in the 40-foot trench off Green Holly. Bloodworms on bottom rigs will catch them. Lamb also says rockfishing is good for both trollers and lurecasters up the Patuxent. Even some bottom fishermen have gotten in on the rockfish action around Greenwell State Park.

The puppy drum sometimes seem like theyíre everywhere. The difficulty has been to find one between 18 and 27 inches to be able to keep it.

Deep Creek Lake The best fishing time of the whole year is here at Deep Creek right now. Water temperatures have been falling sharply and the bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, are on a big feed. Even the walleye action is hot. The surviving grass is still a good place to work topwaters.

Lake Anna Carlos Wood at High Point Marina said that the stripers are breaking most mornings in all three sections of the lake. Zara Spooks or Chug Bugs have been working very well. The birds arenít much help yet, so you really need to keep your eyes on the surface. Lots of crappie are around bridges and deep water docks, while the largemouth catches have been best in the uplake region.

Chesapeake Bay ďWell, it does not get much better than this,Ē said Lamb to begin his fishing report.

Bluefish came up and broke just above the Gas Docks last week and they were impressive at 5 to 7 pounds. These toothy ones have been generally cruising the bay searching for bait and can be found almost anywhere. Cedar Point Hollow usually has a mix of little breakers with the bigger rockfish underneath. Lamb recommended big jigs to get down under those smaller fish.

On Monday, a big school was spotted on the eastern side of the bay about three miles west of Adam Island. Trollers dragging surgical eels are finding more blues on the Middle Grounds and in the Mud Leads. Lots of speckled trout are in the cuts and creeks of the eastern shore and surface lures are taking them.

Capt. Sonney Forrest (443-532-0836) has had pretty fair action around Cedar Point, but he told me that some days it turns off around 10 a.m. When itís on, Forrest is getting some really nice numbers.

Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City said that the water temperatures are going down and Ocean City fishermen are finding a real fine assortment of sheepshead, tautog, puppy drum, sea trout, blues and flounder.

The nearshore wrecks still have plenty of sea trout and flounder, while out in the canyons, wahoo, dolphin and marlin are a good bet.

zbasser@aol.com