Hot on the heels of successful early archery and muzzleloader seasons, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has just announced that the opening day of firearms deer season saw a 29% increase in deer harvested over 2018’s Saturday opener.

This past weekend, I was seated next to a lovely woman at a holiday party. While our husbands were outside patting themselves on the back for a good year and smoking cigars, I listened — intently — as she told me about planning her daughter’s wedding earlier this year.

Last week I did my best to put away the leftover turkey and pumpkin cheesecake, but by Saturday morning, my jeans were beginning to feel a bit tight.

It’s that time of year again. Every day my mailbox is filled to the brim with catalogs from retailers attempting to lighten my wallet this Christmas. Not to alarm anyone, but there are only 21 more shopping days till the 25th.

I do so hope everyone had a chance to give thanks and spend time with family and friends on Thanksgiving. After all, being with loved ones is one of the greatest gifts of all.

There’s a small, bony and oily fish that swims in the Chesapeake Bay and up and down the Atlantic Coast called the menhaden.

Last month, two of the biggest names in bass fishing tournaments made a major announcement that they’d be joining forces. And this month the papers were signed to make the deal official. Major League Fishing has acquired Fishing League Worldwide.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but that honest-to-God wintry precipitation last week at my home in St. Mary’s County got me thinking about a four-letter word: Toes.

Last week I heeded the warning of the weathermen and brought in my potted plants on Friday evening, expecting a hard frost to finish off any left outside overnight. I needn’t have worried, for the next day was cold, but not freezing.

‘Tis the final installment of the 2019 Reel Report, and what better way to end the season than to celebrate the winners of the Fall Fishin’ Buddies Derby at Gilbert Run Park?

A commercial crabber I ran into earlier this week told me he found a “honey hole” on the Patuxent River this past Sunday and caught 13 bushels in record time. My own pots have had plenty of 7-plus inchers over the past few days.

Folks who spend time outdoors can’t help but be happy. It’s hard to wear a frown when smelling freshly turned earth, reeling in a big fish or watching the sunset.

Long-time readers of this column know that I often remark on the beauty and bounty of Southern Maryland. The forests, fields and shorelines and all they have to offer for hikers, hunters, fishermen and nature enthusiasts.

This is the last Friday of September, and that means there’s just one more month of fishing reports and then the Reel Report will take a break until April 2020. It also means there’s some fine fall fishing still on the horizon.