- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

Last Wednesday, 70-year-old Bel Air, Md., angler George Hemlet caught a huge Spanish mackerel in the Chesapeake Bay that broke the state record. Hemlet, fishing aboard Deale charter fishing captain Frank Carver's Loosen Up, hooked a 10.99-pound Spanish mackerel that beat the old mark of 9 pounds, 6.25 ounces established in 1999. Hemlet's mackerel was properly weighed, then verified by DNR biologist Angel Bolinger. Why make such a big deal about a fish that weighed just under 11 pounds? The typical, adult Spanish mackerel normally tips the scales at only three pounds.

Meanwhile, there's good and bad news about the sudden arrival of cooler weather. The good news is that the water temperatures will slowly begin to decline, which will make gamefish more active; the bad part is that the colder it gets the more of our tidal rivers' aquatic vegetation will die and begin to foul fishermen's hooks. Eventually, the grass will be gone, some of it sinking to the bottom, some of it pulled into the Chesapeake Bay by the tides. Either way, if the clouds come and obscure the sun, the weekend will be a good time to go after bass and river stripers.

With falling temperatures, it is time to think of the red drum (also known as channel bass or redfish) that come into the cool surf waters of the barrier islands all along the Middle Atlantic States this time of year. Although the cooling of the waters is just now occurring, there's a good chance some large redfish will be taken on fresh cut baits or peeler crabs from Maryland's Ocean City and Assateague Island down to Virginia's Quimby Bay, Hog Island and Smith Island.

If you feel like watching a weigh-in of a bass fishing tournament, the Maryland Bass Federation has its Southern Region Qualifier Saturday and Sunday, 6:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., out of Mattawoman Creek, but the contestants fish all over the upper tidal parts of the Potomac. The afternoon weighing of the bass will be at Smallwood State Park's Sweden Point Marina on Route 224 in Marbury, Md. The public is invited to watch. The tournament also includes a team event, with cash awards going to the top rungs. While there, check out the latest Triton TR19 bass boat on display and meet tidal bass fishing guide Dale Knupp with the newest 2003 Bombardier/Evinrude 200 h.p. outboard.

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