Since puppy drums prefer the relative safety of shallower estuarine waters, where they can eat zooplankton, small crabs and shrimp, Chesapeake fishermen mostly catch them along tributary shorelines and back country marshes. They'll hit topwater plugs, soft plastics and spinnerbaits. I prefer colors resembling minnows, mullet and peanut bunker. Smokey white or pearl, or bone also catch, but when the water is stained or when you're fishing in overcast conditions, copper and orange, electric chicken and other contrasting color combos are a better choice.

DAY OF CELEBRATION: Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day with the Department of Natural Resources on Sept. 24.

(Chris D. Dollar)

Through Oct. 8: Mourning Dove Season. Daily bag limit is 15. Possession limit is 45 birds. Shooting hours are noon to sunset.

If you're a regular visitor to this column then you've no doubt read about and seen photos of the impressive bull red drums that many anglers have caught this summer. Some have truly been fish of a lifetime.

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Oct. 15 22: First Split of Regular Duck Season. Max. six ducks, no more than four mallards (only two hens), three wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads. No black ducks.

Lost in the discussion has been the juveniles and sub adults what we call puppy drum. That's understandable, especially since this year's skinny water bite doesn't come close to that of several years ago, when we routinely caught them in Eastern Bay, South River and other places. Even so, your best bet to land one remains during these next several weeks.

It was a somewhat quirky week of fishing, at least for me. Found fish but just not the size and species I was after. My success echoed the numerous reports I've received: Small, undersized rockfish far outnumber keepers, decent bluefish when you can find them and the last of the Spanish mackerel.

So how are red drum doing today? According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the last complete Benchmark Stock Assessment conducted in 2009 found the Atlantic population to be in good condition. An updated stock assessment due out last year has been delayed, however, by what the ASMFC calls "difficulties in transitioning the new modeling framework."

Sept. 24: CCA MD's fourth annual "Red Trout Catch Release" tournament. Awards ceremony at American Legion, Crisfield MD.

It was a somewhat quirky week of fishing, at least for me. Found fish but just not the size and species I was after. My success echoed the numerous reports I've received: Small, undersized rockfish far outnumber keepers, decent bluefish when you can find them and the last of the Spanish mackerel.

When it comes to specific lures, your options might induce sensory overload. and Gulp! shrimp patterns, topwater plugs like Heddon's Super Spook Jr. or MirroLure's twitch baits as well as various swim shads and spinnerbaits like Redfish Magic and Bass Assassin's Red Daddy. I have never had any luck with a popping cork, however. I probably throw 3 to 4 inch curly tailed or paddle tailed soft plastics most often. Flies tied on No. 2 to 1/0 hooks in the Clouser tradition with crab or shrimp coloration catch, too. Of course you cannot go wrong with soft crab, but to my mind that's an offering best served up with french fries.

Whatever lure I go with, I almost always choose one that's four inches or shorter. I think that size more closely resembles a panicked baitfish or careless shrimp. I will also fish it slower than I normally would for rockfish. And if it has some vibration built in, all the better.

Fishing Forecast: Red drum doesn't give up without a fight Chris D. Dollar

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´╗┐Best time of year to pursue puppy drum

Sept. 24: National Hunting and Fishing Day, hosted by DNR. at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, 11518 Marriottsville Road.

Those interested in Maryland outdoors should consider attending the 10th annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, hosted by the Department of Natural Resources. at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore in Marriottsville, located at 11518 Marriottsville Road. More than 30 sportsman clubs, conservation groups and businesses will be on hand with numerous activities from hunting dog demonstrations to waterfowl calling to instructor led archery and target shooting for folks of all ages.

Fishery biologists are scheduled to present the 2016 assessment, with Canada Goose Expedition Parka Ireland additional analysis to ensure the results of the new model are accurate, to the Coastal Board at its meeting next month.