HEAVY RAIN may have dampened the spirit of some Delmarva anglers, but it didn't affect the fish. By the time the rain ended, the entire Chesapeake was a massive school of breaking bluefish. Leaping high above the blues were streamlined Spanish mackerel of 2 to 6 pounds.

With Labor Day in the offing, it's time to plan your fall fishing schedule. The best topwater action is during September, October and November. The Rod 'N' Reel Dock holds its annual "Big Bucks Tournament" Sept. 15-16, with eight weigh-in ports and $25,000 in cash for the largest bluefish or sea trout. This year, you can fax your registration to the Rod 'N' Reel at 301/855-5350. For details, call 800/233-2080 or 301/257-2735.

Several anglers called asking the exact location of the artificial reef at the mouth of the Patuxent River. The reef is in 27 feet of water between Hog Point and Cedar Point along the south shore. The ends of the reef are marked with orange and white buoys labeled A and B. Currently, the reef is producing excellent catches of big croaker, jumbo spot, spike trout and a few big flounder. The best action is late afternoons and nights.