Maryland Fishing

For a state that can claim no natural lakes Maryland compensates with outstanding and practically unlimited opportunities for salt water fishing. The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state, and its watershed area comprises 64,000 square miles. To the east is the Atlantic Ocean and some of the best deep sea fishing in the world. Only some of Maryland’s oldest anglers may be able to tell a full-enough story of this state’s beauty and natural wonders. Most of these people, however, are likely out on a fishing boat somewhere.

The horse country of central Maryland is home to the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in the Triple Crown. Western Maryland features an abundance of outdoor adventure, like kayaking, white-water rafting, and skiing. Many cultural and historical attractions include the Antietam National Battlefield, US Naval Academy, and the Balitimore Museum of Art. In addition to all of this, there is always the water, and fishing. A full 21 percent of the state’s area is covered by water, and this is something which occupies more personal time than perhaps all of these activities together. No license is necessary to fish in the saltwater bays and inlets around the Ocean City area, or in the ocean. Striped Bass (Rockfish) is Maryland’s official State Fish, but there are many other exciting species within the state’s waters, and the numbers and sizes continue to dramatically increase once you get offshore. Some of the other favorite inshore species include Spadefish, Bluefish, Mackerel, Cobia, Black Sea Bass, Tautog, and Sheepshead. These are found closer to Atlantic shores and among coastal waters no deeper than 150 feet; while Black and Red Drum, Flounder, Spot, Trout, and Croaker are more popular in the Chesapeake Bay and its adjoining waterways. So many offshore targets are native to these Atlantic seas, there are multiple tournaments scheduled every year for almost every popular sport fish.

Maryland is not a large state, but its great variety of topography has earned it the nickname “America in Miniature”. These features range from sandy dunes with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands near the bay, with gently rolling hills of oak forest in the Piedmont Region, and mountain pine groves in the west. Maryland’s equally diverse climate is influenced by proximity to waters, elevation, and protection from northern weather due to downslope winds. For fishing interests, however, the climate is extremely good year-round. The eastern half of Maryland lies on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, where the ground is flat with very sandy or muddy soil. Anglers enjoy hot, humid summers and short, mild to cool winters. In the Chesapeake Bay and its waterways bottom fishing is always good and only slows down for the relatively short winter season, with Rockfish abundant all year. Early Perch along with catch and release Rockfish begin the season in March, with April and May bringing trophy Rockfish, Bluefish, Black Drum, and White Perch. Though sizes wane, numbers of these species – along with Flounder, Croaker, and Trout – dramatically increase through summer and fall. November and December see continuing numbers of Rockfish, Perch, and Sea Trout. Offshore in the Atlantic the most popular sport fish are found in deeper waters; though with Maryland’s proximity to the ocean this does not require too much travel time. From June through October charters concentrate on higher populations of Blue and Yellowfin Tuna, Blue and White Marlin, Dolphin, Amberjack, Wahoo, and a variety of Shark species. Trolling, drifting, and chunking are the prime strategies with these trips, and this usually attracts a lot of big fish.

Deale, Maryland is tucked inside the northwestern shores of the Chesapeake Bay, and home to a small fishing community. Locals are friendly and extremely knowledgeable regarding their chief occupation: fishing. Deale is right on the banks of the Bay, and within casting distance of most of the Bay’s favorite species. It is also home to 40 charter fishing boats, with access to all regions of good fishing. Chesapeake Bay is an incredibly complex ecosystem that includes important habitats and food webs. Here, salt water is tempered by fresh water from land drainage, providing a nourishing environment for more than 345 species of finfish. The Chesapeake produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year, and connects to the Atlantic Ocean, further and continually enhancing its marine populations. Ocean City is Maryland’s only coastal community and an ideal locale for countless outdoor activities. Once a tiny fishing village, it now spans more than nine miles, serving as not only a barrier island to Maryland, but also as a veritable playground for hundreds of thousands of people each year. The famous Ocean City Boardwalk is a hallowed walk of shopping, dining, and entertainment; and miles of sandy white beaches provide the perfect environment for those who just want to relax. Widely known as the “White Marlin Capital of the World”, Ocean City continues to attract a majority of erstwhile anglers. Solomons Island lies at the southern tip of Calvert County, in Southern Maryland. This idyllic island town is located at a fortuitous juncture of waterways, making it a very popular, yet quaint and relaxing, destination for fishing and tourism. Direct access to the Bay from Solomons leads to more abundant fishing than the eye can see, including a number of local marinas and piers, and even a beautiful state park. A large number of fishing charters operate from these regions, providing professional and affordable guidance and equipment to anyone looking to hook up on Chesapeake Bay waterways or out to sea.

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