Maryland’s 5 Favorite Sport FishPosted on: May 3, 2018 By: FHMD
With the Atlantic Ocean, the country’s largest estuary (the Chesapeake Bay), and countless streams, rivers, inlets, and marshlands, Maryland is a sport fisherman’s paradise. Whether you’re in search of a long fight with a trophy-sized white marlin or a day spent reeling in hefty largemouth bass, Maryland has a bit of everything for every angler. Though the state is home to a wide variety of species, here are Maryland’s five favorite sport fish.
1) Striped Bass
Known throughout Maryland as rockfish (and as the “King of the Chesapeake”), the Chesapeake Bay’s striped bass are a sought-after trophy fish up and down the Atlantic seaboard. As Maryland’s official State Fish, we love our rockfish. The Chesapeake Bay is a spawning ground for the Atlantic Ocean’s striped bass, bringing in some of the biggest trophy fish during their annual run. Schools of world-class striped bass inundate the estuary each spring, bringing with them some of the world’s best fishermen to spring tournaments. However impressive the spring spawning season may be, rockfish are year-round residents. If you’re looking for a fish that will put up a good fight and please your taste buds at the end of the day, Maryland’s rockfish are the perfect fish for you.
Bring your own boat or hop on one of the countless charters available throughout the Chesapeake’s shores to reel in your own rockfish this summer.
2) White Marlin
Maryland stands alone when it comes to world-class white marlin fishing. As the White Marlin Capital of the World, we know a thing or two about these exciting billfish. Sticking to the ocean, white marlin are famous for being fierce fighters when hooked, engaging in what’s called “tail-walking” on the water’s surface and high-flying acrobatic leaps. With a maximum weight of nearly 180 pounds, Maryland offers the chance to battle the fish of a lifetime.
The best way for visitors to join in on the action is to climb aboard a charter boat in Worcester County that will bring you into open ocean where these sport fish congregate. Groups heading out must hold a highly migratory species permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. Each permit is issued to a vessel owner for a specific vessel. Call 888-872-8862 or click HERE to obtain a permit, and here to check with compliance guides.
One of the most sought-after fish in the Atlantic Ocean, bluefin tuna can be found right off the coast of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A big, strong fish, the bluefin provides what every deep-sea angler seeks: a tough fight. Atlantic bluefin tuna, with an average weight exceeding 400 pounds, offers some of the most exciting and demanding offshore fishing opportunities available.
With plenty of charter boats and access points along the Eastern Shore, Maryland makes it easy to get out after these notorious, delicious sport fish. As with marlin, tuna are a highly migratory species, so if you and your friends are heading out, you must acquire a highly migratory species permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. Call 888-872-8862 or click HERE to obtain a permit, and here to check with compliance guides.
4) Largemouth Bass
From big-timers to first-timers, everyone loves largemouth bass. Considered the most popular sport fish in the United States, largemouth bass offer a fun fishing experience no matter your skill level. Their aggressive nature makes them an easy fish to catch and a lot of fun to bring in. While largemouth bass tournaments have been growing in popularity across the country in recent years, Maryland’s reputation for significant largemouth bass has grown along with it. From the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay’s tributary systems, to freshwater systems throughout the state, these popular fish can be found all across Maryland.
With easy access to fishing spots by land, and boat access points across the state, Maryland makes it easy for the serious angler and the first-timer to find a largemouth worth bragging about.
While the northern snakehead is a non-native species to Maryland’s waters, it has become popular among sport fishermen. These little-known fish come from Asia, and have quickly gained a reputation for having an aggressive nature and tasty white meat. However, its appetite has created a big environmental problem throughout Maryland and the United States since the fish devours most any living creature in the water, leaving little for other species. For this reason, there is an open season on snakeheads. They are encouraged to be caught and removed from Maryland’s waterways. As a fun, delicious fish to go after – and a population that needs to be controlled – snakeheads are a great fish to chase in Maryland.
While their tasty meat and aggressive nature make snakeheads a great sport fish, you’re also doing Maryland’s marine ecosystems a favor by removing them. They’re also an ideal fish for bowfishing, and have no season or daily creel limit.
Be sure to acquire your fishing license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources before heading out. Visit our Plan Your Trip page for information on fishing charters and guides, lodging options, marinas, retailers, and more.