May Fishtalk – Fish & Hunt

May Fishtalk

Posted on: May 1, 2020 By: FHMD

Oceanic Adventures Make Maryland a Tuna Steak State

There was a day and age when mid-summer was considered the best of the tuna action off the Maryland coastline, but those days are long gone. In recent years spring and early summer have proven to be prime times, and many boats will be rigged and ready by the time this edition of FishTalk comes out. But what many people across the nation don’t realize is that even though Ocean City is known as the White Marlin Capital of the World, when the tuna bite here gets hot, it’s nothing short of world class. There will be times when yellowfin will be bagged by the dozens, and bigeyes or bluefin in excess of 100 pounds hang from the scale caught by both charter boats and private boats alike. You say you want in on this epic action? Of course you do! Here’s the scoop on spring tunas, off the Maryland coast.

Troll, Troll, Troll Your Boat

During the spring run, trolling a mixed spread of lures and ballyhoo is the name of the game. Gear for tuna trolling can range from 30-pound-class conventional gear to 50-pound-class, with some anglers prefer- ring mono and others braid, usually at- tached to a wind-on leader or a snap swivel (in the case of gang lures like spreader bars, which don’t allow you to reel the fish within gaffing distance without hand-wir- ing, in any case). Warning: do not take the GTIs and CLX level-wind reels on your striper trolling rods, and attempt to bag a tuna with ‘em. The worm gear in most level-wind reels will literally melt down the first time a 50-pound tuna says “uh-uh” and gives a few swift kicks of its tail. As far as the offerings go, spreader bars, splash bars, and bird/Green Machine rigs account for most of the hardware in the water, though a few old-timers still swear by cedar plugs. Some people will mix these with naked ballyhoo, but the majority like to mix and match different colored skirted ballyhoo, including some run behind chuggers or bullet-heads like the epic blue. For more details on setting tuna spreads, be sure to check out more here. (Pages 33-36)


Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has compiled a FAQ list per Governor Hogan’s policy during the current shelter in place order. If there are questions, please check the site for the most up-to-date information from the Governor’s office.

Be sure to visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources online for more information on seasons and regulations before heading out!

In need of additional inspiration? Check out Fish & Hunt Maryland’s latest articles written by fellow sportsmen and local partners.

When it’s time to travel again and you’re planning the next trip, check out the Plan Your Trip section of the Fish &Hunt Maryland’s website to find lodging, fishing charters/guides, and outdoor retailer options.