Take the Bait and Fish the Chesapeake Bay This Month in Maryland

Trophy rockfish season opens April 18 and charter boat captains are taking reservations now


Connie Yingling,
Leslie Cox,


BALTIMORE (April 9, 2015) – Fishermen throughout the mid-Atlantic region are anxiously waiting for opening day, not of baseball season, but of trophy rockfish season. Just as eagerly, charter boat captains on the Chesapeake Bay have been eyeing weather reports and preparing their boats. These captains are recognized authorities when it comes to the bay, boating and sport fishing. This spring it is easier than ever to hook up anglers with captains by using the Fish and Hunt Maryland website.

“Whether you have never held a fishing pole before or you have multiple photo albums of fish that you have reeled in, Maryland’s charter boat industry offers the perfect opportunity for fishing buddies or families to discover the sights, sounds and tastes of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Captain Phil Langley, president at the Maryland Charter Boat Association. “The captain and the mate provide all of the equipment, instruction and encouragement needed to haul aboard a trophy fish destined for the den wall – or one for your dinner plate.”

This time of year tidal fishermen focus on catching striped bass, known in Maryland as rockfish. They are anadromous, living their adult lives in saltwater and returning to freshwater to spawn. Striped bass get their name from their silver color topped with seven to eight dark stripes along the sides of their bodies; the name rockfish comes from their tendency to feed above the bay’s oyster beds which are similar in appearance to piles of rocks. The largest portion of Atlantic Ocean’s total migrating population shows up in the Chesapeake Bay (the nation's largest estuary) in early spring.

Sharing the thrill of the bite, the adrenalin rush when the enormous head of the 30-inch fish breaks the surface of the waves is easy. Most of the boats on the bay can accommodate six anglers (also known as a “six-pack”), but there are bigger boats capable of sailing with 30 or more people aboard. Charters sail from various locations on both shores of the bay including Baltimore, Deale, Chesapeake Beach, Solomons, Dameron, Point Lookout, Crisfield, Hooper Island, Tilghman Island, Kent Narrows, and Rock Hall.

To make a reservation for a fishing excursion, the Maryland Office of Tourism advises anglers to visit the comprehensive website, www.fishandhuntmaryland.com and click on the charter section, then click on the “plan your visit” menu to book your lodging. With more than 500 Coast Guard-certified charter boats operating on the bay, there are also other helpful websites to locate charters, among them the Map of Licensed Charter Boats & Fishing Guides, Upper Bay Charter Captains Association, Solomons Charter Captains Association, and Maryland Charter Boat Association.

For information about fishing regulations, visit the 2015 Maryland Fishing Guide, published by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. For extended travel information, visit the Maryland Office of Tourism website at www.visitmaryland.org.

About Maryland Tourism:
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $15.4 billion on travel-related expenses in 2013. During 2013, the Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.1 billion in state and local taxes, and provided 138,682 jobs for Maryland residents.

About Fish & Hunt Maryland:
The Sportsmen & Women’s Marketing Initiative is a private/public partnership comprised of avid outdoor enthusiasts, state legislators, tourism industry members, charter boat captains and outfitters. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service, DNR Wildlife & Heritage, and the Maryland Office of Tourism Development act as advisors to the steering committee. The purpose of the coalition is to incubate the promotion of fishing, hunting and shooting sports through sustainable product development and marketing in order to increase the economic impact of tourism in Maryland.