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Southern Maryland Offers Plenty of Reel Choices
Story by Carrie Lovejoy. Reprinted from Summer 2018.
Dave Goldsmith is always on the go. He and his wife, Michelle, work full time, and their sons Ryan, 14, and Jake, 12, have packed schedules with lots of activities. But once in a great while, they stop the hectic running and take a break. They pull out a few fishing poles and head to one of several quiet spots in Charles County – maybe Gilbert Run Park or Neale Sound.
The Cobb Island family goes fishing.
“It’s not like an activity. It’s more like, just chillin,’” Goldsmith quips. “You’re not out running around, you’re just in the quiet, with the sounds of the water.”
Even pier fishing with other folks is better than the fast pace of a regular week. “Most of the other activities we do, from a parent’s perspective, they’re a chore. Fishing is not a chore. You don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time or do it a certain way. You just go out there,” he says.
Every fisherman has his or her way of catching the perfect fish, but there are a few things that are universal. First off, in Maryland, anyone older than 16 needs a fishing license. Second, every fisherman needs gear. Ken Lamb at The Tackle Box in Lexington Park has it covered.
So what kind of gear does a novice need? “It depends on what kind of fishing they want to do,” Lamb says. Maryland waters offer a huge variety of fishing experiences, from throwing a line off a public pier to fishing from a beach, to going out in the middle of the water on a boat.
“Spinning gear is the most popular,” Lamb says, referring to the type of fishing pole that has a spinning reel. From there, a fisherman needs line that is appropriate for the type of fishing he or she is going to do – whether it’s 8-pound test line or 20-pound. Lamb says someone fishing in the creeks looking for white perch can expect to get a fish up to 12 inches or so, and even a rockfish of up to 5 or 6 pounds. The 20-pound line would be for boat fishing, where the fish tend to be bigger.
Lamb has a perfect plan for the novice fisherman: “You can start off the pier right there under the [Gov. Thomas Johnson] bridge on the Solomons side. All you need is a fishing license and some blood worms.”
If it’s the bigger fish you want, however, a charter boat might be just the right thing. Captain Wally Talbert of Renegade Charters in Solomons is one of many charter boat captains who spend just about every day on Southern Maryland waters. Still, “every day is different,” Talbert says.
“In general, and this isn’t always the case, but in general, you do better on a boat,” Talbert says. “You can cover more territory, get maybe another half-mile or mile away to find the fish.”
Also, charter fishing allows every fisherman, no matter the experience level, to take advantage of the expertise of a Maryland waterman. Talbert has been on the water for almost 40 years, starting with his grandfather and now fishing with his son.
“So, I like to think I know what I’m talking about,” he jokes. But he does leave room for the possibility that even a 40-year fisherman can’t control the behaviors of fish. “The only thing I’ll guarantee is that the mate and I will try our darnedest to catch you some fish.”
Talbert says he had a group out on the first day of rockfish season this spring, and his party found quickly that the cold spring had not done much to attract the attention of rockfish to the local waters.“Out of the 36 boats I was in contact with, from Deale to Point Lookout, nobody had caught a single fish,” he says. Still, Talbert is fully aware that a charter boat fishing trip is about a whole lot more than catching fish.
“It’s as much about bonding or team-building as it the fish,” he says. Some of his parties are grandparents taking their children and grandchildren out for a trip, and often they are companies or other groups working to build friendships. One company hosted a trip and included their retail sales people, their wholesale suppliers, all the way to the people who install their product. Talbert says it was a great way for the entire company to get to know each other.
One of the biggest benefits of a charter trip is that it requires almost no gear. “The only thing they need is what they want to eat and drink, and some sunscreen,” Talbert says. And the services don’t stop with catching fish. The mate can clean the fish, and, if requested, the boat will even go to some restaurants, which will take over and cook and serve the fish. “We accommodate whatever.” •
Get a Fishing License First
Anyone older than 16 is required to have a license to fish in Maryland waters. Purchase a t license directly from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal or from the various licensing agents in the state. Many sporting goods stores in Southern Maryland, as well as many charter boat companies and even restaurants, are licensing agents. Check out a complete list on the DNR website and search for licensing agents.
The DNR website has a wealth of information on fishing spots for both tidal and freshwater fishing; charter information; fishing regulations; and even tips for identifying fish. Go to dnr.maryland.gov for just about all the fishing information you could possibly want.
CHECK OUT THESE FISHING SPOTS
Flag Ponds Nature Park (Entry fee. Summer weekdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.) Gate, beach and pier close 1/2 hour before park closes. Fishing pier on Chesapeake Bay.
Hutchins Pond. (Open dusk to dawn.)
Kings Landing Park (Free. Daily 9 a.m.-8 p.m. through Labor Day.) Access to Patuxent River.
Nan’s Cove. Sheltered cove with direct access to the Patuxent River.
Solomons Boat Ramp and Fishing Pier (Daily fees. Fishing and crabbing pier open 24 hours.) Access to Patuxent River.
For information on the best spots to fish or book a charter in Calvert County, visit choosecalvert.com.
Friendship Farm Park (Free. Open year-round dawn to dusk.) Ramp with access to the main stem of Potomac River and the extensive immediate protected waters of the Nanjemoy Creek.
Gilbert Run Park (Free. Open March-November with seasonal hours.) Access for electric motors only to the 60-acre Wheatley Lake with fishing for bass, bluegill, trout and catfish. Fishing supplies available for sale.
Hatton Creek (Free. Open year-round dawn to dusk.) Ramp with access to the Wicomico River.
Mallows Bay Park (Free. Open year-round 5:30 a.m.-dusk.) Ramp with protected access to the Potomac River. Recommended for small watercraft (shallow water).
Marshall Hall (Free. Open year-round dawn to dusk.) Ramp situated above Greenway Flats in Mount Vernon area of the Potomac River.
For more Charles County information, go to charlescountyparks.com and search for fishing.
St. Mary’s County
Elms Beach Park (Fee. Sunrise-sunset.) Access to Chesapeake Bay.
Myrtle Point Park (Fee. Sunrise-sunset.) Access to Patuxent River.
Snow Hill Park (Fee. Saturdays-Sundays through September.) Access to Patuxent River.
St. Mary’s River State Park (Fee. Sunrise-sunset.) Access to St. Mary’s Lake with several species of fish including largemouth bass, chain pickerel, crappie, bluegill and sunfish.
For St. Mary’s County fishing reports and more good spots to fish, go to visitstmarysmd.com.
CHARTER BOAT OPTIONS
Breezy Point Charter Boat Association •
Calvert Marina Charter Dock • calvertcharters.com
Chesapeake Beach Fishing Charters chesapeakefishingcharters.com/home.html
Maryland Charter Boat Association •
Rod ‘N’ Reel Charter Fishing •
Solomons Charter Captains Association •
Cobb Island Boat Charters •
Miss KayLeigh Fishing Charters • facebook.com/CaptWesJackson or captainwescharters.com
St. Mary’s County
Bay River Fishing • bayriverfishing.com
Chesapeake Bay Fishing Parties • 301-872-5815
Davis Sport Fishing & Lore Fishing • somd.com/mp/davisfishing
Eva Marie Charters • evamariecharters.com
Fish the Bay Charters Saltwater Fishing, Tours & Sunset Cruises • mdcharterfishing.com
Gerry C Charters • facebook.com/gerryccharterfishing
Laura Charter Fishing • 301-994-0269
Lisa Anne Charters • lisaannecharters.com
Marica II Charter Fishing • maricaii.com
Miss Flyaway Fishing • 301-862-3166
North Star Charters • northstarcharter.net
Patti Lee II • 301-872-5626
Playtime Charter Fishing • 877-272-2526
Poor Boy Charters • 301-475-9334
Ruth D. Charter Fishing • captdavesfishing.com
SOMD Crab Charters • facebook.com/somdcrabcharters
Temple-M Charter Fishing • 301-872-4215