Maryland is known for its beautiful coastline, rich fishing heritage, and abundance of marine life, including a variety of shark species. From the beaches of Ocean City to the Chesapeake Bay and beyond, there are many opportunities for shark fishing in Maryland. However, shark fishing requires a certain level of knowledge and preparation to be done safely and responsibly. In this article, we’ll explore the best practices, gear, and techniques for successful shark fishing in Maryland, along with some expert tips and tricks to help you have an unforgettable experience on the water.
Best Shark Fishing Spots in Maryland
Maryland has many great spots for shark fishing along its coastlines, but here are some of the best:
- Assateague Island: Located in the eastern part of Maryland, Assateague Island offers a prime location for shark fishing. This area has a high concentration of sandbar sharks, which can be caught from the surf or by boat.
- Ocean City Inlet: The Ocean City Inlet is a great spot for shark fishing, especially during the summer months. It’s a deep-water channel where many species of sharks like to feed.
- Choptank River: This river is located on the eastern shore of Maryland and is a popular spot for fishing. Many species of sharks can be caught here, including sandbar sharks, bull sharks, and blacktip sharks.
- Herring Bay: This area is located south of Annapolis and is a great spot for shark fishing. Many anglers catch sandbar sharks, bull sharks, and tiger sharks here.
- Point Lookout: Located at the southern tip of Maryland, Point Lookout is a popular spot for shark fishing. Many anglers catch sandbar sharks, blacktip sharks, and bull sharks here.
Overall, Maryland offers many great spots for shark fishing that are sure to provide an exciting and rewarding experience for anglers.
Types of Sharks You Can Catch in Maryland
There are several species of sharks that can be caught off the coast of Maryland, including:
- Sandbar Shark: The sandbar shark is one of the most common species of shark found in Maryland waters. They can be identified by their tall, triangular dorsal fin and their rounded pectoral fins.
- Blacktip Shark: The blacktip shark is a smaller species of shark that can be caught in Maryland. They can be identified by their black-tipped fins and their slender bodies.
- Bull Shark: The bull shark is a larger species of shark that can be caught in Maryland waters. They can be identified by their stocky bodies and their blunt, rounded snouts.
- Tiger Shark: The tiger shark is a rare species of shark that can be caught in Maryland. They can be identified by their distinctive vertical stripes and their serrated teeth.
- Hammerhead Shark: The hammerhead shark is a unique species of shark that can be caught in Maryland. They can be identified by their distinctive hammer-shaped heads and their wide-set eyes.
Maryland offers a diverse range of shark species that are sure to provide a thrilling and memorable fishing experience for anglers.
Best Time of Year for Shark Fishing in Maryland
The best time of year for shark fishing in Maryland is typically from June to October. During this period, the waters are warmer, and many species of sharks migrate to Maryland’s coastlines to feed and breed.
- Spring (March to May): While shark fishing can still be done during this time, it is not as productive as other seasons. Water temperatures are still cold, and many shark species have not yet migrated to Maryland’s coastlines.
- Summer (June to August): This is the peak season for shark fishing in Maryland. Water temperatures are warm, and many species of sharks migrate to Maryland’s coastlines to feed and breed. July and August tend to be the best months for shark fishing.
- Fall (September to November): Shark fishing can still be productive during the fall season, but it is not as active as in the summer months. As water temperatures begin to cool, some shark species begin their migration away from Maryland’s coastlines.
- Winter (December to February): Shark fishing is not recommended during the winter months in Maryland. Water temperatures are too cold, and many shark species have migrated to warmer waters. It is also not safe to fish in the rough winter seas.
The summer months of June to August provide the best opportunity for shark fishing in Maryland, with warmer waters and a higher concentration of shark species. However, it is important to check local regulations and weather conditions before heading out on a fishing trip at any time of year.
Best Baits and Lures for Shark Fishing in Maryland
When it comes to shark fishing in Maryland, using the right bait and lures can make all the difference in attracting and hooking these elusive creatures. Here are some of the best baits and lures for shark fishing in Maryland:
- Fresh Bait: Fresh bait is always a good choice when shark fishing. Common options include mackerel, bluefish, and menhaden. These baits can be purchased from local tackle shops or caught fresh and cut into chunks to attract sharks.
- Squid: Squid is another popular bait for shark fishing in Maryland. It can be rigged on a hook or used as a teaser to attract sharks to other baits.
- Live Baits: Using live bait, such as eels or spots, can be effective for shark fishing in Maryland. The live bait can be rigged on a hook and cast out into the water to attract sharks.
- Chum: Chumming is a technique that involves creating a scent trail in the water to attract sharks. It can be done by throwing pieces of bait or fish carcasses into the water.
- Lures: There are a variety of lures that can be used for shark fishing in Maryland, including soft plastics, swimbaits, and jigs. These lures can be cast out and retrieved at different speeds to mimic the movement of prey.
It’s important to note that some shark species are protected in Maryland, so be sure to check local regulations before using certain baits or lures.
Recommended Gear for Shark Fishing in Maryland
Shark fishing can be a challenging and exciting experience, and having the right gear is crucial to make the most of it. Here are some recommended gear for shark fishing in Maryland:
- Fishing Rod and Reel: A heavy-duty rod and reel with a high line capacity are essential for shark fishing in Maryland. A conventional reel with a line capacity of at least 300 yards and a rod rated for 50 to 80-pound line is recommended.
- Fishing Line: Braided fishing line is the preferred choice for shark fishing in Maryland. A line strength of 80 to 100 pounds is recommended for catching larger shark species.
- Leader Material: Using strong leader material is essential to prevent the shark from biting through the fishing line. A leader strength of at least 300 pounds is recommended.
- Hooks: Circle hooks are the preferred choice for shark fishing in Maryland. These hooks are designed to hook the shark in the corner of the mouth, reducing the risk of injury to the shark and increasing the chances of a successful catch.
- Gaffs: A gaff is a long pole with a hook on the end used to pull the shark on board. It is recommended to use a gaff with a large hook and a handle at least 6 feet long to keep the angler at a safe distance from the shark. Try not to use this unless absolutely necessary. If you tire the shark out enough, you shouldn’t have to use it.
- Fighting Belt: A fighting belt is a padded belt that can be worn around the waist to distribute the weight of the fishing rod and reduce fatigue during a long fight with a shark.
- Safety Equipment: When shark fishing in Maryland, safety should always be a top priority. Wearing a life jacket, using a safety harness, and having a first aid kit on board are essential safety precautions.
By using the recommended gear and taking necessary safety precautions, anglers can have a thrilling and successful shark fishing experience in the waters of Maryland.
Best Shark Fishing Charters in Maryland
Shark fishing charters in Maryland can provide anglers with the equipment, knowledge, and expertise needed for a successful and thrilling fishing experience. Here are some of the best shark fishing charters in Maryland:
- Miss Susie Charters: Miss Susie Charters is based in Ocean City, Maryland, and offers shark fishing charters for up to six passengers. They provide all the necessary equipment, including rods, reels, and bait, and have experienced captains who know the local waters well.
- Fish On Sportfishing: Fish On Sportfishing is based in Grasonville, Maryland, and offers shark fishing charters for up to six passengers. They provide top-of-the-line equipment and experienced guides who know the best shark fishing spots in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Brawler II Charters: Brawler II Charters is based in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, and offers shark fishing charters for up to six passengers. They provide all the necessary equipment, including bait and tackle, and have experienced captains who know the local waters well.
- Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing: Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing is based in Annapolis, Maryland, and offers shark fishing charters for up to six passengers. They provide all the necessary equipment, including rods, reels, and bait, and have experienced guides who know the best shark fishing spots in the Chesapeake Bay.
- Backdraft Charters: Backdraft Charters is based in Ocean City, Maryland, and offers shark fishing charters for up to six passengers. They provide all the necessary equipment, including bait and tackle, and have experienced captains who know the local waters well.
Booking a shark fishing charter with one of these reputable companies can offer a safe and exciting way to experience the thrill of catching these incredible predators in the waters of Maryland.
Regulations and Licenses for Shark Fishing in Maryland
Shark fishing in Maryland is regulated by state and federal authorities to ensure the protection of shark populations and the safety of anglers. Here are some of the regulations and licenses that anglers should be aware of before going shark fishing in Maryland:
- Maryland Fishing License: All anglers who plan to fish in Maryland waters are required to have a valid fishing license. Licenses can be purchased online through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website or at authorized retailers.
- Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Permit: Anglers who plan to fish for sharks in federal waters (more than three miles offshore) are required to have an Atlantic HMS permit. This permit can be obtained through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website.
- Minimum Size and Catch Limits: Maryland has established minimum size and catch limits for certain species of sharks. For example, the minimum size for a sandbar shark is 54 inches and the catch limit is one per vessel per day.
- Protected Species: Some species of sharks are protected in Maryland waters, including sand tiger sharks and dusky sharks. These species cannot be targeted or possessed by anglers and must be released immediately if accidentally caught.
It’s important for anglers to familiarize themselves with these regulations and obtain the necessary licenses before going shark fishing in Maryland.
Where to Stay When Shark Fishing in Maryland
If you’re planning a shark fishing trip in Maryland, there are plenty of options for places to stay. Here are some recommendations for accommodations in popular shark fishing areas:
- Ocean City: With its long stretches of beach and proximity to offshore fishing grounds, Ocean City is a popular destination for shark fishing enthusiasts. There are plenty of hotels and vacation rentals in the area, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury resorts.
- Chincoteague Island: Located just across the Maryland border in Virginia, Chincoteague Island offers excellent shark fishing opportunities in its surrounding waters. The island has a variety of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals.
- Solomons Island: Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, Solomons Island is a popular spot for inshore shark fishing. The island has a range of accommodations, from waterfront hotels to quaint bed and breakfasts.
- Tilghman Island: Another popular destination for inshore shark fishing, Tilghman Island is a quiet and picturesque community on the Chesapeake Bay. The island has a variety of accommodations, including waterfront vacation rentals and cozy bed and breakfasts.
When planning your shark fishing trip in Maryland, be sure to consider the location and type of fishing you’re interested in, as well as your budget and preferences for accommodations. With so many great options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay for your Maryland shark fishing adventure.
Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Shark Fishing in Maryland
Shark fishing in Maryland can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared and know what you’re doing. Here are some expert tips and tricks for successful shark fishing in Maryland:
- Use the right gear: When targeting sharks, it’s important to use heavy-duty gear that can handle the strength and weight of these large fish. This includes strong rods and reels, heavy line, and sturdy hooks.
- Choose the right bait: Sharks are attracted to a variety of baits, including live or dead fish, squid, and chum. Experiment with different types of bait to see what works best in your chosen fishing spot.
- Use circle hooks: Circle hooks are a popular choice for shark fishing because they are less likely to injure the fish and increase the chances of a successful catch.
- Know the regulations: Before heading out on a shark fishing trip in Maryland, make sure you are familiar with the state’s regulations and licensing requirements for shark fishing.
- Be patient: Shark fishing can be a waiting game, so it’s important to be patient and persistent. It may take some time to get a bite, but the reward of landing a big shark can make it all worth it.
- Practice catch and release: Sharks are important predators in the ocean ecosystem, so it’s important to practice catch and release when shark fishing in Maryland.
By following these expert tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable shark fishing trip in Maryland.
In conclusion, Maryland offers a variety of great opportunities for shark fishing. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, there are plenty of options for finding the best spots, gear, and techniques for catching these amazing creatures. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can have an exciting and rewarding shark fishing experience in Maryland. However, it’s important to always follow regulations, practice catch, and release, and be respectful of the ocean and its inhabitants. Happy fishing!
Meet Nic Armitage, a devoted outdoors enthusiast with an insatiable love for fishing, boating, and a wide range of adventurous activities. His passion for the great outdoors knows no bounds. Nic is your trusted guide into the world of nature, sharing his experiences and expertise on the Shaman Mountain Sports and Outdoors Blog.