Trips start at $200.00
Max guests: 4
Trips start at $550.00
Max guests: 4
Trips start at $550.00
Max guests: 27
Trips start at $285.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $680.00
Max guests: 6
Trips start at $600.00
Max guests: 5
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. Anglers who have the opportunity to fish these bountiful waters know just what treasures are found here. If you’re anywhere near the coasts of Virginia or Maryland, we highly recommend you take a day or two to experience this incredible fishery.
The northern section of the bay touches Maryland, while the southern section is part of Virginia. The mouth of the bay flows into the Atlantic Ocean between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. Overall, the bay runs 200 miles from the northern starting point in the Susquehanna Rivers to the Atlantic Ocean. At its widest point it is 30 miles wide, and only 2.8 miles wide at its narrowest point. The average depth is 21 feet, although most of the water basin is less than 6 feet. The deepest part of the bay is referred to as “the hole” and is over 170 feet deep; it’s located southeast of Annapolis.
Some of the best fishing on the bay takes place near the many rivers that empty into the bay. These include the James River, York River, Potomac River, and Susquehanna River, to name a few. Depending on where you are on the bay will determine what fish species you’re more likely to see.
If you’re looking for freshwater species like catfish or largemouth bass, head towards those previously mentioned rivers. Especially those in Maryland; the northern section of the bay has lower salinity levels and can sustain these species. Anglers can fish from the banks of the bay to catch their bass, crappie, carp, or catfish. Kayak fishing near the rivers is also becoming very popular. Fishermen and women will traverse the calmer waters in a kayak that has all the gear you need for reeling in your catch. Kayak anglers will typically release their catch, as there’s not a lot of room for harvesting everything you hook.
For anglers familiar with the Chesapeake Bay, you know that one species stands out among the others as the number one fish in these waters: the striped bass. More commonly known as rockfish in these parts, striped bass are a white or gray fish with black horizontal lines running from head to tail. Each state (Maryland and Virginia) has different regulations regarding the harvesting of this species, so make sure you know the rules before heading out. Or just plan on releasing your catch, better safe than sorry in protecting this highly targeted population.
Cobia fishing is also a favorite for Chesapeake fishermen and women, especially during the summer months. They start showing up in good numbers around mid-May, and stick around until the weather cools down, typically at the end of September or beginning of October. Cobia are a strange looking fish, dark gray or brown on the top and white on the bottom with a compressed head. They also have a small dorsal fin, which at times can make an angler think they’re looking at a shark. They can even thrash and throw their weight around just like sharks. But the lack of teeth reveals the cobia. If you keep your catch, get ready for some tasty fish sandwiches!
For those looking to fish the Chesapeake Bay who may not have a boat or access to a vessel, there are a few options for you.
The first is pier fishing, of which there are several to choose from. Ocean View Fishing Pier is located in Norfolk, Virginia while the James T. Wilson Fishing Pier is located on the other side of the Elizabeth River near Hampton. On the west side of the bay is the Cape Charles Fishing Pier near the southern part of the bay, and Saxis Public Pier close to the Maryland state line. And there are quite a few in Maryland, including Romancoke Fishing Pier and Deale Wharf.
Pier fishing is great for anglers looking to fish just a few hours of the day, and oftentimes there are nearby pier houses or bait shops that will rent or sell you anything you need for a successful day of fishing. While fishing from a Chesapeake Bay pier you can look forward to catching Spanish mackerel, bluefish, red drum, black drum, and speckled trout.
Another option is to hire a local professional charter captain. They can take you trolling for rockfish or chumming for cobia, depending on the season. While fishing is available twelve months of the year, the temperature will determine what fish are running. Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are in peak season during fall months. Other fall species include red drum, perch, trout, and croakers. Cobia and rockfish are running during the summer months, while spring season brings these fish in good numbers as well. When you hire a Chesapeake Bay charter captain, they’ll know what’s running and have all the gear needed to reel them in.
It’s a great day on the water when your group is fishing the Chesapeake Bay. Whether you’re fishing on your own or with a professional guide, it’s bound to be a memorable day of bent rods. To find a Chesapeake Bay charter near you, search FishAnywhere.com for the best guides in the area – a fantastic fishing trip is just a click away!