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Top Fishing Charters in Annapolis

Fishing in Annapolis

Annapolis is simply heaven for inshore anglers. Nestled deep in the sheltered waters of the Chesapeake Bay, this historic town has enjoyed great fishing for centuries. “The Sailing Capital of the World” may be better known for its yachts than its charter boats, but fishing charters in Annapolis explore some of the best shallow-water fisheries in the country. Huge Striped Bass barrel through the bay all year round, while Tautog nestle in the deeper rocky outcrops and Redfish, Speckled Trout, Croakers, and more fight for space in the shallows.
 
And Annapolis has a lot to offer even besides fishing. The country’s first peacetime capital is a wonderful place to explore on foot. Eighteenth-century storefronts welcome you in even in the coldest depths of winter, and the town’s beautiful harbor is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. While you’re there, you can even get the family aboard a charter - what a happy coincidence!

Types of fishing

Hidden almost 150 miles up into the Chesapeake Bay, there’s little hope of going offshore in Annapolis. What you do have is a rich and varied selection of inshore fisheries, as well as some deeper structure towards the middle of the bay. Annapolis fishing spots are too numerous to name, but here are a few of the trips you can enjoy while you’re in town.
 

Flats Fishing

Annapolis has access to hundreds of miles of oyster bars, sand flats, and grassy shallows, all full of fish. Striped Bass and Bluefish top the action here, closely followed by Redfish and Seatrout. Their smaller cousins, Weakfish and Croaker, are also around for most of the year, alongside staple food fish like Flounder and Fluke. During the summer, Silver Kings also roll into town. Annapolis is no Boca Grande, but big Tarpon bite hard for a solid three months from June, making for great battles on the flats.
 

Wreck Fishing

Head out towards the centre of the bay, and you hit a smorgasbord of banks, shoals, and rocky outcrops. There are also the sunken remains of endless ancient tall ships, as well as an airplane and rumours of a downed German U-boat. The fish don’t care what it is, they flock to all these sites in droves. You can catch Flounder, Tautog, Black Seabass, and even some King Mackerel and Barracuda hunting in the open waters around them.
 

Freshwater Fishing

It’s not all saltwater around Annapolis - freshwater anglers will find plenty of rivers and briny estuaries to wet their lines in, too. Annapolis river fishing can hook you Perch, Carp, and even wild Brook Trout if you head far enough up the Severn River. There are also migratory species like Striped Bass and American Eels, giving you some extra fun and delicious eating if you time your trip right.
 

Shore Fishing

You can fish from shore pretty much everywhere around Annapolis and get some great catches. In certain spots, you don’t even need a license. Bringing along a pair of waders can hugely increase your options, but they’re not essential. You can catch anything from Bluefish and Striped Bass to Tautog and Black Seabass without ever getting your feet wet when fishing from one of the many local piers.

Fishing Techniques

Striped Bass are the poster child of the Chesapeake Bay and local anglers have been honing their technique for generations. Big Stripers (or “Rockfish”, as they’re known locally) can be caught by trolling or live lining, but you’ll have much more fun throwing lures on spinning gear. Jigs, poppers, soft plastics, crankbaits - these guys will take them all without a second thought.
 
For the best food fishing, you’ll want to pack away the lures and crack out the bait. Tautog, Flounder, and Seabass all respond best to a single line set with fresh live bait. Tautog like Crabs most, while Flounder respond well to Spot, Menhaden (Bunker), and Mullet. Seabass aren’t that fussy, as long as its fresh.
 
Annapolis’ freshwater fisheries are so varied that you can enjoy any of a range of techniques. Fly fishing works great for Brook Trout and Stripers, but is often ignored by grazing Carp. Baiting your hooks with sweetcorn is the best (and cheapest) way to catch these guys.

Need to Know

Fishing licenses are included on most Annapolis charter fishing trips. If you’re heading out on your own, you’ll need a fishing license for everyone over 16… Except where you don’t. There are many spots around the bay that don’t require a license. You can find a list of these areas on the DNR’s website. What you won’t find is a full list of closed seasons, as many of these change regularly. Fishing with a guide is the easiest way to avoid uncertainty. If you’re heading out on your own, swing by a local tackle shop to ask for more info first.
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Annapolis Fishing Seasons

January can be cold and wild on the waters around Annapolis. Brave the weather, though, and you can enjoy peak Tautog season. These friendly-looking fish are one of the tastiest in the bay.

It can seem too cold to catch fish in the depths of February. Luckily, there’s plenty of great eating during Annapolis Restaurant Week, where local fooderies offer delicious meals at bargain prices.

Black Seabass are usually back in season in March, combining with Tautog and Flounder to give you awesome food fishing. In the rivers, freshwater fishers will find Carp and Perch waiting.

If you enjoy competitive angling, you won’t find better than the Annapolis Rockfishing Tournament. This fun charity event draws anglers from across the bay as Stripers come into season.

Head out onto the water to target Rockfish, Redfish, Bluefish, and Blackfish, as well as a few Spadefish. Afterwards, visit the Annapolis Maritime Festival to learn about the area’s nautical history.

June is one of the best months of the year for Annapolis fishing. The shallows are awash with tasty Trout and big bull Redfish, while further out Sheepshead, Tautog, and Cobia haunt the rock piles.

July is all about big brutes in little water here in Annapolis. Bull Sharks make their way into the shallows just as the Tarpon roll into town. If you’re a fan of heavy tackle, this is the time for you.

Annapolis earns the nickname of “Crabtown” in August with the kick-off of the annual Crab Feast. This all-you-can-eat event sees crowds go through an incredible amount of tasty Crustaceans.

Black Seabass are back on the Menu in September, joining a wide range of tasty inshore species. Don’t get so caught up in the fishing that you miss the Labor Day Parade, though!

October marks the Annapolis boat show (or the United States Sailboat and Powerboat Show, to give it its proper name). This is the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, and well worth a visit.

Tautog are back in season just as Seabass gets taken off the menu. Annapolis fishing seasons are kind like that. You’ll also find Trout, Flounder, and Striped Bass, making for a real Thanksgiving feast.

Enjoy a range of seasonal events such as the Annapolis Boat Parade of Lights and the New Year’s Eve City Celebration & Fireworks. It may barely scrape 50 degrees, but that doesn’t dampen spirits!

Annapolis Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Annapolis

"Multiple trips with a great Captain!"

fished with Redbeard’s Charters on May 18, 2017

Fishing the middle bay region offers many great opportunities to target a wide variety of fish. It offers good fishing almost year around. To make the most of it, fish with on of Marylands very experienced light tackle guides willing to spend time showing not only where the fish are but some of the amazing natural sites to see.

Top Targeted Species in Annapolis

Bass (Striped)

Bluefish

Cobia

Redfish

Nearby Fishing Destinations