Fishing is one of Calvert County's biggest draws. And for good reason: The bay waters here are filled seasonally with rockfish (striped bass), bluefish, Spanish mackerel, white perch, spot, croaker, flounder, sea trout, and black drum. Before you head out to sea, check with your charter-boat captain to find out what's in season.
Charter fishing is available in two ways: through organized operations and through loose affiliations of captains. It's easy to charter a boat either way. In the case of an organized operation, call the office, which will supply a boat. If all its boats are full, the company will contact a local captain and have him run the charter.
It works a little differently with captains' associations. In this case, you call a contact person for the association, usually one of the captains. If that captain has an opening, he will take you out on his boat. If he doesn't, he will arrange for another captain to take you out or give you the names of captains who might be available.
Remember to ask what you'll need to bring. Most charters include fishing gear; some supply bait for free and some don't. Bring a cooler to take your catch home. The mates on charter boats work for cash tips, which should be at least 15%.
In Chesapeake Beach -- Chesapeake Beach charters are very popular, with a fleet that takes passengers to waters filled with rockfish, blues, and flounder. To get here from Annapolis, take Route 2 south to Maryland Route 260 west, which ends just north of the harbor at Maryland Route 261. From Washington, D.C., take Route 4 west to Route 260 west and follow the directions above. It's about an hour north of Solomons.
Although charter fishing is this area's forte, there are also several choice locations for sportfishing, including Bay Front Park, in Chesapeake Beach; and Solomons Fishing Pier, under the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge (Rte. 4) in Solomons.
Bait and tackle are available at Bunky's Charter Boats, in Solomons (tel. 410/326-3241), and Rod 'N' Reel, in Chesapeake Beach (tel. 866/312-5596).
Bike & Kayak Rentals
If you just want to meander around Solomons, Patuxent Adventure Center, 11380 Solomons Island Rd. (tel. 410/394-2770; www.paxadventure.com), rents bikes and kayaks and can arrange for tours of nearby waterways.