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General Fishing Definitions

Artificial Fly

A lure constructed by winding natural or synthetic material such as feathers, fur, hair, tinsel, thread, fiber, wire, plastic, cork, or rubber on or around the hook, and designed to be cast by means of a fly rod.

Artificial Lure

The following are considered artificial lures: spinners, spoons, plugs and molded facsimiles of worms, insects and fish. For the purposes of these regulations, artificial flies and streamers are considered to be artificial lures.


Any item that emits an odor or scent such as worms, minnows, crayfish, insects, and food items. The addition of any scent to an artificial lure or fly to make it smell like bait, makes it bait.

Black Bass

Refers to both largemouth and smallmouth bass.


Catch means to take, kill, trap, gather, harvest or in any manner reduce any fish to personal possession.

Chumming (includes chunking)

Placing fish, parts of fish, or other natural or manmade attractants upon which fish might feed, in the water, not attached to a hook, for the purpose of attracting fish to a particular area so that they might be caught.

Circle Hook

A non-offset hook with the point turned perpendicularly back to the shank. Circle hooks used in bait fisheries should be non-offset. That is, if the hook is laid on a flat surface, all parts of the hook lie flat on the surface.


After being in possession of a fish, to discard or exchange that fish to possess another fish of the same species.

Daily Creel

Daily creel is the number of fish that an angler can keep after a single day of fishing.


The U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone is where the U.S. federal government has jurisdiction over natural resources. It begins at 3 nautical miles and extends to 200 nautical miles from the Maryland coast.

In Aggregate

A catch of related fish species counted together.


Using a live finfish on a hook for the purpose of catching other fish with hook and line, rod and reel, or handlines.


Any condition where a fish is controlled with the angler's intent of ownership. Possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in their possession after two or more days of fishing.

Stinger Hook

A hook which trails another hook or hook unit, either by direct physical attachment to the lead hook or hook unit, or by a connective device such as a line, swivel or chain, and is part of the same bait or lure.


The method of angling during which fish are attracted to a lure or bait being trailed from a boat which is moving forward or backward by mechanical, manual or wind power.

Basic Catch and Release Fish Handling Tips


  • Don’t hold the fish out of the water for more than 30 seconds.
  • Wet hands and hold fish by lip with one hand and support its body with the other hand.
  • Hold fish over water in case it is dropped.
  • For videos about safe handling, care and proper catch-and-release techniques visit


  • When removing the hook, use a soft rubber or small-mesh nylon landing net to hold fish, or firmly hold the fish with a wet rag or glove.
  • Use a non-offset circle hook when live-lining or chumming to reduce the potential for deep-hooking the fish.
  • Use barbless hooks with artificial bait. Barbs can be pinched down with pliers or filed off.
  • Always have pliers, a de-hooker or hemostats handy for deeply hooked fish.
  • If the hook cannot be removed from a deep or gut hooked fish without causing bleeding to the fish, then leave the hook in and cut the line as close to the mouth as possible.


  • Try reviving a fish that is not lively by opening its mouth and pulling it forward to force water over the gills.
  • Additional information is available at

    See Sharks for shark release recommendations.