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General Fishing Definitions

General Definitions and Abbreviations

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.


Bowfishing at Night?

Please remember...

  • Do not shine lights into homes at night.
  • Ask permission to shoot when within 100 yards of another person or vessel.
  • Obey noise ordinances.

Legal Equipment

  • Compound Bow
  • Recurve Bow
  • Crossbow

Don’t Shoot

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Northern Pike
  • Muskellunge
  • Snapping Turtles
  • Sturgeon
  • Hickory or American Shad
  • River Herring
  • Sharks

Legally Hunted Fish Include

  • Northern Snakehead
  • Chesapeake Blue Catfish
  • Blue Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Goldfish
  • Common Carp
  • Longnose Gar
  • Sunfish
  • Gizzard Shad


  • a human being
  • an international diving flag
  • an occupied duck blind
  • another vessel
  • a private or public swimming area

Make Sure Your Gear Has a Retrieval Line

(except a gig propelled by hand)