The Bay has played a huge part in my life. I've been fishing since I was two years old. The first time being back in 1998 on the Choptank River with my dad.
My life has revolved around the pursuit of fish. Living in Maryland has given me opportunities to do so. But, over the years the lack of clean water, fish, and forage has affected the fishing tremendously. I've had to pursue fish in other states like New York, New Jersey, and even down south to South Carolina.
The fishing has declined, and I'm beginning to see less fish every day. Growing up I used to see schools of bunker being blitzed on by stripers. It was hard not to see a school of baitfish roaming around. But now its all but ghost waters. These bunker schools don't appear—if you're lucky you can see a few swim by. If you're lucky.
Being a U.S. Marine, I learned the value of pride in oneself. I take that pride into where I live and fish. I love Maryland, and I'd love to fish here, too. But without the proper care and pride taken into caring for the Bay's health, I've had to pursue fishing elsewhere. I'd love to see more fish and more life within the Bay. And we can help. Whether its by picking up trash, recycling oyster shells, planting underwater grasses, or releasing a large cow striper in the spring to spawn—it's these small things we can do to help.
I want to see a Bay that we can not only fish, but can swim in as well. I hate hearing people bad mouth the health of the Bay, instead we should hear more people telling each other about how they helped the Bay and how it played a role in their lives. The Bay provided me with fishing and an opportunity to relax and have fun. But with its health depleted we need to help give back to the Bay that has given so much to us.
Ellicott City, Maryland