Capt. Cal Robinson, owner and operator of Saco Bay Stripers Guide Service, has been fishing the Gulf of Maine since the late 1960s. For years, Robinson owned and operated Saco Bay Tackle on Route 1 in Saco, and has conducted fishing seminars throughout New England on saltwater fishing in Maine. During the summer months, the most likely place to find him is chasing stripers out on Saco Bay. 

Q: What is so appealing about saltwater fishing in Maine?

A: There are fewer saltwater species available to fish for in Maine, but there are a lot less anglers as well. It is a pristine area to fish, and we can catch some very large fish. Offshore we can fish for giant tuna, sharks, and groundfish. Inshore, we can fish for stripers and blues. It is a beautiful place, you are not fishing boat to boat like areas south of here where there is much more fishing pressure. And for me, the bigger water is far more exciting. 

Q: How has saltwater fishing in Maine changed?

A: Commercial fishing has changed how we fish. Years ago, there wasn’t much for groundfish. Now that they have stopped fishing for them commercially in many areas, there are a lot more cod and haddock. Commercial fishing has wiped out most of the baitfish in the Gulf of Maine, and the lack of baitfish has changed the pelagic fishery (sharks, tuna, etc). We now target species that aren’t harvested commercially. 

Q: How did you become a captain?

A: Back in the ’90s, I was interested in guiding seaduck hunters, and in order to get duck hunters out to some of the offshore islands, I needed to get licensed as a captain. I worked to get my captain’s license while I was operating Saco Bay Tackle.

Q: Do you have a favorite species to fish for?

A: I prefer fish that I can sight fish for. It’s part of the excitement, it’s a tremendous rush to come upon a school of feeding fish, that’s why I love to fish for big stripers and tuna. They are so much more of a fish than a freshwater fish. I take people saltwater fishing for the first time, they hook into a big fish, the drag starts to scream, they tighten the drag, and snap — the fish is off. They just aren’t used to fishing for fish of this size. 

Q: What are your biggest challenges?

A: The weather, wind and tides. You need to be able to read all this and catch fish. What’s working today for bait might not be working tomorrow, and unless you are in tune with it, the day may be halfway done before you realize it. Things appear differently day to day and year to year and you need to be able to recognize it if you want to catch fish.

Mark Latti is the former public information officer for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a Registered Maine Guide and a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. He can be reached at:

[email protected]