OFFSHORE

Groundfishing is what can be expected for this time of year. Haddock catches have been good on the north end of Tantas, especially for those out during the early morning bite. Jeffrey’s continues to produce cod and haddock in decent numbers. Atlantic bluefin tuna are spread out all over with numerous hookups reported from the Isle of Shoals to east of Monhegan. The best bet is to fish live bait but some are hooking up dragging pink, sand eel and white Slug-gos, Hurley’s and Shanka bars. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the northern area angling category fishery for large, medium and giant (“trophy”) bluefin tuna for the remainder of 2010. Fishing for, retaining, possessing or landing large, medium and giant bluefin tuna (measuring 73 inches curved fork length or greater) north of 39-18′ N. lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ,) is prohibited effective at 11:59 p.m., July 18. To get the 2010 bluefin size, bag and seasons go to: https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/News.asp#news247.

The Boomerang and Trinidad are just a couple of spots where porbeagles, makos and blue sharks have been sighted. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length while basking and great white sharks are federally protected. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks and swordfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information contact the NMFS at (978) 281-9260 or visit their website at http://nmfspermits.com.

Surface temperatures are running in the upper 60s according to the Jeffrey’s and Cashes weather buoys. 

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in Federal waters (waters greater than 3 miles from shore).

Statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures between 20 and 26 inches total length or one striped bass per day that measures 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2010 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html  

ZONE 1: Anglers targeting stripers should concentrate their efforts out on the beaches and rock piles. There are still a few bass in the lower portions of the rivers but with the warmer temps most fish have moved out. Hills, Biddeford Pool (Bathhouse end and rocks), Old Orchard, Higgins and Richmond Island continue to hold fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clams, eels, chunk macs and herring are all catching fish, particularly at night or under low light conditions. Black or the darker pattern (resembling pogies/herring) Creek Chubs and Gag’s Poppers, mackerel flavored Crystal Minnows along with 3/8 — 1 ounce chartreuse/white bucktail jigs are a few of the artificials that are producing. For those who choose to fish the rivers, troll surgical tubes coupled with a sandworm going with the tide and current.

Fishermen who want to wet a fly should throw 1/0 and 2/0 chartreuse/white Clousers or Deceivers in either tinker mac, alewive or herring patterns. As far as the tide goes, depending on your location, mid to high followed by a few hours of the going tide are the best times. Mackerel are scattered but anglers fishing around Wood, Stratton and 3 Tree Ledge are getting them. 

ZONE 2: The Bailey Island Tuna and Small Fish Tournament, based at Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey Island, starts Monday and runs through Saturday. The ledges, islands and the outer Cape shoreline are the places to go if you want to catch stripers. There are still a few stripers in the lower portions of the rivers, but generally as water temperatures warm, the catching cools. Fish the river mouths with the dropping tide. Catching has been best after dark or during the pre-dawn hours. Baits that are working include clams, sandworms and mackerel. Mambo Minnows (blue, pink), Rapala X-Raps (purple ghost, blue sardine), Mag Poppers (mac or pollock) and Gag’s Schoolie Poppers are some of the artificials that have been fish getters.

Anglers tossing flies have been getting into stripers using 1/0 and 2/0 white or black Clousers and the black Snake fly. If fishing at night try using black flies as they silhouette well against the night. Macs can be found by boat fishermen but are spotty from shore. Water temperature at the Maine State Pier is running in the low 60s. 

ZONE 3: The striped bass pick has been slow in some of the rivers but slightly better around the rocky ledges and off the beaches. As the rivers continue to warm, try working the deep spots early using bait. Fishing the rivers has also become very tide specific. Anglers targeting stripers need to read the water; looking for moving water and rips off any points. Natural channels, where the flats drain as the tide falls and bird action are also good indicators. Even when you are marking fish getting them to bite has been difficult at times. Bloodworms, eels and macs are the baits that have been catching fish. A few of the artificials that have been doing the trick are the mackerel or pollock colored Rebel Windcheater, Creek Chubs and Gag’s Poppers.

Fly enthusiasts fishing 1/0 and 2/0 pollock or mackerel pattern flies and black Clousers (at night) report some action. Fishable numbers of mackerel can be found all the way to Eastport. 

If you are planning to saltwater fish this season make sure you sign up with the National Saltwater Angler Registry. It’s free in 2010 and only takes a couple of minutes. Go online at www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call (888) 674-7411. 

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report please contact me at 633-9505 or e-mail: [email protected]