OFFSHORE: Good numbers of Atlantic bluefin tuna are being taken on most inshore and offshore humps (Wood Island, Richmond Island, the Peaks). Anglers sitting on the ball using fluorocarbon leaders with live mackerel or herring are catching the most fish. As of June 12, the NMFS changed the regulations for those fishing with an angling or a charter/headboat permit. For more information contact the NMFS at (978) 281-9260 or visit their website at www.nmfspermits.com. A few blue sharks (around Tanta’s), porbeagles and threshers have been reported. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet long. Note that all vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, shark, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit from the NMFS. Cod and haddock catches have been very good on Jeffrey’s (haddock on the Fingers) and Platt’s. For those targeting cod, try using 16-ounce cod jigs coupled with a red teaser or the Shimano Butterfly rig. An angler specifically after haddock should fish bait (clams, shrimp) right near the gravel or sand bottom. There is a change in the halibut regulation for 2010. The minimum size now is 41 inches and all retained fish must be tagged immediately with a landings tag. Recreational tags can be obtained from Ann Tarr at 624-6550. The weather buoy on Jeffrey’s shows sea surface temperatures in the upper 60s.

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

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

ZONE 1:  It’s summer fishing conditions for stripers. Get out early or late. Shore anglers have been hooking up plenty of bass off the beaches (Hills, Higgins, Goosefare Brook, Biddeford Pool, ocean side of the Camp Ellis jetty). Beach fishermen should check local ordinances as some beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait (eels, herring, live or chunk macs, clams) is still producing the most fish. River fishing (Saco, Scarborough, etc.) has slowed with the heat, but anglers trolling surgical tubes (wine red, bubblegum) coupled with a sandworm continue to get fish. Calcutta rubber shad, 2-4 ounce Kastmasters and the blue/silver or black/silver Mambo Minnows have been getting it done for those fishing artificials. Fly fishermen throwing surf candy flies and chartreuse or blue/white Clousers and Deceivers have been having success. Wood Island and Three Tree Ledge are just a couple of spots where fishermen have been catching tinker- to horse-sized mackerel. For better luck use chum (cat food) coupled with Sabiki rigs. There have been a few reports of bluefish off of Prout’s Neck and many others of guys getting cut off, so make sure and have wire leaders with you.

ZONE 2: Fishing around the mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Harraseeket, Royal, etc.), the islands (Cushing, Cow, Little Chebeague), as well as the Cape shoreline are areas that have been productive for striper fishermen. The rivers are still producing but as the water temperatures rise, the fishing activity slows. These areas have been most productive when fished under low light conditions. Anglers working artificials have been getting into the fish using Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, mackerel Mambo Minnows, Gagg’s Schoolie poppers and the Storm Wild Eye Shad. Flies that have been effective include any of the 2/0 and 4/0 grocery patterns, Clousers and the Jake’s Advantage. Baits of choice are mackerel and sandworms. Mackerel catches throughout the Bay are good.

ZONE 3: Stripers and mackerel can be caught from various locations throughout this zone. Anglers report catching stripers from a wide range of spots, including right inside Boothbay Harbor, the east side of Southport, around Damariscove Island and from Sagadahoc Bay, Back River (Kennebec River) and the Sasanoa, Weskeag and St. George rivers. The key is to get out early since fishing really falls off after the sun tops the trees. Bait (live macs around the rock piles, worms on the flats and eels from the beaches) has been effective. Try to match your artificials and flies to the natural bait. Mackerel can be found from here all the way to Eastport. The Boothbay Harbor Freezer Pier and the Southport Bridge are a couple of free public shore sites. If you are fishing on the Kennebec upstream of the power line in Augusta, you need a freshwater license.

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]

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 1-888-674-7411.