Have you or will you catch that Maine state trophy fish? If so, welcome to Maine’s Tackle-Busters Club.

First off, what is the Tackle-Busters Club? This is an elite “club” of saltwater anglers who have landed a Maine state trophy fish.

Well, what is a trophy fish? Fish that qualify for Tackle-Busters are not necessarily state record-setters, but are extraordinary catches that meet a minimum weight and/or length requirement.

The rules are simple; any of the eligible fish listed in the accompanying box must be taken with a rod and reel on any pound test line. Live or cut bait may be used as well as artificial lures and flies.

Anglers who wish to apply for a Tackle-Busters membership, yet want to release their fish unharmed, are encouraged to do so after taking a photo of the fish beside a tape measure to verify size.

If you catch any of the eligible fish that weigh or measure the minimum qualifying sizes or greater, you can become a member of the Tackle-Busters Club.

How do you join? Simply fill out a Tackle-Busters card and mail it with a photo of the fish.

Application cards may be obtained from tackle shops, directly from our department at the number listed below or downloaded from: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/tacklebusters/index.htm.

It is important to remember that the regulatory minimum size must be observed, even in cases where a fish may make the minimum Tackle-Buster weight.

For example, if an angler has a striped bass that weighs 26 pounds, it must still measure the legally required 40 inches or greater if that angler is to keep that fish.

Upon acceptance into the Tackle-Busters Club, you will receive a membership card, a Tackle-Buster decal and a decal of your Tackle-Buster fish.

If you are fishing on a headboat or charter boat and catch a qualifying fish, make sure that the captain submits your card. Also, if you are fishing in any of the tourneys, have the weigh master sign off on your card.

 

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. You can go online at www.countmyfish.noaa.gov or call 1-888-674-7411.

 

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

bruce.joule@maine.gov