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. 

OFFSHORE

Sea-surface temperatures at the Jeffrey’s weather buoy are in the mid- to upper-60s. Groundfishing continues to be good on most middle and offshore humps. Catches include pollock, haddock, cod, white hake, cusk and redfish. Make sure to fish a fly (hot pink, yellow) a couple inches above your 16-ounce jig. If targeting haddock, use shrimp or clams and be sure not to overload the hook. The Atlantic bluefin bite continues to be hot, which is great for this weekend’s Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament. Anglers live-lining herring or mackerel on Fluoro Carbon leaders are getting a lot of fish, and those trolling a Shanka soft bait stick lure or a green machine daisy chain have been successful hooking up smaller fish. The NMFS has 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 (measuring 73 inches curved-fork length or greater) north of Great Egg Inlet, N.J., is prohibited. To get the 2010 bluefin size, bag and seasons go to: https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/News.asp#news247. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, shark 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. There are blue sharks, threshers and porbeagles out there for the taking or tagging, although almost everyone is focused on tuna. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length, and basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. 

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 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, call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html

ZONE 1: Striped bass can be found in most of their typical August haunts. The best catches have been reported during the early morning (predawn) or late day/evening. Regardless if you are fishing the beaches, ledges or lower rivers, there are enough fish around to have a good day. Higgins, Fortune Rocks, Old Orchard Beach (off Union Avenue) and the lower portions of the rivers (Saco, Mousam, Spurwink) are some of the spots where anglers have had success. Jeniki Tubes (fluorescent orange or red), surgical tubes with sandworms or the Tube’N Worm rig (orange, red or black) are the fish-getters in the lower portions of the rivers. Bait (clams, chunk mackerel) is the choice for anglers fishing the beaches and ledges. Calcutta rubber shad, Point Jude lures, Al Gag’s lures and the Chicken Scratch Bomber are some of the artificials crank fishermen have been using with success. If you get into a school of stripers, toss a Kastmaster into the middle and let it sink for a shot at the big ones. Fly fishermen throwing 2/0 sand eel and silverside patterns have been getting fish, particularly when fishing the early-morning tide. There are bluefish (2-10 pounds) wandering about off Kennebunk, Pine Point and the islands outside the Saco. Try working a Rapala X-RAP Magnum Diver or the 7-inch Yo-Zuri Hydro. Mackerel can be had, but they may not come easy. Richmond, Wood and Three Tree Ledge are a few spots producing fish. Use cat food for chum to stay on them when you find them. 

ZONE 2: Striper fishing has been good out around the islands (Peaks, Long), the Cape shoreline and the ledges (off Fort Williams), as well as off the mouths of the Presumpscot, Harraseeket and Royal. For best results, fish areas of moving water and avoid the sun by getting out early or late. Fly guys throwing 2/0 Groceries are not complaining. Baits getting it done include sandworms, clams and mackerel. Spinners fishing 5-7-inch lures like the Bomber Badonk-A-Donk, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow, Mambo Minnow, Hydro-Popper (on the flats) and the Rapala X-Raps have been doing well. Bluefish are in Casco Bay. Though there are no huge schools, there are enough to mess up mackerel fishing in a few spots. Some anglers targeting macs have had to work. Hussey Sound, East End Beach and the Falmouth shore have been productive. If you are not having luck with conventional Christmas tree rigs, try hand-tied mackerel rigs or Sabiki rigs coupled with a 4-5-ounce Hopkins or Crocodile Spoon. 

ZONE 3: Stripers and mackerel, along with the occasional bluefish, are what anglers can expect to catch. Bait (bloodworms and eels) reigns king for those targeting bass. Striper guys should fish early and deep. See Zones 1 and 2 for artificials and flies. Mackerel, though in some areas a little more difficult to find, can still be caught.

Make sure you have wire leaders in your tackle box as there are a few blues around. 

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]