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

Shark fishing has been awesome in the deep water off the Shark Grounds, Tanta’s, Trinidad and the Gulch. Anglers have a shot at porbeagles, makos, threshers and many, many blue sharks. The minimum length for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4 1/2 feet; basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. Tuna fishing continues to be good inside, with fish west of Casco Bay feeding heavily on spike mackerel. Live bait with fluorocarbon leaders is the way to go in the southern area, while east toward Sagadahoc and beyond, anglers have been hooking fish trolling black or rainbow-colored squid rigs and daisy chains. The NMFS has closed the northern area 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 and bag limits 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. Groundfishing has dropped off a bit but will rebound as water temps drop. Anglers after groundfish can expect to catch cod, haddock and pollock along with lesser numbers of cusk, hake and redfish. Offshore sea-surface temps are running in the mid-60s. The seventh annual Downeast Maine Shark Tournament is Friday and Saturday, and the weigh station is at the Camp Ellis Pier in Saco.

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 long or one per day that measures 40 inches or greater. If you have questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.

ZONE 1: Stripers are available, although anglers may have to work for them. The key is to be flexible and remember that what is a hot spot today may not produce any fish tomorrow. Get out very early or late. Ocean Park, Old Orchard and Higgins Beach have been giving up a lot of fish this past week. Live or chunked macs, eels and clams are the baits to use. Anglers can also find action in the lower portion of the rivers and the estuaries. If you are trolling, drag a pink, wine red or bubblegum surgical tube with a sandworm. If you are casting from shore, toss any of the top-water crank baits. For those anglers who prefer artificials, try the blue/silver flavored Atom Striper Swiper, Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bugs, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows or Mag Minnows. Fly fishermen report better catches lately (fish the predawn tide) using mackerel-pattern, red/white and red/yellow Clousers and the pure black Deceiver (night). Bluefish catches in the 10-pound range have been decent off Kennebunk Beach and the Saco, and snappers have been reported in the lower part of the Saco River. There are lots of spike mackerel around.

ZONE 2: Anglers will find stripers around the ledges, flats, islands and the lower portions of the rivers. Fishing has been consistent for those willing to put in the time and effort. The mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Royal, Harraseeket, New Meadows, etc.) are best fished on a dropping tide, and fishing along the ledges is often more productive during a coming tide. Clams, sandworms and squid are the most productive baits. For the crank fisherman, poppers have worked best, including the Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnet, Hydro Pencil, Hydro Popper and the Rebel Jumping Minnow. Blue or olive 1/0 and 2/0 Deceivers (day) and red or black Deceivers (night) have been doing the trick for those tossing a fly. Bluefish are out around the islands.

ZONE 3: Striped bass fishing remains status quo throughout most of this zone. Fish can be found in most of their customary spots, but like everything else, you’ve got to make the time investment to reap the reward. Although you may be marking fish, getting them to eat is something else. This will change in the upcoming weeks as water temps drop and they put their feed bags on before their return home. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Boat anglers willing to move around until they find the fish have reported the best catch of macs. Shore anglers have found fishing hit or miss because these fish meander. There are some blues around the mouth of the Kennebec and toward Boothbay.

 

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 call 633-9505 or e-mail: [email protected]