Sea surface temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine are in the mid to upper 60′s. Groundfishing continues to be good on most all mid 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 Norwegian jig. If targeting haddock, use a sinker and bait your hook with shrimp or clams and don’t overload the hook. The Atlantic bluefin bite continues to be spotty. Anglers live lining herring or mackerel on fluorocarbon leaders are getting fish while those trolling a Shanka soft bait stick lure or a Green Machine daisy chain have been successful hooking up smaller fish. Highly Migratory Species Angling permit holders may take one tuna 27 inches or greater up to 73 inches per day.
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. There are blue sharks (many), makos, threshers and porbeagles out there for the taking or tagging. When setting up your chum slick with chum and menhaden oil don’t overload the slick with chum or you will just be feeding the sharks before they can get to your lines. 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.
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. Kennebunk (low tide), Higgins, Pine Point (low tide), Old Orchard Beach and the lower portions of the rivers (Saco, Mousam, Spurwink) are some of the spots where anglers have been hooking up. Jeniki Tubes (fluorescent orange or red) or surgical tubes (orange, red or black) with sandworms are the fish getters in the lower portions of the rivers. Bait (clams, chunk macs) is the choice for anglers fishing the beaches and ledges. Calcutta rubber shad, 5 and 6 Shimano Wax Wings and Al Gag’s lures are a few of the artificials crank fishermen have been catching stripers with. If you get into a school of stripers, toss an Acme Kastmaster into the middle and let it sink down 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 presunrise tide. There are bluefish (2 — 10 pounds) wandering about off Kennebunk, Pine Point and the islands outside the Saco. However, they are here one minute and gone the next. When targeting these fish try working a Rapala X-Rap Magnum Diver or the 7-inch mackerel Yo-Zuri Hydro Magnum Deep Diver. Mackerel can be had but they may not come easy. Richmond, Wood and Three Tree Ledge are a few spots where anglers have been successful. Rumors of pogies abound.
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, i.e. get out early or late. Fly guys throwing 2/0 Groceries are not complaining. Baits that are getting it done include sandworms, clams and mackerel. Spinners fishing 5 — 7 inch lures like the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow, Hydro-Popper (on the flats) Gag’s Mambo Minnow, and the Rapala X-Raps have been doing well. Some anglers targeting macs have had to work. Hussey Sound, East End Beach and the Falmouth shore have been productive.
ZONE 3: Stripers and mackerel are what anglers can expect to catch. Bait (bloodworms and eels) reins 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 (Southport Bridge). Make sure you have wire leaders in your tackle box as you might encounter the stray blue.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.