If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. To learn more or to register, visit www.maine.gov/saltwater, or call 633-9505.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna bite has been steady with a good mix of sizes being taken. Tuna fishermen overnighting on the fishing grounds report lots of squid attracted by their lights. Also, anglers have reported gray triggerfish (inshore also) and banded rudderfish. 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, call the NMFS at (978) 281-9260 or visit its website at http://nmfspermits.com. The backside of Tanta’s, Trinidad and Jeffreys are a few spots where sharking has been hot. Numerous blue sharks along with a few threshers and porbeagles have been caught. If possible, rig a bluefish fillet (makos especially love them) with a squid skirt. 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 species. Sea surface temperatures are in the high 60s to low 70s. Pollock, cod and haddock fishing has been better than what can be expected for this time of year. Generally, dogfish have only been a nuisance at the change of tide.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than three 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 length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the website at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
ZONE 1: We are in the dog days of August and the bluefish are here. Fish, ranging from 8 inches up to 14-plus pounds can be found from Wells Harbor to Saco Bay and Richmond Island. Orange poppers (with a wire leader) or orange surgical tubes have been catching these toothy guys. Bird action is one way to locate these fish. Mackerel are scarce due to the blues. Stripers are around (Wells jetty, Pine Point, Goosefare Brook, lower portions of the Saco, Piscataqua and Mousam) in fishable numbers but the key is to fish at predawn or at night. Generally these fish are going to lay low during these hot sunny days. Anglers fishing the lower rivers have had the best luck using pink or red surgical tubes, small poppers or bucktail jigs. For those after the big ones, clams and chunk mackerel are the baits that have been getting it done. If you prefer to toss top waters, try the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, Mambo Minnows or Creek Chubs, while the Rebel Wind Cheater and the Rapalla Husky Jerk have been working for those trolling diving plugs. Fly-fishing has been best during the predawn tide. Bunker and mackerel pattern Deceivers and Clousers have been popular patterns to throw.
ZONE 2: With the continuation of this warm/hot weather, striper activity out around the ledges, the Cape shore and islands is better than inside. There are stripers around but they have been finicky due to the abundance of bait. Anglers should fish early or late for the best results. Crank fishermen working top waters such as the Storm Chug Bug, Yo-Zuri Jumping Minnows, as well as 6–9 inch Slug-Gos have been catching stripers. Try fishing black Mambo Minnows at night for serious action. Bait fishermen have done well with chunk macs and sandworms. Bluefish have arrived.
ZONE 3: Stripers are around and fishermen are telling of the best catches up inside and off the beaches around the Kennebec. Anglers should look for and fish areas of moving water and bird activity. There is a lot of bait around so you may be seeing these fish but can’t get one to take your hook. Bloods bounced along the bottom in Sag Bay or off the beaches will get fish, as will eels, clams and chunk macs. Those fishing the rivers should fish during the early morning or just after sunset. If you choose artificials, try Creek Chub poppers, the 4-5 inch flecked Slug-Gos or 4-inch White Grubs. Bluefish (8 inches up to 15+ pounds) roam from Boothbay to the Kennebec. Mackerel are spotty west of Boothbay. Anybody flounder fishing?
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 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.