So it’s a little hot out there and you want to cool off. The beach is too crowded, your friend’s camp is too far away, and why would anyone want to spend a sunny summer day inside a mall?
Want to cool off? My favorite way is to head out on the water. Any mariner worth his salt knows it’s cooler on the water and there are myriad ways to cool off while fishing.
One way is to head to one of my favorite small trout streams. You probably know the one. It holds vividly-colored brookies in the range of 4-8 inches. It’s bordered by overhanging trees, has several deep pools, moss-covered boulders, and you access it by walking down an old logging road.
Don an old pair of sneakers and shorts, grab a small rod and head into the stream. The joy of this type of fishing is you are in and out of the cool, bubbling water, hopping, wading and slogging to the next spot.
You will find more fish in the deeper pools and the undercut banks, but don’t forget to spend time in some of those shaded riffles and runs.
Another way to cool down is tubing no, not the type you tow behind the boat, but the type that you sit in with your waders on and kick your way to your favorite springhole. Immersed up to your chest and suspended by the tube’s webbing, it’s like fishing in an easy chair. The surrounding water will keep you cool even when the fishing gets hot.
The most productive way to fish from a float tube is to find the spring holes where the fish are congregating. Don’t know where they are? Check out your favorite pond right before the ice goes out.
Springs are more active as winter melts away and the current eats away at the ice from underneath. Look for the first openings on the ice and head to those spots in the summer. While this tip may not help you now, thoughts about ice-covered lakes ought to help with the heat.
River fishing is another fantastic way to cool off. The moving water, the tree-lined river banks, the mist from the swift-moving rapids will all help lower your temperature.
There are two ways I like to fish a river. First is a slow paddle or drift downstream, fishing the entire time from the canoe or kayak. The leisurely pace of drifting with the current, casting to structure and eddies, offers a cooling respite from the scorching heat.
Take your time while fishing the river. And remember, if you catch one fish near a structure, there likely will be more. Whether it is the break from the current, the cool temperatures of the depths, or the wealth of food that drifts in, these spots generally hold multiple fish. Anchor safely in slow current so you don’t swamp your boat, and cast again.
Another way to cool off is to canoe and wade the river. This method is popular on reaches of Maine’s bigger rivers, as you can access some gravel bars and drop offs that generally aren’t accessible.
Securely anchor your canoe, and wade into the water and fish your spot.
Finally, if you want to beat the daytime heat, try surf fishing in the evening. With the searing sun and oppressive heat, large stripers are reluctant to feed in the day, so take advantage of the evening bite.
Once that sun goes down, the surf comes alive once again. Bait fish, sand eels, crabs and other food come out of hiding, and the stripers aren’t far behind. Rest up during the heat of the day, and once the sun goes down, you will be well energized for a night on the surf. Try the Saco Bay area for surf fishing, as the reports from Kennebunk up to Scarborough have been excellent lately.
And if the fishing gets hot, you may just forget that the temperature is as well.
Mark Latti is a Registered Maine Guide, and the Landowner Relations/ Recreational Access Coordinator for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.