The Atlantic bluefin tuna bite has been relatively slow. Tuna fishermen overnighting on the fishing grounds report lots of bait (herring and squid) attracted to their lights. Six fish were landed during last week’s 16th annual Sturdivant Island tuna tourney. Tuna ranged in size from 248.5 pounds to the first place 586.5-pound fish taken by Capt. Mitchell and the crew of the Hazel Brown. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information about permits and the regs, contact the NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. The backside of Tanta’s, Sagadahoc and the Kettle 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 range from the low 60s at the Portland LNB to the mid-60s out on Jeffrey’s Ledge. Pollock, cod and haddock fishing continues to be consistent. Remember, anglers are prohibited from landing Atlantic wolffish.
New for 2013: If you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a non-offset circle hook. There is an exception: Rubber or latex tube lures may be used without a circle hook as long as they are a minimum of 8 inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.
ZONE 1: We are well into August and the bluefish are finally starting to make their presence known. Fish can be found from Wells Harbor to Saco Bay and Richmond Island. Orange poppers (with a wire leader) and Crippled Herring have been catching these toothy guys. Bird action is one way to locate these fish. Mackerel are very spotty 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 predawn or at night. Generally these fish are going to lay low during warm/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. Crab and sand lance pattern Deceivers and Clousers have been popular patterns to throw.
ZONE 2: With the continuation of warm 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- to 9-inch Slug-Gos have been catching stripers. Try fishing black Mambo Minnows at night for some serious action. Bait fishermen have been doing well with chunk macs and sandworms. The water temperature inside Portland Harbor is around 60 degrees.
ZONE 3: Stripers are around and fishermen are telling of the best catches of these fish in several years. 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 deep and during the early morning or just after sunset. If you choose to work artificials try Creek Chub poppers, the 41/2- to 51/2 inch flecked Slug-Gos or 4-inch White Grubs. Any anglers striper fishing east of the St. George? Mackerel are spotty west of Boothbay Harbor.
• 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.
This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575. If you have information to report, call 633-9505 or email: