OFFSHORE

Offshore sea surface temps are running in the mid-60s. Groundfishing continues to be good, with pollock, cod, haddock and cusk making up the majority of the anglers’ catch. Sharking has been decent especially for blue sharks. Recent catches include a few threshers, makos and lots of blue sharks. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 41⁄2 in length while basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. Tuna fishermen are struggling to boat fish. It is not just here but also to the south of us. During the most recent tourney out of Gloucester, Mass., not one of the 44 boats entered landed a fish. Ouch! 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, call NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or gp to: http://hmspermits.noaa.gov.

COASTAL

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: Striper fishing has been steady and will continue to improve into the fall. Shore anglers fishing the beaches (north of the Pier at Old Orchard at night, Bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool, Fortune Rocks) and the Mousam (in the evening) tell of good catches, as have boat anglers. The baits of choice are clams, eels and live or chunk macs. For those fishing artificials, try any of the Striper Maine-iac plugs, the Daiwa SP and DS Minnows, Lunker City 6-inch Arkansas Shiners or any of the rubber baits. For anglers who would prefer to toss a fly, the Camo crab pattern, the Crabbit and the 2/0 Black Bunny Eel (night) have been producing. Bluefish, though scarce, are out there.

Richmond Island and the Saco area are just a couple of spots where fishermen have hooked up. Orange Ranger lures, Rapala deep diving lures and Kastmasters are the way to go if using artificials for the larger ones while Mustad Piscata rigs have worked well for the snappers. Mackerel are spotty but anglers using chum have been able to bring some to the boat around the islands (Bluff, Wood, Stratton) and ledges outside of the Saco.

ZONE 2:
The Cape shoreline, the Royal and the Presumpscot are some of the locales where striper fishing has been good. Stripers are around and are moving so where you catch fish today you may not tomorrow. Spinners have been doing well working Rapala X-Raps, Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows, Mag Poppers and the Atom Striper Swiper. Fly guys are catching fish tossing Snake flies along with crab and mackerel pattern Clousers. Sandworms, mackerel and clams are the baits that have been getting it done. There are plenty of harbor pollock available.

ZONE 3: There are stripers around. Find the bait and you will find the stripers, as these fish will be actively feeding before their trip south in a few weeks. Action on the rivers, including the Damariscotta, St. George and the Kennebec watershed (off the beaches) has been good, but sometimes anglers will be marking fish and just can’t get them to take a hook as there is a lot of bait in the water. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel catches have been hit or miss along the east side of Southport, the Cuckolds and Lower Mark Island. Once on a school, toss some cat food over to help hold the fish.

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 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 me at 633-9505 or email:
bruce.joule@maine.gov