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 (207) 633-9505.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna bite is just getting better. Some spots where fish have been caught include the Kettle, Sagadahoc and outside of Platt’s Bank. Blue sharks, porbeagles and threshers have also been hooked up by those fishing offshore.
The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4 1/2 feet in length while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information about permits and regulations, contact NOAA Fisheries at 1-888-872-8862 or visit http://hmspermits.noaa.gov.
Groundfishing remains consistent for this time of year. Anglers can expect catches of pollock, haddock and cod with a few redfish, hake and cusk mixed in. New for 2014, the minimum size for cod is 21 inches with a nine fish per person daily bag limit. Also new, there is a three fish per day per angler bag limit and a minimum size of 21 inches for haddock. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from the Portland weather buoy, located 12 nautical miles southeast of Portland, have warmed to the lower 60s while out on Jeffrey’s the temperatures are in the mid 60s.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than 3 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 in total length or one striper per day that measures 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2014 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or visit www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
Remember, 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 fishermen should work the beaches, rock piles and lower sections of the rivers to catch fish. The one problem – and not a bad one from the fish’s point of view – in making a successful trip is to find hungry fish. With so much natural bait around, fisherman are seeing fish but they will not take anything presented to them. Again, get out early, late or on overcast days since the heat and sun may turn the catching off during the day.
Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The baits remain the same: clams off the beaches and worms and macs in the rivers and estuaries. Trolling surgical tubes with a worm just about any time will hook fish in the lower portions of the rivers.
Crank fishermen working Deadly Dicks and Slug-Gos, as well as traditional Bucktails with teasers, report positive results. For those throwing a fly, match the natural bait (sand eel, crab patterns). Depending on to whom you speak, mackerel catching has been either good or bad. Sabiki rigs and chum (cat food) have worked well for those catching. No recent reports of bluefish.
ZONE 2: The 76th annual Bailey Island Tuna and Small Fish Tournament, based out of Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey Island, is underway and runs through Saturday.
Striper fishing continues to be decent along the Cape shore, the ledges and the islands. You can still pick up some fish in the rivers but for the best results, fish these areas predawn or evening. For those using artificials try black Slug-Gos (night), Gag’s Mambo Minnows, Schoolie Poppers or the Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnets. Worms, macs and eels are the baits of choice. Mackerel are around.
ZONE 3: Good numbers of striped bass and mackerel are available to both shore and boat anglers. Striper fishermen live-lining mackerel, bloodworms or eels in the cuts and drops are getting fish while clams along the beaches has been the way to go. Fin-S, Sassy Shad and Pencil Poppers are some of the artificials that have been catching stripers. Fly fishers tossing larger groceries in the fast water and shrimp, crab or sand eel patterns on the flats have been seeing activity.
Fishermen need to be out very early. Once the sun is over the trees, fishing activity slows. For anglers fishing the flats, work areas on the coming tide after the clammers and wormers have left since they will have stirred the bait up.
Remember that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license.
Though just about anything will catch mackerel, anglers report that hand tied mackerel rigs or Sabiki rigs coupled with a 4-5 ounce Hopkins or Crocodile Spoon are producing fish.
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 Joule at 633-9505 or email: