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.

OFFSHORE

The 17th annual Sturdivant Island tuna tournament, based out of Spring Point marina in South Portland, starts Thursday and runs until Saturday. This is a highly competitive, no-nonsense event that draws the region’s best. On that note, the Atlantic bluefin tuna bite has been getting better with fish taken off the backside of Platt’s, the Kettle, Sagadahoc and the Mud Hole. Sharking has been good for those targeting blue sharks and there also have been some reports of decent makos and threshers taken. The minimum size for keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length, and basking and white sharks are federally protected. 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 the NOAA fisheries at 888-872-8862 or visit their website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. Groundfishing remains steady on Tanta’s, Jeffrey’s and the Trinidad. Anglers can expect to catch mostly pollock, haddock and cod. New for 2014, the minimum size for cod is 21 inches, nine fish per person daily bag limit. Also new for 2014, three fish per day per angler daily 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 (inside three miles) is closed from July 1 to April 30. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from Jeffrey’s Ledge and the Portland weather buoy, are running in the mid to upper 60’s.

COASTAL

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 or one striped bass per day that measures 40 inches or greater. If you have questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://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 eight inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.

ZONE 1: Stripers of all size, are around in fishable numbers but the key is to fish predawn, night or low light. Generally these fish are going to lay low during warm/hot sunny days. Some spots that have been productive include the Camp Ellis jetty (both sides), the Wells jetty, Pine Point, Goosefare Brook, Old Orchard Beach, and lower portions of the Saco, Piscataqua and Mousam rivers. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing; some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mackerel, worms and clams are preferred baits. Anglers fishing the lower rivers on an outgoing tide have had the best luck using pink or red surgical tubes with a sandworm. Rubber baits (Storm Wild Eye, Shanka’s, RonZ) have been getting fish for the crank fisherman while those throwing flies that resemble natural bait (sand eel, crab patterns) are also catching fish. Mackerel catching remains spotty but anglers should try traditional spots (Richmond, Wood, Stratton, Bluff Islands, etc.). Harbor pollock are abundant. We are into August and no recent reports of bluefish but keep that wire leader handy.

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. Anglers 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 some serious action. Bait fishermen have been doing well with chunk macs and sandworms. The water temperature inside Portland Harbor remains around 60 degrees.

ZONE 3: Stripers are around and fishermen are telling of the best catches 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 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 4½-5½ inch flecked Slug-Gos or 4-inch White Grubs. Mackerel continue to be caught in all their traditional spots, both from shore and by boat. Try Sabiki rigs and chum (cat food) to get on and keep on these fish. Remember that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license.

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources. He can be reached at 633-9505, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575, or by email at [email protected]