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.
Congratulations to Phil Chase and the crew of the HOOKR1 for their 537.4-pound first-place tuna in last week’s Sturdivant Island Tuna Tourney. The annual Casco Bay Classic Tournament, based out of Spring Point marina in South Portland, starts Thursday and runs until Saturday. Anglers targeting groundfish (cod, haddock, pollock, etc.) continue to catch fish. Unfortunately, the ratio of sublegal to legal cod and haddock is fairly high. The Kettle, Platt’s, Tanta’s, Jeffrey’s and the Trinidad are some of the spots where the catching has been good. New for 2014, the minimum size for cod is 21 inches, 9 fish per person daily bag limit. Also new for 2014, 3 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 3 miles) is closed from July 1 to April 30. Those after blue sharks have not been disappointed and have been rewarded with the occasional thresher and mako. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. The tuna bite has moved inside and has been decent for those putting in the time. 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. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from Cashes Ledge, are in the low 70s, from Jeffrey’s Ledge in the upper 60s and the Portland weather buoy 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 total length or one striped bass 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 please 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 nonoffset 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 remains good with fish available around the islands, rock piles, beaches and lower rivers. Ferry Beach (Scarborough), Pine Point, the Spurwink, Old Orchard and Richmond Island are spots where catches have been good. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances before fishing as some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Anglers fishing the early morning or late evening, both sides of the tide, have had the best results. Spinners have been catching bass with Slug-Gos (white-day, black-night), Fin-S lures, ¾-ounce Bombers and wooden plugs such as the Striper Maine-iac along with the R. M. Smith line. Clams and chunked mackerel are the baits of choice. Tube’N Worm rigs or surgical tubes with a sandworm in the lower rivers continue to produce fish. Fly guys tossing mackerel and crab pattern Clousers have been catching fish. Mackerel are around in good numbers in their traditional spots.
ZONE 2: Striper fishing is good for this time of year. Most all the ledges, the Cape and Falmouth shore as well as many of the islands (Mackworth by boat) are giving up fish. The bait boys continue to have success with clams, worms and mackerel. Three- to 6-inch poppers such as the Rapala X-Rap, Rebel Jumpin Minnow, Gag’s Schoolie Popper, the Yo-Zuri Live Bait Minnow (this one will not break on the rocks) as well as the traditional Bucktail jig are artificials that are working.
ZONE 3: Striped bass of all sizes can generally be found in their typical hangouts. Anglers have been catching fish with bait, artificials and flies. To find the fish, read the water, i.e. look for surf action, bird activity, breaking bait, etc. Bloodworms bounced on the flats have been effective as have macs and eels around the islands and ledges. If using live macs and your bait is swimming too deep, attach a balloon to your line. Where you attach it will depend on what depth you want your bait swimming at. See zones 1 and 2 for artificials and flies. Mackerel are here and once you are on them you will have plenty. Sabiki rigs can catch a lot of fish but watch out for the hooks or go barbless.
Remember 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: