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 Keith Jordan and the crew of the “Bailey and Bella” with their first-place 795-pound bluefin tuna as well as to Todd Jackson and the crew of “Fired-Up” with their first-place 450-pound thresher shark (potential state record) at last week’s Casco Bay Classic tourney. Both tuna and shark fishing remains steady. 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. 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 at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. Groundfishermen (cod, haddock, pollock, hake, cusk, etc.) are catching fish though trophy size are hard to come by. 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. Please note that after Sept. 1 it is illegal to keep any cod and 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 Cashes and Jeffrey’s Ledge, are running in the mid to upper 60s while temps at the Portland weather buoy 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 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 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 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 at least eight inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.
ZONE 1: Stripers, schoolies to trophies, are there for the taking. The key is to be flexible and to remember that what is a hot spot today may not produce any fish tomorrow. Pine Point, the Bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool, Goosefare Brook (coming tide) and Old Orchard have been giving up fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances before fishing as some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Chunked macs, worms and clams are the baits to use. Anglers can also find action in the lower portion of the rivers and the estuaries. If you are casting (from shore or boat) use Al Gag’s Whip-it Eels, Storm Wildeye Swim Shad or the Bill Hurly’s 71/2 inch Cape Cod Sand Eels. Fly fishermen report better catches of late (fish the coming tide) using mackerel pattern, red/white and red/yellow Clousers and the pure black Deceiver (night). Mackerel are readily available in their usual spots along with harbor pollock.
ZONE 2: Anglers can still find stripers around the ledges, flats, islands and the lower portions of the rivers. Fishing has been decent for those willing to put in the time and effort. The mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Royal, Harraseeket, New Meadows, etc.) are best fished on a dropping tide while fishing along the ledges is often more productive during a coming tide. Clams and sea worms are the baits that have been producing fish. For the crank fisherman, artificials that are working include the Daiwa SP and DS Minnows, Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnet, Hydro Pencil, Hydro Popper and the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow. Blue or olive 1/0 and 2/0 Deceivers (day) and red or black Deceivers (night) have been doing the trick for those tossing a fly.
ZONE 3: Striped bass fishing remains status quo throughout most of this zone. Fish can be found in most of their customary spots but like everything else, you’ve got to make the time investment to reap the reward. The lower portions of the rivers seem to be giving up more fish than the beaches though. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Boat anglers willing to move around until they find the fish have reported the best catch of macs. Shore anglers have found fishing hit or miss as these fish meander about. Chum (cat food) generally helps to hold the fish once you find them. 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