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.
The Kettle, Sagadahoc, Jeffrey’s, Platt’s and Three Dory are just a few of the places that have been giving up sharks and Atlantic bluefin tuna. 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. Tuna fishermen who have invested time, usually multiple day or overnight trips offshore, have seen results.
All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For information about permits and regs, contact NOAA fisheries at 888-872-8862 or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov. Anglers after groundfish (cod, haddock, pollock, hake, cusk, etc.) are catching fish with both jigs coupled with a fly and bait.
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. Note that as of Monday, it’s 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, remain in the mid to upper 60s while temps at the Portland weather buoy are in the low 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 striper per day that measures 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check the web at: www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html
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: Bluefish have arrived. Blues ranging from 5 to 12 pounds have been reported around Richmond Island, Wells and Biddeford Pool. Bait (chunk macs) works great but remember that wire leader. For those who want to work artificials, try the orange Ranger or Gag’s Grabber lures.
Stripers are still here with some of the better fishing upcoming as we approach fall. Beach fishing has been more productive than the estuaries and lower rivers as of late. Eels (at night), chunked macs, worms and clams are the baits of choice. Use a balloon or float between your weight and your hook to keep the bait off the bottom and away from crabs. Lures that have been getting it done include the mackerel pattern Striper Maine-iac, the Yo-Zuri clear Crystal Minnow and the Savage Gear Ghost. For those anglers who would prefer a fly, try the chartreuse or the chartreuse/white J-H special Clouser pattern. Mackerel, harbor pollock, and the occasional flounder and black sea bass are also being caught in this zone.
ZONE 2: The Cape shoreline and the islands are some of the locales where striper fishing has been good. But stripers are moving so where you catch fish today, you may not tomorrow. Anglers need to put the time in and read the water. 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 throwing 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. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier remain around 60 degrees.
ZONE 3: There are stripers. Find the bait and you will find them. as these fish will be feeding before their trip south in a few weeks. Action on the rivers, including the Damariscotta, St. George and the Kennebec watershed, has been good, but sometimes anglers will only be marking fish 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 cat food over to help hold the 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: