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 maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.

OFFSHORE

The 18th annual Sturdivant Island Tuna Tournament, based out of Spring Point marina in South Portland, starts Thursday and runs until Saturday. This tourney is a highly competitive, no-nonsense event that draws the region’s top tuna men. On that note, the Atlantic bluefin tuna bite continues decent; unfortunately the price for these fish isn’t. Sharking will be picking up for those targeting blue sharks and there have also been some reports of decent makos and threshers taken. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4½ feet in length while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “if you don’t know, let it go.”

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 their website at hmspermits.noaa.gov. Substantial changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2015. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum size for haddock has been reduced to 17 inches with a three-fish-per-angler per-day bag limit.

The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches, but the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30. Groundfishing remains steady on Tanta’s, Jeffrey’s, Platt’s and the Trinidad. Anglers can expect to catch mostly pollock, haddock and cod (which must be released). Sea-surface temperatures, as reported from Jeffrey’s Ledge, are in the mid to upper 60s while closer to shore, the temps are running in the mid 60s.

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 over 28 inches in length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2015 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web at: maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.

Also, 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: Stripers of all sizes are around in fishable numbers. With summertime conditions, the key to catching 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 and Old Orchard Beach. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as some area beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Even though we are into August, there are still fish in the rivers. Anglers fishing the lower rivers on an outgoing tide have had the best luck using pink or red surgical tubes with a sandworm. Mackerel, worms and clams are the preferred baits. 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 work the traditional spots (Richmond, Wood, Stratton, Bluff Islands, etc.). As of earlier this week there have been no confirmed reports of bluefish but keep that wire leader handy just in case.

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 water lures, 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 in decent numbers. 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. Bloodworms 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 the traditional Bucktails and Kastmasters. Mackerel continue to be caught in all their traditional spots, both from shore and by boat. Anglers have had success using 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 freshwater fishing license.

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 me at 633-9505 or E-Mail:

[email protected]