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

Congratulations to John Harmon and the crew of the Banshee for their 670.8-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. This tournament has tuna, shark and small-game fish categories.

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, and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30.

Anglers targeting groundfish (haddock, pollock, etc.) continue to catch with bait (clams, shrimp) or jigs coupled with a teaser fly.

Those after sharks have not been disappointed, and have been rewarded with makos and threshers along with the occasional blue. 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 rule of thumb for unknown species: “If you don’t know, let it go.”

The tuna bite continues to be decent inside.

All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For information about permits and regulations contact NOAA Fisheries at 1-888-872-8862 or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov.

Sea surface temperatures, as reported from Jeffreys Ledge, are running in the low to 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.

New statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures more than 28 inches in length.

If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2015 saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or visit maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html

Also, 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 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 in Scarborough, Pine Point, the Spurwink, Old Orchard Beach and Richmond Island are spots where catches have been good.

Beach fishermen should check local ordinances before fishing because some beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Labor Day.

Anglers fishing in the early morning or late evening, on both sides of the tide have had the best results.

Spinners have been catching bass with Slugo-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 continue to produce fish in the lower rivers.

Fly fishermen tossing mackerel and crab pattern Clousers have been catching fish. Mackerel are around in good numbers in their traditional spots. There still have been no bluefish catches reported.

ZONE 2: Striper fishing is good for this time of year. Most of the ledges, as well as many of the islands, are giving up fish.

Those using bait continue to have success with clams, worms and mackerel. Three- to six-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 some of the artificials that are working. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are around 60 degrees.

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 – 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 that if you are fishing on the Kennebec River, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater 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 him at 633-9505 or email:

[email protected]