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

Platt’s, Tanta’s, the Kettle, Sagadahoc and Jeffrey’s are some of the places that have been giving up threshers, makos, blue 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. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “If you don’t know, let it go.” Tuna fishermen that have invested time have seen results with some very large fish being landed. 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 regulations, contact the NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. Changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2015. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum haddock size has been reduced to 17 inches with a three-fish per angler per day bag limit. As of Sept. 1 it’s illegal to keep haddock.

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 over 28 inches in length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check 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 eight inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.

ZONE 1: The first documented account of a bluefish has been reported. This 11-pounder was taken out around Wood Island. 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 the 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 that would prefer to toss a fly, try chartreuse or the chartreuse/white Clousers or any of the crab patterns.

ZONE 2: The Cape shoreline and the islands are some of the locales where striper fishing has been good. Stripers are around and 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 patterns. 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 are in the low to mid 60s.

ZONE 3: There are stripers around. Find the bait and you will find the stripers, as these fish will be actively feeding before their trip south in a few weeks. Action on the rivers has been good but sometimes anglers will be marking fish and just can’t get them to take a hook 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 some cat food over to help hold the fish. 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, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report please contact me at 633-9505 or email:

[email protected]