Thursday, December 5, 2013
FEDERAL: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters, greater than three miles from shore.
STATEWIDE: 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 fish per day that measures 40 inches or greater. If you have questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational
NEW FOR 2013: 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.
Sea surface temperatures have dropped to around the 60-degree mark. Groundfishing (pollock, cod, haddock, hake, redfish, etc.) has been good and will only get better as we head toward October. Norwegian jigs coupled with a teaser and bait have worked equally well in catching fish. Blue sharks along with a few porbeagles and threshers are available on most of the inshore and offshore humps. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 41/2 feet in length while basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. There are tuna around but not in great numbers. Anglers have gotten fish by both trolling and setting up on the ball. 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, call the NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit the website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov.
• If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. Visit www.maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.
ZONE 1: Stripers are there for the taking. Time of day is not an issue so fish when you can and expect to put some time in. Try Ferry, Higgins, Old Orchard, Pine Point and Goosefare Brook as well as the lower rivers and estuaries. Realize though, stripers are on the move and they can show up anywhere one moment and be gone the next. Clams and macs along the beaches and chunk macs fished around the rock piles are getting results. Nothing beats surgical tubes when fished in the lower rivers and estuaries, but don't forget to put that sandworm on the end of the rig. Spinners should try 2 to 4 ounce Crippled Herring, Point Jude metal lures, Deadly Dicks or any of the rubber baits. Fly fishermen casting black Clousers, day or night, have been hooking up bass. Bluefish (a few) have been reported out around Richmond, Bluff, Eagle and Stratton. Mackerel are roaming around the islands in Saco Bay. Use chum and small Sabiki rigs for the best results.
ZONE 2: Stripers can be found in the lower portions of the rivers, the flats and the ledges of the bay. Mackerel and sandworms are the preferred baits but the stripers will take just about anything you give them. Anglers using artificials have been successful working 4 to 6 inch Lunker City Slug-gos, Gag's Schoolie Poppers and Yo-Zuri Hydro-Poppers. Fly guys who have been tossing Clousers and Deceivers in silverside and sand eel patterns report modest catches. There are still a few bluefish around. Mackerel catches have picked up.
ZONE 3: As you head from east to west in this zone, the stripers will be starting to drop out of the rivers for their journey south. Remember as these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers fishing deep have been getting the bigger fish. Look for bird activity and breaking bait and you will find the stripers. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips.
Snapper blues are still around in some areas. Mackerel can be found in many of their typical locations.
• Note that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Mackerel have moved inshore throughout much of this zone.
Compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575. If you have information to report please call him at 633-9505 or email: