Wednesday, December 11, 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
NEW FOR 2013: If you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a non-offset circle hook. One exception: Rubber or latex tube lures may be used without a circle hook as long as they are at least 8 inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.
For anglers going sharking, blue sharks along with the occasional mako, thresher and porbeagle can be caught. 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. The tuna bite has improved slightly. 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 the website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. Groundfishing remains very good and should continue into the fall. Anglers fishing the northern end of Jeffreys and the fingers report good catches of pollock followed by cod and haddock. Sea surface temperatures at the Portland weather buoy and Jeffreys Ledge are around the 60-degree mark.
• 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: Some of this season's best striper fishing is and will occur over the next few weeks. The beaches and the mouths of the rivers are the places to be with stripers breaking in locations from Cape Elizabeth to York. During this time of year, the time of day that you are fishing plays less of a role in catching fish. Also, the daytime restrictions on beach fishing have been lifted so get out and catch fish when you can. Striper fishing will continue to improve over the next few weeks before these fish head home. Higgins, Scarborough and Old Orchard Beach are producing decent sized stripers. Bait (mackerel and clams) has worked best but anglers are landing fish using the 6-inch Lunker City Arkansas Shiner Slug-Gos, R. M. Smith wooden lures and Gag's Grabber 31/2-inch poppers. Limited numbers of bluefish are around. If targeting the larger ones, try the 3-ounce orange Ranger lure. Mackerel will be here for a while longer. When you come upon them use chum and fish Sabiki rigs.
ZONE 2: Stripers will be around a little while longer. Fish have been taken along the Cape shore to the Eastern Prom and the areas from Back Cove to Mackworth to Falmouth to the Harraseeket. Watch for bird action to locate the bait and the stripers. Sandworms and mackerel continue to produce the most fish. Artificials that have also been catching fish include Krocodile Spoons, Rapala X-Raps, Gag's Schoolie Poppers and the Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows. There are a few bluefish swimming about, mostly mixed in with the stripers.
ZONE 3: The stripers are dropping out of the rivers, from east to west and heading south after their summer visit. Fishing in the lower parts of the rivers and beaches has been OK, but remember as these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers need to read the water and look for the bait. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel can be found in many of their typical locations.
Compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor, ME 04575. If you have information to report, call him at 633-9505 or email: