Friday, March 7, 2014
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 207-633-9505.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are being taken on some of the inshore and offshore humps (Platt's, the Kettle, Tantas). Anglers sitting on the ball using fluorocarbon leaders with live mackerel or herring are catching fish as well as those trolling squid rigs. A few blue sharks (around Tanta's) and makos (one boat had two, catch and release, during a tuna trip) have been reported. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length.
Note that all vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit from the NMFS. For more information, contact the NMFS at (978) 281-9260 or visit their website at http:nmfspermits.com.
Cod and haddock catches have been very good on Jeffrey's (haddock on the Fingers) and Platt's. For those targeting cod, try using 16- or 21-ounce Norwegian cod jigs coupled with a red teaser or the Shimano Butterfly rig. An angler specifically after haddock should fish bait (clams, shrimp) right near the gravel or sand bottom. The weather buoy on Jeffrey's shows sea surface temperatures in the mid 60s while the low 60s are reported from the Portland buoy.
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 between 20 and 26 inches total length or one striped bass per day that measures 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2012 saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check online at www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
ZONE 1: It's summertime fishing conditions for stripers. Get out early or late. Shore anglers have been hooking up plenty of bass off the beaches (Hills, Higgins, Goosefare Brook, Biddeford Pool, ocean side of the Camp Ellis jetty). Beach fishermen should check local ordinances as some beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait (clams, live or chunk macs) is producing the most fish. River fishing (Saco, Scarborough, etc.) has been very good when fished during the incoming tide and the first hour of the outgoing. Anglers trolling surgical tubes (wine red, bubblegum) coupled with a bloodworm are catching fish. Calcutta rubber shad, 2-4 ounce Kastmasters and the Lonely Angler (along the rocks) have been getting it done for those fishing artificials. Fly guys throwing Surf Candy flies and chartreuse or blue/white Clousers and Deceivers have been having success. Wood Island and Three Tree Ledge are just a couple of spots where fishermen have been catching tinker to horse-sized mackerel. For better luck use chum (cat food) coupled with Sabiki rigs. A few reports of bluefish off of Prout's Neck and many others of guys getting cut off so make sure and have your wire leaders with you.
ZONE 2: Fishing around the mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Harraseeket, Royal, etc.) the islands (Cushing, Cow, Little Chebeague) as well as the Cape shoreline are areas that have been productive for striper fishermen. The rivers are still producing but as the water temperatures rise, the fishing activity slows. These areas have been most productive when fished at pre-dawn/night or under low light conditions. Anglers working artificials have been getting into the fish using Rapala X-Raps, mackerel or herring Gag's Mambo Minnows, Gag's Schoolie poppers and any of the rubber baits. Flies that have been effective include any of the 2/0 and 4/0 grocery patterns (river mouths), Clousers (on the flats) and the Jake's Advantage. Baits of choice are mackerel and pollock. Mackerel catches throughout the Bay are good. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up.
ZONE 3: Stripers and mackerel can be caught from various locations throughout this zone. Anglers report catching stripers from a wide range of spots, including right inside Boothbay Harbor as well as from Sagadahoc Bay, Back River (Kennebec River) and the Sasanoa, Weskeag and St. George Rivers. The key now is to get out early as fishing really falls off after the sun tops the trees. Bait (live macs around the rock piles, worms on the flats and eels from the beaches) has been king. Try and match your artificials and flies to the natural bait. Mackerel can be found from here all the way Down East. The Boothbay Harbor Freezer Pier and the Southport Bridge are a couple of free public shore site where anglers can get a shot at these guys. Remember that 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 him at 633-9505 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.