July 19, 2012

Saltwater Fishing Report

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.

OFFSHORE

The Boomerang, Tanta's and Trinidad are a few spots where porbeagles and blue sharks have been sighted and hooked up. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length, while basking and great white sharks are federally protected. Atlantic bluefin tuna are spread out all over. Live bait as well as trolling squid rigs (in root beer, green or black) are getting fish. HMS angling permit holders may take one tuna 27 inches or greater up to 73 inches per day. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks and swordfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit their website at nmfspermits.com. Groundfishing is what can be expected for this time of year. Platt's, Jeffrey's and Tanta's continue to produce pollock, cod and haddock in decent numbers. The minimum size for halibut is 41 inches and all retained fish must immediately be tagged with a landings tag. Recreational tags can be obtained by calling Ann Tarr at 624-6550. There is an abundance of squid inshore and offshore. Hint: Have two buckets, throw the squid in the first water-filled bucket and kick it. This will cause the squid to discharge its ink. You can then toss the squid into the next bucket with clean water.

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal 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.

ZONE 1: Anglers targeting stripers should concentrate their efforts out on the beaches and rock piles. There are still bass in the lower portions of the rivers but with the warmer temps, many fish have moved out. Biddeford Pool (Bathhouse end and rocks), Old Orchard, Higgins and Richmond Island continue to hold fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing. Clams, macs (live or chunk) and herring are all catching fish, particularly after sunset and before sunrise. Deadly Dick's, black Slug-Go's at night and the Bill Hurley Sand Eel lure are a few of the artificials producing. For those who choose to fish the rivers, troll surgical tubes (bubblegum) coupled with a sandworm going with the tide and current. Fishermen who want to wet a fly should throw the Sandy Striper Seducer, crab patterns or the 2/0 Black Bunny Midnight Eel pattern. As far as the tide goes, depending on your location, mid to high followed by a few hours of the going tide are the best. To find the fish, look for bird activity. Mackerel (horse) are scattered but anglers fishing around Pine Point, Wood, Stratton and 3 Tree Ledge are getting into the fish. Use chum to get on the fish.

ZONE 2: The 74th annual Bailey Island tuna and small fish tournament, based out of Cook's Lobster House -- Bailey Island, starts Monday and runs through Saturday. The ledges, islands and the outer Cape shoreline are the places to go if you want to catch stripers. There are still a few schoolies in the lower portions of the rivers, but generally as water temperatures warm, the fishing cools. Fish these areas after dark or during the predawn hours. Baits that are working include clams, sandworms and mackerel. Gag's Mambo Minnows (blue, pink) and Schoolie Poppers, Rapala X-Raps (purple ghost, blue sardine) and Yo-Zuri Mag Poppers (mac or pollock) are some of the artificials that have been fish getters. Anglers tossing flies have been getting into stripers using 1/0 and 2/0 white or black Clousers and the Hollow Fleye. If fishing at night, try using black flies as they silhouette well against the night. Macs can be found by the boat fishermen but are spotty from shore.

ZONE 3: The striped bass pick has been slow in some of the rivers but slightly better around the rocky ledges and off beaches. The Boothbay Harbor region has been producing some trophy fish. As the rivers continue to warm, try working the deep spots early or late using bait. Fishing the rivers has also become very tide specific. Anglers targeting stripers need to read the water, looking for moving water and rips off any points. Natural channels, where the flats drain as the tide falls and bird action are also good indicators. Even when you are marking fish getting them to bite has been difficult at times. Bloodworms, eels and macs are the baits that have been catching fish. A few of the artificials that have been doing the trick are the mackerel or pollock colored Rebel Windcheater, Creek Chubs and Gag's Poppers. Fly enthusiasts fishing 1/0 and 2/0 pollock or mackerel pattern flies and black Clousers (at night) report some action. Fishable numbers of mackerel can be found all the way to Eastport.

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: bruce.joule@maine.gov.

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