Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By BRUCE JOULE
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.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna bite has been slow but fish still have been taken both by trolling and sitting on the ball. Highly migratory species 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 http//nmfspermits.com. Shark fishermen have a shot at catching makos, blues, porbeagles and threshers. Most recently, the Shark Grounds, Trinidad and the backside of Tanta's have been the hot spots. Anglers report numerous hookups, mostly of blues along with lesser numbers of threshers. Keep in mind that the minimum size for these sharks is 4.5 feet in length, and that basking and white sharks are federally protected species. Groundfishing remains steady with pollock, haddock and cod being the mainstay, while redfish, cusk and hake round out the catch. Try fishing 16-ounce jigs with a teaser fly just above. 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.
Federal striped regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters, greater than 3 miles from shore.
ZONE 1: Time of day is very important if you want to catch stripers. Anglers, especially those fishing artificials and flies, need to be out before sunrise or after dusk. Limited numbers of bass can still be found in the lower portions and mouths of the rivers (Scarborough, Saco, Mousam, etc.). Anglers targeting these fish should try trolling Tube'N worm rigs or surgical tubes coupled with a sandworm. Fishing has been hot for those working the beaches and outside ledges (Bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool, Richmond, Pine Point, Higgins and Old Orchard) using bait. Slug-Gos (black/silver flake, chartreuse/blue flake), Roberts Rangers (orange/white) and Atoms (blue/white) have all been catching their share for the crank fisherman. Fly enthusiasts have been hooking up tossing camo crab patterns as well as black (night), silver and glass Deceivers. Horse mackerel, though spotty, have been caught outside the Saco, around Wood Island, off Richmond Island and Pine Point. Use chum (cat food) once you find the fish to stay on the school. Limited numbers of bluefish have been reported around the Saco, the mouth of the Mousam and Prouts Neck. Large bright colored poppers work well.
ZONE 2: The 74th annual Bailey Island tuna and small fish tournament is under way and runs through Saturday. Striper fishing continues to be decent along the Cape shore, the ledges and the islands. You can still pick up some fish in the rivers but for the best results, fish these areas predawn or evening. For those using artificials try black Slug-Gos (night), pink/blue Gag's Mambo Minnows red/white Schoolie Poppers or the white/green, olive Yo-Zuri Pin's Magnets. Anglers casting Hollow Fleyes and blue/white and pink/white Clouser and Deceivers have been into the fish. Mackerel (live or chunked) and eels are the baits of choice. Again, with all this hot sunny weather, anglers need to be out very early or late. Mackerel catches have been hot and cold.
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