Thursday, December 12, 2013
By BRUCE JOULE Maine Department of Marine Resources
Offshore sea surface temps are running in the high 60s to 70 while closer inside the temps are in the mid 60s. Groundfishing continues to be good with pollock, cod and haddock being the mainstay. Sharking has been decent, especially for blues. Recent catches include threshers, makos and lots of blue sharks. 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 species. Tuna fishermen are struggling to boat fish. 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 the website at http://nmfspermits.com. Congratulations to Stam Charters for taking first place in last weekend's Downeast Shark tourney.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than 3 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 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check the web at http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
ZONE 1: Striper fishing has been steady and will continue to improve into the fall. Shore anglers fishing the beaches (north of the pier at Old Orchard at night, Bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool, Fortune Rocks) and the Mousam (in the evening) tell of good catches as have boat anglers. If you are fishing the lower rivers, troll either purple, pink or motor oil colored tubes coupled with a sandworm on the outgoing tide. The baits of choice are clams and macs. For those fishing artificials try any of the Striper Maine-iac plugs, Lunker City 6-inch Arkansas Shiners, Megabait Bucktail jigs or any of the rubber baits. For anglers who would prefer to toss a fly, the Camo crab pattern, the Crabbit and the 2/0 Black Bunny Eel (night) have been producing. Bluefish, from 8 inches up to 16 pounds, are out there. Richmond Island and the Saco area are just a couple of spots where fishermen have been hooking up. Orange Ranger lures, Rapala deep diving lures and Kastmasters are the way to go if using artificials for the big ones, while Mustad Piscata rigs have worked well for the snappers. Be forewarned that hese fish are actively moving and you may be on them for a few casts and then they are gone. Mackerel are spotty but anglers using chum have been able to bring some to the boat around the islands (Bluff, Wood, Stratton) and ledges outside of the Saco River.
ZONE 2: The Cape shoreline, Mackworth, the Royal and the Presumpscot are some of the locales where striper fishing has been good. Stripers are around and are moving so where you catch fish today you may not tomorrow. Spinners have been doing well working Rapala X-Raps, Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows, Mag Poppers and the Atom Striper Swiper. Fly guys are catching fish tossing Snake flies along with crab and mackerel pattern Clousers. Sandworms, mackerel and clams are the baits that have been getting it done.
ZONE 3: There are stripers around. Find the bait and you will find the stripers, as these fish will be actively feeding before their trip south in a few weeks. Action on the rivers, including the Damariscotta, St. George and the Kennebec watershed (off the beaches) has been good but sometimes anglers will be marking fish and just can't get them to take a hook as there is a lot of bait in the water. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel catches have been hit or miss along the east side of Southport, the Cuckolds and Lower Mark Island. Once on a school, toss some cat food over to help hold the fish. Bluefish, snappers to 10-plus pounds, are around.
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 E-Mail: email@example.com.