Sunday, March 9, 2014
By BRUCE JOULE Maine Department of Marine Resources
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.
Sea surface temperatures have dropped to within a few degrees of the 60-degree mark. Groundfishing (pollock, cod haddock, hake, redfish, etc.) has been good and will only get better as we head into October. Norwegian jigs coupled with a teaser and bait have worked equally well. Blue sharks (many), porbeagles and threshers are available in fishable numbers out on Pollock Nubble, the Shark Grounds, Trinidad, the deep water off Tantas and the Gulch. 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. There are tuna around and with the great weekend weather forecast, anglers should get out there and give it a shot. Both trolling and setting up on the ball have produced 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 their website at http://nmfspermits.com.
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 saltwater regulation, call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
ZONE 1: Stripers are there for the taking. The time of day is not an issue so fish when you can. Try Ferry, Higgins, Old Orchard, Pine Point and Goosefare Brook, as well as the lower rivers and estuaries. Realize though, the stripers are on the move and can show up anywhere one moment and be gone the next. Clams and macs along the beaches and chunk macs fished around the rock piles are getting results. Nothing beats the wine red, pink or purple surgical tube when fished in the lower rivers and estuaries, but don't forget to put that sandworm on the end of the rig. Spinners should try 2--4 ounce Crippled Herring, Point Jude metal lures, Deadly Dicks or any of the rubber baits. Fly fishermen casting black Clousers, day or night, have been hooking up bass. Bluefish (a few) have been reported out around Richmond, Bluff, Eagle and Stratton, as well as off Crescent Beach. Mackerel are roaming around the islands in Saco Bay. Use chum and small Sabiki rigs for the best results.
ZONE 2: Stripers can be found in the lower portions of the rivers (New Meadows, Royal Harraseeket, Presumpscot, etc.), the flats off Mackworth, Back Cove, East End Beach and the ledges of the Bay. Mackerel and sandworms are the preferred baits, but the stripers will take just about anything you give them. Anglers using artificials have been successful working 4-6 inch Lunker City Slug-gos, Gag's Schoolie Poppers and Yo-Zuri Hydro-Poppers. Fly guys who have been tossing Clousers and Deceivers in silverside and sand eel patterns report modest catches. There are still a few bluefish around, but don't expect these guys to hang around much longer. Mackerel catches have picked up.
ZONE 3: As you head from east to west in this zone, the stripers will be starting to drop out of the rivers for their journey south. Remember as these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers fishing deep have been getting the bigger fish. Look for bird activity and breaking bait, and you will find the stripers. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Snapper blues can still be had in the lower Kennebec. Mackerel can be found in many of their typical locations.
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.