Thursday, December 12, 2013
Compiled by BRUCE JOULE
It's June and the tuna are here, the first one landed on June 1. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, shark, swordfish, and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information about permits and the regs, contact NOAA Fisheries at 888-872-8862 or visit their website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov.
Readings from the Portland weather buoy, located 12 miles southeast of Portland, show sea surface temperatures hovering around the 60-degree mark. Cod, pollock and haddock dominate the groundfish catches and have been very good on Jeffrey's, the Kettle and Tanta's. Both jigs coupled with a teaser and bait are working well. Note the minimum size for haddock this season is 21 inches. There are a few porbeagles around so for those of you groundfishing, have a pitch bait ready before getting to your spot. Many times, because of your boat's presence, a porbeagle will show and you must be able to get that pitch bait into the water immediately or the porbeagle will loose interest and be gone. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length.
• If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. Visit www.maine.gov/saltwater or call 207-633-9505.
ZONE 1: Most all the rivers (Saco, Spurwink, Scarborough) are holding a varied mix of stripers. These fish are now dropping out onto the beaches as the bait does and the waters warm. The beaches (Higgins, Biddeford Pool, Old Orchard) are starting to produce and will just get better with this stretch of hot weather and as more fish come to Maine for their summer vacation. Pine Point, fished from dead low tide on, has been especially good. Bait fishermen using herring, mackerel (live best or chunks) or clams for the big ones and sandworms for the slots and schoolies are catching fish. Surgical tube rigs are sure fish getters in the rivers. Troll these rigs slowly with the current for best results. Artificials that have proven successful include the Arkansas Shad, Crystal Minnows, Kastmasters and white Slug-Gos. Anglers using artificial lures for stripers and bluefish cannot have more than two hooks on a lure. For the fly guys, green crab, silverside and sand eel patterns are working well. Mackerel can be found in all their usual haunts. Is anybody out there doing any flounder fishing?
ZONE 2: Bait is everywhere and so are the stripers. All the rivers and most of the inside islands have plenty of various sized, robust fish. Anglers fishing the lower portions and the mouths of the Presumpscot, Harraseeket and Royal have not been disappointed. Fly fishermen tossing 1/0 gray or olive colored Deceivers have been rewarded for their efforts. Crank fishermen using Mackerel Mambo Minnows, rubber baits and Bucktail jigs are catching fish, while bait guys have been happy dunking sandworms and mackerel. Mackerel are available to both the shore and boat fishermen.
ZONE 3: Many of the rivers (Androscoggin, Kennebec, etc.) are holding stripers and bait. Special striper regs remain in effect until July 1 for the Kennebec watershed (http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/regulations.htm). Large herring pattern flies in fast-moving water and small shrimp patterns in the shallows are working for anglers on the fly gear, while poppers and the small soft baits are the spinner's choice.
• Note that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Mackerel have moved inshore throughout much of this zone.
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: