Thursday, December 12, 2013
FEDERAL: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters, greater than three miles from shore.
STATEWIDE: 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 fish per day that measures 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the Web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/ rechomepage.html.
NEW FOR 2013: If you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a non-offset circle hook. There is an exception: Rubber or latex tube lures may be used without a circle hook as long as they are a minimum of 8 inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.
Cod, pollock and haddock catches have been very good on Jeffrey's, the Kettle, Tanta's and Platt's. For those targeting cod, try using a 16- or 21-ounce Norwegian cod jig coupled with a red teaser or the Shimano Butterfly rig. An angler specifically after haddock should fish bait (clams, shrimp) right near the gravel or sand bottom. Also, be careful not to overload your hook with bait since haddock have a relatively small mouth and more is not better. Atlantic bluefin tuna are being taken (when the weather lets anglers get out) on some of the inshore and offshore humps. Anglers sitting on the ball using fluorocarbon leaders with live mackerel or herring are catching fish as well as those trolling squid rigs. A few blue sharks and porbeagles have been reported. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length. Note that all vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information about permits and the regs, call NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit the website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. The weather buoy on Jeffrey's shows sea surface temperatures in the high 50s.
• 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 633-9505.
ZONE 1: It's summertime fishing conditions for stripers. Get out early or late. Shore anglers have been hooking up plenty of bass off the beaches (Hills, Higgins, Goosefare Brook, Biddeford Pool, ocean side of the Camp Ellis jetty). Beach fishermen should check local ordinances as some beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait (clams, worms, live or chunk macs) is producing the most fish. River fishing (Saco, Scarborough, etc.) has been very good during the incoming tide and the first hour of the outgoing. Anglers trolling surgical tubes (wine red, bubblegum) coupled with a sandworm are catching fish. Al Gag's 6-inch and 8-inch Whip It Eel, Bill Hurley's red Cape Cod Eel and Striper Magnets along with Deadly Dicks have been getting it done for those fishing artificials. Fly guys throwing crab and sand eel patterns, and chartreuse or blue/white Clousers have been having success (Biddeford Pool -- shallow water). Mackerel fishing has been hit or miss. For better luck, use chum (cat food) coupled with mix flasher Sabiki rigs and a diamond jig at the end. THere have been a few reports of bluefish off Pine Point and many others of guys getting cut off so make sure and have your wire leaders with you. If you are targeting blues, try the orange 3-ounce Ranger lure.
ZONE 2: Around the mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Harraseeket, Royal, etc.) and the islands (Cushing, Cow, Little Chebeague) as well as the Cape shoreline are areas that have been productive for striper fishermen. The rivers are still producing but as the water temperatures rise the fishing activity slows. These areas have been most productive when fished at predawn/night or under low light conditions. Anglers working artificials have been getting into the fish using Rapala X-Raps, mackerel or herring Gag's Mambo Minnows, Gag's Schoolie poppers and any of the rubber baits. Flies that have been effective include any of the 2/0 and 4/0 grocery patterns (river mouths), Clousers (on the flats) and the Jake's Advantage. Baits of choice are mackerel and pollock. Mackerel catches throughout the bay are good. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up.
ZONE 3: Stripers and mackerel can be caught from various locations throughout this zone. Anglers report catching stripers, schoolies on up, from a wide range of spots including right inside Boothbay Harbor as well as from Sagadahoc Bay, Back River (Kennebec River) and the Sasanoa, Weskeag, St. George and Penobscot rivers. Though early in the season, this is some of the best striper fishing we have seen in several years. Bait (live macs around the rock piles, worms on the flats and eels from the beaches) has been king. Match your artificials and flies to the natural bait. Mackerel can be found from here all the way Down East. The Boothbay Harbor Freezer Pier and the Southport Bridge are a couple of free public shore sites where anglers can get a shot at these guys.
• 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, ME 04575. If you have information to report please call him at 633-9505 or email: