Wednesday, December 11, 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 eight inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.
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 jig. 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 624-6550. The Atlantic bluefin tuna bite has been slow and spread out, but fish still have been taken both by trolling and sitting on the ball. 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, contact the NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit its website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. Shark fishermen have a shot at catching makos, blues, porbeagles and threshers. Most recent, the Shark Grounds, Trinidad and the backside of Tanta's have been the hot spots. Anglers are reporting numerous hookups, mostly of blues along with fewer numbers of porbeagles. Keep in mind that the minimum size for these sharks is 4.5 feet in length while basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. The sea surface temperatures have been running in the upper 60s to about the low 70s.
• 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: 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. Clams, herring and mackerel work best. 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. 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. There are rumors of small (4-5 inch) bluefish off Old Orchard Beach, which the stripers are very much enjoying.
ZONE 2: The 75th annual Bailey Island tuna and small fish tournament, which is based out of Cook's Lobster House on Bailey Island, is under way and will run 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 who are 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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