Friday, March 7, 2014
By BRUCE JOULE
Sea surface temperatures, from the various offshore buoys, are running in the low to mid 60s. The north end of Jeffrey's, Tanta's and Trinidad are a few locales where groundfish (lots of pollock followed by lesser amounts of cod, haddock, cusk, etc.) catches continue to be decent. The pick continues to be steady with the largest pollock and cod generally running in the 10- to 15-pound range. Jigs (10-- to 16-ounce) coupled with a teaser fly and bait have been working equally well. Anglers targeting sharks have a shot at blues, porbeagles, threshers and makos. The back side of Tanta's, the Kettle, Sagadahoc and the Boomerang are some spots where blue sharking has been hot. It is not uncommon for anglers fishing the deeper waters (400-plus feet) to hook up double-digit 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. Atlantic bluefin tuna fishermen are working to boat a fish in our area as a large number of these fish are seeming content hanging to our south, at least for now. 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 their website at http://hmspermits.noaa.gov.
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.
ZONE 1: Striper fishing remains good with fish available around the islands, rock piles, beaches and lower rivers. Ferry Beach (Scarborough), Pine Point, the Spurwink, Old Orchard and Richmond Island are spots where catches have been good. Anglers fishing the early morning or late evening, both sides of the tide, have had the best results. Spinners have been catching bass with Slugo-Gos (white-day, black-night), Fin-S lures, 3/4-ounce Bombers and wooden plugs such as the Striper Mainiac along with the R. M. Smith line. Clams and chunked mackerel are the baits of choice. Fly guys tossing mackerel and crab pattern Clousers have been catching fish. Bluefish are available around the mouth of the Saco and Pine Point. Anglers targeting blues should try the Shimano Waxwing (provides an irregular kick), Yo-Zuri Hydro series or the 2-1/2 ounce orange Roberts Ranger and don't forget your wire leaders. Mackerel are around in their traditional spots.
ZONE 2: Striper fishing is very good for this time of year. Most all the ledges, the Cape and Falmouth shore as well as many of the islands (Mackworth by boat) are giving up fish. The bait boys continue to have success with clams and squid. Three to 6-inch poppers such as the Rapala X-Rap, Rebel Jumpin Minnow, Gag's Schoolie Popper, the Yo-Zuri Live Bait Minnow (this one will not break on the rocks) as well as the traditional Bucktail jig are artificials that are working. Try and match the colors of your artificial to those of small bluefish. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are in the high 50s. There are a lot of small, not even as large as snapper size, bluefish around.
ZONE 3: Striped bass of all sizes can generally be found in typical hangouts. Anglers have been catching fish with bait, artificials and flies. To find the fish, read the water, i.e. look for surf action, bird activity, breaking bait, etc. Chunk macs around the islands and ledges, and bloodworms bounced on the flats have been effective. If using live macs and your bait is swimming too deep, attach a balloon to your line. Where you attach it will depend on what depth you want your bait swimming. Mackerel can be hit or miss, but if you do get into them you will have plenty. Sabiki rigs can catch a lot of fish but watch out for the hooks or go barbless.
• 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 register, visit www.maine.gov/saltwater or call 207-633-9505.
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 eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org