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. 

OFFSHORE

Sea surface temperatures from various offshore buoys are running around 70 degrees or above. 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, hake, etc.) catches continue to be decent. Jig for these fish with 14– to 20-ounce diamond jigs coupled with a teaser fly (hot pink, blue, green) tied about 6-8 inches above your terminal gear. Anglers targeting sharks have a shot at makos, threshers, porbeagles and blues. The back side of Tanta’s, the Shark Grounds and Pollock Nubble are spots where blue sharking has been hot. It’s common for anglers fishing deeper waters (400+ 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 species. Atlantic bluefin tuna fishermen are having to work hard to boat a 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

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It’s unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than 3 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 regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web at: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html

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, the Graveyard 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, Bombers and wooden plugs such as the Striper Mainiac along with the R.M. Smith line. If you are working the lower rivers, try fishing the outgoing tide with orange or blood red surgical tubes (fish these deep and don’t forget the sandworm). Clams and chunked mackerel are the baits of choice. Bluefish are available with some fish in the 6-10-pound range being taken around the mouth of the Saco and Pine Point. Good numbers of snappers (12 inches and up) have been reported around York. Anglers targeting blues should try the Shimano Waxwing (provides an irregular kick), Yo-Zuri Hydro series or the orange Roberts Ranger, and don’t forget your wire leaders.  Pogies have been reported toward the New Hampshire line. Mackerel are scarce. 

ZONE 2: Striper fishing is what can be expected 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 are artificials that are working. Harbor pollock are abundant Bluefish are here. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are in mid-60s. 

ZONE 3: Striped bass of all sizes generally can be found in their typical hangouts. Reports from the lower Kennebec indicate more finicky stripers in their usual spots. Anglers need to read the water to find the fish. 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 at. See Zones 1 and 2 for artificials and flies. Mackerel can be either 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. There are bluefish around and have been taken to the east as far as Mt. Desert. 

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: bruce[email protected]