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. 

Shark fishing has been very good in the deep water off the Shark Grounds, Tanta’s, Trinidad and Scantum. Anglers “sharking” have been catching makos, threshers and many blue sharks. Blue sharks are lots of fun for catch and release fishing but their food value is marginal (that’s why most tourneys in Maine prohibit the landing of these fish). 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. Tuna fishing continues to be tough with the exception of Platts. 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 its website at http://nmfspermits.com. Groundfishing is fair to good.  Anglers after groundfish can expect to catch cod, haddock, and pollock, along with lesser numbers of cusk, hake and redfish.  If you encounter dogfish, stay away from the bait and stick to diamond jigs coupled with cod flies. Offshore sea surface temperatures are running high 60s.

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than three 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 2012 saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check online at http://1.usa.gov/mPmms5.

ZONE 1: Stripers are available for the taking although anglers may have to work for the fish. The key is to be flexible and to remember that what is a hot spot today may not produce any fish tomorrow. Get out very early or late. Ocean Park, Old Orchard and Higgins have been giving up fish this past week. Chunked macs and clams are the baits to use. Anglers can also find action in the lower portion of the rivers and the estuaries. If you are trolling, drag a pink, wine red or bubblegum surgical tube with a sandworm. If you are casting (from shore or boat) use topwater hard baits such as the blue/silver flavored Atom Striper Swiper, Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bugs or Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows. Fly fishermen report better catches of late (fish the predawn tide) using mackerel pattern, red/white and red/yellow Clousers and the pure black Deceiver (night). Bluefish catches, up to 10 pounds, have been good one day and off the next.

ZONE 2:  Anglers can still find stripers around the ledges, flats, islands and the lower portions of the rivers. Fishing has been decent for those willing to put in the time and effort. The mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Royal, Harraseeket, New Meadows) are best fished on a dropping tide, while fishing along the ledges is often more productive during a coming tide. Clams, sandworms and squid are the baits that have been producing fish. For the crank fisherman, poppers have worked best, including the Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnet, Hydro Pencil, Hydro Popper and the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow.  Blue or olive 1/0 and 2/0 Deceivers (day) and red or black Deceivers (night) have been doing the trick for those tossing a fly. Bluefish are out around the islands.

ZONE 3: Striped bass fishing remains status quo throughout most of this zone. Fish can be found in most of their customary spots, but like everything else, you’ve got to make the time investment to reap the reward. Although you may be marking fish, getting them to eat is something else. This will change in the upcoming weeks as water temps drop and fish put their feed bags on before their return home. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Boat anglers who are willing to move around until they find the fish have reported the best catch of macs. Shore anglers have found fishing hit or miss as these fish meander about.  Chum generally helps to hold the fish. There are some blues around the mouth of the Kennebec, toward Boothbay and the Damariscotta. There have been several reports of black sea bass being taken.

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: [email protected].