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 633-9505.

OFFSHORE

Please note that it is now illegal to keep any cod and haddock but all other groundfish (pollock, cusk, redfish, hake, etc.) can be retained within their respective 2014 regulations. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters (inside three miles) is closed from July 1 to April 30. There are limited numbers of Atlantic bluefin tuna busting about from Scantum Basin to east of Mt. Desert rock. Sitting on the ball has produced fish but anglers should not shy away from trolling squid rigs and daisy chains (dark rigs on overcast days, bright colored ones on sunny days). There are plenty of blue sharks as well as a few threshers and makos being reported. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. 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 hmspermits.noaa.gov.

COASTAL

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 2014 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.

If you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a nonoffset 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.

ZONE 1: Bluefish, stripers, mackerel and the occasional black sea bass are here for the taking. Even though beach fishing for stripers (Ferry, Goosefare Brook, Higgins, Kennebunk) has been good, don’t ignore the lower rivers (Scarborough, Saco, Mousam) and estuaries. As the days shorten and the water temps cool, tide and time of day don’t play as much of a factor in catching bass as in midsummer. Pink or purple tubes coupled with a sandworm continue to catch fish in the rivers (outgoing tide) while chunking macs (fresh or frozen) and clams from the beaches have done the trick. To find where the stripers are, anglers should look for bait breaking the surface and birds working the water. Spinners working Cotton Cordell surface pencil poppers, Calcutta baits, rubber Shad as well as the old standby Kastmaster jig have been hooking fish. Fly fishermen casting peanut bunker or herring pattern Grocery flies tell of good catches. Bluefish are being caught around Saco Bay, Richmond Island and Pine Point. For those not using bait, work deep diving orange Rapala lures or bright colored poppers.

ZONE 2: There are striped bass of all sizes throughout this zone. Fish can be found in the lower portions of the rivers (New Meadows, Royal Harraseeket, Presumpscot, etc.), the flats off Mackworth, Back Cove and along the Cape shore. Mackerel and sandworms are the preferred baits. Anglers who want to fish artificials should use 4-6 inch white Slug-Gos, 3½ inch Gag’s Schoolie poppers, Yo-Zuri Mambo Minnows and Bucktail jigs. If the catching is slow try using a teaser ahead of your lure. The speed of your retrieve can make all the difference between catching no fish and a lot of fish. Fly guys who have been tossing crab and shrimp report fair catches. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are in the high 50s.

ZONE 3: Expect the striper fishing to really turn over the next few weeks as these fish put the feedbag on prior to their southern migration. Anglers fishing deep on structure, off the beaches or on the flats in the rivers have done well. Find the bait and you will find the fish. Reports from the Kennebec are that it is the best striper fishing in several years. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Make sure you have your wire leaders with you in case you run into bluefish. If you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license.

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources. He can be reached at 633-9505, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575, or by email at

[email protected]


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