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 maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.
Congratulations to John Harmon and the crew of the Banshee for their 719-pound first-place tuna in last week’s Sturdivant Island tournament. In addition, 26 other tuna were entered. Changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2017. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum size for haddock is 17 inches with a bag limit of 12 fish per angler per day. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30. Anglers targeting groundfish (haddock, pollock, etc.) continue to catch fish with bait (clams) or jigs coupled with a teaser fly. Those after sharks have not been disappointed, and have been rewarded with makos and threshers along with plenty of blues. 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. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then let it go. The tuna bite continues strong. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit its website. Sea-surface temperature reports from the Jeffrey’s Ledge buoy show temperatures in the high 60’s while at the Portland LNB weather buoy temperatures are in the low 60’s.
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 over 28 inches total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web.
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. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing because some area beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Labor Day. 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, ¾-ounce Bombers and wooden plugs, such as the Striper Maine-iac along with the R.M. Smith line. Clams, worms and chunked mackerel are the baits of choice. Fly guys tossing mackerel and crab pattern Clousers have been catching fish. Mackerel catches continue to be hot and cold. There are bluefish around along with pogies.
ZONE 2: Striper fishing is very good for this time of year. Most ledges, as well as many of the islands, are giving up fish. The bait boys continue to have success with clams, worms and mackerel. Three- to six-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 some artificials that are working. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are around 60 degrees.
ZONE 3: Saturday and Sunday are the dates for the Boothbay Region Fish and Gun Club’s annual saltwater fishing tourney. 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. Worms bounced on the flats have been effective as have macs and eels around the islands and ledges. 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. See zones 1 and 2 for artificials and flies. Mackerel are here and once you are on them you will have plenty. Sabiki rigs can catch a lot of fish but watch for the hooks or go barbless. If you are fishing on the Kennebec upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from the DMR dock in West Boothbay Harbor, are in the low 60’s.
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: