Anglers are seeing and marking lots of bait, which is a very good sign. Pollock with lesser amounts of cod and haddock continue to dominate the catch in the groundfishermen's cooler. New for 2014, the minimum size for cod is 21 inches, nine fish per person daily bag limit. Also new for 2014, three fish per day per angler daily bag limit and a minimum size of 21 inches for haddock. There have been reports of some Atlantic bluefin tuna taken by rod and reel, just in time for the upcoming Bailey Island Tourney. A few sharks have also been reported, including threshers and blues. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4 1/2 feet in length. 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 http://hmspermits.noaa.gov. The Portland weather buoy, located 12 nautical miles southeast of Portland, continues to report sea surface temperatures in the high 50s (brrrr). Last year at this time the temps were around 70.
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, call 633-9505 or check http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.
Remember: 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: Anglers targeting stripers should concentrate their effort out on the beaches and rock piles. There are still some bass in the lower portions of the rivers and throughout the Scarborough marsh but many of the fish have moved out. Get out early or late since the heat and sun may turn the catching off during the day. Biddeford Pool (Bathhouse end and rocks), Old Orchard, Higgins and Richmond Island continue to hold fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as some area beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Clams are the bait of choice off the beaches while worms and macs are working in the rivers and estuaries. Trolling surgical tubes (wine red, bubblegum) with a worm continue to produce fish in the lower portions of the rivers. Kastmasters, Ronz, the mackerel pattern Striper Maine-iac and the pearl pattern Savage are just a few of the artificial baits that have been catching fish. Sand eel pattern flies are working for fly fishermen. Mackerel catching has been what can be expected for this time of year with the best catches being reported outside Saco Bay. Use chum (cat food) to stay on the fish once you start hooking up.
ZONE 2: The 76th Annual Bailey Island Tuna and Small Fish Tournament, based out of Cook's Lobster House on Bailey Island, runs Monday through Saturday. This is a great fun-filled family event for both anglers and spectators. The ledges, islands and the outer Cape shoreline are the places to go for stripers. Baits that are working include worms and chunk or live mackerel. Gag's Mambo Minnows and Schoolie Poppers, Rapala X-Raps and Yo-Zuri Mag Poppers are some of the artificials that have been fish getters. Anglers tossing flies have been getting into stripers using white or black Clousers and the Hollow Fleye. If fishing at night try using black flies as they silhouette well against the night. Macs can be had with some effort.
ZONE 3: The striped bass pick has been good to very good in some of the rivers and slightly better around the rocky ledges and off the beaches. As the rivers continue to warm, try working the deep spots early or late using bait. Fishing the rivers has also become very tide specific. Anglers targeting stripers need to read the water; looking for moving water and rips off any points. Natural channels, where the flats drain as the tide falls and bird action are also good indicators. Worms, eels and macs have been catching fish. A few of the artificials that have been working are the Rebel Windcheater, Creek Chubs and Gag's Poppers. Fly enthusiasts fishing pollock or mackerel pattern flies and black Clousers (at night) report some action. Remember that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater license. Mackerel can be found all the way Downeast. The Southport Bridge, the Boothbay Fish Pier and the Rockland Breakwater are just a couple of spots where anglers have shore access to catch these fish.
I can't thank you enough on giving me your expert advice on where to fish. Yesterday I went to Camp Ellis and fished in the parking lot using the rig and worms I bought. And its a good thing I bought the tape measure. I was lucky enough to catch not one, but three small stripers with the outgoing tide. The largest one was about 18"ï¿½. They, even though they were small, they are quite the fighters, and I had a lot of fun.
I think I am going to go back today and finish up the worms that I have, and tomorrow we'll be headed down to Seabrook for a few days, so I'll be sure to use the tips you gave me and I have no doubt I have similar success. It's funny, I only used four worms for three fish, and the extra one was because the bail on the reel closed and flung the worm off. LOL The weather is supposed to be warmer today, so I'm expecting a great day. If I get anything worth keeping, I'll surely send a photo along.
From Captain Lou Tirado Diamond Pass Outfitters
Finally,Spring is here! The rain has stopped, and the sun is shining. If you are like me, you have spent your winter cleaning, repairing, and updating gear. Or maybe you have been building plugs, tying flies, wrapping rods, making leaders, and changing hooks. Well I have good news for you. We donâ€™t have to go to anymore tackle shows or fishing expos just to get our fix. We can go fishing! May is an exciting month for us in Maine. We have the option to go jig ground fish one day and then go catch smallmouth bass or sea run trout the very next.
Ground fishing in the early spring is a fantastic time to get out on the ledges and fill your coolers. Not only are the fish more accessible on the inside ledges, but the bait they target is also frequenting the same areas. If you were on the ball and were able to get the boat ready early this spring take advantage of this early season fishery.
Anglers who choose to fish bait will in most cases see higher catch limits, and often bigger fish. Cut clam strips, herring fillets, and squid strips will really do a number on the cod, haddock, and Pollock. A typical set up for the bait fisherman consists of a bank sinker on the bottom, and either one or two hooks rigged above it via dropper loops. I prefer to use 40 lb. fluorocarbon when making my set ups. It has a low visibility in the water, but still gives me something to hang on to while bringing a fish over the side of the boat without cutting into my hand.
Anglers will find success with the standard diamond jigs, Norwegian style jigs, butterfly jigs when they are paired with paired with buck tail teasers, or soft plastic style lures. Jig weight should vary depending on the depth, and the current that you are fishing each day. I prefer to use jigs in the 10-18 oz. range. Anglers who opt for the artificial lures will stand a good chance of doubling up, and of staying away from the pesky, gear destroying dogfish.
In the early season, I fish the inside ledges primarily. Spots like West Cod Ledge, Boomerang, Pollock Nubble, Trinidad, and Tantas are all very good spots that produce good numbers.
Thank you Ron Powers writer from On -The Water for providing this report....
Dylan of Dagâ€™s in Auburn told me of a recent trip where ice was still measured in feet as opposed to inches. Common sense has to be applied to shoreline entry, but once out there safe ice is the norm throughout Maine and the â€œtee-shirt fishingâ€ï¿½ is the best of the season. Now is the antidote for all those skunkings in February, and odds are you will have the ice all to yourself because locals are just plain sick of it. Remember, Greater Boston had safe ice less than 2 weeks ago, so if you still need a frozen fix than you can still get it in Maine. Dylan offered Worthley Pond as a worthy option.
If youâ€™d rather cast, then how about the Nittisset or Cobbosseecontee River brown trout fisheries? These places are prime right now for brown trout. This is no secret and youâ€™ll have company, especially from fly-fishermen. If you get the right drift and the correct beadhead nymph pattern, you could score a brown trout of over 20 inches long!
Swift waters will make it quite difficult to find some sea run browns, you Amy have to give it some time for the waters to settle a bit... Local streams are still high but it will not hurt to throw a worm in the swift clear current.. Time to stock up on some shad spoons and shad darts for the upcoming weeks. They do sell out quickly and the Saco river has a tendency to take three or four jigs from you. If you are not losing a couple of shad darts and bouncing off the bottom, you are not doing it properly!!
Here is also a blast from the past calls we are getting from from seasoned fisherman;
Hereâ€™s a hot one â€“ Mousam River sea-run brown trout. And the key is crayfish or something that looks like one! Ken from Saco Bay is getting besieged with requests for crayfishâ€”hardly an inventoried item in early April in Maine. Somehow, someone discovered that estuarial brown trout love those little buggers. I bet it is because they remind salters of grass shrimp. Maybe you can find a shop which still has some frozen gill or two intended for smelt