Welcome back! The fishing season has returned two weeks early thanks to the Maine IF&W and Maine DMR. With the early arrival of spring this year, anglers would be wise to take the time to target some new species before the Striper Migration takes over our world. Early season Pike fishing will offer the saltwater aficionado a crash course into the sweet water game. Sea Run Brown trout are always a treat and with the warmer than usual temps it will make chasing them that more comfortable on the open marshes. Lastly, with the change in the ground fish regulations anglers are now able to target Haddock starting April 1st.
Early season Pike fishing can be one of the most exciting fisheries we have in this state. As the ice leaves, the Pike will move into the shallows and prepare to spawn. As this happens, they become quite aggressive, and willing to hit a myriad of offerings. Top water, walk the dog type lures induce explosive strikes, large soft plastics that are rigged weedless will allow you to get the bait into the shallow water that the fish live in. Large Slug-go’s or Hogy’s that are 5” and larger will be your best bet. Spoons and jerk baits will round out the arsenal for anglers. At this time of year, the fishing is highly visual, you will be able to spot the Pike laying up in the shallows where it is warmest, look for fallen logs, or other structure that will give them an ambush site. Pike can be found in many areas, some of the more notable are Sabbatus Pond, Sebago Lake, the Belgrades, and the Androscoggin River.
Sea Run Brown trout are always a viable option for the angler who just has to get out into the marsh and fish the salt. Many of out marshes are stocked with these fish that range anywhere from 12” to 30” small spoons, and minnow style jerk baits are staples in the fishery. Soft plastics rigged on lead heads will also entice these fish as they work well to stir up the mud on the bottom. Small flies will also work well, Clousers, Deceivers, and shrimp patterns fished on an intermediate line will be most effective, you could also try scud patterns. Historically, I have had the best fishing in the Ogunquit area, and down around the Mousam. One nice thing about chasing the Sea Runs is the possibility of catching a hold over Striped Bass. Remember to work the tides and fish the seams.
With the new proposed regulations in ground fish and the early spring trends April could be prove one of the best months on record for the angler wishing to get offshore and target Haddock. The new law states that anglers can now retain 15 fish at 17”. Anglers will be able to retain Haddock year round with a short closure from March 1st to April 14th. Diamond jigs or any other style with a teaser above it will take more than it’s fair share of fish. Some of my favorite teasers are he classic bucktails, and the Tsunami Squid in 3”. I also like the Hogy Sand eels, and the small Ron-Z in either Pink, Pearl, or Green. As always, make sure to have a supply of live bait with you. Clams, squid, and Sand worms will be the ticket. Hit the usually ledges but but prepared to move around until you find the school.
April is shaping up to be an exciting month, and it is just the beginning! Have a great season everyone, stay tuned for more reports and how-to’s. Don’t forget to attend the show, on April 2nd, at the Clambake Restaurant.
Fishing Report From the F/V
Teazer ChartersWe have been Mostly Shark
Fishing all August and finding it to be the best season we have had. Mostly Blue sharks in 400-500 feet of
water. A lot of makos around and all the
ones we hook up with are right at the boat 30-50 feet below on a dead
mackerel. We have had a couple of big
thresher sharks over structures while we are tuna fishing. We have hooked up and seen a lot of large
tuna the past couple of months from inside to Jefferies. Don't be afraid to troll. I think a green squid rig would produce and
mimic blasting mackerel!
Our striper trips have also
been productive. Overcast days better
than the bright sunny days. Key words "Low
Light" Early Morning and evening. Jefferies has been good on bottom
fishing. Fish have moved in deeper water
250-300 feet. Try to find the big Pollock using bait. Tough to avoid the cod
though! Mackerel have been tough the
past week. Richmond
Island and West Cod Ledge
have been holding mackerel, but mostly in our chum slicks while shark Fishing.Good Luck
Capt. Pete Morse
Anglers targeting groundfish can expect catches of primarily
pollock, haddock and also cod (which must be released) along with a few hake,
cusk and redfish mixed in. Sixteen-ounce jigs with a teaser fly, just above the
jig, work well for pollock. Bait such as shrimp and clams work best for haddock
but don't overload your hook. There are blue sharks, threshers and porbeagles
available to the offshore fisherman. A couple of captains had some massive
Makos on the hook doing their trademark leap and spitting the hook during the Veterans
Tournament last week. The Atlantic
bluefin tuna bite has been good, mostly inside. Thirteen tuna were entered in
last week's 77th annual Bailey Island Tuna and Small Fish Tournament.
Congratulations to Joe Geaumont and the crew of the "Off-the Hook" with their
first-place fish weighing in at 715 pounds. This is their second straight
first-place finish.mperatures, as reported from Jeffrey's Ledge, are in the
Time of day is very important if you want to catch stripers.
Anglers, especially those fishing artificials and flies, need to be out during
low light hours. Anglers fishing the rivers on an incoming tide with bait
(worms, clams, and herring) or surgical tubes coupled with a worm have had
success. The beaches and ledges continue to be productive. Beach fishermen
should check local ordinances before fishing as some area beaches may restrict
fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Those working artificials have had luck with
any of the rubber baits (Slug-go, Fin-S, etc.) as well as top water lures. Had some luck the past few days in the Saco River
early 5 am- 7am watching birds and still bait in the river. Incoming tide try the same techniques using
top water poppers or un weighted slug go type rubber bait inside the islands of
Saco and Pine Point...Watch the Birds! You will
be competing with sand eels so be patient and look for swirling water on top.
Fly guys tossing flies
that mimic the natural bait (sand eel, crab patterns) are catching fish.
Mackerel catching has been spotty but the typical haunts around the mouth of Saco Bay
(Wood, Stratton, Bluff
Islands) have been
producing fish. Sabiki rigs and chum (cat food) work for catching fish. There
are plenty of harbor pollock about. Though there are lots of rumors, there
still have been no confirmed reports of bluefish..
shark Fishing has been active of in the deep water on the East side of the common Ledges... reports of makos coming up from deep water are starting to be present especially with the water temp hitting 70 at the Portland weather Buoy. Tuna bite is still on in many different areas. We are lucky this time of year as far as you are not on top of everyone at one spot.. the Bluefin seem to be spread out this year.. The market is a bit inflated with supply and the quality of fish But It is just getting started.
Pollock, haddock, redfish and hake are the mainstays for those targeting groundfish. Bait (shrimp, clams) and jigs coupled with a teaser are getting fish.
A few sharks, mostly blues and porbeagles, have been reported. If you are not sure what species you have hooked, then release - "If you don't know, let it go." The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length. Great whites and basking sharks are federally protected.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are here and a couple have been landed by rod and reel. This early, try trolling squid rigs or daisy chains of mackerel instead of setting up on the ball and chunking. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish, and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
Readings from the Jeffrey's Ledge weather buoy show sea surface temperatures in the low 60s.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than 3 miles from shore).
New 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 in length.
Also, 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.
If you want stripers, get out early or late since the heat and sun may slow fishing activity during the day. Schoolies can be found in the lower portions of most rivers, while "keepers" are out on the beaches and rocky structures.
Shore anglers have done well at Old Orchard, Higgins and Pine Point (both the beach and the pier). Other active sites are the bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool and the beach next to the Camp Ellis jetty. The key to beach fishing now is to be willing to move to find the fish and not wait for them to come to you. Beach fishermen should also check local ordinances, as some beaches restrict fishing from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Reasonable catches, even during the day, have been reported from boats fishing the lower portions of the rivers with black, bubblegum or wine-red surgical tubes paired with a sandworm. Bait, especially worms, is producing the most fish. The 2½-ounce Savage rubber baits, 6-inch Al Gag Whip-it-Eel, Gag's Grabbers 5-inch poppers and Wood Striper Maine-iac are catching fish for anglers working artificials.
Fly fishers tossing sand eel and crab patterns continue to be into the fish. Mackerel catching has been spotty, maybe due to bluefish. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up. Flounder catches have been reported out and around the Piscataquis. There are still a few shad to be had below the Saco Dam and the Scarborough Marsh.
The transition into the summer striper fishing mode is occurring. Schoolies on up are scattered throughout the islands, coves, rocky ledges and along the Cape Elizabeth shore.
Fish areas where there is moving water or along the backside of surf as that will be where the bait has been kicked up.
There is lots of bait (sand eels, alewives,
etc.) and therefore plenty of happy stripers throughout this zone. Shore
anglers have been catching bass off the beaches (Higgins, Pine Point, Biddeford
Pool, ocean side of the Camp
Ellis jetty) and the
rivers. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances as some beaches restrict
fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait (clams, worms, live or chunk macs) is
producing the most fish. River fishing (Saco, Scarborough,
etc.) has been very good when fished during the incoming tide and the first
hour of the outgoing. Anglers trolling weighted surgical tubes (wine red or
bubblegum) , slow and deep coupled with a sandworm are catching fish. The Daiwa
fast sinking S P Minnows and the 1 ounce Lonely Angler Ghost Zipster are just a
couple of artificial lures that have been getting it done. Fly guys throwing
crab and sand eel patterns are catching fish. Over the past week mackerel have
become very abundant with some showing up with bite marks (bluefish). If you
are targeting blues try the orange 3-ounce Ranger lure and don't forget the
wire leader. Shad (the poor man's tarpon) are still being caught below the Saco
: Fishing around the mouths of the rivers
(Presumpscot, Harraseeket, Royal, etc.) the islands (Cushing, Cow, Little
Chebeague) as well as the Cape shoreline are
areas that have been productive for striper fishermen. Bait is everywhere and
so are the stripers. Anglers working artificials have been getting into the
fish using Rapala X-Raps, mackerel or herring, Gag's Mambo Minnows poppers as
well as any of the rubber baits. Flies that have been effective include any of
the 2/0 and 4/0 grocery patterns (river mouths) and Clousers (on the flats).
Baits of choice are mackerel and worms. Mackerel catches throughout the Bay are
moderate. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up.
Atlantic bluefin tuna, footballs and the
big boys, are around but I have not heard of any taken by rod and reel. A few
porbeagles have been hooked up over the past week. The minimum size for all
keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length.
All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish, and
billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit.
June is arguably the best month for saltwater enthusiasts. With the influx of warmer weather, raising water temperatures, and schools of migrating baitfish being followed by schools of predators, an angler has ample opportunity at numerous species over the course of four weeks. The three top species that the inshore angler can expect to catch are the Sea-Run Brown Trout, the American Shad, and the Striped Bass.
Both the Sea-Runs, and the Shad are usually caught by accident by anglers hoping to score an early Striped Bass, but when word gets out that Shad have moved into the rivers watch out. These acrobatic game fish have a cult like following. The American Shad, also known as â€˜The Poor Manâ€™s Tarponâ€ï¿½ range in size from 2-6 lbs and can be found in tidal rivers and marshes with a moderate current. Shad darts, spoons, and small flies will be an anglerâ€™s best bet. Target pockets of calm eddyâ€™s that are adjacent to a rip current, the shad will ambush their prey as it gets kicked out of the turbulent water. Light line and a light drag are extremely important as well. The paper thin mouths of these fish do not hold up to heavy drag, so make sure to play them, and take your time. As I said early, shad darts, spoons, and flies will consistently produce, color preference changes from day to day, so it is in the best interest of anglers to have a wide variety of colors and size darts, and spoons on hand each time you go out.
As the month moves on, the Striped Bass fishing will only get better. With each passing day, more and more migrating bass will take up residence in Maine waters; these fish will be hungry and ready to feed. The Primary prey for the Striped Bass will be, alewives, herring, sand eels, sea worms, small crabs and lobsters, and clams. Anglers are the advantage right now, lure selection is not as important as it will be later in the season. Perennial favorites include, soft plastics like the Slug-go, Ron-Z, and Wildeye Shad. The singe hook on these lures allow for solid hook ups, and quick releases allowing the angler to get back in the game faster. Small swimming lures like the SP Minnow, and Yo-Zuri Mag Minnow are great alewife and herring imitators. Be sure to crush the barbs on both treble hooks, by doing so you allow yourself an easier release that will cause less damage to the fish and yourself should you get stuck. The act of crushing the barb will not affect the catch ratio either just maintain a tight line. Top water plugs like a spooks or â€œwalk the dogâ€ï¿½ lures will draw aggressive strikes, pencil poppers mimic the frenzied action of a struggling alewives or river herring as well. Top spots to catch a June Striped Bass include the Mousam, Saco, Scarborough, Presumpscot, and Kennebec Rivers. Any tidal marshes will hold Stripers as well. As we get later into the month, the bass will begin to move out to the beachfronts, and surrounding islands.
Good luck this season, make sure to introduce someone new to the sport, and if you have any questions contact your local tackle shops or hire a guide to show you the ropes! See you out there!
Diamond Pass Outfitters
Captain Lou Tirado