If you’re so inclined to take the next step from “keepers” to fish that will test not only tackle but your nerve than you have options such as tuna and halibut. Regarding stripers the recent rains have made non-tidal stretches of rivers a muddy mess but the same cannot be said for green-water rivers where the catching is just fine!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
I viewed Captain Andy of Adventure and Catch Charters anecdote this week like a shot of caffeine after week after week of all-to-similar striper reports. He had yet another halibut encounter this week with the patron vs pescado battle being won by the big flatfish. After a 10 minute battle which involved several spool-dumping runs back to the bottom the estimated 100 pound fish shook free of the hook. While the charter fought the fish valiantly, he erred in letting slack in the line linger too long. As Andy described, from hooking so many of these barn doors, there comes a time when the fish turns around and begins to sound towards the bottom and inevitably slack develops on the line. It’s imperative when that happens the angler crank furiously to pick up the excess line, any hesitation often results in the heartbreak of a lost halibut and that is precisely what happened! Mackerel or other fish bait are preferred and the skipper has been finding macks by Boone Island. He’s then ripping off the to the northern sector of Jeffrey’s Ledge where in addition to the occasionally halibut, he’s finding plenty of haddock, an increasing amount of big pollock and thankfully few dogs! His preferred depth is 230-240’. The gear he’s packing is evidence that those halibut are not mere happenstance. His Shimano conventional reels are loaded with 200 pound braid and are mated to Shimano Trevala Rods properly rated for 200 pound braid. Yes, he’s loaded for bear. At the dock in Great Bay Marina there are all the 27/28“ stripers one could ask for!
Joe from Granite State Rod and Reel Repair in Nashua said the black bass bite has been really good at the Nashua River, Pawtuckaway Lake and Potanipo. Senkos and Texas-rigged Bush hogs are crushing them. A few trout fans have been doing well on brown trout in low light conditions in Massachusetts’ Deerfield and Westfield Rivers. Big grasshopper patterns are doing the trick.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for New Hampshire
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Captain Cory from Mainely Blue Charters is all in on the Charlie chasing now! It didn’t take long for him to notch his first 97-inch “butterball”! He’s been finding those bluefin within 15 miles of the Maine coastline. When asked for specifics he did mention Tantas Ledge as one option. He’s fishing under anchor and employing whiting, mackerel, sea herring or most anything else he can legally catch! Haddock fishing continues to be good with the skipper passing on bait and sticking to diamond jigs.
Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle said that with the non-stop rain, tidal rivers are fishing far better than brackish. Simply put, if the river you intend on fishing is brown, look for an alternative. Forty inch fish have fallen for clams from Oqunquit Beach, a 44’ fish fell for a Slug-Go off Wells and a 45” fish hit a sandworm off Goose Rocks Beach. Interestingly most of the big fish have been caught during the day! For mackerel consider the section from Bib Rock to Kennebunk. There have been squid reported in the Portland area and if you’re torn whether to eat them or use them for bait consider both because the haddock bite on Jeffrey’s Ledge remains hot with pink and bright green cod flies tipped with squid working well.
Captain Lou of Diamond Pass Outfitters said that the recent July moon proved to be very productive and the past few days saw topwater feeds of slot stripers in Casco Bay. Jumpin’ Minnows, bucktail jigs and Hogy Originals have all worked well with rivers south of Portland proving hot. Gravity Tackle 13.5” eels and live eels are resulting in some of the bigger bass around but expect a slow pick.
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
Cooler water temperatures have kept the bass bite interesting even during the day in Great Bay, Ogunquit Beach and CascoBay. Nights in estuaries such as Scarborough Marsh are producing for those working big soft plastics as well as eels. Tuna off Tantas is one of the best big fish options with halibut off Northern Jeffrey’s Ledge not all that far behind.