As summer has taken a bow, the striped bass season is winding down. There are still plenty of schoolies around but bigger fish are now a tough find. However, with the liberalizing of cod regulations some have simply switched to groundfishing.
New Hampshire Fishing Report
When charter captains I know of are more interested in a busman’s holiday for funny fish in Falmouth Mass than what’s going on in New Hampshire than it’s painfully obvious that the striped bass/inshore season is coming to an end. However a very impressive big striped bass report from Cape Neddick in Maine is a reason to keep casting! Now that mackerel are more of a factor, chunking them from area beaches is a best bet for intercepting migrating stripers coming in from Maine. Eels/soft plastics off area bridges which span estuaries and rivers are another solid shore option. Herring fry will continue to tumble out of their nurseries until well into the late fall making the mouths of those rivers good options too.
Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters said that cod in close by Whaleback or the Mudhole should not be a problem. The skipper is targeting deep dropoffs on Jeffrey’s Ledge and finding haddock, hake and pollock but the problem is the dogs. Ordinarily by late September the dogs beat it out of town to deeper water but this year they show no signs of leaving shallower ledges. Friends of the skipper recommend chunking or trolling live mackerel for a considerable cow off Salisbury Beach.
Southern Maine Fishing Report
According to Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle the Cape Neddick area really went off recently withy one angler tallying 7 fish of over 40” on SP Minnows! Additionally mackerel are in close now and can be caught and live lined off jetties off Camp Ellis and Wells Harbor. “Rainbait” of all sorts can be spotted in the Saco River, Webhannet River and Kennebunk River and striped bass have taken notice. Small profile lures will catch well as will the tube and worm. With the slight loosening of cod regs you may want to see if you can catch a keeper cod (21” minimum) try jigging up a few mackerel and drop a partially filleted mack around Bibb Rock or Tantas Ledge.
Captain Lou of Diamond Pass Outfitters was in the middle of a respite when I contacted him the other day. Maine wanderings have temporarily given way to chasing Cape Cod false albacore! He did say that just before his departure there were nice bass cruising the flats but offerings tossed their way were quickly intercepted by schoolies. He’s hoping those bigger fish sit tight until he comes back and tempts them with topwater lures or the reliable tube-and-worm!
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New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
The proverbial “fat lady” may be warming up but she’s not singing yet! Along coastal New Hampshire a chunk of mackerel off the beaches may be just the thing to intercept a cow or two heading southward. The mouths of rivers are stacked with herring fry making a slim-profiled bait or the venerable tube-and-worm just the thing. However now that keeping a cod (until September 30th) is in the offing, the allure of groundfish action is proving for some just too hard to resist!