Blues are the big news with size and numbers the likes of which haven’t been seen in years. With water temperatures peaking, expect a slow striper bite but if you pack patience with you along with your gear there are big bass to be had!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
From Captain Bob Weathersby of Seacoast NH Sportfishing came news of mackerel settling back into the Isles of Shoals area. After weeks of bluefish carnage you can expect them to be skittish and most susceptible to be caught by those out at first light who aren’t afraid to chum! While stripers could be on your schedule if you top off the livewell with macks, a better bet if you have the beam may be tuna! The skipper recently put Dr. John and Ginger Lynn into 70” of bluefin on standup gear with live mackerel doing the trick on Jeffrey’s Ledge!
Closer to the coast blues are still in residence with anglers doing best by trolling as deep as 30-50’ of water! Inshore bass has slowed due to surging water temperatures but the good news is that with the arrival of peanut bunker we can expect some impressive blitzes once water temperatures cool down!
Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters proved that his hake honey hole was more than a one tide trick by heading back there and still putting patrons into monsters. Next on his schedule is a haul out to Three Dory Ridge in the hopes of finding a halibut, some quality haddock and just maybe less dogfish! Currently according to the skipper much of Jeffrey’s Ledge is fishing like a catastrophe as dogfish are sadly the primary catch! To hear Captain Andy, who is as passionate a groundfisher as you’ll ever find, describe it, it is a sad tale of woe! He like many feels it’s a simple case of far too much commercial fishing which has left little in it’s wake besides species of no value such as dog fish! The good news is that peanut bunker continue to poor into the Piscataqua River watershed and most any marina or lit pier/bridge in the area is holding squid! With all that bait, the Granite State coast could be viewed as a tinder box ready to go off once water temperatures cool down! For a fresh change, consider trying for lake trout and salmon at Lake Winnipesaukee where both are cooperating according to Tim Moore from Tim Moore Outdoors!
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard told me of an interesting puzzle many anglers are trying to solve. Namely, bluefish cruising at 100’ depths! Always the versatile predator, whether belting bunker in the first wave off a beach or terrorizing whiting 100’ down, those yellow-eyed blues are readily available more than in years. For my money, I’d vertically jig over marked fish with a Crippled Herring but others are experimenting with heavy bucktail jigs, leadcore line and trolling sinkers. Those gators have been found off Drakes Island and Bibb Rock. While striper fishing by day is slow, at night the cows are grazing with purpose with Slug-Gos accounting for fish up to 50”! Biddeford Pool and the Ogunquit River were especially emphasized when we spoke! Scott Lee is most happy hitting the groundfishing ledges and in 280-340’ of water on Jeffrey’s Ledge he found willing haddock and pollock with dogfish not much of a factor! He made a point to emphasize that the dogs were problematic on top of the ledges while the desirable species were off the edges. A lot of sharks can be found offshore with even a hammerhead spotted recently!
According to Captain Lou of Diamond Pass Outfitters the Maine version of “funny fish” have arrived in force! That is Downeast-speak for bluefish! The arrival of toothies has been just the tonic needed for anglers from Wells to Freeport! Best of all: there has been a beach bluefish bite with topwater plugs such as Island X Lures and old faithful Atom Poppers doing the job! Bass are mixed in with the blues and can generally be found below or behind the choppers. To specifically target stripers stick to live mackerel among inshore ledges. Macks are hardly a given but can be found with a little effort!
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New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
They may be man’s best friend but dogs do us no good while fishing in the salt. The “dog days” have been a bass bite killer as surging water temperatures have put them off their feed. Dogfish continue to plague Jeffrey’s Ledge with some relief awaiting those who focus on drop-offs exclusively. Unquestionably the best bet is bluefish! Most everyone I’ve been talking to are touting the return of these toothies as a reason to celebrate! Deep water trolling off Bib Rock has been doing the trick but there has also been action from area beaches! Mackerel are a tough find but once acquired and fished among inshore ledges are the surest way to catch a big striped bass. Things are sure to change next month when water temperatures drop and stripers key in on peanut bunker which seen to be increasing by the day!