You don’t need a calendar to tell you that it’s September, with bass and blues schooling up and on the feed it’s obvious. Some however are torn as to which way to turn with the month-plus cod season now upon us! For a freshwater alternative, lakers are on the feed in the deepwater of Winnipesaukee!
New Hampshire Fishing Report
Captain Andy of Adventure and Catch Charters has found a pile of good pollock which have moved onto Platt’s Ledge. A few cusk are also being cranked out between Inner Pigeon Hill and New Scantum. Platt’s is also holding a lot of squid and not surprisingly a sold tuna bite. Mackerel have moved in to heretofore quiet spots such as Hampton Shoals Ledge and the 2KR Can. You can put those mackerel to good use for schoolie to slot stripers throughout the Piscataqua River or for a shot at a bigger fish between Rye Harbor and Salisbury.
Captain Rob Weathersby of Seacoast NH Sportfishing commented that a cod of at least 22” will now be part of the catch until October 7th! Offshore, groundfishing has been heavy on pollock and light on haddock. Bluefin have moved onto Scantum chasing squid and sea herring. As usual, whale shows point the way to bait abundance. While bass fishing has slowed down due to peaking water temperatures bluefish have picked up the slack with most fish caught while trolling plugs from 30’ to 50’ down! Look for things to change thanks to a good old east wind bringing in cooler water temperatures and a larger feeding window for the bass.
According to Tim Moore of Tim Moore Outdoors the lunker laker bite in Winnipesaukee has really heated up. It could be viewed as the freshwater version of deep sea fishing since some of the vertical jigging takes place 100’ down! Considering the size of some of the lakers, saltwater comparisons aren’t far off!
Southern Maine Fishing Report
Brandy Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard told me that anglers are catching bluefish every which way imaginable – what a year! Surf anglers are catching them on plugs, kayakers are enjoying a sleigh ride thanks to big blues and boaters are trolling them up from 30-35’ down on trolling plugs! Gooch’s Beach has been good for blues as it has for stripers with noisy topwaters working for the blues while the bass are falling for Slug-Gos! The Mousam River out through Cape Neddick has been holding peanut bunker with surface feeds par for the course. The tube-and-worm has been working well throughout Wells Harbor. Anglers fishing Spruce Creek have been catching stripers as well. A few flounder have been taken in the Mousam River but the big groundfish news is that regulators are allowing recreational anglers to keep one cod of a minimum of 22” per person per day from September 1st through October 7th. Bibb Rock was mentioned as likely lair for cod as was the Cape Neddick area.
From Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters came news that resident stripers are schooling up and preparing for the eventual fall tun. When found they are nothing if not hungry! Beaches are sporting surface feeds with some close in and others 500 yards away, it’s that random. Big blues seemed to have moved north into the Harpswell area where there are still pogies. Mackerel can be found with some searching among the islands of Casco Bay. When the macks pull a no-show, 7” soft plastics thrown against the island wash is producing.
On the subject of bluefish, OTW subscriber Jeff Cutler reported gator blues off Cape Porpoise. Jeff said:
“My son and his friend had a blast (such a wonderful distraction from the damn computer and social media!). We located a large school in 100’ of water off the channel marker simply obliterating a massive bio mass of macks. What was really interesting is you could see the blues on the radar, running down into the macks and then coming back up near the surface where they’d whack surface plugs and some shallow diver plugs. All were in the 32”-34” class. Brought back a lot of memories, and haven’t seen such action in many years.” Great to see blues making a comeback!
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!
New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast
The appearance of mackerel just outside of the Piscatagua River and as far north as Casco Bay are making bait acquisition for bass a lot easier than it has been in recent weeks! An alternative is the tube and worm throughout Little Bay, Wells Harbor and by Spruce Creek. Beaches should not be ignored with topwater plugs producing explosive strikes from bluefish while bass are more inclined to take a soft plastic stick bait. Of course there is that little matter of cod which should be swimming near the Isles of Shoals, the islands of Saco Bay and Bibb Rock!