Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- May 11, 2023

Touch of Gray Charters
In addition to Platt’s, Captain Paul Hood of Touch of Gray Charters has been finding haddock on Jeffrey’s Ledge.

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard had more tales to tell during a recent conversation than I ever recall for the month of May! From their deck overlooking the Saco River while enjoying the morning Joe, her and Scott surveyed water filled with happy anglers! One guy trolling a tube-and-worm behind his kayak looked to be tight to a nice slot while a shore fisher soaking bait was hooking up to what also looked to be a good fish. A quick trip upriver on the Saco to the falls proved to be full of life with herring, stripers and unfortunately seals all in residence. South Berwick, the Webhannet River, Wells Harbor, the Mousam River – you name it – stripers are in big time! And there are plenty of the 2015 year class bass in the mix which are slot size now. Groundfishing has improved with reports coming in from on top of Jeffrey’s Ledge of haddock, whiting, redfish and a few dogs.

From Captain Paul Hood of Touch of Gray Fishing Charters came news of plenty of groundfish off Platt’s Ledge, and more conveniently, the first of the Fingers on Jeffrey’s Ledge. The latter was especially noteworthy since the haul consisted of 75% haddock! There’s a lot of life out there according to Paul, witness to breaching sturgeon in Casco Bay.

Regarding Casco Bay the Diamond Pass kid himself, Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters, reported that they have stripers up there and they are ranging from the southern tip all the way up to the Kennebec River. The marshes, rivers and beaches all have been fishing well which is odd for this time of year since usually action is concentrated in upstream areas. It’s nice to see that the bite is spread all around and anglers aren’t fishing in each others pockets. Sand eels seem to be the primary bait out front right now, and up in the rivers and marshes it is alewives and some small unidentifiable bait. Small soft plastics like the those from Gravity Tackle and Al Gags are working well for the spin guys, and the standard spring flies (clousers, deceivers and jiggies) are working well for the guys on the fly. The hot live bait has been sand and blood worms. Anglers are also seeing shad!

Adventureandcatch Charters haddock
The haddock haul has been hot aboard Adventureandcatch Charters!

Folks just aren’t supposed to be so excited about the salt this early! By the tone and timber of reports I’m hearing, you would think it is June as opposed to only mid-May! Additionally haddock have moved in closer and have been joined by cusk, whiting, pollock and redfish!

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters, while a groundfishing guru, passed along some Piscataqua River striper info when we spoke. While during most years, estuaries, marshes and rivers are the first to receive the gift of fresh striped bass, this year is an anomaly in that harbors, such as Hampton and Wentworth, not only have stripers, but slots already!

Halle Fitzgerald striped bass
Halle Fitzgerald with a fresh Downeast striper!

Schoolies have been taken on bait and lures off the Sagamore jetty as well. Mackerel are still in deeper water with Boone Island, Hampton Shoal Ledge and the Isle of Shoals worth a look. As for something for the cooler, cusk, haddock, pollock as well as cod have become more user friendly targets as they have moved closer to Jeffrey’s Ledge. The unheralded groundfish in the group – cusk – is a culinary favorite of the captain. Andy whips up a beer -battered concoction that is to die for, charter him and I’m sure he’ll clue you in.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Maine!


New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Those fresh bass are nothing if not benevolent in that they are spreading their love around in equal parts rivers, marshes, harbors and beaches which is almost unheard of in mid May. What is every bit as remarkable is that the first wave of fish has many slots in the mix. Hampton Harbor, Wentworth Harbor and Little Bay all have recent reports of good striper action. Farther north the Saco River as well as Wells Harbor are hot too. Groundfishing has picked up a notch with the aggregate of groundfish moving south a bit and closer with a productive Jeffrey’s Ledge proving at least as good as Platt’s with most of the catch consisting of haddock!

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