Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- July 20, 2023

This friend of Captain Andy of Adventureandcatch Charters hauled in this hefty halibut while fishing Platt’s Ledge.

The two-fisted combination of deluges and rising water temperatures have made striper fishing more challenging than the recent past. Those who are doing best are sticking with bunker schools or slinging eels at night. Offshore, pollock are pretty reliable but anglers never know when something far larger comes knocking!

New Hampshire Fishing Report

According to Captain Bob Weathersby of Seacoast NH Sportfishing, inshore mackerel are reliably on the ledges despite a regular presence of bluefish. The prudent should be prepared with a short trace of titanium wire when live lining. A good tip from Bob is to let the chopped bait sit and settle for a minute, cows often lag just behind the blues and pick off the pieces. Inshore bass are still solid with slot and plus fish in the usual spots. Mega stripers are still there at the Isles of Shoals despite the dearth of pogies, thanks in large part to the ubiquitous mackerel. While the bluefin bite is inconsistent the hope is that the trend of “Cape” school fish moving up north later in the summer will continue and surface feeds will be on schedule.

Captain Andy of Adventureandcatch Charters has been finding the offshore pollock fishing a groundfishing highlight!

Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters told me that the Piscatagua River is not the best choice for stripers at the moment because of all the rain, mackerel just off the coast however are keeping the stripers in check. Hampton Shoals Ledge has been hot too. There are keeper pollock on Jeffrey’s Ledge but little to no haddock although I did hear from a Bay State captain that there were some inside of Stellwagen. Skip out on the bait or be prepared to be dogged to death. For tuna, you have to wade through the sharks at The Curl. Northern Jeffrey’s holds less sharks should you wish to escape their wrath.

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard said with rising water temperatures – 68-71 degrees – striper fishing is a bit slower than it was a few weeks ago, but that’s not stopping everyone from catching. Sharpies have taken to the night shift with big soft plastics and eels working well on fish of over 40” long. Ironically when anglers find one, they seem to find a bunch making now the textbook hit-or-miss fishery! Anglers would do well sticking to an incoming tide which brings with it cooler, more striper-suitable temperatures. The Cliff House shoreline borders deeper water making it among the more productive places. Brandy tried her luck with the tube-and-worm in the Saco River recently and came up with a nice mix of 24-28” fish for her efforts. Three Mile Hump, which is ordinarily a reliable mackerel spot, has been giving up a few black sea bass. Right in that same “odd” vein was the landing of a keeper tautog off the Wells Harbor jetty. Moody Beach has also been home to some unusual catches with a sea run brown trout and three-foot sand tiger shark among them. There are a few pogies around as well.

According to Captain Lou of Diamond Pass Outfitters, the fishing should be improving as the roiled river/embayment water clears up from the muddy mess they’ve been. Anglers using the tube and worm as well as live mackerel have been catching in the Saco River. As for Casco Bay, the upper section near the Royal River has been reliably good. Schoolies are often found on top, while bigger bass are punishing pogies. Pelagic chasers offshore are being “pestered” by very large stripers chasing mackerel! For blues, try setting out a trolling plug off Old Orchard or Pine Point.

Captain Paul Hood of Touch of Gray Fishing Charters’ motto could be that he leaves no stone unturned while he tries to put patrons into fish. Those “stones” lately were a wreck in 500’ of water in the shipping lanes between Platt’s Ledge and northern Jeffrey’s. He had a family from Florida on board who were so pleased with the multi-species groundfish outing that they treated the skipper to a fish fry of the catch! Paul is having to work for it but he’s scratching out on average a 65-100 fish trip and most are pleased just to have action out on the ocean. Part of the catch has been cusk, haddock, pollock and catch-and-release cod! As you can imagine, the skipper’s saving those cod waypoints for September when one cod per person can be kept! Pollock are probably the highlight at the moment with some real drag-pullers in the mix.

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


New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

The downpours have not been a blessing for those who like to fish rivers. Until those watersheds clear up, a better bet in New Hampshire is Hampton Shoals Ledge where a live mack should get sacked by a striper or blue in no time. The Isles of Shoals remains a Granite State green light for some of the bigger striped bass you’ll find! Offshore pollock are promising but with plenty of porbeagles and other sharks on the prowl you had better be a fast reeler. As for Maine finding a school of pogies is the easiest route to catch a cow by day, while the nighttime gang are tossing eels with great success by the Cliff House, Wells Harbor Jetty, Moody Beach and the Royal River.

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