Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- September 7, 2023

Adventureandcatch Charters tuna
Captain Andy from Adventureandcatch Charters has found that the tuna bite at Scantum is on fire!

With a wider feeding window and cleaner water, rivers are now an option worth considering for striped bass. Cod can be found as close as the Peaks off of Wells Harbor but for a more consistent bite it’s hard to top Jeffrey’s Ledge and Platt’s.

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Now that some time has passed since the last deluge, the Merrimack River has cleared up and anglers are catching stripers from the chain bridge to Joppa Flats and out through the mouth. Anglers trolling plugs off Salisbury Beach are finding bluefish and with reports of them still far up north, there should remain a toothy presence for some time.
According to Captain Bob Weathersby of Seacoast NH Sportfishing, before the elevated swell, quality striped bass were available in the usual haunts and so were mackerel, and now that seas have settled, they should return. Consider targeting Wallis Sands Beach, Hampton Harbor, Wentworth Harbor and Little Bay in the Piscatqua River watershed. Mackerel are available and should be looked for by the 2KR Can, Hampton Shoals Ledge and the Isles of Shoals. Scantum is nothing short of terrific for those targeting tuna with some real beasts reported. In fact Bob informed me of one crew that hooked a fish at 6:30 at night and didn’t land the beast until 9:30 the next morning! Giant fishing is not for the faint of heart or for those lacking tenacity.

Captain Andy of Adventure and Catch Charters has been having his way with “Charlie” by steering clear of the fleet and sinking baits to as deep as 150’ of water. His logic is that his chances of hooking a tuna improve if his offering is off by itself! Considering that he boated three within the last week, he just might be onto something. His next adventure will be along the deeper edges of Platt’s where he has a hunch that in 300’+ of water he’ll find few dogs and just maybe a halibut or swordfish. During a recent bait recon, he loaded up on medium size mackerel by the Bubbler off Hampton and also by the red nun buoy at York Ledge.

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard told me that previously dormant rivers, such as the Saco River, are now holding striped bass again. The tube-and-worm has been working especially well there. Really big bass – up to 50” – have been caught off area beaches such as Moody Beach, Ogunquit Beach and Goose Rocks Beach. Anglers catching those cows are employing an egg sinker to get the mackerel down deep. Big soft plastic stick baits such as Slug-Gos have also been effective there. Brandy and Scott sampled the groundfishing at The Peaks which is about 12 miles out from Wells Harbor and in addition to finding a few cod found mackerel in 150’ of water!

Christi Holmes Elliot and Jeanie Cote
Christi Holmes Elliot and Jeanie Cote from Maine Woman Hunters caught this pollock/cod combo while fishing with Touch of Gray Charters.

As for groundfishing Captain Paul Hood of Touch of Gray Fishing Charters has been hitting Jeffrey’s Ledge hard for haddock, hake, pollock and cod. He’s skipping out on the bait to reduce the volume of dog’s but it’s not affecting the catch! He expects by next week to boat some real corker cod from his waypoints.

According to Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters, the game plan has been simple – fish the ledges and flats! Stripers are definitely getting their feed on in anticipation of the journey south. Up in the ledges, it has been live and chunk mackerel, or GT eels 9” minimally fished and weightless. They are also having good luck with pencils thrown parallel to the shore in the mornings. For the unforgiving shoreline, Lou recommends throwing wooden plugs which hold up better to the pounding than plastic. As for the flats, crab and shrimp patterns with fly rods has been the ticket for cruising bass. Anglers have been blessed with some consistent weather and bright sun which has made the sight fishing enjoyable again. The Casco Bay area is also still seeing sporadic bluefish, and a mix of sizes from gators to cocktails. Most bluefish catches have been either off of ledges that abut deep water or river mouths.

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


New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Rivers which were muddy messes for the majority of the season are now holding bait and bass with the Merrimack standing out as really special. Blues can still be found and often at the mouths of those rivers or off the deep side of ledges; trolling is the ticket to those toothies. Mackerel can be found off the Hampton Harbor and should you top off the livewell with them Scantum has been special for tuna. Mackerel are also the key to a Downeast cow with the jetties of Wells fishing well as is Casco Bay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *