Coastal New Hampshire and Maine Fishing Report- August 17, 2023

Adventureandcatch Charters pollock group
Patrons aboard Adventureandcatch Charters are pounding the pollock!

The environment is playing the role of friend and foe. Dropping water temperatures are making striped bass active where there is no riparian influence, however should you be wetting a line by the coffee colored mess previously known as a river, you’re probably catching little more than a headache!

New Hampshire Fishing Report

Captain Bob Weathersby of Seacoast NH Sportfishing said that while striped bass are still active along the coast, it’s not the lights-out fishing it was a month ago. Welcome to mid-August! Much of that has to do with the incessant rainfall that continues to roil rivers and nearby harbors, rendering them un-fishable. The good news/bad news portion of the report is that dropping water temperatures seemed to have pushed bluefish away and allowed mackerel to swim back in. Chumming helps find the mackerel. The Isles of Shoals area continues to be a better bet than rivers and harbors. Herring are moving into Scantum and following them are tuna. Southern Jeffrey’s remains another solid option for tuna.

Hearne family tuna
The Hearne family from Pennsylvania took a trip to fish Seacoast NH Sportfishing and caught and released a tuna for their efforts!

Captain Andy from Adventure and Catch Charters remains dialed into big pollock on Jeffrey’s Ledge. Where big cod are in thick, the skipper has saved waypoints that should pay off when a limited harvest will be allowed beginning September 1st. Not surprisingly the Piscataqua River is a total bust with all the rainfall while macks are hit or miss but can be found by Murray’s Rock, the Bubbler, Hampton Shoal Ledge, the 2KR Can and, of course, the Isles of Shoals. Mackerel rigged with a sinker to get below the schools of bait are coming up with stripers!

Southern Maine Fishing Report

Brandy from Webhannet Bait and Tackle/Boatyard had an unexpected and interesting take on things, maybe because of all the rain. It seems that the surf contingent are doing better than the boaters. Beaches away from river outflows and harbors are holding bass and bait, both of which may be steering clear of the brackish muddy water! Cape Neddick was listed as a prime example. Goose Beach has been good also. Anglers looking to fish rivers such as the Saco are coming up with not much to show for their efforts. Mackerel have been found as close as the “Bell” outside of Wells Harbor and a few anglers did really well there where the bait was with some of the fish over 40”! Tantas Ledge has not been great for haddock but there are cod, hake and cusk to be found there.

Josh with striped bass
Josh caught this handsome striper while fishing aboard Diamond Pass Charters.

According to Captain Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Outfitters anglers are seeing some nice bass being taken off of the ledges with live mackerel and eels at night. They have also had an arrival of 4-5” herring outside of the rivers which has the attention of slot-sized fish. Seven inch soft plastics at first and last light have been best, and oddly enough it’s the darker colors that have been out producing the whites and silvers. During mid-day the bass are hanging around the schools of herring and can be caught by vertical jigging for them with the Gravity Tackle eels. The beaches have been fishing well too, there seems to be roving packs of bass moving along the sand so slow trolling mackerel for them has been the best way of finding them. Casco Bay anglers are still getting spotty bluefish but nothing that they can target with any certainty.

Zubin with cod aboard Touch of Gray Charters
Eight year old Zubin poses with a cod, he was ready to release, while aboard Touch of Gray Charters.

Competent charter captains such as Paul Hood of Touch of Gray Charters do more than just put people onto fish they provide a forum of family fun which is incomparable to any other environment. On Tuesday eight year old Zubin took his mother Rosa on a fishing trip aboard the boat and along with catching a cornucopia of groundfish they watched in awe as a blue shark chomped a released fish as well as one off an anglers line. Heck, Zubin even enjoyed holding a dogfish for a pose! When you hear how much folks enjoy the deep sea fishing experience it’s a reminder of how lucky we are to be able to jump aboard a boat such as Paul’s 43’ Torres for an awesome day on the water. Paul told me that as the two disembarked he could hear Zubin imploring his mother to book another trip! As to what Paul’s been catching and where: pollock, catch-and-release cod and cusk have been cooperative off Jeffrey’s Ledge. The skipper has a hunch that the bite may be even better at Platt’s Bank which will be the next destination.

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


New Hampshire And Southern Maine Fishing Forecast

Should Mother Nature ever turn off the faucet than expect river action to pick up considerably, meanwhile areas which are away from the muddy, freshwater influence are fishing best. With less bluefish mackerel have reappeared off the Isles of Shoals as well as the islands in Saco Bay and farther north. Chumming helps find those mackerel and anglers weighing down the bait are rewarded with bass. In the Casco Bay area roving packs of bass are moving along area beaches picking off mackerel chunks as well as clams on the bottom. As for groundfishing, prime pollock catches are still a thing on Jeffrey’s with Tanta’s delivering a mixed bag.

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