Boothbay Bass and More
January 12, 2017
Considered the northernmost port on the East Coast for serious saltwater sport fishing, Boothbay Harbor offers action with mackerel, striped bass, bluefish, tuna and an assortment of groundfish. Half- and full-day partyboats, charterboats and small-boat guides ply the inshore and offshore waters in search of game and food fish, and private boaters can easily follow suit.
Big-game fishing for sharks and giant bluefin tuna has always been popular with Boothbay anglers.
Striped bass are Boothbay’s glamour fish, although the action has been somewhat lacking in recent years. If things return to normal, schoolies from 5 pounds to bruisers over 30 should be abundant from mid-June into October. The local charter skippers and guides generally work the Kennebec and Sheepscot Rivers and the waterways connecting them. Closer to the harbor, Linekin Bay offers fine action for private-boaters. A live tinker mackerel, free-lined or fished under a float along the shoreline, can account for some nice fish, as will mackerel chunks fished on bottom. Be advised that Maine has a “slot limit” on bass, whereby an angler can keep one fish per day, and it must measure between 20 and 26 inches. If you’re lucky enough to catch a striper over 40 inches you can keep that instead, but most Maine anglers release the big ones.
Big-game fishing for sharks and giant bluefin tuna has always been popular with Boothbay anglers. The Breakaway, Charger and Redhook offer offshore trips for these choppers, with blue sharks from 50 to 300-plus pounds being the most plentiful. Productive spots include the Kettle (10 miles south of Seguin Island), the Sagadahoc Ledges (several miles farther out) and Plattes Bank. Tuna, ranging from 200 to 800 pounds, can be trolled up on spreader rigs of plastic squid, or chummed up with fresh cut-up fish with a live or dead mackerel, herring or whiting as a hook bait, in these same areas.
Speaking of mackerel, you’ll find plenty inside the harbor, sometimes right on the surface around the harbor docks. You can easily catch them on small shiny flies and metal lures, as well as on Sabiki bait-catching rigs. If you can’t see the schools on top, try slow-trolling a Sabiki rig on a heavy weight through the harbor until you hook up.
- For complete information on Maine’s saltwater fishing scene, visit the Department of Marine Resources.
Bait & Tackle:
White Anchor Bait & Tackle (207-633-3788)
- Capt. Barry Gibson (207) 633-5929
- Capt. George Warren (207) 380-4556
- Capt. Mark Stover (207) 633-3807
- Capt. Dan Stevens (207) 380-5445
Anglers over the age of 16 who wish to fish in Maine’s marine waters out to 3 miles from shore, including the waters surrounding its offshore islands, must register annually with the state. There is a $1 to $2 service fee to register. The permit expires on December 31.
The following individuals do not need to register:
- Persons under the age of 16.
- Persons fishing aboard a charter or partyboat.
- Persons renting a smelt shack from an individual who holds a commercial operator’s permit.
- Persons with a disability.
- Disabled veterans.
- Persons holding a saltwater recreational fishing license from another state.
- Maine residents who purchased a freshwater fishing license and who checked a box indicating that they intend to fish in saltwater.
- Maine residents fishing on July 4, Memorial Day weekend, or Labor Day weekend.
To register online, go to:
Seasons, Catch & Size Limits
For information on Maine’s saltwater fishing regulations, by species, go to: Maine Department of Marine Resources.