Striped Bass fishing in Maine was very solid during late July and early August. I fished Hills Beach and the Saco River area (located halfway between Kennebunkport and Portland) and landed plenty of 20″ to 27″ fish. Typically, I would fish on either side of the low tide, wading the beach or paddling my tribalance kayak. The striped bass were chasing schools of 4″ sand eels. As the sand eels dropped back from the shallows, or moved towards shallow water, the bass fed on them. Sometimes I located them by blind casting, other times the bass fed on the surface and busting fish, along w/ screeching terns reveled their presence. Great fun to throw a popper or gurgler on an 8wt and solicit surface strikes.
The biggest surprise of my trip was fair hooking a 50″ Atlantic Sturgeon on a fly and bringing it in. Initially, I thought that I had hooked a four foot plus cow striper and was ecstatic. Oddly, the sturgeon didn’t put up a spectacular fight, especially considering the length of this fish. After two short runs and a minor tug of war, the sturgeon rolled near the boat and I brought this prehistoric fish to my kayak. The struggle was minimal, until I put my Boga Grip in its’ mouth. Once gripped, the fish rolled, shook and thrashed around and nearly jerked me out of the kayak. The rolling reminded me of an alligator, rolling to drown and crush prey. Anyway, this was a very rare catch and I was still pleased. Very cool to see this armor like fish, hold it and snap a few pics, then let it go.
No bluefish this trip, but they should be marauding the beaches any day now. Also, striped bass is a tasty table fare. We enjoyed fresh grilled and pan fried striped bass fillets for two nights. If you haven’t fished in the Northeast for saltwater species, give it a try!
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