That's what we're doing around mid-coast Maine, waiting for the saltwater fishing to turn back on as the days get shorter and the waters get cooler. Our striper fishing is slow right now. Even though it feels like fall this morning the fish are in an August mood.
On some trips we're finding the fish in the shallows and just having to make shot after shot and endure refusals, follows and indifferent reactions until we get one to eat. The windy days are tough as the bass aren't usually giving us many clues as to their whereabouts. We've encountered a couple of short lived frenzied blow ups in very shallow water on either side of low water, but not enough to count on for a fish finding technique. Most early mornings and evenings have been disappointing. We find a few wakes, see a couple of swirls but generally don't get the number of opportunities that we had just three weeks ago.
Guides bouncing eels or drifting live bait are reporting similar findings, both in the faster, deeper waters and along the edges of the flats. After an unbelievably warm summer, this stretch of more normal weather has many of us thinking "Fall". We take turns reminding each other that it is still August, and there is usually a slow down at this point in the season and that September will bring better days and better moods for us all.
Part of our challenge may be the amount of bait available to the stripers. Not very hungry fish surrounded by hoards of feed makes for limited windows of successful catching. There are acres and acres of tiny spike mackerel just offshore. Running from Cundy's Harbor to Pott's Point the other morning we went scooting over bait-ball after bait-ball. The guides filling their livewells don't have to travel far off the beach at Popham or Reid. The flats closer to the ocean have good numbers of sand eels about 2 inches long and silversides just a bit bigger. We've foul hooked a couple of itty-bitty bluefish that have been tearing into this bait along the marsh banks and ledges in a couple feet of water. The young of the year alewives are dropping out of the ponds and lakes, making their way out to sea. Idling up to the edges of the flats, the fishfinder screen reveals clouds of bait hanging in 25 to 15 feet of water.
Eventually all of this forage will make for some memorable outings, as the striped bass change their attitude and start feeding hard as they begin their migration south. I try to remind myself that I should be thankful for every opportunity to practice my patience, but I'm really ready for "eventually" to be now.
I did get two messages on Monday about False Albacore showing up off Rhode Island and Martha's Vineyard. Yes, that has me excited. I've scheduled a couple of weeks down in Massachusetts to chase the funny fish south of the Cape, the tuna in the Bay and stripers in Boston Harbor. Let me know if you'd like to join me.
Capt. Peter Fallon