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September 2006

Maine Striped Bass Fall Fishing Update

It is mid-September and the striper fishing is still going strong. Sunday the 17th was a busy day on the water with many boaters enjoying a beautiful summer day. We're seeing very little traffic during the week and often have schools of breaking fish to ourselves for as long as we want to stay on them. As I write this morning, I've seen all of two boats out on the Kennebec in the first three hours of the day. Each day deeper into the month will have more and more people tending to yard work, watching high school sporting contests or switching their attention to hunting season. We have a couple of weeks of fantastic fishing to savor before we start looking ahead to next year.

There is much less bait out on the oceanfront compared to two weeks ago. There are still schools of the juvenile menhaden that we call peanut bunker along the beaches, coves and river mouths but not the massive schools that covered this territory. As a result, the schools of stripers are a bit more dispersed. Once you find them the action can still be fast. With all of the swell from offshore hurricanes, fishing the beaches and outer ledges has been difficult, but the more sheltered structure has good whitewater and good fishing. Generic crab/lobster patterns are still the first fly that I tie on in these spots. Pollack flies continue to catch the attention of bigger fish. The roiled water has limited out sightcasting opportunities, but conditions on the flats and beaches were getting better as of yesterday.

There has been excellent fishing upriver in the vicinity of Bath. More about this in the next update as it is time to launch the boat and catch the dropping tide...

Capt. Peter Fallon
www.mainestripers.com


Quick Update

The great fishing continues, although the surface blitzes on the peanut bunker have been more sporadic. If you see forty six gulls sitting on a ledge you know that the bait and the bass are nearby. So far I have not found the fish to be especially selective allowing us to use bigger flies and lures to tempt larger fish. At some point in the near future we will encounter picky fish keyed into the small size and shape of the juvenile menhaden.

The strong blow last weekend coupled with full moon tides has stirred up the water, but the recent stretch of calm days and nights is slowly helping to clear things up. Sight fishing just wasn't an option at the start of this week. I'm looking forward to poling after some good sized fish fattening up for their run south. Using the seven and eight weight rods to target large fish is always fun and the size of the bait makes that possible up on the flats.

The young-of-the-year alewives are bringing fish to the surface further upriver. Wednesday afternoon and evening was  a hoot of a good time. The best fish came on jigs bounced just off the bottom around any structure with good moving water, but it was hard to put down the top water rods. Zara Super Spooks and Rebel Jumpin' Minnows skittered across the surface didn't draw any big bass but they did keep the schoolies coming to the boat.


The Fall Bite Is On

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We are fully engaged in the Fall blitz before the stripers move south for the winter. Summer patterns of fish activity are behind us. This is a great time to be out on the water, so don't too caught up in a return to school, anticipation of bird season or football games or raking leaves. Some of the best fishing of the entire season is happening right now.

Swarms of peanut bunker (juvenile menhaden) are filling the bays, flats, coves and beaches near the mouths of the New Meadows, Kennebec and Sheepscott Rivers. The striped bass, large mackerel and a few big bluefish are gorging themselves on these little baitfish. The young of the year alewives are dropping out of the ponds and moving down the rivers on their way to open ocean. There are schools of spike mackerel offshore that can generate a bass feeding frenzy when they sweep past outer ledges and islands. We are also seeing silversides and sandeels close to the mouths of the rivers. The pollack are stuffing themselves on all of this forage and falling pray to big bass in the process.

If you are out fishing on your own from boat or shore be prepared to keep moving until you locate the bait and the fish. There are stretches of water that seem devoid of life but rest assured that "it is happening" some place all day and all night. The fall runs of baitfish always seem more concentrated than in the early season. If you aren't seeing birds, clouds of bait, surface feeding schoolies move, move, move.

This is a great time to fish in Maine. Our saltwater fly fishing doesn't get any better than this.

 

Capt. Peter Fallon