July 2018: Fishing with Shelley

Catch Photos
by Shelley Wigglesworth

Planning to take a charter boat to enjoy a day of saltwater fishing in Maine? Here is what you need to know.

A fishing license is not required for those fishing on USCG licensed for-hire boats in salt water.

Inshore Charter Fishing-Fishing for striped bass or “stripers” is inshore fishing. Striped Bass are fish which are typically found close to shore in rocky areas. Striper fishing charter boats can often be seen from the beach or along the shoreline.  Striped bass is the only species caught on these trips and trips are usually a few hours long on boats designed to take up to 6 passengers.

Offshore Charter Fishing-Also called deep sea fishing, these boats go out to angle for a variety of bottom dwelling fish including haddock, Pollack, cusk, redfish and more. Fishing takes place in depths of a few hundred feet of water. These boats fish in areas not seen from the shore and are typically all day trips on larger boats certified to take 20 or more passengers.

Striped Bass (inshore)- Striped bass is firm, flaky and flavorful. Easily identified by the stripes on the body. Stripers must be 28 inches or longer to keep. One keeper fish per angler per day.

Striped bass-Donnell Sayward Don’s First Light Charters photo.
Haddock (offshore)- a tasty, flaky, white meat fish. Haddock can be distinguished by a black stripe running down their body. Up to 12 haddock, 17 inches and larger per day, per angler, may be kept.

 Haddock- Captain Michael Perkins-F/V Nor’easter photo.
Pollack(offshore)-a plentiful white meat fish often confused with haddock when cooked. Pollock can be distinguished by a white stripe running down their body. Unlimited size and bag in Maine waters. Must be 19 inches in Federal waters to keep.
  Pollack-Captain Satch and Sons, India Marie photo.
Redfish(offshore)- Also called ocean perch, is a rockfish that live in large schools deep in the ocean. Minimum size 9 inches, no bag limit.

 Red fish, Shelley Wigglesworth photo.
Cod(offshore)- is a common catch on Georges Bank and the Western Gulf of Maine. Currently a catch and release fish, due to government regulations.
Cod, Captain Mike Perkins photo, F/V Nor’easter.
Cusk(offshore)- is a member of the cod family. It is a slender fish with a single long, thick dorsal fin and pectoral fins edged in black. No size or bag limits.
Monk fish(offshore)- Also called frog fish and sea devils due to their appearance and sometimes referred to as poor man’s lobster for their flavor. 17 inch minimum length to keep.
Cusk, Shelley Wigglesworth photo.
Wolf fish(offshore)-also known as the seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, devil fish, wolf eel, and sea cat. Currently a catch and release fish per government regulations.
Wolf fish, Captian Michael Perkins, F/V Nor’easter photo.

Halibut(offshore)- a flat fish and chef’s favorite, one fish per day in Federal waters, minimum length of 41 inches may be kept.
Halibut, David Achorn photo.
Monkfish (offshore)- Also called frog fish and sea devils due to their appearance and sometimes referred to as poor man’s lobster for their flavor. Monkfish must be 17 inches to keep, no bag limit.

Monk fish, Captain Michael Perkins, F/V Nor’easter photo.

FMI on saltwater fishing regulations: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable/recfishing/regs/ 



Shelley Wigglesworth is Maine native and award winning freelance journalist. In addition to her monthly feature in Coastal Angler, her work appears in various publications including  Maine Boats Homes and Harbors, National Fisherman, Commercial Fisheries News, Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s  Landings,  Yankee and The Village.  In the summer she is a mate on two boats-Captain John’s Charters and the F-V Nor’easter.