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Saltwater Fishing in Maine

It’s a daily ritual seen up and down the Maine coast: Anglers shoulder surf rods and fly gear, hoist coolers and coats, and trudge down beaches and rock spits to the water’s edge. There, they toss poppers and crab flies and chunks of bait across the surf line towards the fish they hope await them. While there are many ways to enjoy the simple pleasures of fishing in Maine—no matter what time of year—there’s nothing like reeling in a fresh catch from the saltwater.

Surf Casting

Surf casting—fishing from beaches, rocks, and piers—is popular throughout coastal Maine. It’s also one of the easiest ways for visitors to experience saltwater fishing in the state. Maine’s clean ocean waters are filled with an incredible array of fish species, such as tasty mackerel, hard-fighting striped bass and toothy bluefish.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) oversees saltwater recreational fishing and provides extensive information on where and how to fish in Maine. Learn about important saltwater fishing regulations, find recommendations on where to fish along Maine's coast, view the guide on how to identify fish you’ve caught, and, before hitting the water, see if you need to register to fish in Maine.

On The Boat

Want to get out on the water? Try a fishing charter. Guides depart from harbors throughout coastal Maine and can steer you to some of the best saltwater fishing in the Northeast. The diversity of fish-holding habitat is astounding, all in a stunningly scenic setting away from crowds. Captains work sandy beaches, rocky island shores and estuaries of all sizes. Some fishing guides use specialized flats skiffs, poling shallow tidal flats sight casting to stripers.

Others use bigger boats that head primarily into deeper water. There, you can target gamefish and groundfish, and hunt for bigger fish—bluefin tuna, as well as mako, blue and thresher sharks.

Experienced captains don’t just lead you to the good spots; they’ll also help you choose the right bait, tackle or fly. Maybe, they’ll even offer you advice on that shaky cast. Most charters provide all the gear, bait and tackle you’ll need. Be sure to pack your own lunch for longer trips, and bring personal essentials such as sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, a hat and appropriate clothing to stay dry and comfortable during a day on the water.

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