For Reservations Call The Maine Saltwater Fishing Hotline 207-691-0745

For Reservations Call The Maine Saltwater Fishing Hotline 207-691-0745

Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports Blog

Welcome to the Fish Blog & saltwater fishing reports page of TIDE CHASER GUIDE SERVICE & Capt. George Harris. We're looking forward to providing you with the most up to date inshore saltwater fishing reports on the Maine coast as the Maine Striper Fishing season goes forward into 2019!!! You wont find any generic"cut & paste" reports or info here...Just pure fishing!!!

TIDE CHASER provides friendly, professional guided fly & light tackle fishing trips.
We operate our fishing TRIPS in the Mid-Coast region of Maine, from Casco Bay to Penobscot Bay. This area features an astonishing 1000 miles of jagged, pristine coastline. We focus our efforts on the broad reach of the lower Kennebec river estuary & the outer boundaries of Casco Bay...with its countless thousands of acres of untouched saltwater flats, gnarly tides that rip over rocky structure and an intricate maze of backcountry channels, It's a fly & light tackle fishermans nirvana. On any given day we can be found fishing sandy beaches, ocean front ledges, coastal tide marshes or shallow hard bottom flats. Wherever the fish are!!! Whether it's on the fly...pitching plugs or live lining frisky live baits we've got you covered check out our website for all of our trip offerings...and stay tuned for some new trips options for 2019

Welcome to Maine's #1 Striper Fishing Blog with Capt. George Harris Call 207-691-0745

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Tide Chaser Guide Service Midcoast Maine's premier fly & light tackle guide service, fishing for Striped Bass, Mackerel & Bluefish , i~ USCG 100 Ton Master ~ Registered Maine Tidewater Guide ~ For reservations call 207-691-0745 ~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports 2010: Smelt Season a Maine Tradition!!!

The Smelt bite has been outstanding on the Great Salt Bay(GSB) of Maine's Damariscotta River...We've been fishing from one of our portable Shanties using jig rods equipped with spring bobbers and tiny ice jigs...the bait of choice has ranged from bloodworms to small pieces of shrimp.

A far cry from our beloved midcoast Maine Stripers...However...Every December, whole villages of smelt shanties spring up almost official, if unnecessary, signal of winter’s arrival. Smelt fishing is a deep and dependable tradition on the state’s coast. As soon as the ice is thick enough, smelters drag their customized shanties onto the tidal rivers and sit inside them, stoking wood stoves and tending to baited lines that hang through holes in the ice.

"Ocean-going smelt enter our tidal waters as early as November and December. Anglers get serious about smelting in January and can fish for them into March. Fishing can be done from a pop-up ice shelter. This means taking an ice auger to get through the ice, as well as a stove to keep the chill off, bait, bucket, rods, hooks and other tackle. Everything has to be hauled out onto the ice because the ice is too unstable to drive a vehicle. The majority of smelt anglers like to rent a shack from a commercial smelt shack operation where most of the items are taken care of by the proprietors. Small mom-and-pop businesses emerge each year with as many as 50 smelt shacks for rent on the ice of tidal rivers. The cost to rent these shacks varies, with the range of price somewhere between $10 and $15 per person. Bait, hooks, lines, and sinkers are provided...we use our own specialzed jig rods. There is a wood stove in the shack to keep the occupants warm.

Cooking Smelt:
This species' meat is white, delicate and sweet flavored. Preparation for cooking often involves simply removing the head and entrails. Frying is an easy method for preparing smelt. Mix one cup of flour, corn meal or breadcrumbs and one teaspoon of your favorite seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake cleaned smelt in this mixture so that they are lightly dusted. Fry the fish in 1/8 inch of vegetable or olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the other. Drain the fish on paper towels and eat while still warm. Fried smelt are finger food, to be enjoyed plain or dipped in tartar or seafood sauces.

Throughout this season we'll be organizing daytime & evening smelting trips...A great weekend getaway for those of you in southern New England or for those of you looking to spend some quality time with the kids in an outdoor environment...Please contact us if you'd like to join one of our groups.

Maine Striper Fishing Guide
Capt. George Harris
(31" Striper caught on a shallow midcoast Maine flat, minus the fancy pastels!!! read more)
You've gotten all the right equipment...The fancy pastel colored, SPF-50, Ex Officio clothing...a quiver of the newest, lightest, super fast action SAGE, G.LOOMIS, SCOTT Branded fly rods complete with the requisite shiny gold anodized, machined aluminum, carbon fiber/cork drag, large arbor "designer" fly reels lined with the latest, greatest, slickest floating and intermediate fly lines (wow..nice descriptive)... The many hours of casting practice have paid off big time...that nasty tailing loop is almost gone and you've gotten your casting to the point that you can effortlessly throw a weighted crab fly 80 feet into a stiff breeze and drop it with pinpoint accuracy into a shot glass...(okay...maybe a garbage can) Your fly boxes are overflowing with painstakingly tied crustacean, worm hatch and baitfish creations that look so real that you're afraid to reach in and grab one for fear it might start gnawing on your thumb...Are we talking about Tarpon, Permit or Bonefishing in an exotic remote tropic location??? Hah...Not even close!!! We're off the coast of Maine and we'd like to welcome you to the world of shallow water Striper fishing!!!

(this nice fat bellied 32" fish was caught in a mere 18" of water)
While our livebaiting & "Butterfly Jigging" trips were very exciting and productive when fishing over deep water ledges...the shallow water Striper fishery presented us with many unique challenges last season. Despite the often difficult fly fishing conditions we faced last year...Overall I would say it was a success with more trophy sized fish being landed than in previous years. The knowledge that I gained from widening the search for fish will hopefully prove to be invaluable for many years to come. We quickly learned what was not working and made the proper adjustments. Our approach to skinny water Striper fishing changed in 2007 and 2008...with far more emphasis placed on sight casting to tailing, waking and laid-up large solitary fish as opposed to chasing the huge blow-ups of schoolie Stripers...Fast sinking lines were replaced by floating and intermediate lines...short 4-6 foot sections of 20# flouro leader were replaced with long tapered leaders more common to steelhead or bonefishing. Big Bulky flies were replaced by smaller sparsely tied shrimp, crab and baitfish offerings. Being able to stalk 15 to 20 lb Fish on the flats...make the cast and lead the fish into explosive visual strikes was fascinating and very exciting. Chasing birds around was mostly an exercise in futility which usually resulted in every nearby fish being spooked into the next county...Many times we'd intentionally ground the "Super Fly" on certain un-named shallow mussel bars(a flooding tide of course) and wait for big cruising Stripers to push onto the flats and into our casting range.
(A healthy Striper released on one of Maine's many sand flats)When the conditions are right Striped Bass make perfect sight casting targets for fly & light tackle anglers. When sight casting to Striped Bass around the numerous Mussel bars and eel grass beds that fringe many of our shallow flats, we frequently encounter Stripers that are "Tailed Up"...yes Stripers do "tail", like an Abaco Bone or Redfish of Florida's famed Indian River Lagoon, Striped Bass often feed by grubbing around on the mud & eel grass flats for crabs, shrimp and worms, leaving their tails wagging like flags in the breeze. A well presented fly presented just up current of the "tailing" Striper...slowy crawled along the bottom will usually yield a strike. "Mud's"(silty clouds in the clear water)are often left by the grubbing stripers and are a dead giveaway that Striped Bass are present and on the feed...most times however, we have challenging task of sighting and casting to "laid up" or slow cruising the average angler sighting fish on the flats can be a bit daunting, but to a good guide...that Striper might as well be brushed with neon paint. The ideal scenario is to cast up current of your target so that your fly swims down current to the holding fish, hopefully resulting in a strike!!!
Maine's shallow water habitat is comprised of surf, sand flats, fast water channels, bays, coves, rips and marsh. All easily accessible and fished with a fly rod!!!

Call us if you'd like to join us for a day or two this coming season. We'll be happy help you plan your Maine vacation!!! Depending on which region of the Maine coast you're staying on...we can provide you with info on all the top fishing guides. If fly fishing isn't your worries we're well equipped for light tackle & live bait fishing too!!!

Maine Flats Fishing Striper Guide
Capt. George Harris