Our last trip for stripers was with Captain Vince Miniutti with Big Fisherman Charters. My long time friend, Kevin Alley, was able to drive south a few hours to meet up with us, catch up on some old times and also to catch a few fish. The goal of the day was to find some mackerel for bait and head around some deeper water columns, hoping there would be some bigger stripers to hook into. We met at Marston’s Marina along the Saco River and headed out the inlet in search for some macks. Along the way, sturgeon were leaping like tarpon out of the water, apparently in order to communicate and maintain group cohesion – that was a really cool sight to see! Just outside of the inlet bluefish were busy stirring up the water and making havoc, a nice species to warm up the drag on the reel.
Making our way to deeper water and starting to chum, there was a small wait until the mackerel got the idea to come and play. This also reminded me of when my Dad would take me in the canoe into the harbor’s of Maine when I was younger, going after only mackerel with “christmas tree” rigs, catching five at a time – this day was no different, pulling up multiple mackerel, one drop after the next. But just as quickly as the macks started biting, they were gone, which gave us just enough bait for the day’s work.
Our first spot to anchor was probably one of the most beautiful locations I have ever fished at. With a backdrop of crashing waves on chunks of rock the size of cars, seagulls sprawled around watching us as the sun warmed their feathers, and a white lighthouse perched on top of an island with a rustic salt worn house attached to it. I almost forgot to start fishing! Placement of our mackerel was crucial, as they had to be tossed next to the crashing waves above forty feet of water – too close and you’re snagged on the rocks, too far and you’re out of the fish zone. My dad did get a nice hit almost off the bat but the stripers just weren’t around this area so we picked up and headed to the next spot which was near another island, also surrounded by rocks that the linesiders used for cover and for foraging for food.
The first hookup at this spot by my Dad was actually on an artificial plug, a Yozuri deep diver. As he fought him I threw in a Bomber Windcheater that was also quickly taken, a double hookup! Not too long after, the Baitrunner’s secondary drag started screaming, which had a mackerel as bait and usually meant a bigger fish-now a triple hookup! From having a slow bite and enjoying watching one nice fight, turned into a temporary bonanza with fish flailing all over the place. After releasing the smaller ones, we were able to land the bigger one, which turned out to be an upper slot striper, a beautiful catch that we were looking for! Surely, when they decide to eat the bite is insane and it makes the day really worth it after thinking you’re not even going to find even one.
We ended up catching a few more schoolies on plugs then decided to hit a few other spots along the way back to the inlet. One area had grass along the edges of the water followed by an immediate drop off to roughly fifteen feet, another perfect spot to subdue some stripers. After a few casts along the edges I had a nice hit about ten feet off of the bank on a plug, another great fight and another slot fish!
The day was a success and we certainly had a blast checking out the coastline, taking in breathtaking sights, and bending a few rods with Captain Vince. If you are ever in the area of Biddeford, Maine, and want to do some fishing, give him a call at 207-590-6338.