Key Species: bluefish, striped bass Best Way to Fish: bridge Best Time to Fish: July through September MAG: 5, E-4
Description: Several bridges, as well as the shoreline at Mackworth Island, provide shore-based anglers with the opportunity to catch bluefish and striped bass. Mackworth Island is home to the Baxter School for the Deaf. Private campgrounds are available in Portland and Scarborough, and motels are plentiful in the Portland area.
Fishing index: The Martin Point Bridge, the highway bridge on U.S. Route 1, and the shores of nearby Mackworth Island can be crowded when fishing is hot. Most anglers come here for bluefish. These battlers are not daunted by the urban setting and provide fast fishing. You can tell when the blues are in because the bridges and shoreline will be lined with anglers. If you can snag some menhaden, these make good bait, as do whole mackerel. Some anglers use heavy-duty spinning tackle to cast Rapalas or large poppers. One especially good lure is cigar-shaped and has a concave head with a single treble hook on the back. This lure is semi-buoyant, so you can let it sink and then give it a twitch to bring it back to the surface. Bluefish love it. Use a 3-foot steel leader and medium or heavy spinning gear.
Large runs of bluefish are not necessarily an annual event. It is impossible to predict the intensity of the runs from one year to the next.
Look for school-size stripers to arrive in early or mid-May. Medium-weight spinning rods are perfect for schoolies. Use the same plastic lures you would use for freshwater bass; try lead-head rubber-bodied jigs, Shadows, and, if you can find them, small plastic eels. Larger stripers come into the area in late June and July. At this time, it is best to use heavier gear. Use medium-heavy spinning rods and 12- or 15-pound test line. The same lures you use for schoolies will work on the bigger fish.
Fly fishers should use at least an 8-weight outfit. Use a 15-inch section of 40-pound mono as a shock tippet. Weight forward lines will make casting easier, especially when facing a headwind. Use poppers when either bluefish or stripers are visible, and try large streamer flies at other times.
Directions: From Portland, take U.S. Route 1 north to the Martin Point Bridge. Look for the road leading to Mackworth Island on the right. You will see a sign for the Baxter School for the Deaf. Fish from the shore at Martin Point Bridge or from the shoreline at Mackworth Island.
For more information: If the bluefish are in, you will see many other anglers, most of whom will be willing to give advice. Fly fishers may call the L.L. Bean fly fishing hot line for tackle tips.
Low water on the Pleasant River. This still pool is typical of the many tranquil spots on this heavily stocked southern Maine trout stream.