Monday, April 20, 2015

Black Sea Bass New To Maine Coastal Anglers

What’s new for 2015 on Maine’s coastal fishing waters for recreational anglers? Black sea bass fishing is a new game in Maine.
                During the past couple of years, more and more black sea bass have been caught from Maine coastal waters. Most Mainers don’t even know what they look like. Here’s a photo of them. They are one of the tastiest, bottoms feeding fish in the Atlantic Ocean.

                Looks a little like a perch in profile doesn’t it? Well, they school like perch and feed as aggressive and like heavy structure.
                Maine’s Department of Marine Resources just last August established new and the first regulations in Maine waters on black sea bass. The new regulation put in place a daily bag limit for recreational harvesters of 10 fish and a minimum size for both commercial and recreational fish of 13 inches. The season for recreational harvesting is May 18 through September19.
Black sea bass have become more prevalent in Maine waters in recent years so the department determined that it was important to develop regulations that would provide opportunity for both recreational and commercial fishermen while ensuring that this new commercially viable species can be sustained” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. 
Commercial harvesters fishing in Maine waters will have a daily limit of 50 pounds. In order to fish commercially for black sea bass, harvesters must obtain a DMR Commercial Pelagic and Anadromous Fishing license. Wholesalers who wish to sell black sea bass must also obtain a black sea bass endorsement and must report all transactions weekly to the DMR landings programs.
The method of fishing for both commercial and recreational fishing is hook and line only. 
Black sea bass are a perch-like fish that lives from the Gulf of Maine to Florida. They are mottled smoky gray to dusky brown or blue-black in color, with one long continuous dorsal fin. They live on the bottom, on offshore ledges and banks. According to the Maine Sea Grant’s Maine Seafood Guide, black seas bass is versatile and popular seafood, sold whole and as steaks or fillets, is low in calories and fat, and considered a good source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.
How to find black sea bass in Maine waters is a hunt as they aren’t a historic fish that anglers know much about. The best way to start is by looking at nautical charts to locate rocky humps or rocky ridges. They really like rock structure. Use heavy egg or bank sinkers attached to two hooks with a foot or so leaders, about two feet apart. Make certain to use sinkers heavy enough to hold bottom. Carolina style rigs work just fine. Fishing at anchor or by drifting over structure are both productive techniques.  For terminal tackle, I use Temple Fork Outfitters Mangrove Series Rods in nine foot and eight to 12 test line rating with an LL Bean 3000 spin reel filled with 12 or 14 pound, Cortland green Master Braid Premium with a 4 foot,  fluorocarbon leader with a swivel at the end to attach the Carolina rig to.
Being bottom feeders, black sea bass are known to eat crustaceans and mollusks as well as several kinds of small fish. Good baits include marine worms, shrimp, crabs, clams and cut fish. Mackerel jigs are also effective.