Fall Fishing Coming Soon!
Sometime in August, the waters in the rivers around Boothbay get so warm that striped bass fishing gets slow. The fish seek out deeper pockets where the water is cooler, and many head to offshore spots. But as Labor Day approaches and the days grow shorter, the fish start to think about the long migration south, and they start to feed.
Captain Caron and the Pandion crew hit what may be the opening round of fall fishing on September 5. The party of six landed 20 fish, including three keepers. Beyond the good numbers and the constant action was the size of the fish. “I’m pretty good at estimating length,” said Captain Caron, “and there were seven or eight fish today that I thought were keepers. But when I got the tape measure, they were short, but only by fractions of an inch.”
And the fish were not only of good size but getting fat. “You could see they were fattening up nicely, getting ready for the fall swim,” said Captain Caron.
Some of our best catches on Pandion have come just before the fall migration. There’s still time to book a great fishing trip. Don’t miss it!
Light Tackle ... Big Fish
Bait continues to be plentiful throughout the mid-coast region. That, of course, is a situation of mixed benefit. A large, active school of mackerel can make catching bait before a striper trip a few minutes’ work; but it can also mean that the stripers, when you find them, aren’t so hungry.
Captain Caron and a party of four anglers went out on July 29 in search of the biggest bass they could find. Four hours later, they had a dozen fish, the biggest one, pictured below, measuring 38 healthy inches.
That big bass came in on a Tingley Custom Rod made expressly for Captain Caron. By any standard, you’d have to call it ultra light tackle for a bass this size. Sometimes when the bass are well fed, the additional action you can put on a bait with a light rod makes all the difference.
On Pandion we specialize in ultra-light gear with our custom-made tackle from Tingley Custom Rods. Clients often ask if we worry about breaking light tackle. Actually, the biggest risk to good rods comes from careless handling: high sticking on the strike, banging the rod against the hull, or (worst of all) stepping on a rod left on the deck. Fighting a big fish rarely breaks a rod unless the angler clamps down too tightly on the drag or tries to lift the fish out of the water without using a net.
You have to coax a big fish to the boat on light tackle with a steady but not overpowering drag, net it carefully, and after a quick snapshot, return it gently to the water to be ready for a fight on another day. A 38-inch fish on an ultra light bass rod is a great memory for any fisherman!
Pandion and the Pandemic
With the pandemic raging across the country, the crew at Pandion Sportfishing was unsure how the 2020 season would turn out. We knew we would be ready, but would anyone be able to join us?
The answer is that we have been quite busy since July 1. The easing of quarantine restrictions on several of the New England states has surely contributed to the requests for charters; but we also think that after months of sheltering at home, people are really ready to get out in the fresh ocean air and feel a fish tugging on a line.
Pandion Sportfishing is complying with all state and local regulations regarding the pandemic. Charter clients are required to wear face masks when they are in the boatyard before and after their charter. All surfaces, tackle, and equipment are cleaned after every charter, and we have face masks aboard if guests need them. And if closed rooms with stagnant air are the places where the virus is most likely to spread, cruising up the Kennebec River at 25 knots should be a good alternative!
As the weather warms and the water follows suit, striped bass are moving into their usual mid-summer locations. Pandion had great luck fishing to the west of Boothbay this week, and a party on Saturday morning 7/25 caught 25 bass, including one keeper.
The Pandion fishing team (Captain Caron and his mate Nick) went offshore for an overnight tuna trip mid-week and hooked up a giant bluefin tuna in the early morning. There’s a picture accompanying this update that shows what a really big fish can do to 130-pound tackle when it decides to sound. Unfortunately, the giant broke off just as the team got him near the boat. It was a hard fight for a disappointing outcome, but that’s why we call it “fishing,” not “catching.”
Pandion Update: Stripers!
The last few weeks have been busy ones on Pandion. The good July weather has brought in lots of charters and lots of fish. Bait has been plentiful and the stripers inshore have been very cooperative. Not a lot of keepers, but plenty of fish in the mid to high 20s that put a nice bend in a light rod and a pleasant tug on a line.
Fishing has been strong this season. After an excellent halibut and haddock season in May and June, the stripers have moved into local waters in good numbers. Tuna fishing hasn’t hit its mid-summer peak yet, but one 87-inch bluefin weighing 220 pounds has hit our deck, and a couple have been lost to pulled hooks. Bait is plentiful, so we anticipate a good tuna season. There have been reports of bluefish in local waters, but so far the striper fishing has been too good for us to hunt for blues.
Bait Season Begins in the Kennebec 7/1
The Kennebec river system is closed to using bait (alive or dead) until July 1 every season. Given the effectiveness of bait on the striper population, local anglers wait anxiously for the start of bait season. Pandion has done quite well this spring using artificial lures, but you can’t miss the first day of bait season!
And the traffic on the river showed that lots of other anglers had planned a day off from work to catch that first striper of the season on cut mackerel or on an eel. At 2 pm on July 2, 10 boats were drifting under a cloud of birds working baitfish across from the Bath Iron Works. Everybody was catching fish. It doesn’t get better than that!
On a short afternoon, Pandion went 7 for 12 on our first bait trip of the season. The water temperature is coming up. There’s a lot of bait in the water. It’s time to book a trip with Captain Caron and Pandion Sportfishing!
Offshore for Big Fish
On June 28, the Pandion Sportfishing crew went offshore in search of tuna and ground fish. In addition to halibut, we were treated to a visit by a thresher shark. One of the treats of going offshore is the chance to see some of the larger marine mammals. This trip was no exception, as the Humpback Whales put on quite a show. But the high point was bringing in an 87-inch tuna that weighed 220 pounds! We're looking forward to more later in the summer. As the weather gets warmer, the fishing offshore grows more and more comfortable. Book a trip soon!
A New Technique in an Old Hotspot
It’s been family and friends day for Pandion the last two days. Somewhat problematic weather and the vagaries of the calendar left us without charters. What a great opportunity to do what we most enjoy doing—gather the friends and cousins and go fishing in the Kennebec River. Fishing with family is also a great opportunity to experiment with new techniques.
Certain fishing spots always become associated with a specific presentation: this is the spot that live bait works best on the incoming tide, or this is the spot to use top water plugs on the outgoing. Generally those precepts are based on a lot of experience. In the case of Pandion, Ty has been fishing the river for 30 years … pretty much the same way every year.
But Captain Caron likes to try new presentations. And having family and friends aboard was a perfect opportunity to shake things up. So we tried trolling small diving plugs in spots that traditionally held fish. Trolling allows you to cover a lot of water, and once we found a concentration of fish, we stayed put and enjoyed the catching.
The result: 27 bass in two four-hour cruises, with plenty of fish lost in good fights, and one monster bass that snapped the leader and bent a rod to a truly memorable angle. The mackerel and herring have arrived in the area, and the
A Great Day on the Offshore Grounds
Pandion Sportfishing opened its 2019 offshore season with a great day on May 20. Four anglers ventured out in foggy, chilly weather and caught 36 haddock, 3 cusk, and 12 pollock. It was non-stop action for three hours! Double and even triple hook-ups were common, and there were numerous releases of under-sized fish. Coolers were full to overflowing as Pandion headed back to the harbor.Interestingly, a dozen cod were also caught. Since there is a moratorium on possession of cod, all these fish were safely released. Cod stocks have been depleted in the Gulf of Maine, and the moratorium is designed to give the species time to recover. Several of the cod caught were estimated to exceed 30 inches and suggest that the stock is recovering nicely. All the anglers on Pandion on this trip are looking forward to when we are able to keep a few of these tasty fish.Charters are being booked at Pandion Sportfishing rapidly now, as the Maine fishing season begins. Visit the Contact Us page or call 207‑380‑2791 to book a date on Pandion.
August Fishing Is Hot!
August is always the time when the big bluefin tuna start to arrive in good numbers in the Gulf of Maine. Bait is plentiful, and the water is warming to bring bait to the surface. This year is no exception to the patterns of past years.
Captain Caron and his crew were tuna fishing for four days last week and landed one recreational fish, as well as two 200-pound commercial bluefin. With a number of offshore trips booked in the coming week, it looks as though lots of anglers are looking to test themselves against the toughest fighting fish in the Atlantic.
But despite the thrill of watching a big reel smoking as a bluefin makes its initial run, there’s no greater fun on Pandion than watching young anglers reel in their first trophy bass. On August 10, two visitors to Boothbay, young men ages 13 and 14, were out with their parents when one hooked a 44-inch striped bass. No sooner was that one in the net than his brother hooked and landed a 42 incher. And to finish off a great morning with nine bass landed, they landed a 29-inch keeper that was so fat the net broke. Having to replace a net because a big fish broke it is a problem we like to have on Pandion!