: Popham Beach Stripers
09-23-2003, 01:20 PM
Hey guys I'm new to the area and I am from seattle. Iam at Bowdoin college (brunswick ,ME) and I wanted to try for stripers this weekend possibly at Popham beach. What do I need to know, what is the technique (I've never done it before) thanks.
If you've ever fished for coho in the salt, there are few differences in the gear and not many in technique either. Start with an 8, 9 or 10wt rod and an intermediate line, or if you tend to fish faster deeper water go with a sinking head line like a teeny-style line. Rio makes a great hi-density head line for stripers with an intermediate running line. Pick up a few standard flies - clousers, deceivers, a slim jim and a big eye baitfish. This time of year much of the action will be centered on fish pounding small baitfish, bunker, which are like small pacific herring w/ a more petal shaped body.
Fish generally rush into structure with the flood and station facing the current on the ebb tide. Pick spots where the fish will rendezvous with the bait in the area with the current providing them an advantage.
Popham's a great spot for ambushing bait if you're a bass on the outgoing, and if you poke around on the incoming you'll find spots where the fish tend to gather as they make their advance into inshore structure.
This time of year it's mostly just a matter of finding bait, and finding where the fish are busting on them. The birds are your biggest clue, where they are whirling over the bait you will have the best chance of your first striper hookup.
Be very careful of the tide, it's common for people to venture out on a piece of bottom that will be a threat to the angler on the flood tide. Get the tide charts for the area before you do anything and think about starting your first adventure on the dropping tide to prevent a mishap.
Rubbermaid dishpans are a fashion statement on the east coast, no shame in a bungee cord with a pan on the belt line to hold all that line you're shooting out there.
Strip retrieve matters, don't always just rip it in - try some variations in the retrieve including just a wounded jolt while the fly swings in a tide current.
If it has horizontal stripes, you can lip it like a largemouth. If it has no stripes and big yellow eyes, definitely do not lip it! Bluefish have razor teeth and if the line is not instantly sheared your fingers will.
Some of the guys here fish Popham pretty often, so maybe they'll chime in or hook up with you some weekend.
Good luck and welcome to lobsta land!
09-23-2003, 02:24 PM
Well, If you'd gone to Colby I'd be able to tell you all about the fishing up the river a ways, but as things stand, I don't know how I feel about consorting with the enemy :)
Juro gives some good advice. If you park by the fort the rip right by the fort can be good, as can the point down a bit from the fort, both mainly outgoing tide spots. If you park in the lot at the park, you can fish the morse, both the mouth and up inside a bit and also the big rock 'island' off to the left(facing the ocean) can hold fish.
This time of year binocs are a must. If fish are around in decent numbers you'll be able to see them up on top, most likely with a cloud of birds above them. If you're fishing a spot and it doesn't produce- move. this time of year the fish are either there or they aren't.
I've heard firsthand accounts of some fairly large blitzes upriver, so you should still have a bit of fishing left, but it won't last long so get out there. It's still september so you really can't have anything too pressing going on at school yet :)
09-23-2003, 02:26 PM
Welcome Tom! You are lucky to be in a very beautiful and fishy spot. Popham beach is only the tip of a virtual iceberg of good fishing. There are rocky coasts, sandy beaches, tidal rivers as well as all the fresh water fishing you can handle. I can steer you toward some less popular spots if you PM me. But keep it under your hat, I'll get blackballed if the locals find out!
You should definately get to downtown Bath and visit Kennebec Angler [97 Commercial Street Bath ME 04530 US (207) 442-8239]. They can steer you toward the right gear and techniques as well as a few hints on locations.
Here's another trick I just learned inadvertently myself. Stop by one of the local seafood retailer/wholesale/fishing outfits and drop $50.00 or 60.00 on some lobsters, mussels and steamers. Wait till there's no other customers in the shop and then casually bring up striper fishing with the sunburned youngster behind the counter. Try and disguise your accent if possible. Many locals are as closedmouthed as an oyster when it comes to striper fishing. If you get lucky though, you just might want to have pocket tape recorder handy. Either way, you can't lose - unless you don't like seafood that is!
Or you can just go driving around. Despite the great fishing potential and the growing population in the area, there is far, far less fishing pressure than in many similar areas. If you do your homework, you might just luck into an untapped spot passed over by the locals and vacationers.
09-23-2003, 03:37 PM
GO U BEARS!
Always good to see a fellow polar bear on the board. Class this place up a bit.
I'll send you a PM w/ a bowdoin contact who should be able to help you out.
09-23-2003, 05:30 PM
thanks for all the help guys i will be sure to report back on how it goes! Tod D- if there is somebody at bowdoin you know that would be great !
09-24-2003, 08:26 AM
I've done a lot of fishing at Popham. June is awesome. Bait fishing doesn't start until July so we have it to ourselves until then and the sun bathers are fewer as well. I haven't gotten down that way in the fall much but Mid September until the young of the year alewifes move out can be great.
The ocean side of the pilings in fron of the old USCG station is a nice trap for bait. Also from there to the corner of the beach a nice rip forms on both the incoming and outgoing tides. Incoming fish between the point and the pilings, outgoing fish from the point to the can. Bass stack up along that rip. In the spring I've had bass trapping bait against my legs in 6" of water. Between shore and the can off the corner of the beach there is a big hole that is real productive too. As the tide puses in and the rip starts to form bass sit in that bowl and pick off bait. Fish slow and deep and you should do well. Usually are a lot of Macs and blues too.
09-24-2003, 08:47 AM
I don't fish up there but this a big Welcome to you to the Forum.!
09-24-2003, 11:21 AM
I just thought of a cool thing I have witnessed at Popham that I've never seen anywhere else. In the fall, like right now, keep your eyes peeled for giant 6 foot long brown polaris missiles which will launch themselves into the air. No I haven't been sampling the mushrooms again! These are full grown atlantic sturgeon which leap for no apparent reason. If you're there long enough and watch closley, you will see them. It's very cool!
09-24-2003, 11:52 AM
Mike, I've seen the same thing. But the wildest thing that I've ever seen on that river was back in June of 1998 after five days of torrential rain. The local seal population was staying a few miles further upriver than normal, and every once in a while my partner and I would see some fish launch out of the water near the boat in the vicinity of the seals. I thought that they remotely looked like sharks, but at the time it really didn't make much sense.
Back at the Bath boat ramp, we ran into some photographers and state biologists who also happened to be out on the water in the same area. They confirmed what we saw, and told us that these fish were positively captured on film and identified as juvenielle makos. They had been on the water to confirm several reports of what others had seen over the past few days. The concentration of seals in such a relatively small area had led to them following the food source upriver, something we were told rarely if ever happens on that river. Imagine a bluewater shark species headed upriver towards Bath! I'm still shaking my head about that one.....:eyecrazy:
That area can be amazing. Directly across the river from Popham I've seen dozens of sturgeon jumping all night in a cove loaded with "fire in the water". I was starting to think they were jumping just to see the light show. Just for info the sturgeon are a protected species, keep your distance. Another interesting sight are the harbor porpoises. Spent an afternoon off the beach at Reed SP kayaking while a pair of them straightened up a school of macks and then wrecked them. 5 foot torpedoes.
You can get a season night fishing pass for $10.00 that gets you into Reed and Popham after hours, buy it at the gate. Ledges are treacherous but there are a lot of fish coming into the wash as described above. Short casts into the wash, helps if you can time it to get sucked out by the receeding wave. Don't take your eyes off the water for long there, sets of larger waves can come in without warning. You also have to plan where to land a fish, usually you time a wave and slide them up onto a rock.
Beaches also produce at times. Sometimes you see stripers cruising inside the crest of a wave backlit by the sun.
There are numerous areas of flats and stripers will follow the tides in along the channels. Tides can be 10-12 feet and some of the flats flood quickly so make sure you can wade back in. Check charts for flats up inside the river although access maybe tricky.
09-28-2003, 07:36 PM
Thanks to all for the advice. I managed a 27 incher on a baby bunker fly! good first outing.