Haddock fishing attracts thousands of anglers to Maine’s coast every year, and it is easy to see why. The thrill of heading out onto the open sea in search of that elusive trophy catch is enough for some. While others enjoy the uncertainty that surrounds just what may end up on the end of their line.
Let's dive right in.
Going Haddock Fishing in Maine
There are plenty of different species of fish to be found just off the coast of Maine. And while you expect some to bite, others you might not.
Haddock fishing is a very popular pursuit. They are a particularly sought after fish due to their size, weight and excellent meat. Fresh haddock is highly rated, and the added bonus of being able to preserve it by drying or smoking makes it an even more appealing target to anglers.
The haddock can easily be distinguished from other deep sea species by a dark lateral line that runs along its body. And a dark marking just above its pectoral fin, sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s thumbprint”.
Adult haddock are typically found at depths of around 120 to 400 feet. Though are known to have a range of up to 900 feet in extreme cases. Juvenile haddock prefer much shallower waters, and will usually reside just off the coast until they mature.
Temperature and Food
Haddock are known to thrive in waters around 36 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So the best places to find them and go Haddock fishing will be dictated largely by water temperature and available food sources. Typically, haddock feed on small invertebrates.
Equipment for Haddock Fishing
For equipment, haddock fishing is best done using a moderately heavy fifty pound class rod coupled with a similarly weighted line.
The majority of the haddock you will catch will be much lighter than this. Though it does pay to be prepared should a much larger fish take the bait. Haddock accept similar bait to cod, and can be caught using clams, herring, shrimp, squid or even artificial lures.
Haddock fishing can be done at various times of the year, though the summer months are reputed to be by far and away the best.
Gulf of Maine
The Gulf of Maine is renowned as an important spawning area for haddock, and the south-western region holds some of the best fish available off the eastern coast.
Conservation Measures for Haddock Fishing
Haddock stocks have been in decline over the past few decades, so conservation measures are in place to ensure their survival. As such, the legal limit for haddock fishing is 18 inches – fish any shorter than this must be released.
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