With 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds and 5,000 miles of coast, it’s no wonder that fishing is such a popular sport in Maine, whether that be freshwater, saltwater or ice fishing.
We actually have about 275,000 paid license holders this year, over two-thirds of them state residents and the remainder from all across the US. And while fishing numbers have hardly changed nationwide during the past couple of years, here in Maine they keep on growing.
No surprise. The variety of fish and the stunning surroundings of some of Maine’s famous angling spots are the perfect lure for folk of all ages, from beginners to experts.
In fact, research shows that beautiful locations, ideally remote, are preferred by seasoned anglers. Not only that, but other studies have shown that fishing, especially the so-called “quiet sport” of fly fishing can help lessen stress and calm the mind. That’s because it calls for concentration that takes your mind off other things in your life.
As Professor Herbert Benson, professor of mind/body medicine at Harvard Medical School says: “With the repetitive back-and-forth motion of the rod and line and fly… you’re focusing on where that fly is going to land on the water and that breaks the train of everyday thought.”
But despite the sport’s popularity, there’s still lots of water waiting to be fished by beginners and newcomers, as well as the regulars. With our everyday busy lives, angling offers a fantastic escape from those pressures.
And while some anglers are supposedly notorious for exaggerating the size of their catch, most will admit that there’s always something new to learn about this intriguing pastime — from techniques of casting to different approaches required for different fish species.
So, whatever stage you’re at with fishing, take your pick from some of our Top 10 tips on how to improve your techniques — and your catch.
Top 10 Fishing Tips
- Learn and practice casting before you fish. And then look for ways to improve your technique. Casting technique is as important in fishing as your stance in golfing.
- Know your baits. Every fish species responds best to a particular bait.
- Maintain a well-organized tackle bag and use a lanyard and snap to keep similar items together.
- Don’t be over-cautious by fishing only in safe zones just because you’re putting your best lures at risk. Use cheap lures and fish the better, more risky areas.
- If you don’t have a boat and can’t afford one, rent or buy a kayak or canoe to take you into deeper waters. They’re also easier to transport.
- Get a map for freshwater lake fishing so you know the various depths.
- Get to know the temperatures preferred by individual species and then test water temperatures before you start.
- Likewise, study and learn the different times of day that are best for the fish you’re hunting.
- Employing a guide, or even speaking to a local if you encounter one, will save you hours of unsuccessful fishing. They know what’s best, where and when.
- Practice safety at all times — wearing the right gear, especially if you’re boating, and protecting your eyes if you’re casting. And clean up before you leave.
But whether you live and/or fish in Maine or elsewhere, the important point is to focus on the joy of angling as well as seeking opportunities to up your game so you can fish like a pro.
And what makes a fishing expert or pro?
Tips from the Champs
Outdoor Life magazine’s online pages polled some of the experts across the country on their favorite tactics a couple of years ago. You can see the full article here but here’s a sample of their comments:
Jordan Lee, Bassmaster Classic Champion: “What matters most is that you choose a crankbait that matches the depth you are fishing.”
Jason Przekurat, National Walleye Tour Champion: “When you do get a bite, feed the rod back to the fish as they take it and let the rod load up. Then sweep forward to set the hook.”
Mark Robinson, Redfish Classic Champion: “The mistake a lot of people make is they catch fish at two, then go back the next day in the morning and don’t catch fish. They think they’re gone, but those fish just aren’t biting yet.”
Matt Morgan, Crappie Master National Champion: “When you are spider-rigging, the most important factor that separates good fishermen from the best is boat control. And moving into the wind often allows you to present your bait at precisely the right speed and depth.”
More Information on Fishing in Maine
Maine’s freshwater offerings include several varieties of trout (we have 97 percent of wild brook trout waters in the eastern US), landlocked salmon, bass, musky, pike, even arctic char and more. Offshore, you can look for bluefin tuna, striped bass and bluefish among a host of ocean species.
A good source of information, and the place to learn about regulations and licenses is the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (https://www.maine.gov/ifw/). Note that the state recently introduced a new law to create more opportunities for veterans to fish.
You can also download an excellent Maine Fishing Guide, which includes a list of 300 hotspots and fishing trips from Maine fisheries biologists here. In addition, you can download a summary of the state’s fishing laws here.
We wrote recently about Maine’s Professional Guides Association (https://www.maineguides.org/). There are about 4,000 guides who can provide you with information on personalized fishing expeditions. If you prefer remote spots, you may also contact the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization (https://www.mwgo.org/).
Protecting your Gear and Your Trip
There are two important aspects of fishing insurance you need to know about. The first is your fishing gear. You probably don’t need us to tell you how costly it can be to be properly equipped, whether you’re a day tripper or longer-term venturer.
It’s likely that some aspects of your equipment will be covered through a homeowners insurance policy. But you should check with your agent.
For longer-term expeditions, it’s wise to consider travel insurance in case the weather or other circumstances force cancellation.
Again, speak to your agent about this. We can help you here at Cheney Insurance with both of these protections.
Now, go get that pole and start casting!