A Beginner's Guide to Catching Striped Bass in Maine

A Beginner's Guide to Catching Striped Bass in Maine

Maine's picturesque coastline offers a wealth of opportunities for anglers, and one of the most sought-after catches is the striped bass, locally known as the “striper or linesider." Renowned for their fighting spirit and delicious flavor, stripers draw fishermen from all over to the shores of Maine. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner looking for a thrilling challenge, this guide will help equip you to reel in these prized fish.

Get to Know Striped Bass:

Striped bass are migratory fish found along the Atlantic coast, making their way from their breeding grounds in the Chesapeake and the Hudson River to Maine's waters during the warmer months. They are characterized by their distinctive dark stripes running along their silvery bodies. Stripers prefer coastal waters, estuaries, and river mouths where they hunt for prey such as baitfish, squid, and crustaceans.  Striped bass are a gift to shore anglers because striped bass often hang very near shore, well within casting distance of spin and fly anglers.

striper migration map
Image Credit: Marine Biological Lab, University of Chicago

Best Time and Locations:

In Maine, the prime time for striped bass fishing typically begins in June and lasts until October. During this period, stripers migrate along the coast, offering ample opportunities for anglers to target them. Stripers are generally nocturnal feeders so low light conditions such as dawn and dusk are often productive though they absolutely can be caught during midday.   Popular fishing spots include the Kennebec River, Casco Bay, Penobscot Bay, Boothbay Harbor, the waters around Portland, and all along the southern shore to the New Hampshire border.


fishing gear

Equipment Needed:

Fishing Rod and Reel: Choose a medium to heavy-duty spinning or bait casting rod paired with a reel capable of handling strong fish.

Fishing Line: Opt for a braided line with a test strength of at least 20-30 pounds to withstand the striper's powerful runs.

Terminal Tackle: Stock up on a variety of hooks, sinkers, and swivels suitable for different fishing conditions.

Bait and Lures: Live bait such as mackerel are popular choices for stripers though check the regulations because live baits are limited in some watersheds.   Alternatively, try artificial lures like swimbaits, spoons, or topwater plugs.

Fly Fishing Gear: Deceivers, clousers, and topwater poppers on floating or intermediate lines are popular. Crab patterns fished on sinking lines are another deadly combination. We recommend a strong rod such as an 8 or 9wt, though a skilled fisherman could run something lighter if he is ready for a fight.

Techniques for Catching Striped Bass:

Bottom Fishing: Fish near structure-rich areas such as rocky ledges, submerged reefs, or underwater structures where stripers like to hide. Use bait rigs or weighted jig heads to present your bait near the bottom and wait for a bite.

Trolling: Troll along coastal areas with diving plugs or tube rigs to cover more water and locate schools of stripers. Vary your trolling speed and depth until you find the optimal combination for attracting strikes.

Casting and Retrieving: When stripers are feeding near the surface or chasing baitfish, cast lures such as poppers, surface plugs, or soft plastic swimbaits into the action. Retrieve your lure with erratic movements to mimic injured prey and trigger aggressive strikes.

Fly Fishing: Striped bass are a favorite quarry of fly anglers and can be taken on all types of flies.


Before heading out to fish for striped bass in Maine, familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations, currently there is a permissible slot limit where only fish between 28 and 31 inches are allowed to be harvested.

More Info:

Looking for the gear you need?  Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport has a fully equipped spin and fly fishing shop.

Looking for a fishing trip to remember?   Book a guided Striper fishing trip with us! Check out our guided fishing trips, available for the waters near Camden, Rockport, and Rockland, Maine.

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