Maine Offshore Fishing - Sharks, Bluefin Tuna & Groundfish

Maine offshore fishing is very popular, despite a shorter season than further south. I spoke with Captain John Pappas who has been running offshore charters from Portland Harbor since 1993. He's fished around the globe as well as Maine for decades and can compare what it's like in Maine to the rest of the planet.

Captain John runs a 38 foot Libby, and may be the only full time offshore captain out of Portland Harbor as many have quit or gone part time in because of the current economic climate. John holds a 100 Ton Captains License (most have an easier to get so called "six pack" license), Chief Engineers License, and Maine Tidewater guide license. During the off season he travels the world on an merchant ship and often wets a line all over the globe. He's been fishing a good 40 years. He's also my little cousin and we've fished together for decades. You can find him at Maine Offshore Fishing.

Although he doesn't fly fish, he understands fly fishing and it's very common for his clients to bring fly rods along and occasional catch fish with them, for example blue sharks. Interestingly his son is now taking up fly fishing.

Captain John's usual trips are 10-20 miles out of Portland harbor, although he occasionally runs (inshore) Maine striped bass trips (which he doesn't advertise) and also shorter inshore trips more suitable to tourists and children. He loves fishing with kids, and often does including with his own. Although Captain John doesn't run whale watching trips, I've also never gone out with him and not seen whales!

There are three main types of offshore fishing in Maine: ground fishing, shark fishing, and tuna fishing. The ground fishing is world class, the shark fishing is very good with average sharks running very large, and tuna fishing with has quite honestly sucked the last few years.

The season runs from May to November, with the shoulder seasons often being quite bitter, cold, and not that popular. During the summer almost all trips run, but during the shoulder seasons, roughly May, early June, and late September on, weather is more of a factor and approximately 70% of trips run. Remember it can be beautiful, calm, and sunny on shore, yet rough and unsafe a mere few miles offshore.

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Maine Ground Fishing   Maine Shark Fishing   Maine Bluefin Tuna Fishing

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