Belfast Shoreline

Key Species: striped bass.

Best Way to Fish: boat, bank.

Best Time to Fish: late May through September.

MAG: 14, A-4

Description: The Belfast shoreline borders Belfast Bay, which is part of Upper Penobscot Bay. Weed beds just offshore harbor bait fish, which in turn attract striped bass.

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Boaters have difficulty reaching these weed beds at low tide because of rocks and shallow water, but shore-based anglers can fish here during any stage of the tide. Access is available at Belfast City Park, a scenic 27-28 Belfast shoreline/Belfast Footbridge day-use picnic area on the shores of Belfast Bay.

Fishing index: Striped bass enter the upper regions of Penobscot Bay in late May and remain all summer. Anglers using bait take school stripers as well as legal-sized fish by fishing on bottom. Favorite baits include whole mackerel, menhaden, live eels, and marine worms. You can dig your own marine worms on the local mudflats at low tide, and you can catch mackerel from the Belfast footbridge.

The author once made the mistake of trolling here using two rods at once. A 3-pound striper hit on the port rod at the same time as a considerably larger fish hit the Flash King on the starboard rod. In the ensuing battle, the smaller fish was landed and the larger fish escaped. Later that week, a friend of the author's fished here with lead-head jigs and took over 50 school-sized stripers in a few hours' time.

Most local anglers stand on dry land as they cast their bait out toward the kelp beds, but an angler willing to wade may have good sport using spinning or fly tackle. Fly fishers should use a weight-forward, sinking fly line with large, bushy streamer flies. If the stripers are visible on the surface, use poppers fished on a floating line. Anglers using spinning lures should try plastic eels and plastic minnow imitations such as shadow lures. Lead-head jigs with either white, green, or yellow bucktail or plastic curlytail bodies are effective as well.

A moving tide is best, either coming in or going out, because stripers disperse during extreme high and low tides. When the tide is moving, however, the fish always pass by this section of shoreline.

This is a popular spot for night fishing. Whole mackerel are the preferred bait then. Stripers of 20 pounds and more can be taken here during the nighttime hours.

Directions: From Camden, head north and east on U.S. Route 1 toward Belfast. At Belfast, take the first right turn just past an Irving service station on the left. Continue driving for about 0.5 mile and look for the sign at the entrance to Belfast City Park, on the right.

For more information: Contact The Outdoor Sportsman.

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