Surf Fishing Maine 4 Top Spots For Fishing The Beaches Of The Pine Tree State

Last updated on March 7th, 2024 at 05:44 pm

I’m always captivated by the rugged charm of the Maine coast, where the Atlantic Ocean kisses miles of varied shoreline. And anywhere the ocean meets shore there’s an opportunity for surf fishing. But Surf Fishing Maine? Yes, it is a thing and Maine has some great surf fishing for those willing to make a trip to the Pine Tree State.


With nearly 3500 miles of total coastline, Maine has numerous surf fishing opportunities and destinations. The following are some of the top beaches for surf fishing and family fun.

  1. Old Orchard Beach: – Located just south of Portland, with 7 miles of pristine sandy beach and great surf fishing for striped bass and bluefish, with vibrant attractions, and amusements for the whole family.
  2. Popham Beach State Park: – Located North of Portland and Southeast of Brunswick and Bordering the south side of the mouth of the Kennebec River, Popham Beach State Park features a long stretch of sand beach that offers great striper fishing in the summer months.
  3. Camp Ellis: – Just to the south of Old Orchard Beach along the Sarco River lies Camp Ellis and Hills Beach with opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater fishing for species like flounder and Mackerel.
  4. Two Lights State Park: – East of Portland near the town of Cape Elizabeth this park encompasses 41 acres of rocky headlands with a rocky coast, rolling surf, sweeping views of Casco Bay, the open Atlantic, and some great surf fishing for striped bass.

Maine is a premier destination for surf fishing enthusiasts. So, if you’re as passionate about casting lines into the surf as I am, Maine should be on your radar. Maine’s coastal waters offer a rich variety of gamefish species such as Striped bass, mackerel, and bluefish just to name a few of the fish surfanglers can encounter.

Surf Fishing Maine - Google Map of the coast of Maine showing top surf fishing areas
Map credit: Google Maps

Whether you’re a seasoned angler looking for new challenges or a family looking for a new vacation destination by the water, surf fishing in Maine caters to all. And if your interest goes beyond the thrill of reeling in the day’s catch, you might appreciate the wealth of knowledge local residents and surf fishermen share about the rich history of the state. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top spots for surf fishing Maine and where you might find the fish biting.

It may be hard to believe but Maine has a longer coastline than California. The general coastline of Maine is only 228 miles, but the tidal coastline (which includes all of the inland waters and bays) measures 3,478 miles. In short, there are plenty of surf fishing opportunities in Maine.

Maine’s coastline, with its mix of sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and tidal pools, offers some of the most picturesque and productive spots for surf fishing. But with such a vast shoreline, I know you might be wondering where is the best spot to cast your line.

So, I’ve narrowed it down to a few prime locations that have earned their reputation among the local anglers. The following list is far from exclusive, there are many more great surf fishing locations in Maine. Check the local information sources included below for more options.

Old Orchard Beach, with its lengthy stretch of sand, is a crowd-pleaser, perfect for those who are new to surf fishing or families looking for easily accessible spots. Here, you can often find striped bass and bluefish feeding close to shore.

For a mix of rocky and sandy habitats, Popham Beach State Park can’t be beaten. It’s a haven for stripers during the early summer months. Just be aware of the changing tides as they can transform the landscape dramatically.

Camp Ellis offers a unique experience with Saco River meeting the ocean, providing a blend of freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities. Anglers here target a variety of species, including flounder and mackerel.

The more experienced anglers favor the challenge of rock hopping and fishing at Two Lights State Park. Here, where the more turbulent waters meet the rocky coast, you might reel in larger striped bass or even a surprise species.

In each of these locations, paying close attention to local fishing reports and tide charts is vital. It not only enhances your chances of a good catch but ensures your safety along this dynamic coastline.

If you’re planning on surf fishing in Maine, timing is crucial. The right time can mean the difference between a load of fresh fillets or coming home empty-handed. In Maine, each season brings different opportunities and challenges.

Seasonally, the prime months for surf fishing are from late spring through early fall. During May through September, the waters are teeming with striped bass and bluefish, making these months prime time for surf anglers.

The best time of day to hit the waters is early morning or late evening. This is when fish are most active due to lower light levels and feeding patterns. Aim to align your fishing times with the high tide, as many species come closer to shore to feed. The current associated with the tides and tide changes can trigger fish-feeding activity.

To stay informed, consider connecting with local bait and tackle shops for up-to-the-minute advice on the best times for surf fishing. Online forums and fishing reports can also be valuable resources to help plan your outing.

And it is always a good idea to visit with the local anglers and guides. Don’t worry, the folks in Maine are super friendly and willing to point you in the right direction.

When you wade into the Atlantic waters off Maine’s coast, you’re on more than just a fishing trip; you’re engaging with a sporting tradition that has deep roots in the local culture. Mainers are proud of their state and take their surf fishing seriously.

Having the proper gear is important to your surf fishing success in Maine or anywhere else for that matter. Starting with surf rods, which typically range from 9 to 12 feet, you can ensure you cast your bait far beyond the breaking surf where fish like striped bass are likely lurking.

You’ll also need a suitable reel. A spinning reel tends to be the go-to for surf fishing since it casts easily for beginners and old-timers alike, has enough line capacity and drag to fight big fish, and has far fewer backlashes than your baitcasting reels.

Pair this with a braided line anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds test for the best mix of durability and sensitivity. And remember, the choice of bait can make or break your day. Live bait always works well but artificials can also be a great choice when the fish are actively feeding. Check with the local bait and tackle shops for what is catching fish.

Essential Surf Fishing Gear:

  • Surf Fishing Rods, surf rods are typically longer and heavier duty than standard rods. read more.
  • Surf fishing Reels,larger and stronger with greater line capacity to handle big fish. read more.
  • Surf fishing Rod and Reel Combos, pre-matched rod and reel set ups for surf fishing – read more.
  • Sand Spike Rod holder, holds your rods securely while you wait for that big bite. – read more.
  • Surf Fishing Rigs, terminal tackle for fishing the surf. – read more.
  • Surf fishing Carts, for beaches that won’t allow vehicles you need a way to carry your gear – read more.
  • Rod Racks for Vehicles, carry your rods out of harms way and easy to access- read more.
  • Beach Camping Gear, in case you want to fish all night or for several days – read more.

As with any beach fishing or surf fishing, understanding how to read the water and recognizing fish behaviors will improve your success rate. The way the waves break, the presence of baitfish, and even the flight pattern of seabirds can be telltale signs of prime fishing spots. Again, if you are unsure about your beach reading skills, ask the locals.

Considering Maine’s weather can be as unpredictable as the fish, checking local weather and tide reports can be the difference between an enjoyable day and a frustrating one. Typically an incoming tide is best for surf fishing Maine, but moving water can be the key to triggering the fish to feed.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, what about Maine as a family vacation destination? You can combine a surf fishing adventure and incorporate some of the other attractions and family fun activities Maine has to offer.

You don’t want to overlook the potential fun-packed day out with the family. Maine is a beautiful state with warm friendly people and a rich history with many exciting attractions for the whole family. After all, they might get tired of fishing every day. 😉

For anyone planning a surf fishing trip to Maine with their family, you can easily turn the expedition into a captivating family vacation. Maine’s coastline is dotted with not just fishing hotspots, but also numerous attractions that can delight both young and old.

You might want to visit York’s Wild Kingdom after a morning of surf fishing. It’s an amusement park and zoo where kids can enjoy wildlife and fun rides. The sandy beaches nearby also offer a fantastic way for the whole family to relax and play together enjoying the beach without the fishing rods.

Yorks Wild Kingdom Zoo and Amusement Park in Maine - Surf fishing Maine
If you want to take a break from fishing try York’s Wild Kingdom and Fun Park

The charming and historic coastal towns like Portland and Bar Harbor invite families for sightseeing and exploration. Portland, with its iconic lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth, offers a picturesque setting for family photos, while Bar Harbor is a gateway to the splendors of Acadia National Park with its easy walking trails and stunning vistas.

On a day off from surf fishing, take a leisurely cruise to spot Maine’s famous puffins and whales. These tours are engaging and fun for all ages and provide a unique perspective on the local marine life.

Finally, if your family enjoys the catch as much as the chase, Maine’s culinary scene won’t disappoint. Coastal towns boast a variety of seafood restaurants where local catches are transformed into mouthwatering dishes. It is, after all, home to the world-famous Maine Lobsters.

Cartoon character thinking with a red question mark behind him

What are the best times of the year for surf fishing in Maine?

Prime surf fishing seasons in Maine are spring and fall when striped bass and other migratory species are active. However, summer can also offer good opportunities.

What are the primary fish species targeted in Maine’s surf?

Striped bass, bluefish, mackerel, and flounder are commonly targeted in Maine’s surf. Each species may have specific seasons and regulations.

What types of bait and lures work well for surf fishing in Maine?

Clams, mackerel, squid, and various artificial lures like plugs and soft plastics are effective. Check with local anglers and bait shops then experiment with different options to find what the fish are biting on.

Are there specific regulations I need to be aware of for surf fishing in Maine?

Yes, check the current Maine fishing regulations for size limits, bag limits, and any specific rules regarding certain species or areas.

How do tides affect surf fishing in Maine, and what tide is best for fishing?

Tides play a significant role. Many anglers prefer fishing around high tide, but both incoming and outgoing tides can be productive. The key is water movement for triggering the fish to feed.

What is the importance of understanding the coastal structure for surf fishing in Maine?

Being able to “read the beach” for coastal structures like sandbars, rocky points, and estuaries where fish may concentrate will help you identify potential “hot spots”.

Are there specific locations along the Maine coast known for productive surf fishing?

Popular spots include beaches around Saco Bay, Wells Beach, Old Orchard Beach, and areas near Portland. Local knowledge from bait shops or fellow anglers can be invaluable.

How does weather, including wind and temperature, impact surf fishing in Maine?

Wind can affect casting and the presence of fish. Overcast days are often better, and cooler temperatures may attract certain species closer to shore.

What are some essential gear and tackle recommendations for surf fishing in Maine?

Sturdy surf rod, medium to heavy spinning reels, various sinkers, and a selection of hooks. Bring appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions.

Are there any safety precautions I should take while surf fishing Maine?

Be aware of changing tides, slippery rocks, and the potential for rapid weather changes. Let someone know your fishing plans, and carry the necessary safety gear.

Be sure to always check local regulations and conditions, and adapt your approach based on the specific area and time you’re surf fishing Maine.

Surf fishing Maine is more than just a pastime; it’s a privilege that comes with responsibility. The rugged coastlines, teeming with life, require our respect and care to ensure that they’ll remain vibrant for future generations. Sustainable practices are not only recommended, they’re essential.

One of the most important practices is the concept of catch and release. This is crucial, particularly for species that are not intended for the dinner table or are below the legal size. By carefully handling and returning these fish to the ocean, you play an active role in preserving the fish populations.

Surf Fishing Maine - Angler standing on the rocky shore holding up a very large striped bass
Maine Surf Striper – Photo Credit:

Be sure to check the local fishing regulations and try to make it a habit to pack out trash and respect wildlife habitats to help ensure that the beauty of Maine’s coastal regions can be enjoyed by all, now and in the future.

As always, stay safe, enjoy the journey and please try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you have any comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. You can follow us on Facebook: Rex The Beach Angler, Instagram: thebeachangler7, Twitter: @AnglerBeach, and YouTube: Man Art Creations.

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