Saco Schoolies

Early season striped bass on the Saco river from Camp Ellis up to Saco, Maine.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go out with a large group for some early season striped bass on the Saco river from Camp Ellis up to Saco, Maine. I was in a boat with Frank Glasscock and Jeremy Ratliff from Superior Distibution of Eastern Tennessee. We were going out fishing out with Captain Cal Robinson of Saco Bay Guide Service. Capt. Cal knew Frank and I would like to do some fly casting, so while the other two boats headed up river to catch some bait for fishing below the dam, we noodled around in the estuaries fly fishing for some schoolie action.

The weather outlook wasn’t very good for the day. It was drizzling rain at 5 am but expected to get heavier as the day went on. Capt. Cal knew he could put us on fish right away and then move up to try to get a keeper below the dam.

Cal was right. We started getting into them right away with some spinning rods while Frank worked the fly rod from the casting deck. We got a dozen or so small stripers in the upper teens. They were hitting hard and close to the boat.

When Frank gave me a shot at the fly rod, I didn’t find the wind to be too much of a problem. The 8 wt. rod sent the Cortland 444sl racing out of the guides with little effort. It didn’t take a very long cast to get the fish.

When the wind picked up, we moved farther up the river stopping here and there until about the Biddeford boat launch. Then we headed for the dam to fish with chunk mackerel. I’d never fished circle hooks before, but I see what all the fuss is about these days. The hook, if set properly, lodges just inside or at the lip of the fish. It’s easier to get the fish off the hook so you can catch more fish.

Even though the day ended in nearly a downpour for the ride back to the Camp Ellis pier, we had a blast. Frank and Jeremy were great fun to be with on the boat. Capt. Cal is a very experienced guide. I just love fishing for those schoolies.

Author: Eric Holsinger

Eric Holsinger is a software professional and photography enthusiast in Southern Maine.

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