Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Fresh and Saltwater Angling Connection

Many freshwater anglers feel that it is a whole different world when it comes to fishing in saltwater.  There is a common belief that you need a 10’ rod, 4oz lead weight, and a chunk of mackerel to go after striped bass and bluefish.  Not so!

For most freshwater anglers, you can use the same setup that you catch smallmouth with for stripers and blues.  If you have a smallmouth rod that is spooled up with 10#-12# test line of good condition (line that is less than 2 years old) you can fish for stripers and have a blast.

Of course playing a striped bass will test your fishing skills with some of the fish over 10 pounds but to be challenged is all apart of the fun of fishing.  You can land stripers up to 25 pounds or more with good technique, but most fish average 5 pounds, which makes the smallmouth setups perfect.

You need to keep in mind a few good fishing habits if you hook up with a fish over 10 pounds.  The drag needs to be adjusted for tension but lets line out before breaking.  Rod tip needs to be kept parallel to the ground or lower during the fight, this will avoid the dreaded “ high tipping” that puts too much stress on the tip and breaks it.  This occurs mostly when trying to land the fish.  Instead of lifting the rod tip to get the fish within arms length, sweep the rod parallel to the water, this will help keep the majority of the pressure on the butt or backbone of the rod that is the strongest part.  Of course those of us who regularly catch 5-pound smallies already know this, right?

You may be surprised what hits.  My clients and myself love to fish top water plugs.  There is nothing more exciting than seeing 3 or 4 stripers fighting over your plug on the surface.

The fishing begins and ends around the same time and the fish are most aggressive at the start and the finish just like fresh.  You don’t have to go to the crashing surf to catch fish; in fact the tidal rivers are where all the fish are at the end of May.  Just ask some of the fishermen in Waterville who have benefited nicely from the removal of the dam in Augusta a few years ago.

We are very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country where we can fish for and catch fresh and saltwater fish in the same day.  In most cases if we have the equipment for fresh water than you are already set up for stripers.  Keep it simple and have fun.

On the subject of caring for your equipment, always rinse your reel, rod, and lures with fresh water after each trip.

We know the rod to use but what about lures?  Use the same lures you catch smallies with.  Bass are bass and stripers will respond to the same lures you use in fresh.  Of course some of the smaller plugs have hooks that are too light, but many of the manufacturers make “saltwater versions”.  Just to give a few examples, Chug Bug by Storm, Slug-Go by Lunker City, and Zara Spook by Heddon all make models with upgraded hooks suitable for stripers and are just as deadly.

Present your lure for stripers the same way you do for smallies.  Look for the same structure (rocks, holes, rip lines) and pretend your fishing in fresh water.

By Captain Keith Hall

Find some great saltwater and freshwater Fishing Boats here at Hamlin's Marine!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Bowl of Boat Shows This Weekend!

Spring is in the air, and it is time for the annual Bangor Boat show at the Bangor Auditorium this weekend.

This show will feature six local dealers showcasing the best new boats of 2011.  Hamlin’s Marina hopes you are able to attend the show and join us in welcoming in warm weather again.  We can’t wait to get our docks back in the river this spring.  Hopefully, your plans include a new boat this year!

Here are a few of the best deals being showcased in Bangor this weekend.  Make sure you check out both the photo galleries and the product video.

Sweetwater Sunrise 206C Pontoon Boat:

Sweetwater Sunrise 206 Pontoon Boat Boat Show Package Special

Stingray 225SX Sportboat:

Polar kraft 179 SE TC Aluminum Fishing Boat:

These boats are just a sampling of nearly 30 boats we will be bringing to show.

Also, Hamlin’s Marina is renovating a brand new 11,000 square foot boat show room and marine accessories store in the buildings formerly owned by Stern’s Lumber Company on Route 1A in Hampden.  Stay posted for our Grand Opening and Open House in the coming months!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boat Shows Begin This Weekend...What's All The Ruckus?

I would wager a bet that most folks in Maine do not consider March their favorite month of the year.  December is wonderful because of the holidays and family.  January and February are cold and snowy, but Mainers are somehow fascinated by sub-zero temperatures and drifting snow.  Plus it gives us a chance to fire up the woodstove.  March, however, is the final stretch for Old Man Winter in Maine.  We are still getting belted by snow, our skin has turned to a pasty white, and we are tired of taking our boots off in the mud room.  Cabin fever has set in.  What better way to scoff Mother Nature than to attend a show and buy a new boat?

It’s a popular phenomenon.  Believe it or not, Hamlin’s Marine sells almost a third of our boats for the year during the month of March.  Cabin Fever may be one of the reasons people attend March boat shows to buy, but there are other reasons that make boat shows an excellent opportunity to purchase a new or used boat. 

Consumers always have an advantage at a boat show.  A boat show allows you to compare and contrast dozens of different boat models and dealers.  At a boat show, you can learn more about features, quality, and value than a years worth of research.  Since dealers are sharing space with competitors, you can be assured of getting the most for your money. 

The boat shows are also an excellent time to take advantage of discount pricing on 2010 models still in stock; previous year models are known as hold-overs.  Hold-over models are deeply discounted to make room for new inventory.  Better yet, most boat show incentives also apply to hold-over inventory.  Very little hold-over inventory makes it past the March show season.

Another reason people tend to buy in March, is that a we generally have time to custom order a boat in time for the season.   This way you don’t have to settle for a model that is the wrong color or may not have a certain feature, just because you want to get your family on the water. 

Finally, Hamlin’s Marine brings in outside experts to assist you in making a decision.  Experts include professional fishermen, boat manufacturers, and some of our long-time customers.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a third-party’s opinion when you are struggling to make a decision.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big Things Afoot At Hamlin's Marina

Almost five years ago my family opened up shop on the Hampden waterfront as Hamlin's Marina.  In that time we've managed to grow into a thriving marina.  It's truly a wonderful place with colorful people, spectacular scenery, an quite a bit of excitement on any given day.

Hamlins Marina in Hampden

In the five years since we've opened, we've seen the place grow from a sleepy backwater to a thriving waterfront.  Many days the parking lot is full of trailers and the river is alive with cruisers hanging out on the docks, or headed off to far off places like Butter Island, Portland, or even Cape Cod. 

We've managed to grow the staff little by little and we've invested in the facility to accomodate the service needs of the boaters who call us home.

This year is a banner year for Hamlin's Marina and the Hampden waterfront.  Both Hamlin's facilities and the public facilities will grow dramatically.  First, Hamlin's bought the retail lumber buildings from Stern's Lumber on Route 1A just above the waterfront. 

New Hamlin's Sales Showroom Prior to Renovation
 This new showroom, when completed in April, will showcase new boats, marine engines, and accessories.  Hamlin's showroom will feature approximately 10,000 square feet of retail space allowing us to display forty new boats inside.  I believe this will be the largest facility dedicated to boat sales in New England!

Just as exciting is that we have finalized plans to swap ten acres of land adjoining the ramp at the marina to be developed into a public park with walking trails, a new parking lot, scenic vistas, and municipal dock and mooring facilities.  This has been in the works for over four years and work should begin within the next year.  Below is a conceptual drawing of the future waterfront with the new park:

Future Plans for the Hampden Waterfront

Finally, this is my favorite part!  I love food, and we are going to have a brand new restaurant opening on the waterfront where Dana's snackbar has operated for many years.  This new restaurant will be featuring a full lunch and dinner menu with waterfront patio seating.  The menu will include a selection of beers and wines.  More information on this piece will be available soon!

Come join us on the Hampden waterfront at Hamlin's Marina this year!  It is truly a year to remember.

Maine Marina in Hampden, Maine at Hamlin's Marine