Fishing Grounds of the Gulf of Maine
Jeffreys Ledge Jeffreys Ledge may be considered one of the best fishing grounds in the Gulf of Maine, although of comparatively small size. It appears to be an extension of the shoal ground that makes off in an easterly direction from Cape Ann, it is about 20 miles long in a NE. and SW. direction and about 4 miles wide. Its southern limits is 42' 54' and its northern limit 43' north latitude; its eastern and western boundaries may be placed at 69' 58' and 70' 18' west longitude.
The bottom is rocky on the shoaler parts, with gravel and pebbles on the edges. Depths on the bank are from 27 to 35 fathoms, falling off to 40 or 50 on the edges. The shoalest water lies from 4 to 5 miles N. by E. from the buoy, where there is 22 fathoms. Ordinarily there is little or no tide, with an occasional current SW. There are, however, strong westerly currents with the heavy easterly winds, and often after a period of mild weather with no strong tides there will suddenly develop a heavy SW. flow, indicating the approach of a strong northwester. This seems a general rule in the Gulf of Maine and is, perhaps, prevalent over much of our North Atlantic coast.
Jeffreys Ledge bears S. ½ W. from the lightship off Portland, 19 miles to the northern edge and 22 miles S. from the buoy on the Hue and Cry to the edge of the shoal.
A small cove makes for a short distance into the western side of Jeffreys Ledge at about 20 miles from Boon Island in a SE. by S. ½ S. direction. The bottom in the cove is broken and muddy, with depths of about 60 fathoms. Thence, the ground slopes away to the mouth, where the edges about the entrance are rocky and have 70 and 75 fathom depths. These rocky areas are cusk grounds in January, February, and March, during which months the cove itself usually furnishes good haddock fishing. Outside these depths the water deepens westward over a muddy bottom, where are from 80 to 90 and even 100 fathoms of water. Fishing here is mainly by trawl and gill nets.
Lying about SE. by S. ½ 5. from the Isle of Shoals 20 miles, 13 miles S. by W. from the whistling buoy on Jeffreys, and 43 miles S. by W. from Cape Elizabeth is a broken piece of bottom having from 75 to 85 fathoms of water over it, which is a haddock ground from January to April and a cusk and hake ground all the year.
A small shoal in the western part of the Cove of Jeffreys, having 50 fathoms over a bottom of blue clay and rocks and rising from the 60 and 70 fathom soundings about it, is about 1 ½ miles long by about 3/4 mile wide. This shoal is SSE. from Boon Island 15 miles. It is a winter ground for cod and haddock.