Frank G. Dwyer
April 25, 2003
Growing up in Pelham Manor, NY, I received my first fishing rod in sixth grade as a Confirmation present. I had been introduced to fishing the previous year during a week- long trip taken with my schoolmates dubbed as “Outdoor Education”. While that was a freshwater excursion, my sights quickly turned to saltwater as the Long Island Sound was in my backyard.
As a ten year old, my fishing excursions were limited to those places I could get my parents to take me, which usually ended up being the Larchmont Shore Club, where we were members when I was a kid. A typical routine would have me heading to the club for a painful couple of hours of swim team practice, followed by hours of “snapper” bluefish fishing in the Sound.
I clearly remember the excitement I felt with every tug on the line, regardless of the size of the fish. My interest in fishing grew even further one summer day when my rod bent over faster and harder than I had ever felt before. I had seen some of the men fishing the Sound land bigger bluefish, so I thought that I had finally graduated from only catching snapper blues to the bigger variety. However after a fish fight that seemed to go on forever, I was treated to the sight of a strange fish, with stripes running down both sides of it’s streamlined body. This moment, I believe, became engrained in my head, causing the addiction I have today to the sport.
As I grew from pre-teen to teenager, my interest in fishing waned as I became preoccupied with other things that teenagers typically pursue such as; sports, girls, friends and being annoying to my parents. Did I mention girls?
My interest in fishing never really left me completely as I would find myself watching the fishing shows on Saturday and Sunday mornings throughout high school and even while attending college in New Hampshire. Although still busy with my studies and extracurricular activities, an impromptu trip to Martha’s Vineyard towards the end of my college years brought fishing back to the forefront of my mind.
Once I graduated from college and moved to Boston, I began to research the historic fishing grounds that surrounded my new home. This led to the persistent accumulation of fishing gear that continues to this day and a sometimes one-dimensional train of thought—especially during the height of the saltwater fishing season.
By the way, that rod from sixth grade hangs in my garage today.
I’ve heard some rumors over the last week that a few school-sized striped bass have been taken close to the mouth of the Merrimack. I believe this to be just rumor, as it’s still early for our area to normally have fresh fish, and given the tough winter I would not be surprised if the fish arrive just a bit late this year. It appears the majority of those fishing in the Merrimack currently are the seals.
I do however believe the rumors of striped bass being caught way up river to be true, albeit bass that have wintered over in the river. Alewife and Herring have been reported in the area, so it would not surprise me that these holdover fish have become more active.
No reports of Shad yet, but I’d expect them to show up at the Rocks Village bridge in the next week or so.
Cape Cod based anglers have reported a few small bass on the south side of the cape, while Rhode Island and Connecticut fishermen report that fishing continues to improve and become more consistent.
Hopefully with my next column we will have entered into the excellent spring fishing our area has to offer.
Ryan at Captain’s Lady Fishing Parties on Plum Island let me know that they are now running trips daily on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The boat leaves at 7:30 each morning.
Fishing has been picking up with Cod up to 22 pounds being taken as well as Haddock in the eight-pound range. As the weather gets better, it’s not a bad idea to call and make a reservation. (978.462.3141)
Trout fishing in the area seems to be picking up with reports of trout landings from many of the local waters. Trout have been caught at both Bald Pate Pond and Styles Pond in Boxford, as well as Pentucket Pond in Georgetown.
In addition, Lake Saltonstall and Lake Pentucket in Haverhill and Berry Pond in North Andover all received a fresh stocking of trout recently.
A variety of lures and methods have been reportedly working, including small Mepps lures, Berkley Power Bait, meal worms as well as trolling large wobbling blades behind a rigged worm.