May 19, 2004

Just in Time, the Fish have Arrived in the Port

Frank G. Dwyer
May 19, 2004

While the fish have been resident in force around the Cape and Islands as well as the south shore for sometime now, our saltwater season here has really just started to get underway. School striped bass have been reported to have been caught in the Essex and Parker rivers, as well as the Merrimack this past week and with the warm weather heading our way, fishing in the Merrimack and other fishing haunts around the Port should bust wide open any day.

Earlier this past week found fish just above the Route 1 Bridge, right up to the Point Shores area. While the fish were not thick, they were spread over a wide area enjoying the warmer up-river waters. The windier days had the fish hugging the banks of the river and an offering of an albino sluggo on a small lead head seemed to be the preferred meal.

Mid-week, the fish were not quite as hungry up river so I tried my luck drifting the Joppa Flats area as well as the waters just off the basin on the outgoing tide. I picked up several small striped bass on each drift and on these mornings the fly rod out-fished the spinning gear by a 2 to 1 margin. Clouser Minnows in chartreuse and green as well as deceivers and small sand eel patterns all worked well, with most fish hitting the fly on the “drop back”.

Surfcasting along the ocean front has also yielded fish over the last week, with fish being caught from Atty. May’s all the way to the South Jetty. Metal and top-water lures as well as buck-tail jigs all proved worthy of catching fish.

When I visited Kay Moulton at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island this past Tuesday, she already had three “keepers” up on her photo board. One lucky angler scored a 24 lb. bass on the incoming tide on the ocean front.

Kay reports that shore fishermen have been doing well in the river at Plum Island point using worms and clams as well as artificial lures, with buck-tail jigs working best. The bottom half of the outgoing tide seems to be the best time at this spot.

Fly and Spin anglers wading on Joppa Flats have had success of late with top water lures from sliders to poppers. The aggressive spring schoolies are knocking them clean out of the water on some hits!

Surfland is open from 6am to 8pm weekdays and 5am to 8pm on weekends.

Nat Moody and Derek Springer, proprietors of First Light Anglers, have moved their store from Manchester-by-the-Sea to Main Street in Rowley. This is a good thing for Port area anglers, especially fly fishermen.

Nat and Derek are experienced fishermen who beyond providing a great store to shop in for all your fly fishing needs, are excellent fishing guides offering both shore and boat trips. In addition, they offer tuna charters come the fall, which is a real blast on the fly or light spinning tackle.

Derek reported good fishing in the Essex and Parker River as well as down by Crane’s Beach.

If you’d prefer some deep sea fishing, George at Captains Fishing Parties on Plum Island reports good Cod and Haddock fishing with the first mackerel trip scheduled for this coming Saturday.

Pool fish have weighed from a modest 13 pound wolfish to a hefty 42 pound cod caught last week. Plenty of market sized fish have been caught on each trip.

The trips run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May and move to a full seven day schedule come June. Night trips will also resume in June.

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