June 9, 2004

Angler Update

Frank Dwyer
June 9, 2004

Port area fishing continues to improve however there have been some dry spells reported over the last week.

The Plum Island Point crowd continues to fish the mouth of the Merrimack and as usual the tides around the low produce best. Many keeper sized bass have come from the Point and both bait and artificial fishermen have done well. Clams, worms and cut bait on fish-finder rigs have worked well as have shad and herring imitation lures. Storm Wild Eye swim baits seem to be the rage this year, and I can see why having landed many stripers over the last few weeks with them. Fly fishermen are doing well off the sand bar with fast sinking lines and sparsely tied herring and sand eel imitations.

Surfcasters along the front beach on Plum Island have done well from the edge of the NWR all the way to the south jetty. Buck tail jigs and large shad imitations bounced on the bottom have produced nice fish, right up into the wash.

Boat fishermen have been plentiful from Badger Rocks to the Toothpick, with most anchoring just off the channel and drifting clams, worms or cut bait and landing decent sized fish. Unfortunately, some anglers anchor IN the channel, which is quite dangerous and not all that smart. Most of these anglers get the hint when a party boat goes by closely leaving a 5-foot wake in its path. Please don’t anchor in the channel.

Joppa Flats continues to produce numbers of striped bass for boat and wade fishermen. As at the Point, fly anglers do best with fast sinking lines and sand eel or herring imitations. Spin anglers using sluggos with light or no weight have done well on surface feeding bass. Top water plugs have also produced this past week. Try using a larger plug or fly to weed out the small guys!

Upriver, Deer Island has seen increasing fishing pressure over the last weeks as more fish have been landed by shore-bound anglers. Fishing near Eagle and Carr Islands has also been productive, but mostly for sub-legal bass. Rocks Village continues to produce good numbers of shad, with not too many fishermen targeting them.

Kay Moulton at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island reports good numbers of striped bass with some 30 pound fish being taken. Anglers do well at Plum Island Point on the bottom of the outgoing tide and beginning of the incoming tide.

Flounder have begun to appear with a few anglers landing several on worms. Kay reported a few bluefish catches over the last week, including a 10 pound chopper that was landed on Joppa Flats.


Nat at First Light Anglers on Main Street in Rowley reported decent fishing from Swampscott to Plum Island. According to Nat, “nothing outrageous”, but plenty of school sized bass being landed up in the rocks and in the rivers.

Nat also mentioned that mackerel have been hanging around the mouth of both the Essex and Ipswich rivers, but have been dispersing at times with no rhyme or reason. Fishing on Joppa Flats has been good, but you’ll have plenty of company so consider a location more off the beaten path.

Chris at Captains Fishing Parties on Plum Island reported good Cod and Haddock fishing over the last week on the full day trips with average pool fish in the 20 pound class; however a nice 38 pound cod was also landed. A few Pollock have also been landed on each trip, with a mix of Cusk and Wolfish. Dogfish have been tolerable. The full day boat leaves daily at 7:30 AM.

The half day boats leaving at 8:30 AM have done well fishing for Mackerel and have also been landing a few striped bass on each trip. Call 800-427-1333 for information or to make reservations.

The Plum Island Surfcasters monthly meeting on Tuesday June 15 will feature Ed Nowak of The Fisherman Magazine. His presentation, entitled “Fishing from Choice Launching Sites from Boston to Plum Island” should draw a large crowd.

The Plum Island Surfcasters is a club of about 250 recreational anglers. Club meetings are held every 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Newbury Fire Hall behind Newbury Town Hall. Doors open at 6:30 PM. with the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM.

If your interested in becoming a member, visit http://www.surfcaster.com/ or email me for information.

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