April 28, 2005

Early Season Spots Should be Heating Up on the North Shore Soon

Frank Dwyer
April 28, 2005

After a long winter, it’s time to get ready for another year of saltwater angling on the North Shore. If you’re like me, you’ve cleaned your gear, changed your line and refreshed your lures over the last month.

Fish are being caught in more numbers in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod and while it’s still a bit early in the season, holdover stripers have reportedly been dropping down some of the river systems while cod, haddock and flounder are being caught in more numbers off shore.

Marblehead: Flounder are being caught by anglers drifting in the harbor, with some doormats mixed in. Early season schoolie action should be available in the harbor across from the Lead Mills very soon. Try your luck with small bucktail jigs or small swimmers. Anglers working around Devereux Beach and Castle Rock should be seeing fresh fish soon. As a reminder, from March 1st through April 30th, flounder are limited to 3 fish per person per day. Beginning May 1st and continuing through February 8th, the limit increases to 8 fish per day per person.

Salem: The Lead Mills is typically an early producer for those in search of newly arrived striped bass and anglers do well with jigs, small swimmers and soft plastics. Fly fishermen attract bass with clousers, deceivers and virtually any other sparsely tied fly. Anglers also do well from Kernwood Bridge, Winter Island and the North River. Anglers fishing Salem Harbor have reported decent flounder action. Anglers heading further out have reported decent action for cod and haddock at the off shore ledges, while some of the inshore locations have been slower to heat up.

Beverly: Anglers prospecting for newly arrived bass do well around the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge as well as on the outgoing tide at White’s Fuel Bridge in Danversport. As with most other spots, small swimmers, bucktail jigs and soft plastics will all produce fish. Anglers should also try their luck at Tuck’s Point, the Essex Bridge and even West Beach.

Cape Ann: Singing Beach, Graves Beach and White Beach in Manchester typically welcome new bass arrivals and these hungry fish will take most offerings from fishermen, including small metal lures (Kastmaster) as well as swimmers and plastics. The harbor also has seen its share of migrating schoolies willing to take offerings from shore or boat. Moving north, Gloucester usually has an influx of new fish arriving in the Little River, Annisquam River and along the Longs Wharf area. Anglers also do well fishing the area around Wingaersheek Beach. Anglers also can try both Front Beach and Cape Hedge Beach in Rockport for early season striped bass action. In Essex, the Essex River will typically yield schoolies for shore or boat anglers. Fishing from a kayak in this area can yield excellent results allowing fishermen to cover an expansive area, including the Hog Island area. Cod and Haddock action has been good on Tillies, Jeffries and Stellwagen while inshore locations have been a bit slower.

Ipswich: Early season anglers exploring Crane and Steep Hill Beaches will soon find the newly arrived striped bass they are looking for. This is an excellent area for fly fishermen with fish typically coming close to shore. The Ipswich River system, including Fox Creek and Treadwell Island Creek will typically also produce for anglers using light tackle.

Newbury: The National Wildlife Refuge beaches are currently closed to protect nesting Piping Plovers. The Parker River typically holds holdover striped bass at this time of year. Try your luck behind Governor Dummer or by the Route 1A Bridge. Anglers exploring Plum Island Sound will typically see new arrivals within the next week with the areas around the Eagle Hill River and Rowley River typically producing schoolies.

Newburyport / Plum Island: Shad have been reported at Rock’s Village, however in my two trips, I’ve yet to see evidence of them, however shad darts tossed into the river will typically produce these good fighting fish. Early season striper spots, like Deer Island, the Plum Island River and Plum Island Point should all see new arrivals this week. Soft Plastics, small swimming lures and bucktail jigs with teasers will all do their part to attract hungry fish. Fly anglers will also do well utilizing a fast sinking line and sparsely tied flies. The ocean front typically is less crowded than the river and is often just as good in early season production. Cod and Haddock catches have been decent for the off shore crowd.

Salisbury: As it is across the river, anglers fishing the Merrimack from the State Reservation will be targeting newly arrived bass in the coming days. Bait anglers have success with both seaworms and cut bait, however these spring bass seem to be more interested in artificial baits worked aggressively in the water. Lose the crowds and try your luck from Salisbury Beach.

Seacoast, NH: Anglers in southern New Hampshire will do well poking around the Hampton marshes and rivers, including Browns River, however the fish may arrive a bit later than those in more southern waters. Fishing the river systems in Rye and Portsmouth, including the Piscataqua and the Great Bay area should produce some holdover bass and hopefully soon fresh striped bass will arrive.

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