May 3, 2006

Here We Go Again

Frank G. Dwyer

Anglers to our south have been enjoying newly arrived striped bass for sometime now. The waters of the North Shore are slowly warming, but the chilly water combined with poor weather at the beginning of the week certainly has not helped fishing. We can expect an influx of stripers over the next few weeks. You’ll have to work a little harder, but you can find them now!

As a reminder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has put a three-year moratorium on the harvest, possession, and sale of river herring. Possessing herring in Massachusetts is prohibited through 2008. This is a response to recent studies showing steep declines in river spawning runs.

Marblehead: (2 hooks) A few flounder have been taken around the harbor and reports have a few schoolie bass being taken near the Power Plant. With the improving weather, fishing around the Neck should be good in the coming days.

Salem: (2 hooks) Haddock fishing has been decent off the old Dumping Grounds, while a few stripers have been landed near the Lead Mills. Other early season spots to check are Winter Island and Kernwood Bridge.

Beverly: (2 hooks) Some flounder have been caught just off the Beverly coast, mostly on seaworms. Spring spots for striped bass include the Bass River and the Danvers River as well as around Danversport.

Cape Ann: (2 hooks) Manchester-by-the-Sea has had some flounder action at the mouth, but again, the weather earlier this week has not been helpful. There have been reports of a few bass being taken around Gloucester, but the weather has been making things difficult around the Cape. Alternatively, anglers heading to Stellwagen have had good luck with Cod and Haddock. Remember as of May 1, cod fish must be 24 inches to keep. Silversides and Alewives have been spotted in the Essex River, stripers can’t be far behind.

Ipswich: (1 hook) The Ipswich River system is a good place to prospect for early season bass. In the next week or so, fish should be cooperating off Crane, Steephill and Pavilion beaches.

Newbury: (1 hook) Cold water reigns in Plum Island Sound, but a few nice days should entice the fish to return. Surfcasters working the southern end of Plum Island will have a steady pick of fish soon.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (1 hook) Shad and more recently small striped bass are being taken at the Rock’s Village bridge in West Newbury. Deer Island and the other up-river islands are always good early-season spots. Some small fish also reportedly have been taken near the South Jetty on the Plum Island oceanfront and many anglers have begun working the river at Plum Island point. Bucktail Jigs are a favorite early season striper bait. Joppa Flats should start heating up in the coming weeks. Party boats are reporting decent cod and haddock activity.

Salisbury: (1 hook) If history is bound to repeat itself, small stripers should be frolicking in the Salisbury Beach surf in the coming week. Additionally, anglers have already been having limited success from the State Reservation side of the Merrimack River.

Seacoast, NH: (1 hook) If your looking for that first bass in the granite state, you’d do well to stay in some of the river and estuary systems. In and around the Hampton Marsh should yield small stripers as well as further north in the Lamprey River, as well as in Newcastle and around Great Bay. Alewives have been seen in local runs.


Most anglers are familiar with fishing rubber/plastic baits like Fin-S and Slug-Go’s, but most fish these baits as jigs rigged to lead-heads. Try rigging a 4-5” bait on an un-weighted hook and twitch it across the surface or in a swift current and watch the bass go crazy!

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