June 22, 2006

Post Solstice Fishing Action Heats Up

Frank G. Dwyer
June 23, 2006

Warm weather and excellent numbers of baitfish in our local waters have combined to provide anglers with steady action throughout the North Shore.

Larger striped bass have been chasing mackerel and pogies both close to shore and in deeper waters, while cod, haddock, pollock and flounder have all been landed in increasing numbers.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Good numbers of bass and blues off Marblehead as anglers have found bass just outside the harbor as well as along the Neck. Bait fishermen have been thinning out the schoolies using live-lined or large chunks of mackerel and pogies.

Salem: (3 hooks) Salem Willows Pier and Winter Island have all been attracting anglers and for good reason, the fish are biting! Bluefish and Flounder have been congregating just outside the Harbor. Offshore, anglers have found good numbers of haddock, cod and pollock on Jefferies and Stellwagen.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Anglers fishing from the area around the Beverly/Salem Bridge have found good numbers of bass, especially at night, with some bigger fish in the mix. Anglers fishing from West Beach and around the islands have also had consistent bass action.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Manchester-by-the-Sea anglers have found good numbers from shore and boat as both bluefish and striper landings have been on the increase. Shore fishermen have had good luck catching bass chasing small pogies up against the rocks along Magnolia. In Gloucester, the Annisquam has been producing good numbers of striped bass, with larger fish being caught at night. Tube-n-Worm rigs and large plugs have been the ticket. Fishing around Stage Fort Park has also been good for shore anglers using both bait and lures. Striped Bass have also been cooperating with fishermen around Rocky Neck/Eastern Point as bluefish and bass have been taking bait as well as plugs and metals. Larger Bass continue to coral bait of Halibut point in the thirty to one hundred foot level. The Essex River continues to produce good numbers of bass but most are in the 22-26” range.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Bluefish and striped bass have been landed at the mouth of the Ipswich River this week as sand eels have become quite thick. Small flies and plastics have been enticing bass, some over the 28” limit to strike. Most of the local beaches have also been fishing quite nicely, including Crane and Steep Hill. Beware; the greenheads will be here soon!

Newbury: (3 hooks) Small bluefish have arrived on the scene in both Plum Island Sound and the Parker River. Surfcasters fishing with worms, clams and cut mackerel have done well from the beach at Parking Lot 1 of the Parker River National Wildlife Reserve.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) Good fishing around Newburyport and Plum Island as sand eels and mackerel have lured fish closer to shore. Fishing from the Ellis Bridge to Woodbridge Island has produced fairly consistent school sized bass as both fly and spin anglers have done well. Sand eels have become more plentiful in the river, so small eel imitations have been working well. Plum Island Point and the Ocean Front have also been fishing well with bait anglers landing more keeper size bass on worms, clams and cut mackerel. Small bluefish have been caught from the Merrimack River entrance to Sandy Point. The ocean front has also yielded larger bass to bait anglers, especially at night. Kay Moulton’s photo board at Surfland Bait and Tackle has plenty of nice fish displayed, but smaller bass are still the norm. Party boats have been offering their patrons good fishing for haddock, cod and pollock.

Salisbury: (3 hooks) Early morning or later in the evening are the only real options for anglers fishing from Salisbury Beach as bathers have taken over. That’s OK though, as most of the action from the beach is in the lowlight hours for both bait and artificial anglers. The State Reservation continues to attract throngs of anglers who are having success fishing in the Merrimack, mostly on bait.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Fishing off Seabrook and Hampton has been good as mackerel have invaded the Seacoast. Larger fish are in the mix, but schoolies are still the dominant catch. Fishing off Rye and Portsmouth has also improved and bluefish to 5 pounds are now in the mix.


Seeing a top water blitz of feeding fish and diving birds will set any anglers heart pumping, but many boat fishermen approach these blitzes in a “run and gun” manner, often putting the fish down and ruining the action for not only themselves, but the other anglers in the area. Try to remain calm and approach the blitz at a slow speed. Stop your engine on the outside of the blitz, taking care not to “run over” the fish and cast into the boiling water. You’ll increase your catch ratios and prevent angry glares from your fellow anglers.

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