July 7, 2006

Dog Days of Summer not Barking Yet

Frank G. Dwyer
July 7, 2006

July 4th usually heralds in the “Dog Days” of summer, which is never a good thing for fishing, but the action in our waters continues to please anglers.

Larger Striped Bass have taken up residence in Massachusetts and New Hampshire waters, while bluefish are also being landed in more numbers. Of course, the bluefish have sent the mackerel to more northern waters, but overall the fishing remains strong.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Bluefish have been patrolling the coast off Marblehead and anglers are having a good time targeting the toothy critters, especially with light tackle. Stripers have been cooperating as well, with larger bass being taken off the Neck, especially at night on eels.

Salem: (3 hooks) Anglers drifting sea worms after dark at the Kernwood Bridge have been landing keeper size bass. Fishing off Winter Island has offered a mix of bluefish and striped bass for anglers utilizing both bait and lures. Sea worms, clams and cut bait as well as larger popping plugs are all leading to tight lines.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Early risers have found pogies in Beverly Harbor, and a live-lined pogie is one of the best ways to weed out the small fish and get yourself a striped bass over 30 pounds. Anglers trolling tube-n-worm set ups around Baker’s Island have done well with larger striped bass. Bluefish are also in numbers around Baker’s and off West Beach.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Flounder fishing remains strong off Marblehead as limits have been reached by anglers over the last week. Bluefish have been just off the Marblehead coast and striped bass have been hanging in the rocks, especially at night. While mackerel have thinned out around the Cape, anglers have found pogies in numbers just off Gloucester. Boat anglers have had success for keeper size bass in the 30-100 foot depths off Halibut Point with some bruiser blues to 12 pounds in the mix. Schoolies remain the rule in the Essex River as fly rodders have done well with fish to 26”. Offshore, school bluefin tuna have been starting to make the trek from Cape Cod Bay to our waters, so many anglers will soon be in search of the speedy tunas. Cod and Haddock fishing has been quite good around Stellwagen, Jeffreys and Tillies as the Party Boats continue to offer good fishing to their customers.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) While the mackerel have never really been thick in Ipswich Bay this year, pogies have been around early in the morning, bringing striped bass and bluefish with them. Bathers have taken over the beaches during the day, but anglers trekking out to Crane and Steep Hill Beach after dark are finding good bass fishing.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Boat anglers trolling off Emerson Rocks have found bluefish to 12 pounds and plenty of hungry school-sized bass. The Parker River continues to have good bass activity, with larger fish being taken at night. Plum Island Sound has had a decent mix of blues and bass for anglers.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) Fishing upriver from the Route 95 Bridge to the Gillis Bridge has been quite productive over the last week. Casting into the banks of Deer, Ram, Eagle and Carr Islands has led to good school bass action for both spin and fly fishermen and larger bass after dark. Drifting from the AYC moorings to Woodbridge Island offered non-stop action last week for mostly school-sized bass and the occasional rouge bluefish on the outgoing tide. The fishing pressure was intense from Plum Island Point over the Holiday weekend--but with good reason--many bass are being taken, including plenty of keeper sized bass being landed on clams, worms and cut bait. Anglers trolling from the mouth of the Merrimack to the MR buoy have found large bluefish willing to take most offerings. Party boats continue to get into good numbers of cod, haddock, cusk and wolf fish.

Salisbury: (3 hooks) The RV’s and campers are packed into the State Reservation in Salisbury and fishing the Merrimack from the shore there has been quite crowded. As it is across the river, fishing has been good, especially for bait anglers. Boat anglers drifting from the toothpick to Badger Rocks on the outgoing tide have found good numbers of bass.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Mackerel are still swimming off the seacoast and anglers are finding good numbers of bass in pursuit. Fishing from Odiorne State Park in Rye at night has been good for bait anglers. Further north, anglers drifting in the Piscataqua have found decent bass fishing from the Navy Yard to the mouth. Cod and Haddock fishing has been quite good just south of the Isle of Shoals as the ground fish activity continue to please fishermen.

Tip of the Week:

While the topic is certainly open for debate, I firmly believe striped bass have a keen sense of bait/lure presentation and will discriminate based on leaders, snap swivels and color. If you use a snap-swivel as a convenient method of changing up your lures, try tying the lure directly to the monofilament. I’m willing to bet that you will get more hits with the lure tied directly to the line or a heavy mono leader as opposed to utilizing the highly visible snap-swivel.

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