June 27, 2008

Blues and Bass Chase Plentiful Mackerel

Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: 6/27/2008

Mackerel are in thick from Boston to New Hampshire and with that come many opportunities for bluefish and striped bass. Flounder continue to be plentiful in our area.

Offshore, anglers are in pursuit of bluefin tuna that are showing up in more numbers in our waters, while ground fishing has been good but impeded by dogfish.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) Just outside Marblehead Harbor has been hot in the early morning for bass and bluefish. Top-water plugs have been attracting bass and bluefish and certainly provide anglers with a great show. Fishing around the Neck at night has been good for surf fishermen.

Salem: (4 hooks) The North and Bass rivers have been fishing well over the last week. Spin and fly anglers are reporting good action for mid- to large-sized bass. The Danvers River is also fishing well. Salem Harbor has been full of schools of mackerel with bluefish and bass in pursuit. Cod and haddock remain plentiful offshore, but more dogfish are now in the mix.

Beverly: (4 hooks) Beverly Harbor and the beaches have seen good fishing continue as fishermen have had good hookups with bass and bluefish. Swimming plugs, Sluggos and popping plugs all produce fish. Kernwood Bridge and Ober Park have also been hot for both bait and artificial anglers. Flounder have been spotty.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Mackerel are still hanging around the Cape, and that's good news for anglers as the fish chase the baitfish closer to shore. Manchester remains a strong spot for flounder fishermen using worms and fluorescent attractants. Fishing near the breakwater in Gloucester as well as near Ten Pound Light has seen good bluefish and bass action. Shore fishermen have done well with Sluggos and other such plastics as well as with cut bait and clams. The Essex River has given up a number of larger fish to anglers using popping plugs and large baitfish flies. The charter boats have reported steady action on cod, haddock and some pollock. School-sized bluefin tuna have been chasing pogies out on Stellwagen Bank.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Fishing from Pavilion Beach has been good at false dawn, as fish have been feeding on top. Fishing around Crane Beach has been good for both fly and spin anglers.

Newbury: (4 hooks) The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge now has the beaches at Parking Lots 1 and 7 open for walk-on surf-casting, and anglers have been finding good bass action at both locations. The Parker River and Plum Island Sound continue to produce their hare of fish.

Newburyport/Plum Island: (4 hooks) Large bass are being taken at night by anglers fishing eels in the Merrimack River. Fishing upriver near Carr and Eagle islands and on Joppa Flats has been producing fish of 30 pounds and over. Anglers fishing the front beach and the river at Plum Island Point have done well with cut mackerel and clams, and bluefish are now firmly in the mix. Boat anglers have done well with freshly jigged mackerel live-lined at the mouth of the Merrimack. Party boats have had a steady pick of cod and haddock.
Salisbury: (3 hooks) Anglers have taken larger bass at night fishing the surf at Salisbury Beach. Cut mackerel, clams and sea worms have all been producing keeper-sized bass. Fishing from the state reservation has been very crowded over the last week, as anglers have lined the shore of the Merrimack in search of large bass.

New Hampshire seacoast: (4 hooks) Mackerel are in thick from Great Bay to the mouth of the Piscataqua, and larger striped bass are the norm now. Bluefish are starting to show up in more numbers as well. Cod fishing not far from Isles of Shoals has been excellent, with many reports of large fish being taken. The rocky points around Rye and Hampton have been producing good-sized bass for surf-casters with large plugs and Sluggos working well.

Tip of the week:

Work the night shift. Even casual anglers know that striped bass are nocturnal, yet many anglers neglect this fact. Sleep deprivation is the norm among some of the best striped bass anglers I know, so if you want a shot at a cow, you need to plan a few overnight trips this season.

June 20, 2008

Plenty of Options for North Shore Anglers

Frank G. Dwyer

Excellent opportunities abound for fishermen on the North Shore and in Southern New Hampshire. Striped Bass, Bluefish, Flounder, Tuna and many species of ground fish are now readily available.

Mackerel are in thick and anglers have done quite well loading up the live well and then live lining the mackerel to entice large striped bass.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) Fishing near the Lighthouse has been quite good over the last few days as stripers and blues have been feeding under hovering birds. Ocean beaches have been fishing well, especially after dark.

Salem: (4 hooks) Anglers fishing near Bakers and Misery have found plenty of mackerel. Use a classic Sabiki rig to jig the macks up and live-line them to catch big stripers! Salem Willows and Winter Island continue to fish well.

Beverly: (4 hooks) Fishing near the Kernwood Bridge has been good for fishermen targeting striped bass. Those drifting sea worms in the current have done best. Bait fishermen report good-sized striped bass from the Pier and Bluefish and Striped Bass are being taken around West Beach.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Fishing from Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea has been good, especially with bait at night. Further north, bass fishing around Gloucester has improved, as schools of mackerel have been swimming not far from shore. Live-lined or trolled mackerel in the Harbor as well as in the Annisquam have been producing keeper-sized bass. Surfcasters fishing the beaches of Gloucester and Rockport report a good mix of bass and bluefish. Boat anglers fishing off Halibut Point have found large bass and further of shore around Thachers and Stellwagen, tuna have begun to show in more numbers. The Essex River continues to produce good-sized bass for both spin and fly anglers. The cod and haddock fishing has been good offshore.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Cranes Beach as well as Steephill has been producing decent amounts of bass, especially towards the Essex side. Small sand eel flies have been working well as have sluggos of the 6” and 9” variety. The mouth of the Ipswich has been producing a mix of bluefish and stripers.

Newbury: (4 hooks) Anglers finding the deeper holes in the Parker River have found large bass, especially at dawn and dusk. Plum Island Sound has been heating up over the week with fly and spin anglers reporting fairly consistent fishing for bass and bluefish.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) 40 Pound striped bass have been taken out of the Merrimack in the past week, mostly on drifted mackerel. Don’t forget to try upriver spots as there are some large holes that lazy bass like to hang around in. Joppa Flats continues to produce good school bass fishing on the outgoing tide and eel fishermen are taking larger fish on the flats at night. Jetty jockeys and boat fishermen are also scoring large bass at the mouth of the Merrimack. Mackerel and large plugs are working best. The oceanfront has been hit or miss for bluefish and bass but the party boats are having a good year for cod and haddock.

Salisbury, MA: (4 hooks) Beach weather has arrived so the Salisbury oceanfront is mainly an option pre-dawn or late afternoon and evening. It is definitely worth a try as surfcasters have taken blues and bass this week. The State Reservation has been quite crowded but those fishing with clams, worms and cut mackerel have all done well.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Larger fish have invaded the Piscataqua and Great Bay and anglers have been landing striped bass well into the thirty-pound range. Fishing near the Navy Yard has been producing a good bass bite and large cod have been cooperating with fishermen just beyond the Isle of Shoals.

Tip of the Week:

Logbooks help catch more fish: Keeping a detailed record of your fishing outings is imperative if you want to improve your chances and catch more fish consistently. Jot down such things as date/time, location, tide, light conditions, temperature, wind, lures/bait use and fish caught. Over the years, consulting my voluminous logbooks at certain times of the year has helped me select a location to fish and typically increase my hook ups.

June 12, 2008

The Bite is On!

Frank G. Dwyer

Fishing has improved as steamy weather has warmed the ocean temperatures and increased bait and game fish activity.

Flounder and Striped Bass are all quite available to anglers in our region and bluefin tuna will not be far behind as the speedy fish have been found off the Cape in the past week as well as off Stellwagen Bank. Bluefish have been somewhat absent from our landscape but that is sure to change soon.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) There has been excellent striped bass action reported all around Marblehead. Fishing the Neck, especially around Castle Rock has been consistent for bass, with many keepers in the mix now. The waters around Marblehead Harbor have also been hot for both striped bass and flounder. Cod have been reported close to the mouth of the Harbor.

Salem: (4 hooks) Salem Willows continues to please anglers, as larger bass have become more prevalent in the last week. Fishermen have still reported large schools of pogies in the area and bass find it quite hard to resist a live-lined pogie! Flounder catches are on the up tick.

Beverly: (4 hooks) Bait anglers working the Pier in Beverly have found bass to be quite cooperative over the last week. Cut mackerel and pogie have worked well. West beach and the area that surrounds it has been home to excellent striper action for both fly and spin fishermen.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) White Beach and Singing Beach have been fishing well with fly and spin anglers landing excellent numbers of bass. Cut bait, sea worms and clams have all been working for fishermen; however watch out for skates! Gloucester beaches and rivers are also producing good numbers of bass, with larger bass increasingly showing up closer to shore. Fishing near Stage Fort Park, as well as off Eastern Point/Niles Beach has also been fairly consistent for bass. Rockport fishermen are also enjoying the influx of bass as most of the shoreline has been producing fish, including Pebble and Long Beaches. In Essex, numbers of bass are in the Essex River with larger fish in the mix. Cod and Haddock fishing has been quite good offshore.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) The Ipswich River and environs continue to please anglers as large bass have been chasing river herring. Crane Beach as well as Pavilion Beach continue to be good choices for fishermen.

(4 hooks) The Parker River continues to produce bass as herring continue to attract fish upstream. Fishing near Emerson Rocks has also been quite hot, as large bass have been hammering both bait and large plugs.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) Bass to 25 pounds have been weighed in at Surfland over the last week with fish being taken from the front beach, Plum Island point and Joppa Flats. Joppa has been especially hot for anglers using eels at night. Fly and spin anglers report a hot bite on the outgoing tide using all variety of flies and lures. Anglers heading to Speckled Apron for mackerel have done live-lining their catch at the mouth of the Merrimack. Cod and Haddock fishing has been quite steady for the party boats.

Salisbury, MA: (4 hooks) As it is across the river, anglers fishing from the State Reservation has found larger bass taking clams, sea worms and cut mackerel. Enterprising anglers have found ways to get to the north side of Joppa Flats via Ring’s Island and have been rewarded for their exploration with large bass. The Salisbury beachfront has also been productive for surf casters.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Things are looking up for the Live Free or Die crowd as bass fishing from Seabrook to Portsmouth has improved quite nicely. North Hampton and Rye have been pleasing for anglers as plugs and flies have been attracting bass. In Great Bay, pogies have arrived, pleasing angler as large bass have become quite active. Large cod continue to please anglers near the Isle of Shoals.


Catch more flounder: Flounder feed predominantly by sight. If the fish can't see your bait, you won't catch flounder. Try to utilize chartreuse or silver spinner blades and white, chartreuse or pearl buck tail hooks along with your bait to help you put more flounder on the table!

June 5, 2008

Now we’re talking!

Frank G. Dwyer
6/6/2008 Publication Date

The weather the last few days has put a damper on some of the fishing on the North Shore, however before the weather turned, fishing for striped bass was excellent throughout the region.

Cod and Haddock fishing has improved over the last week and bluefish have been feeding heavily on the Cape for some time now, so expect the toothy one’s to be in the mix soon.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Anglers fishing Devereux Beach have found cooperative bass, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. I worked a large Danny Plug off the beach this past week and found many cooperative bass; however my theory of weeding out the small fish with the large plug was flawed as hungry school-bass continually gave chase.

(3 hooks) Fishermen trolling the reliable tube ‘n worm set up around Salem Harbor have had good success with hungry bass. Fly fishermen have found fish off Winter Island as well as in the Harbor. Fish have been feeding actively so sinking lines and small bait fish imitations are getting the most strikes. Cod and Haddock fishing has been good for those going off shore in search of dinner.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Fishing near Kernwood Bridge has been heating up as anglers are taking bigger bass from the Danvers River. Soft plastic baits and swimming plugs have been attracting the fish. Action off West Beach, as well as around the islands off the beach, has also been good. Flounder catches have also been quite good along the Beverly shoreline.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Decent sized schools of mackerel have been off the Magnolia and Gloucester coast and with that, anglers have been finding larger bass. Cut as well as live lined mackerel has been working quite well. The Annisquam and Halibut Point continue to produce good striped bass action. Fishing from Long Beach and Pebble Beach has been quite good, especially at dawn. The Castle Neck and Essex Rivers continue to produce striped bass for fly and spin fishermen. The fish have been quite active with soft plastics, top water plugs, swimming plugs and flies all working. Those targeting cod and haddock have been pleased with the action this week.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Fishing continues to make fishermen happy as the Ipswich River and Crane Beach areas have been fishing very well. Pavilion Beach has also picked up over the last week with striped bass

Newbury: (3 hooks) Fishing behind Plum Island on Middle Ground has been productive with Sluggos and Storm Shads attracting fish. In addition, anglers have had good luck in the Parker River near the Route 1A Bridge.

Newburyport / Plum Island:
(3 hooks) As usual for this time of year, fishing at Plum Island Point is attracting mega crowds, especially on the weekend. Fishing is best the first few hours before and after low tide. Anglers bouncing clams and sea worms off the bottom have done well, as have fly anglers with sinking lines. The oceanfront has been producing sporadic action for striped bass, but well worth a casting walk from the south jetty towards the Parker River Reservation. I’ve had good luck this week on sluggos rigged on lead heads as well as a few morning of top water action. Joppa Flats continues to produce good action, especially for boat angler’s drifting on the outgoing tide. Off shore, Cod and Haddock fishing has been quite good for the Party Boats.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Fishing from the State Reservation has been good over the last week, with bait anglers outnumbering other anglers and thus scoring the most bass. Cut mackerel, sea worms and clams have all been taking fish and larger fish continue to invade the river.

Seacoast, NH: (2 hooks) Saltwater fishing in New Hampshire has definitely gotten better over the last week with more and more striped bass invading the coast line. From Seabrook to Portsmouth, stripers have been cooperating with bait and artificial fishermen. The Hampton marshes and surrounding river systems have been yielding good fish and further north, the Piscataqua and Lamprey Rivers have been producing a steady pick of bass. Offshore, cod and haddock fishing has been very good.


Keep it light! The lighter test line that is used when surfcasting, the further you will be able to cast and the less weight you will need to use to hold the bottom. In our environs, 12 to 20 pound test should almost always suffice. The same rule applies when fishing with lures, so try to use the lightest test possible without risking losing a fish.