July 31, 2008

August will have anglers working harder for their catch

Frank G. Dwyer

August always finds fishermen working harder for their catch, but many opportunities continue to abound. Mackerel are still unusually thick in the North Shore waters for this time of year, certainly due in part to the distinct lack of bluefish in the area.

Striped Bass fishing has been decent, mostly at night, while flounder fishing is still good. Offshore, ground fishing has been consistent while the tuna bite has been hit or miss, however 100 lb. class fish have been taken over the past week along with decent numbers of school bluefin tuna.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Tinker mackerel have been around Marblehead harbor for days and there are striped bass feeding on them. Pogies have become scarce, but some are still being taken and livelined off Marblehead.

Salem: (3 hooks) Squid have become thick around Salem—especially around Salem Willows—and with that, striped bass fishing has been good. Flounder fishing continues to be somewhat steady with anglers getting their limit in Salem Harbor.

Beverly: (3 hooks) The waters around the Beverly fishing pier also has an abundance of squid in the water which is attracting bass and increasing catches for pier fishermen. Bluefish remain scarce, but flounder continue to be taken in Beverly Harbor.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Fishing around Manchester has been decent for Bass with some nice surface feeds reported out by Kettle Island as bass chased mackerel. The rocks around Magnolia and Gloucester continue to produce bass in the 22”-28” range with swimming plugs and mackerel flies working well. Those checking the deeper waters around Halibut Point and Thachers have found the fishing to be slow. Some reports have been heard of bait and lines being cut in half, but bluefish remain elusive. Essex Bay as well as the area around Hog Island has been home to small, but hungry and willing bass. Sluggos, flies and small swimming lures have been
working well. The Northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank continues to have generous amounts of bait in the water and tuna have been making appearances sporadically all
week. Anglers lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time have landed good-sized tuna.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Bass fishing from Pavilion and Crane Beaches continues to be good for school-sized bass. Both fly anglers and spin fishermen report willing fish in the 22-26” range. Greenheads have thinned out nicely, allowing anglers a more relaxed environment.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Anglers continue to look for bass from parking lots 1, 6 and 7 and have found early morning or night best, with sea worms and cut bait working best. The Plum Island Sound has seen good school bass action as well as good fishing for flounder.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) Joppa Flats continues to be the best bet for anglers fishing at night. Many 30-40 inch fish have been landed this past week, with eels far out fishing any other offering. The continued presence of mackerel has provided great opportunities for boat angler’s drifting live mackerel in and around the mouth of the Merrimack with large stripers still taking the bait. Shore fishermen fishing cut bait from Plum Island Point have seen some larger bass over the last week. Party boats have been doing well for ground fish if able to evade the dogfish that have become prevalent.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Fishing the river from the shores of the State Reservation of the North Jetty has found healthy catches of striped bass over the last week. Bait anglers have done best, however large lures like Danny Plugs twitched slowly across the surface at night have attracted fish as well. The Ocean Front remains hit or miss.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Seabrook and Hampton Harbors continue to see schools of mackerel nearby and with that decent action for bass. Further north, you’ll find plenty of mackerel and squid at the mouth of the Piscataqua River out to Kitts Rocks. There have been reports of large schools of mackerel near the Isle of Shoals and with that reports of larger bass and school bluefin tuna.

Tip of the Week:

Sharpen Up: It is easy to get lazy during the fishing season and neglect certain key equipment maintenance. Besides faulty knots, dull hooks account for probably the most “missed hits” encountered by fishermen. Take the time to change or sharpen the hooks on your favorite plugs to ensure that if you are lucky enough to attract a fish that you are able set the hook with ease.

July 24, 2008

If the Thunder Don’t get you then the Lightning will!

Frank G. Dwyer

Graphite rods and lightning don’t mix well so anglers have had to pick their times carefully and the weather forecast does not show this pattern changing for several days.

While the weather has certainly disturbed the fishing patterns, good fishing is still available in our waters but anglers still need to be wary of the constant threat of thunderstorms.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) There are plenty of fat bass in the 20-26 inch range all around Marblehead, you just need to evade the lightning. Bass have been taken just outside the harbor on top water and swimming plugs and have also been providing tight lines from the Neck as well as the beaches. Cut mackerel from the beach at night has been attracting keepers.

Salem: (3 hooks) Large schools of mackerel continue to hang around Baker’s Island and large bass are keying on them. Live mackerel work great, but these fish have also been taking plastics and large profile flies.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Anglers around Beverly report good numbers of mackerel in the water with bass in close proximity. Fishing from the Pier has been slow during the day but night anglers have found good bass action using worms, eels and cut bait.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Rocky inlets from Manchester to Magnolia continue to produce bass for both shore and boat anglers. Soft plastics, swimming plugs and large flies on sinking lines are all working. The Annisquam has slowed, but some of the deeper holes upriver continue to hold large bass. Halibut Point has also been providing good bass action, while bluefish have been scarce. In Essex, Essex Bay and the River are producing decent action for schoolie bass, but greenheads remain thick. There has been plenty of bait out on Stellwagen Bank and if you can get there, tuna and bluefish have been hitting well.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Mackerel are still plentiful in Ipswich Bay and fishermen have done well live-lining this favorite striper bait. The beaches have been slow this week as storms have made for somewhat difficult conditions from the beach, however some fish have been taken from Crane and Pavilion.

Newbury: (3 hooks) The Parker River NWR continues to offer walk-on fishing for anglers from Parking Lots 1, 6 and 7. Decent bass fishing at dawn has been reported a few mornings this past week. The Parker River and Plum Island Sound are also continuing to yield keeper sized bass.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) During breaks in the weather this week, anglers found good schoolie bass action at the mouth of the river; especially on the outgoing tide. Bluefish have been quite scarce and mackerel are still attracting good size bass. Joppa Flats continues to fish well at night, especially for eel fishermen, however several reports indicate lots of top feeding bass unwilling to take most offerings. Cod and Haddock fishing has been OK during breaks in the weather.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Anglers braving the North Jetty on the Merrimack have found good action for school-sized bass and a few keepers. Seaworms and clams are working best. Reports have limited success for surfcasters working Salisbury Beach and zero reports of bluefish.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Flounder fishing remains strong around Rye Harbor as well as just off Hampton Beach. Boat anglers have had to get out between bad weather and big ocean swells, but have found good-sized bass and cod near Isle of Shoals. Anglers have found good fishing at night near the Scammell Bridge at Dover Point. Mackerel remain plentiful and bluefish have been very scarce.
Tip of The Week:

Measure quickly: Fishing from shore or boat can become hectic as fish are landed. Measuring with a tape measure can be time consuming and difficult but is necessary to ensure you are within the law. Many anglers carry a pre-measured length of string or bead chain to easily assess a fish’s length and legality. This practice not only enables anglers to measure quickly but also lessens the time your catch is out of the water.

July 17, 2008

Heat Has Arrived So Head for Deeper Water

Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: 7/18/2008

The heat has a firm grip on our region, and with that many fish have headed for deeper, cooler water. As we near the end of July, anglers targeting bass need to be out at night or predawn.

Bluefish are still tearing it up in most of our waters although not in typical numbers, while off shore the tuna fishing continues to be decent.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Anglers have been using the abundance of pollock in the water and live-lining them off Marblehead for good-sized bass. Jigheads and soft plastics have been working well at night out on the Neck.

Salem: (3 hooks) Pogies are still in Salem Harbor and large bass continue to pursue them. If you can snag a few and either live-line or dead-float them, you should be rewarded with bass over 30 inches. Salem Willows has slowed for bait anglers, but bluefish continue to be plentiful.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Bait fishermen have found some bass action in the predawn hours near West Beach. Anglers fishing the Islands have done well for keeper bass with live-lined pogies and tube-n-worm rigs. The Beverly Fishing Pier continues to provide decent bass action for bait fishermen.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Anglers fishing the rocks from Manchester to Rockport have found some larger bass at night. The ledges from Pickworth Point to Magnolia Harbor are well worth investigating. Bluefishing has been quite consistent, with some real monsters in the mix. Rockport beaches are also fishing well at night with large plugs and Sluggos working well. Anglers targeting tuna have done well at Jeffrey's Ledge and the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Greenhead season is at its height, making daylight fishing less enjoyable. Small baitfish continues to be in the waters off Crane Beach, and fly fishermen continue to do well exploring the area. There is plenty of action for blues and bass in Ipswich Bay.

Newbury: (3 hooks) On the Parker River Wildlife Reservation, Parking Lots 1, 6 and 7 are now open to walk-on fishermen, but be forewarned that it is the peak of the greenhead season. The Parker River has been fishing slowly, but patient anglers have found bass predawn and at night.

Newburyport/Plum Island: (3 hooks) Anglers are finding bass and blues at Plum Island point and off the front beach. Mackerel are still quite plentiful. Fishermen working Joppa Flats at night with eels, unweighted Sluggos and large swimming plugs have found cooperative keeper-size bass. Boat anglers and surfcasters report decent catches of flounder along the Plum Island coastline. Party boats are still providing their patrons with good ground fishing. Lastly, I neglected to mention last week that an angler fishing off the jetty on Plum Island landed a 28-pound cod. That's quite unusual from shore.

Salisbury: (3 hooks) Trolling off the Salisbury Beach area has been good for bluefish to 15 pounds. Deep swimming Rapalas have been working very well. Bass fishing has been fair at night for surfcasters fishing the beach.

New Hampshire seacoast: (4 hooks) Bait is still thick from Great Bay to the mouth of the Piscataqua, and the fishing has been quite good. Live-lining mackerel is your best bet for a large linesider. Bluefish have been somewhat spotty, so the mackerel have been hanging around. Cod and pollock fishing has been excellent for the charter captains.

Tip of the Week:

See more, catch more: If you don't have Polarized sunglasses as part of your fishing gear, you are doing yourself a disservice. Polarized lenses cut glare and allow fishermen to see into the water with ease to identify bait and catch more fish.

July 11, 2008

Patience Needed as Dog Days are Upon Us

Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: July 11, 2008

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Anglers have done well off the Neck at night with large plugs, eels and cut bait as the heat that settled in made fishing for bass during daylight unproductive. Devereux Beach has been producing blues and bass.

Salem: (3 hooks) Boaters report good flounder fishing just outside the harbor, and bluefish continue to patrol the waters in search of plugs to ruin. Salem Willows and Winter Island have been somewhat slow, but anglers working the islands have found decent action for keeper bass.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Fishing near the Kernwood Bridge at night continues to produce good-sized bass for anglers utilizing weighted Sluggos and cut bait. The area around West Beach has been good for boat anglers in search of bluefish and bass, not so much for shore-bound anglers.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Boat fishermen have found flounder just off the shore in Manchester-by-the-Sea as well as decent sized bluefish. Bass fishing has been best off the rocks in Magnolia at night with eels. In Gloucester, fishing in the Annisquam has slowed, but bass are still holding in deeper pockets within the river. Bluefish have been plentiful just outside the breakwater, and farther off shore anglers report tuna sightings and catches from Thacher's to Stellwagen. Fishing from the beaches in Rockport has been good at night for anglers throwing large popping and swimming plugs. The cod and haddock fishing remain fairly good if you can avoid the dogfish.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Bluefish have been the most prevalent catch around the mouth of the Ipswich River. If you can fish the Crane Beach area at night you should be rewarded with decent bass action. Both spin and fly anglers report decent activity over the last week.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Greenheads are here and will greatly reduce your fishing enjoyment during the day off the Parker River refuge. If you can stand it, decent bluefish catches have been reported off the open beaches. Plum Island Sound has seen decent bluefish activity as well but slower bass activity.

Newburyport/Plum Island: (3 hooks) Large bass remain catchable from Joppa Flats at night. Anglers using eels and cut bait have done best. Fishing the front beach from Plum Island at night with cut bait or needlefish type lures has produced bass over the last week. Plum Island Point continues to produce bluefish and bass, with two hours on each side of low tide the best time to fish. Boat anglers drifting bait and eels at the mouth have found both bluefish and bass cooperating.

Salisbury: (3 hooks) Anglers have reported limited success at night off Salisbury Beach, but if you are patient, you may be rewarded with a keeper bass. Best bet is cut bait, clams or sea worms. Fishing from the State Reservation is productive but crowded. Boat anglers fishing the Salisbury side of the river have found good bass action from the Toothpick to Badger Rocks.

New Hampshire seacoast: (4 hooks) Mackerel are still in the waters off Portsmouth so bass fishing has been pretty good. Sand eels have been thick off Hampton, and anglers fishing small plugs and sand eel imitation flies have been catching good-sized bass. Flounder fishing just outside Rye Harbor has been improving steadily for the last few weeks.

Tip of the Week:
Wire won't work. I've said it before and I'll say it again, striped bass have incredible senses so using a wire leader or snap swivel will decrease your catches over time. Instead, use a heavy mono leader or tie directly to your line.

July 3, 2008

Fireworks in the Air and Water

Frank G. Dwyer
Fishing close to shore has been somewhat hit or miss this week as unsettled weather in the late afternoon and evening has disturbed fishing patterns. Striped bass, bluefish and flounder remain plentiful; you’ll just need to work a bit harder to find them.

Offshore, tuna fishing continues to improve as ground party boats try to get their patrons under cod and haddock and away from dogfish.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) The beaches in Marblehead continue to produce good bass at night. Anglers using larger swimming or popping plugs or weighted sluggos have been doing quite well. Bluefish and Flounder remain just off shore.

Salem: (3 hooks) Larger bass have retreated to deeper water as the summer heat settles in. Boat anglers are doing well around Bakers and Great Misery Islands. Surfcasters do well with larger plugs at night.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Anglers around Beverly have found hungry bass at night near the Kernwood Bridge as well as off the Beverly Fishing Pier. Flounder anglers report good action just off shore bouncing worms off the bottom.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Tuna fever has hit the cape and anglers have been patrolling the Northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of bluefin. Large amounts of bait and birds have been the norm, with school bluefin tuna available for those in the right place at the right time. Bass continue to hold in the deeper sections of the Annisquam and large bass have been active off Halibut Point. Bluefish have been at the Breakwater in Gloucester and anglers have done well trolling deep swimming rapalas. Rockport Beaches are fishing well at night with eels and cut bait working well as well as large plugs twitched across the surface. Fishing in the Essex River has slowed, but bass remain, especially after dark. Cod and haddock boats continue to catch good amounts of fish while trying to evade the dogs.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Cranes Beach continues to be a good bet, especially for fly fishermen targeting bass. Larger baitfish imitations stripped rapidly have been working well. Bluefish have been plentiful in Ipswich Bay and have been getting bigger.

Newbury: (3 hooks) The beaches from the Refuge have provided some action for bluefish and bass, however the action has slowed some. Chunk mackerel, worms and clams will work best for bait and larger sluggos rigged on lead heads should provide some strikes. (I prefer the albino white color)

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) Joppa Flats is the place to be at night or at false dawn as large stripers are taking eels, tube-n-worms and sluggos. Your best bet is on the ebbing tide. Crowds have decreased my interest in fishing the bank of the river at Plum Island Point, but if your into combat style fishing, you will find striped bass and bluefish willing to take your offering. Flounder have been taken just off the sandbar in the river as well as just off the front beaches. The front beaches have been hit or miss this week for surfcasters but party boats continue to provide good cod and haddock action. Further offshore, bluefin tuna have been marked at Tillies, Jefferies and Stellwagen.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Camping and Beach season is firmly here and with that the crowds at the State Reservation rival those across the river at Plum Island Point. That said, bluefish and bass are being taken from the beach at the state reservation as well as off the north jetty. Surfcasters report tough fishing off Salsibury Beach.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Mackerel are still present in numbers north of the border and large bass are still chasing them. Anglers from North Hampton to Portsmouth report good fishing from the beaches and rivers. Flounder fishing has also been quite good for anglers dunking worms near Hampton and Rye Harbors. Cod and Haddock remain steady for the charter boats
Tides and Currents Matter: Many casual surfcasters do not understand the importance that the tidal movement plays in the game of catching fish. Take time to note the tide when you begin fishing and especially when you seem to be on a steady bite. Veteran surfcasters have used the “trial and error” method to discover what tides are most productive and certain locations. Once you are privy to this crucial information, you will catch more fish.