August 5, 2009

Bass are Lazy in Summer Heat

BY Frank Dwyer
Publication Date: August 7, 2009

The heat and humidity have affected both fishermen and fish alike. Much like we don’t enjoy running around in the humidity, the fish also head for deeper water and are much less active in this weather.
Bait is your best bet during the so-called “dog days”, however plugs and other assorted artificials will still work, especially at night.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Fishing from Devereux Beach at night with bait is the best bet around Marblehead if you are looking for keeper bass. There have been some smaller bass and a few bluefish around the Neck as well.

Salem: (3 hooks): There have been surface feeds around Misery and Baker’s Island this past week as bass and bluefish have been foraging for both mackerel and peanut bunker. The fish have been hitting the surface and disappearing as quickly as they appear.

Beverly: (3 hooks) The outer harbor in Beverly has been home to some great action as bass have been hitting the surface for a meal of peanut bunker, herring fry and some mackerel. Chartreuse clousers stripped quickly have been nailing these fish for the fly fishermen while most any top water plug will do for spin casters.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Pogie and Mackerel chunkers have found action at night for bass to 30 pounds off Singing Beach in Manchester. There have been some mackerel in the vicinity of Eastern Point and around Brace Cove, and anglers lucky enough to find them have been live-lining them and bringing in some cows! Cod, Haddock and Pollock fishing has been quite good for the charter captains and some large bluefin are keying in on schools of mackerel on Stellwagen Bank. Rockport beaches have been fishing well at night, especially with clams and chunk mackerel, while the Essex River action has slowed considerably.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Hit or Miss is how it’s playing out around Ipswich Bay this week as bait has bee somewhat scarce and bass hard to find. Crane Beach has slowed considerably and larger bass catches are coming from those using bait. Hopefully the bait will fill in and the fishing will improve.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Anglers working the night shift from the beaches at parking lots six and seven at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge have found sporadic action for bass to 35 inches. Plum Island Sound has been very spotty with bass becoming quite finicky in the heat. Not much happening in the Parker River either.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks): While it may take some looking, there are still big bass around the Port. Joppa Flats has been doing very well for anglers using eels at night. Also working on the flats are sluggos bounced slowly along the bottom as well as trolling a tube and worm rig. The oceanfront, particularly near the South Jetty has been good for bait fishermen with some flounder being taken by surfcasters using worms. Bluefish have been somewhat scarce, but have been popping up, mostly for boat anglers off the Plum Island oceanfront. Party boats continue to please patrons with good action for Cod, Pollock and Haddock.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Reports have some anglers having success off the beach near the Seabrook town line for both bass and some flounder. Do some exploring and avoid the crowds at the usual spots! Google maps can show you some very fishable areas that are fairly untapped.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) There is sea herring and mackerel available from Hampton Bay to Kittery, and with that the bass fishing has been quite good. You’ll still need to seek out deeper water or fish after dark, but large bass are there for the taking. The Piscataqua has been fishing well with both bait and plugs, with large Danny plugs and needlefish working well. Cod fishing out by the Isle of Shoals has been quite good with some large fish in the mix.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Don’t forget the float. At this time of year, skates and dogfish tend to irritate anglers fishing with bait. Limit the irritation by using a float between your weight and hook to keep the bait off the bottom. Vary the leader length based on your experiences.

Frank Dwyer is a freelance Fishing and Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at or with your fishing news, pictures or questions!

July 31, 2009

Saltwater Action Remains Good

BY Frank Dwyer
Publication Date: 7/31/2009

Despite Mother Nature’s best efforts, fishing remains quite good on the North Shore and off the New Hampshire coast.

Surface feeding bass and blues have been seen this week from Marblehead to Portsmouth while the tuna bite has remained consistent for offshore fishermen.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Mackerel and Ocean Herring remain plentiful around Marblehead, and with that, bass and bluefish have been crashing the surface in search of an easy meal. Large baitfish imitation flies stripped quickly have been attracting bass, while anglers live-lining mackerel have been weeding out the small fish.

Salem: (4 hooks) Salem Sound and its environs has been fishing quite well as mackerel continue to attract bass and bluefish. Just outside the harbor, several bass over 30 pounds have been taken, mostly on live lined mackerel. Chunkers fishing off Winter Island also report good action, especially at night.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Early morning surface feeds off West Beach have attracted anglers in search of fish prior to the arrival of sunbathers. Bass and blues are intermingling to key in on mackerel and some ocean herring, and when feeding are taking most offerings. Anglers working the nightshift near the Salem-Beverly Bridge have found decent action for bass, mostly with bait.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) An abundance of bait has kept the fishing off Magnolia and Gloucester quite hot. Large bass are keying in on mackerel and you can find the macks by the breakwater and groaner. Eels have been producing good numbers of keeper bass from the beaches around the Cape at night while anglers fishing deeper water by Halibut Point and Thachers have found some 40-pound bass on live mackerel and tube and worm rigs. The Essex River fishing has been quite spotty, with greenheads making things even less enjoyable. Ground fishing has been good according to the Party Boat fleet.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Crane Beach has been fishing well this week with surface feeds breaking out on several occasions. Larger bass have been in the mix along with some monster bluefish. Large popping plugs, hopkins/kastmasters and swimming plugs have all been taking fish.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Fishing from Parking Lot 1 of the NWR has yielded good numbers of bass and bluefish for bait and lure fishermen, and some flounder are also being taken on worms. Lot’s 6 and 7 remain open and a decent option for surfcasters. Bluefish numbers have increased in Plum Island Sound while the Parker River has slowed considerably.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks): The Port remains a hot fishing destination as several 30+ pound bass have been taken from Joppa Flats, the Oceanfront and the sand bar near the mouth. Eels, cut bait, large plugs and needlefish have all been taking fish. Flounder remain available just outside the mouth and off the beach near the south jetty. Bluefish are around, but most have been taken from boats trolling deep swimming lures. Party boats continue to please their patrons with good cod, pollock and some haddock catches. Tuna fishing out by the NWC of Stellwagen continues to attract throngs of boaters in search of fresh sushi.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Bluefish and Bass continue to be taken from the river bank of the State Reservation, with anglers using clams and cut bait out scoring most other methods. Surfcasting off the northern end of Salisbury Beach has been good, especially at night.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Flounder fishing off Rye remains good, as many anglers are catching their limit. The Great Bay has been yielding some big stripers, mostly on bait, while the Piscataqua has been quite hot this week as mackerel are still abundant and with that blues and bass are quite active. Offshore, cod and pollock are being taken by the Isle of Shoals with some consistency.

TIP OF THE WEEK: There are many choices for fishermen when it comes to selecting a new pair of waders. Surfcasters tend to cover a lot of beach and I have found that Neoprene Waders are the most comfortable for long walks. Neoprene, while perhaps not flattering for some anglers body shape, provides a comfort that is unequaled by traditional wader materials.

Frank Dwyer is a freelance Fishing and Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at or with your fishing news!

July 23, 2009

No Reason to Sing the Blues

By: Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: July 24, 2009

Deep into the summer, big bass are in a different feeding pattern, meaning most big fish will come at night. Look on the positive side; you have your days free!

Bluefish, Flounder, Tuna and assorted ground fish remain available to North Shore anglers; you’ll just need to use your knowledge, skill and time to find the fish.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Fishing around the Neck continues to be best at night with eels or large plugs. Fly fishermen report good action on large profile flies stripped fast on sinking lines. Bluefish are hit or miss, but remain in the area, while flounder are still around but in deeper water.

Salem: (3 hooks) Salem Harbor and environs has seen some decent schools of surface feeding bass over the last week, with fish feeding quickly and dispersing. Bluefish have been somewhat scarce, but flounder have been on the up tick in the harbor.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Fishing at night is the ticket, be it from the Pier, near the Bridge or along the shoreline. Bass have gone for deeper in many cases, but make sporadic appearances closer to shore, especially around structure. Bluefish make their presence known intermittently.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) The Manchester and Magnolia shorelines have been good for bass over 30 inches, with large plugs and eels working best. Pre-dawn and after dark provide the best time for keeper sized bass. Flounder have also been found in the 20 to 30 foot water around the harbor. Surfcasters have found the local beaches to be hit or miss. Bluefish have thinned out a bit, but still remain from the breakwater to Thacher's. Trolling off Halibut Point has yielded both bass and bluefish this week. Deep swimming broken back lures, tube-and-worm and umbrella rigs have been picking up the fish. Rockport Beaches have provided somewhat consistent hookups at night for bait fishermen. Tuna fishing has been spotty off Stellwagen, but bigger fish are now in the mix.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Fishing has been hit or miss around Ipswich with bass and bluefish still hanging out around the mouth of the Ipswich River, but only being caught sporadically. Boaters have found larger bass in deeper water in the Bay and bluefish have been taking trolled swimmers.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Parking lots 1, 6 and 7 remain open for walk on fishermen at the Parker River NWR and bass are there for the taking with some bluefish and flounder in the mix. Plum Island Sound fishing has cooled down while greenhead activity has increased.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) News of a 51 pound striper landed on Plum Island has many anglers interested in getting on the water. (The fish was taken on chunk mackerel) Bass over 30 pounds have come from the Flats as well as near the river mouth. Flounder fishing has been quite strong for anglers using seawoms off the beach as well as boat anglers drifting just off shore. Bluefish have been spotty, but are still in the area to wreak havoc on your gear. Party boats are still producing good numbers while the Tuna fleet has found larger fish on Stellwagen.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) You can sum up Salisbury this way: bluefish scarce, greenheads plentiful. You’d be better off fighting the midges and mosquitoes off Salisbury in search of bass, as larger fish have been taken at night. Chunk bait, worms and clams are attracting fish, with a few daytime blitzes popping up here and there.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Fishing around Hampton and Rye has yielded good amounts of flounder in and just outside the harbors. Further north, the Piscataqua continues to fish well as anglers have found bass from the mouth to the Great Bay. Eels at night as well as trolled deep swimmers or umbrella rigs have been attracting larger bass. There are some bluefish around, but not in huge numbers.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Clean Hands Catch Fish. I’m not talking fishy hands; I’m talking those hands you just lathered yourself up in sunscreen and bug spray with. Wash your hands with soap and water or some type of cleaning solution if possible after applying these products as they can and will adversely affect your fishing if you get the scent on your tackle.

Weather has provided good fishing opportunities over the last week

By: Frank Dwyer
Publication Date: July 17, 2009

The last ten days of weather have really afforded anglers the opportunity to get out and explore, and with that added time on the water, the fishing has been good.

All the usual suspects remain in our area with bluefish making the biggest splash as we’ve seen them settle into our area.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Bass remain active off the Marblehead coast, but have moved into more sporadic feeding patterns. The best bet is false dawn or after dark with live eels off the Neck, or near the mouth of the harbor. Bluefish remain present so prepare for cut offs.

Salem: (3 hooks) Some larger bass have been around Salem this past week. Fishing around Winter Island and even Pickering Wharf has yielded bass over the last week. Bait has been working best. Bluefish have been all over Salem Sound and taking just about anything in your tackle box.

Beverly: (3 hooks) As bass fall into deeper summer feeding patterns, fishing has been a bit more sporadic around Beverly, but fishing the Danvers near the bridge or Kernwood at night has still been producing fish. Fishing by boat near West Beach and the Landmark School has been hit or miss for bass as bluefish have been more prevalent.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) While the weather has been clear, wind on some days around the Cape has made the surf quite rough, creating a smorgasbord of bait offerings for fish in the white water, and a dream come true for surfcasters. The Magnolia shoreline has been good for bass at night, with fish falling for live eels and large plugs or needlefish. Bluefish have been patrolling from the breakwater to Thachers with some big one’s in the mix now. Rockport Beaches continue to fish well, especially at night, while deeper water anglers have found large bass off Halibut Point. The tuna are biting quite consistently out at the NWC of Stellwagen, with fish well over 70”s being taken. Ground fishing remains quite good for party boats.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Fishing has slowed a bit around Crane Beach, however if you are willing to put in the time at night, large bass are still around. Bluefish and Bass have been active in Ipswich Bay, however the fish are feeding in a more inconsistent manner at this point in the season.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Parking lots 1, 6 and 7 are open for walk on fishermen at the Parker River NWR and bluefish and bass are there for the taking. Bait in the early morning or at dusk has been working best. Fish have become finicky in Plum Island Sound.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks): Joppa Flats has been fishing well for bait and wade fishermen. Bass and bluefish are on the flats in the morning and the bass are taking dark plastics, eels and tube and worm set-ups at night. The surf has been productive off the Plum Island beachfront at times over the last week with bass and blues willing to take metal offerings and bait like clams, worms and cut mackerel. There are still some flounder being taken just outside the mouth while the party boats report good action for cod and haddock. The tuna fanatics from the Port have been finding good-sized tuna at the NWC of Stellwagen.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) The State Reservation is in full summer swing, so you won’t be lonely should you choose to fish across from Plum Island Point. Bass and Bluefish have been taken this week, mostly on chunk bait. Salisbury Beach is a decent option for surf fishermen at night.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) The Seabrook, Hampton and Rye coast has been fishing OK this week, but most of the action seems to be in the Great Bay out to the mouth of the Piscataqua and beyond. Larger bass are still in the Great Bay and anglers are taking them on bait and lures. The Piscataqua has been fishing well for both shore and boat anglers with bass and bluefish taking most offerings if the timing is right.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Less is more when you are a surf fisherman. Learn what works for the area you are going to be fishing, and lessen your load by taking a smaller version of your tackle bag with you in a backpack or waist pack. You will find you are more nimble, less tired, and able to fish longer.

July 5, 2009

Blues and Bass Between Rain Drops

BY Frank Dwyer
Publication Date: July 3, 2009

Let’s face it, June really stunk it up this year, and although the fishing has been good, the weather has made for conditions that are less than enjoyable.

Hopefully the fish are just as sick of the rain as all of us and this weekends dryer forecasts will provide anglers with more fishing opportunities north of Boston.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Cut bait floated in the rocks off the Neck has been a productive method of catching keeper-sized bass this week. Fish have been busting just outside the harbor as mackerel are still in the area. Bluefish continue on their quest to bite everything offered.

Salem: (3 hooks) Bass action in the Danvers River has been good, but the larger bass have been absent. Bluefish and bass have been feeding at the entrance to the harbor with live-lined mackerel still your best bet for big fish.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Anglers fishing the West Beach area at night have found surface feeding bass as well as some bluefish in the mix. Flounder fishing continues to be good, in between the rotten weather. Anglers fishing from the State Pier report a decent mix of bass and blues, mostly on bait.
Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Surf caster hopping rocks around Magnolia have found good numbers of bass as the wind has been blowing bait into the rocks. Small broken backs, needle fish and medium sized top water plugs have all been producing. The Annisquam is still yielding bass, especially in some of the deeper holes up river. Larger bass continue to take eels and tube and worm rigs around Halibut Point and Thachers, while off shore fishing has been very much contingent on the weather over the last week. Some party boats have found good numbers of Cod during breaks in the weather. Fishing in the Essex River for bass takes more work, but the bass are still there.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Blues and stripers have been taking offerings from shore-bound fishermen off Crane Beach. Anglers have found black pencil poppers, dark soft plastic baits and wood plugs working well. Larger bass have been on the surface at the mouth of the Ipswich a few times this week at false dawn, and taking most top water and metal offerings.

Newbury: (3 hooks) The east wind has been pushing bait towards the beach and with that the NWR lots 1 and 7 have been providing good action with bass sometimes right in the wash. Sluggos and metal have worked best over the last week with bait (clams and worms) coming in a close second.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) Fog has plagued the Port over the last several days making fishing a bit interesting for both shore and boat anglers. Upriver, anglers are still finding bass taking live eels and top water plugs at night. The waters around Deer, Carr and Eagle Island have all been producing decent action for bass. The flats have been hit and miss, as fish will be on top one day and gone the next. Sluggos and top water plugs on the outgoing tide have worked well. Flounder fishing off Plum Island remains decent when the weather cooperates and Plum Island Point continues to attract anglers (and bass) on either end of low tide.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Mackerel have become harder to find near Breaking Rock, mostly because bluefish numbers have increased. Fishing from the State Reservation has been good for bait fishermen with worms and clams, while surf caster report sporadic action off Salisbury Beach.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Mackerel have still been around Hampton and Portsmouth and anglers using cut, fillet strips or whole mackerel have been finding good numbers of fish to 30-pounds. Bluefish have been thick at times at the mouth of the Piscataqua all the way out to the Isle of Shoals.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Rinse your gear in fresh water after every outing, no matter how tired you are. Wear and tear is only heightened when salt and other environmental matter is allowed to build up on your tackle.

June 25, 2009

Rainy Weather Irritates Anglers But Not Fish

By Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: June 26, 2009

Fishing has become a bit more hit or miss this week as some anglers have spent hours fishing only to be rewarded with one or two fish, while others report decent activity when in the right place at the right time.

Mackerel are becoming scarcer as bluefish invade our waters, but harbor pollock and pogies are making up for the mackerel shortage in some North Shore areas.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Pogies have been in Marblehead harbor and bass have been keying on them. Snag one and send it back overboard and hold on! Kayakers have been catching flounder in the harbor in good numbers. Bluefish numbers are increasing.

Salem: (3 hooks) The area around Bakers Island has been the scene of several large surface feeds over the last week and anglers have been taking the fish with live lined pogies and mackerel (if you can find them), top-water plugs, pencil poppers and small metal lures. Bluefish and bass catches have been somewhat consistent around Winter Island.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Surface feeding bass under clouds of birds have kept anglers around Beverly Harbor busy as fish in the 30-pound range have been keying in pogies and harbor pollock.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Manchester Harbor has had decent amounts of pogies over the last week and large pass love pogies! Anglers trolling with tube and worm rigs or fishing live pollock have done well by Thacher's and off Halibut Point. Surfcasters using chunk bait and clams report good action from Gloucester and Rockport Beaches, while the Essex River system has slowed a bit from its breakneck bass action from the last few weeks. Tuna fever is starting to take hold as fish in the 50 to 70 inch range are being taken on Stellwagen. There has also been an influx of larger sand eels on the bank and with that large areas of surface feeding bass and blues. Weather systems this week have made fishing spotty. Party boats report excellent action for ground fish.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) Fishing has been good from Crane and Pavilion Beach over the last week with bass and blues in the mix. The mouth of the Ipswich River and out into Ipswich Bay has been the scene of many surface feeds with a potpourri of blues and bass to pick off.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Parking lots 1 and 7 remain the only beachfront open to surf anglers at the Parker River NWR. Blues and Bass continue to please anglers using both bait and plugs. The refuge and Sandy Point have a combined total of 25 pairs of nesting plovers, up from only 7 last year. Beach Buggies will not be allowed on the beach until September 1.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks): Fishing at night from Deer Island to the Gillis Bridge, especially with eels has been quite effective in attracting large bass. Joppa has been a bit spotty with bass making sporadic appearances along with some bluefish. Mackerel have become scarce as the toothy ones have become more prevalent. The beachfront has also yielded bass over the last week, especially at the top of the tide, with bluefish being harder to entice from the shore. Flounder fishing remains strong just outside the mouth along Plum Island’s shore. As I write this, the coast guard is looking for a missing man from a boat accident at the mouth of the Merrimack River on Wednesday evening. Three other’s were rescued. Please remember, the mouth is no place for an inexperienced captain, which it appears these men were not. Reports are that two of the four were licensed captains and that the boat ran into the jetty on the Salisbury side of the river in rough seas and fog.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) With the shortage of mackerel, shore fishing has definitely taken a hit, but fishing at night is still providing good action from the State Park and off the beach. Bluefish continue to be in the mix.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Hampton Harbor and Hampton River have seen an up tick in bluefish activity, with some in the 8-pound range. The Great Bay and surrounding rivers continue to hold bass and anglers using cut and live bait along with lures continue to entice good-sized bass. Stripers and Bluefish are taking live-lined mackerel as well as drifted chunks, while cod fishing remains quite good off shore.


Revive your battle worn and matted buck tails by soaking them in warm water and common dish detergent and let dry. They will be like new and help you catch more fish.

June 18, 2009

Many fish caught over the last week including a sturgeon!

Frank Dwyer

This is really a great time to live in New England if you love fishing. Ocean temperatures continue to rise and bait fish continue their push north enticing many game fish to our shores.

Bass, bluefish, flounder, tuna, cod, and haddock are all available to anglers on the North Shore and along the Granite State’s seacoast.
® ™ Frank Dwyer Outdoors Photo
Marblehead: (4 hooks)
The Neck has been fishing well as bass have been in close to the rocks chasing bait. Medium to large profile flies and lures have been getting hammered. Bluefish are also around; so don’t be surprised if you’re cut off while fishing for striped bass.

Salem: (4 hooks) There have been pogies around Salem Harbor and if you can snag a few and live-line them, you may well catch a 40-pound bass. Bluefish have been cavorting in Salem Sound and fish are taking most lures and lot’s of chunk bait—don’t forget you’re wire!

Beverly: (4 hooks) Anglers report good action for bass and some bluefish around the Beverly / Salem Bridge. Flounder fishermen continue to find legal fish around the harbor and just outside. Fishing from the Pier at night has yielded a few nice bass over the last week.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) The Manchester and Magnolia shoreline continues to hold good numbers of bass for those stalking from shore or boat/kayak. The beaches of Gloucester, including Wingaersheek and Good Harbor are fishing well for landlubbers with large pencil poppers working well at night. The Annisquam continues to hold fish, but you’ll need to look a bit harder as bait becomes a bit scarce. Halibut Point and the waters around
Photo courtesy Don Osmer
Thacher’s and Kettle Island have been yielding good-sized stripers

and bluefish. The NWC of Stellwagen has been providing action for anglers in search of tuna. Live pogies have been the best bait.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Terrific fishing is available around Ipswich as bluefish and bass have been active around the mouth of the Ipswich River, in Ipswich Bay and off Pavilion Beach. Crane Beach continues to fish well for bass, mostly at night.

Newbury: (4 hooks) Parking Lot 1 at the Refuge continues to attract anglers and for good reason. Over the last week, good numbers of bass and some blues have been taken from the beach. The Parker seems to have slowed a bit, but nighttime action should still be viable.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) Don Osmer of Ayer hooked a 25- pound bass on an overnight trip this past week, up river of the Gillis Bridge. The fish fell for a live eel. Joppa Flats continues to fish well for both fly fishermen and eel fishermen at night. The Plum Island beachfront has been yielding fish to plugs, cut bait, worms and clams. Bluefish have started to arrive scaring mackerel away and flounder fishing continues to be good. John Solomon and Jim Hajjar out of Methuen and Captain Ralph out of

Photo courtesy Captain Ralph and John Solomon

Salisbury had the catch of a lifetime last week when the hooked and carefully released an Atlantic Sturgeon at the mouth of the Merrimack. John, being an experienced angler, knew he had a big striper or as he said to his buddies, “either that or a Sturgeon.” The fish fell for a 1 oz Lead Head rigged with a six-inch sluggo on 30-pound braid. John estimates the fish took twenty minutes to land and leaped clear out of the water at one point. As per regulations, John released the fish without ever having it leave the water.

Salisbury, MA: (4 hooks) Mackerel have become a bit scarce, as bluefish have made their annual arrival. Blues have been taken at the mouth of the Merrimack, from the North Jetty and from Salisbury Beach. Plum Island Point continues to provide good bass action, mostly for bait anglers.

Seacoast, NH: (4 hooks) Mackerel are still somewhat abundant outside the Piscataqua out to Isle of Shoals. Larger Bass have been keying on the bait and some 40-pound fish have been taken on live lined mackerel. In some of the Great Bay river systems, Alewife’s remain thick and with that good opportunities for bass. Cod fishing remains strong near the Isle of Shoals.


Don’t be heroes: As we get deeper into summer, weather can change in a very short amount of time. If you’re on the water or the beach and sense a storm heading your way, take your lines in and head in. Lightning, strong winds and waves are not something worth fishing through; there will be other days.

Frank Dwyer is a freelance Fishing and Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at or with your fishing news!

June 11, 2009

Fishing Continues to Improve

Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: June 12, 2009

Fishing continues to improve on the North Shore as ocean temperatures continue to climb and bait has an increased presence in our waters.

Flounder, Cod, Haddock and Striped Bass are all readily available and the bluefish will be around for you to target soon.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) Fishing around the Neck has been great for bass this past week. Large plugs, cut bait and worms, as well as dual colored flies on sinking lines. I’ve found that olive and White to be the best pattern over the last week. Greystone Beach has been fishing well with bait, soft plastics, bucktail jigs and Danny Plugs.

Salem: (4 hooks) Mackerel and Pollock have been in and just outside the Harbor as well as throughout Salem Sound. Bass are chasing larger plugs and tube and worm rigs, but the big fish are being taken on live lined bait. There is no shortage of Flounder off the Salem coast.

Beverly: (4 hooks) Kayak fishermen report good fishing around the islands as well as around any rocky formations. False dawn has found bass hitting topwater plugs while fishing with bait from the pier has been good. Fishing the Danvers near Kernwood has been heating up.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Plenty of bait around the Cape with mackerel, river herring and pollock all attracting larger bass. Fishing has been good for larger bass off Halibut Point and Thacher’s with live lined bait and tube and worm rigs working well. Fishing has also been good from Good Harbor and Niles Beach and mackerel have been close enough to shore for surfcasters to get in on the live lining action. Bass Rocks and the Annisquam continue to give up nice fish with larger fish taking eels in the Annisquam at night. The Essex area has also been fishing well, especially for Kayakers exploring the marshes. Party boats have been getting into big Cod.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Mackerel have been in and out of Ipswich Bay and bigger bass continue to show up. Bass to forty pounds have been taking live-lined mackerels and that really is the best way to nail a cow. Of course fly fishermen and spin casters are still doing well in the rivers and from the beaches.

Newbury: (4 hooks) The Parker River continues to yield bass, some over 30 pounds as river herring are still being chased. Anglers using herring pattern flies as well as broken back swimming lures have done well. Fishing from the beach 1 at the NWR continues to be good for both bait and spin fishermen.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) Flounder catches are up around the Port as these tasty fish have been taken from the mouth of the Merrimack down past the Reservation beaches. Anglers are even taking some flounder from the beach. The beachfront has also been good for bait chunkers as cut mackerel and clams have been working well for fish to twenty pounds. Bass continue to be taken around Joppa Flats by both wade fishermen and those in boats. Plum Island Point has been delivering good numbers of bass to those willing to brave the combat style fishing that is often the case at the Point. Party boats report consistent Cod action for patrons.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) I made a point to try the beachfront in Salisbury this week and ended up with several schoolies in a 30 minute span at Dawn near the old pavilion. White six-inch sluggos were my weapon of choice. Anglers continue to do well in the Merrimack from the shores of the State Reservation.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Mackerel have made it to the granite state and anglers able to fill the live-well have done well from the mouth of the Piscataqua all the way into Great Bay. Hampton and Seabrook have also seen good numbers of bass and flounder continue to be a good target from Rye and Odiorne Point.


Change out your Treble Hooks: Treble hooks are really more trouble than they are worth. I switch out my trebles for single hooks, especially on larger lures, to make releasing the fish easier and limiting the hooks that I can sink into my hand or fingers as a fish moves around during hook removal. I find that the single hooks also make the lures swim truer.

June 8, 2009

Worth the Winter Wait

Frank G. Dwyer

You’re squirreled away in your fishing room, the snow is blowing against the windows and you’re daydreaming about that late Spring blitz as you look at your dormant equipment. Time to wake up, you are not dreaming and fishing is where you want it to be!

The Bay State and the Granite State are both starting to see drastic increases in bait and game fish in the waters and now is the time to get out and chase the many fish available to us.

Marblehead: (4 hooks) Mackerel are around Marblehead, and with that larger striped bass are on the prowl. Anglers just outside the harbor have been live lining the macs and landing keeper bass. Surf casting from the beaches and off the Neck has improved with warming ocean temperatures.

Salem: (4 hooks) Salem Sound has been alive with fish as striped bass and flounder catches continue to increase. Mackerel off Baker’s Island have helped the fishing as big bass look to feed. Fly fishermen have been having luck with larger profile flies and flounder catches have been on the rise.

Beverly: (4 hooks) Larger flounder have been taking the worms around Beverly Harbor. Striped Bass fishing continues to improve with anglers reporting catches on soft plastics, mid-sized top water plugs and cut bait. Surface feeding bass continue to make false dawn a great time to be around West Beach.

Cape Ann: (4 hooks) Fishing from Magnolia to Essex has really been on the upswing. Anglers working the rocks around Manchester and Magnolia have yielded fish from 20” to 40”. Flies on sinking lines, soft plastics, larger plugs and bait have all been working well. The Annisquam continues to fish well, especially at night on the moving tide. Mackerel have set up shop all around the Cape, and anglers using sabiki rigs to load up the live well have landed fish to 40 pounds. Rockport beaches have been productive for surfcasters and party boats continue to find good amounts of cod and haddock.

Ipswich: (4 hooks) Mackerel have been in and out of Ipswich Bay over the last week and striped bass catches have been becoming more consistent. Fishing from Pavilion Beach has been good with both plugs and swimming lures. The Crane Beach environs continue to provide shore bound anglers a plethora of fishing opportunities.

Newbury: (4 hooks) Plum Island Sound has been fishing very well as anglers have found larger bass feeding this week. Tube and worm set ups have been deadly as have large wooden plugs at night. I can tell you from first hand knowledge that the Parker River continues to give up bass, mostly in the early morning or evening hours. The beach from the refuge continues to provide somewhat consistent action for bass.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (4 hooks) This is the time of year I love living in the Port. The upper Merrimack has been fishing well at times, especially at the top of the incoming tide. Sluggos, small white flies and broken-back swimming plugs have all been productive above the Route 1 Bridge this week. Joppa Flats continues to deliver good fishing for boats drifting by the AYC moorings and those who don’t mind the long wade out at low tide. Live lined mackerel have been attracting big bass at the mouth of the river and flounder catches are on the increase in the river and just off Plum Island.

Salisbury, MA: (3 hooks) Salisbury Beach at sunrise has been fishing well over the last week for surfcasters in search of bass. Chunks and worms have been working well as have buck tail jigs. Fishing from the State Reservation shoreline as well as the North Jetty has been consistent for bass from two hours before low tide until two hours after low.

Seacoast, NH: (3 hooks) Fishing from Seabrook to the Great Bay has been good this week as more fish make their way north. Striped Bass have been just outside Seabrook and Hampton Harbor and mackerel have become more consistent at Breaking Rock. Flounder fishing off Rye has been good as more legal fish are in the mix. The Portsmouth area has seen an influx of schoolie striped bass with some bigger fish in the mix. Large Cod have been taken around the Isle of Shoals.


Change the rhythm: Often times, switching up how you’re fishing a particular lure rather than the lure itself will lead you to the fish. Many times I have gone from a steady retrieve cadence to a more erratic twitching of the lure to increase pick-ups. Experimenting with your retrieve and how you make your lure swim will make you a better angler.

May 29, 2009

Fishing Continues to Improve from Boston to Portsmouth

Frank G. Dwyer

Unsettled weather the last few days seems to have thinned the crowds, but the fishing is still quite good from Boston to Portsmouth.

Striped Bass continue to show in more numbers as mackerel make their annual push north. Cod, Haddock and Flounder are also being caught in more numbers on the North Shore.

Marblehead: (3 hooks) Bait fishermen have been doing well around Hovey Park and the Neck. Big chunks of cut mackerel have been working best to attract bigger bass. Surfcasters have found bass off Devereux Beach, especially at dawn and in the early evening hours.

Salem: (3 hooks) Flounder fishing has improved in and around Salem Harbor as some 4-5 pound flatties have been landed recently. Striped Bass have been chasing mackerel just outside the Harbor and anglers using soft plastics and cut bait have done well. Fishing around the islands has also been good and pogies should make their annual appearance soon.

Beverly: (3 hooks) Action is heating up around Obear Park as striped bass continue to make their arrival known. Sea worms and clams have been working for bass of the Pier, while anglers fishing the river near the Kernwood Country Club have also found cooperative bass. Flounder fishing around the harbor has been good.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) Fishing has improved around the Cape as mackerel have become more active. The Annisquam is still fishing well with striped bass becoming quite active with keepers in the mix. Anglers have found larger bass off Halibut Point, with large chunks or live-lined mackerel. The beaches off Rockport have been yielding striped bass to both fly and spin fishermen. In Essex, the rivers have been fishing well as bass continue to feed on river herring.

Ipswich: (3 hooks) The mouth of the Ipswich continues to fish well for striped bass, as does the Crane Beach area. Bass has been pounding soft plastics on lead heads. Fly fishermen have found fish on sinking lines with small baitfish imitations.

Newbury: (3 hooks) Fishing from the Parker River NWR Lot 1 has been good over the last week. In the early morning hours, top water plugs and metal have been working while bait slingers report decent hook ups in the morning and at dusk, with some keeper sized bass in the mix. Stripers are still chasing herring in the Parker River.

Newburyport / Plum Island: (3 hooks) There are plenty of striped bass to stalk in the Newburyport area; you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Anglers fishing from Rock’s Village to the Route 1 Bridge report decent activity for striped bass on the moving tides. Small flies and sluggos twitched slowly on the bottom have been working well. Joppa continues to produce fish with some keeper fish falling for the tube and worm and chunk bait. My daughter Caitlin and I have been down on the oceanfront and the fishing has been good, mostly in the pre-dawn hours. Plum Island point continues to attract throngs of fishermen. Wednesday had birds working over feeding fish in the middle of the river by the jetties for a solid hour around low tide, so the fish are certainly active. Flounder catches are slowly improving and party boats are starting to pick up decent sized cod and haddock.

Salisbury, MA: (2 hooks) Salisbury State Reservation was packed with RV’s over the Memorial Day weekend and that had the Salisbury side of the river packed with anglers in search of striped bass. Worms, clams and cut bait were mostly in use when I was there and all three seemed to be working just fine.

Seacoast, NH: (2 hooks) Flounder fishing near Rye Harbor has been good over the last week as has been cod and haddock fishing near the Isle of Shoals. Further north, striped bass continue to chase river herring in the Newmarket and Portsmouth vicinity. Mackerel have been reported at the mouth of the Piscataqua, so get the jigs out and start live lining!


Keep Moving:
It sounds silly, but don’t stay put when fishing from shore or boat in one spot for too long. Sure, the fish could swing by the bank you are fishing or near where your boat is drifting, but you have a better chance of hooking up if you leave an unproductive spot in search of better waters.

May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Heralds in the Saltwater Fishing Season

Frank G. Dwyer
Publication Date: May 22, 2009

With the current heat wave, ocean temperatures will continue to rise and fishing conditions will improve daily.

Striped bass, shad, cod, haddock and even some flounder are available from Boston to the New Hampshire Seacoast, but we are still early in the season.

Marblehead: (2 hooks) Striped Bass are in the area, you just need to find warmer pockets of water and present small plastics on jig heads or tempt your prey with sea worms. Check out the rocks around the Neck or an open stretch of beach. Mackerel have been reported outside Boston Harbor, so fishing is bound to improve as the schools make their way north.

Salem: (2 hooks) Slurping bass have been taking small flies and top water plugs in the Danvers River near Kernwood. Not much around Salem Willows, but some fish have been active in and around the Harbor and off Winter Island.

Beverly: (2 hooks) Kayak fishermen have been finding bass in the early morning off West Beach while anglers dunking bait from the Pier have also found fish. Sluggos and small white flies are working in local rivers. Legal sized flounder have been hard to come by.

Cape Ann: (3 hooks) While some fish have been taken in open waters off the Cape, your best bet is still in the back rivers and estuaries. School Bass have been taken from Magnolia to Essex with fish keying in on small white flies and sluggo type offerings. The Annisquam is always a good early season bet. Offshore boats are seeing better numbers of cod and haddock.

Ipswich: (2 hooks) The mouth of the Ipswich River has been a productive area for fishermen looking for striped bass. Throwing small plugs or trolling swimming lures has been working well. The Castle Neck River and Crane Beach have been good for surfcasters and fly fishermen.

Newbury: (2 hooks) The Parker River has been a good bet for anglers in search of striped bass as small flies, plugs and swimming lures are all enticing fish. Herring are quite thick in the river. Plum Island Sound and the beach of the Refuge are also fishing well for school striped bass.
Newburyport / Plum Island: (2 hooks) The Chain Bridge opening coincided nicely with striped bass arriving around the Port and with that Deer Island has been a popular spot for both bait and artificial fishermen. Shad have been cooperating up by Rocks Village with anglers having success with darts. Further down river, Joppa Flats and the area around Woodman Island has been providing striped bass action, especially in early morning. Fishing the Beachfront has also produced small bass on both metal and buck tail jigs. As usual, the banks of the river at Plum Island Point have been jammed during the good tides. Flounder have been scarce but cod and haddock have become more active around the Northwest corner of Stellwagen.

Salisbury, MA: (2 hooks) Bass have been hitting surface plugs and hopkins/kastmasters off Salisbury Beach in the morning. Anglers fishing the river and jetty from the State Park have found decent bass action with a few keepers in the mix.

Seacoast, NH: (1 hooks) Stripers have been reported as far north as Portsmouth, with many fish up in the smaller rivers chasing alewifes. Fish have also been taken off the Coast Guard station. Anglers report spotty striped bass action in Seabrook, Hampton and Rye. Some flounder have been taken off Rye Beach.


Sharpen Hooks after the Off Season: One of the biggest reasons for missed hits while fishing is dull hook points. Ensure you sharpen those that can be salvaged or replace the ones that can’t to ensure you don’t lose that fish of a lifetime.

May 11, 2009

Fish Finder Back in Newspapers on May 22, 2009

Frank G. Dwyer
May 11, 2009

The Fish Finder will make its return to the Eagle Tribune, Newburyport Daily News, Gloucester Times and Salem News on Friday May 22nd and run each Friday through the Fall.

In the meantime, I've been scouting the North Shore and have a few schoolies already to show for it. Fish are being caught sporadically from Boston to Newburyport and mackeral and pogies are beginning to show up in our waters.

Stay tuned!

April 7, 2009

Sweetwater Tune-Up

Frank G. Dwyer
April 7, 2009
Spring fever is in full effect and if you are like me you are itching to wet a line. I've been staking out some of the local ponds for trout and assorted other species like large mouth, perch and pickerel. Searching out these fish is a great rehearsal for when the stripers and blues arrive.

The State has been busing stocking trout and you can find the schedule and ponds and rivers stocked here.

You'll also find that other freshwater species will become quite active as April leaks into May. The State has excellent resources for finding a location near you to freshwater fish or you can use your Google skills.

March 31, 2009

Wishin' we were Fishin'

As warmer weather slowly moves our way, striped bass will begin their move up the coast and out of the Hudson River and as with every year, it can't happen soon enough!
To keep you occupied, the New England Saltwater Fishing Show will be held April 3 through April 5 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Should be lot's of great exhibitors as well as lessons, demonstrations and other fun.

January 13, 2009

No Saltwater Fishing License for Massachusetts Anglers.....Yet.

Frank G. Dwyer
January 14, 2009
Saltwater fishermen will once again be able to take to the sea without a license, however one way or another, we will have to register with either a Federal Registry or buy a State License, whichever happens to be in place by January 1, 2010.
Massachusetts has wrestled with this question in the past and if a state does not have a registry (aka saltwater license) in place by January 2010, saltwater anglers will have to register via NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries Service federal registration.
If Massachusetts does not have a saltwater license program in place anglers who fish in federal ocean waters or in tidal waters for anadromous species (migratory fish such as striped bass and salmon that spawn in rivers and spend their adult lives in estuaries and oceans), they will need to register with the Federal Registry. The registry is expected to be free the first few years with a nominal fee added in future years.
Those registering via the Federal Registry will need to include the angler's name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the regions where they intend to fish. The information will be used to conduct surveys on fishing effort and numbers of fish caught. Once anglers have registered, they may fish anywhere in U.S. federal waters, or in tidal waters for anadromous species, regardless of the region specified in their registration.

The registration will be valid for one year from its date of issue. Anglers must comply with applicable state licensing requirements when fishing in state waters. Anglers will be able to register online or by calling a toll-free number that will be publicized, and will receive a registration certificate. Anglers will need to carry this certificate (or their state license from an exempt state) and produce it to an authorized enforcement officer if requested.

January 7, 2009

Tule Elk Attract Elite Bow Hunters

I happened across this article in yesterday's New York Times. It's a very interesting read.
Photo by Bill Becher for The New York Times