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.

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