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 dwyer.f@gmail.com or www.frankdwyeroutdoors.blogspot.com 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.