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!