The return of the striped bass should be enough to make most anglers happy, but for some, it’s just not enough! For those, we submit an impressive flounder bite, inshore haddock and the return of a most valuable big bass bait source – mackerel!
Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report
Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters was wishing but not actually fishing the other day when he spotted a blitz at the mouth of the North River! Others who were more fortunate and had a rod at the ready found out that those fish were fresh, feisty schoolies and were feeding on herring. As typical of May you can expect random, roaming blitzes to be par for the course from just north of the canal to Cohasset and beyond!
The first wave of mackerel have moved in according to Pete Belsan of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate. Anglers who somehow found a seam in the wind found them only 2-3 miles out from the mouth of the North River. Trolling mackerel from The Gurnet past High Pine Ledge out to Minot Ledge and beyond will soon be the modus operandi for cow hunters. Pete also said that the North River is delivering the best shad run seen there in years!
While there’s no word on winter flounder on the South Shore, anglers up north are enjoying a lot of action so they must be stirring. Apparently, Neptune is feeling your pain regarding exorbitant gas prices and has pushed a pile of haddock inshore! Flatt Ledge and Stone Ledge are two in-close options to consider. Scituate Harbor and Peggotty Beach are among the better blackback bets on the South Shore.
Greater Boston Fishing Report
Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing recently had a request from a prominent player in the lure business in these parts to go fishing. To those unfamiliar with the species, it might surprise you what the intended target was. It was not stripers, haddock or even tuna but rather this guy wanted to catch – flounder! There’s just something about those fish that once you’re hooked you can’t shake the habit! In addition to flatfish forays, Brian has found a very interesting groundfish mix of haddock, cusk, wolffish (released) and a smattering of other interesting critters of the deep. The bite has been best about 5 miles north of Stellwagen. Next up for Captain Coombs will be Buzzards Bay bass/black sea bass peppered with outings in the Harbor.
Never to be outdone when it comes to flounder, it didn’t take Captain Jason Colby long to put the crew aboard the Little Sister into a pile of good fish on Tuesday! Despite miserable, blustery conditions, the maiden voyage was a success as they found healthy fish up to 16 1/2 inches as well as a supporting cast of stripers. From the looks of the pictures I saw, it appears he didn’t have to search far from his current slip in Marina Bay! While it’s early, the results are encouraging. Jason expects to continue targeting haddock as well as flounder for the foreseeable future.
Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett is encouraging anglers to focus on river herring runs for larger linesiders; his customers who are heeding his advice are catching higher-end slot fish near the Encore Casino and in front of the Charles River locks. Flounder are on the feed in Deer Island Flats, Governors Flats, Sculpin Ledge and Hosptial Shoals. Macks are moving in just past the B Bouy. Pete’s pick for trout is Jamaica Pond and White Pond.
Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said that slots are now part of the catch, with World’s End, the Weymouth Back River, and the Neponset River among the better bets.
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Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report
Just today – Thursday morning – I got word from my buddy Dave “the dude” Flaherty of Nahant that the rocks of the North Shore are holding fresh, fat schoolies! Blue as well as Chartreuse Al Gag’s Whip-it-Fish have been doing it for Dave!
Tomo of Tomo’s Tackle in Salem said that schoolies have moved into most North Shore harbors and rivers with reports of the occasional slot as well. Some of the better reports have come out of Marblehead Harbor, the Danvers River and the Essex River. There have been mackerel, squid and sea herring in Beverly Harbor; that’s a tinder box just waiting to go off!
An analgesic for nose-bleed gas prices is the appearance of haddock in state waters. John from Three Lantern Marine in Gloucester said that a surefire indicator of how the fishing’s been is in the volume of seaworms the shop is moving. Flounder are on the feed in Manchester and Gloucester Harbors and there has been a steady uptick in striper numbers. Mackerel and sea herring are moving in with haddock nearby.
David from Merrimac Sports told me that stripers up to 32” are now regularly being caught all through the Merrimack River up to the Lawrence Dam. Upstream of that dam is not to be ignored as pike are packing on weight now that the spawn is well over. Anglers working yellow/black Rooster Tails are encountering an interesting mix of species in the Haverhill section as both shad and smallmouth bass are congregating in current cushions. Forest Lake in Methuen has been tops for trout.
Liz from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that this weekend should be the perfect storm for excellent fishing in the Plum Island area. The combination of a surge in striper numbers, less wind, warming temperatures and an early dropping tide should make Joppa jump, Sandy Point and the Sound superb and the oceanfront – awesome! Anglers focusing on flounder should consider Cranes Beach, especially at the outflow of the Essex River.
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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
In spite of the salt onslaught, Wachusett Reservoir remains an interesting option! According to Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston, the water levels there are extremely low allowing anglers exceptional shoreline access and the ability to get a line farther out than usual! Plus with so many taking to chasing stripers, Wachusett will be less crowded. Meanwhile, the march of the stripers continues unabated. With mackerel present, it may be time to troll a few off Minot Ledge or Three-and-One-Half Fathom Ledge. You can expect surface shows now in the Three Bays, Green Harbor and out through Cohasset. Some of the better bass will be up close near herring runs in the Weymouth Back, Charles and Mystic Rivers. However do not discount a nighttime tide off of Wollaston, Winthrop or Revere Beach. On the North Shore “rockfish” have reclaimed their domain off the crags all the way into Cape Ann and haddock are giving anglers a break on gas prices by moving in close!