26 Apr 2011
I got tired of waiting for the wind, rain and fog to go away and took a shake down cruise in the Merrimack River. EVERYTHING on the boat worked perfectly! No gremlins took up residence in the boat over the winter so we are good to go for 2011!
The water temp is 47- 48 degrees. The "low" comfort zone for striped bass is 50 and they become active enough to hit surface lures at around 55. While there are always a few holdover fish in the river, the fresh fish are still a few weeks away. I did not see any large concentrations of bait at the mouth of the river. There could have been some shad or herring waiting for the tide change but I did not see them. For the past few years the sand eels have been so thick by mid May that I have seen minky whales feeding on them at the mouth. Once one was inside the #2 bell!
The channel was dredged from #7 (coast guard sand bar) out last fall. I was at the mouth and running the channel one hour before low tide and the "shallow" spot was 11'. This is going to make a difference in the fishing and make the river much safer but be aware it is still shallow north of the channel and will build quickly in a NE wind.
I am still hoping to get out to Whaleback for a try at a few cod by Saturday. After Saturday, whaleback will be closed through June and next year it will be closed from April 1st to July 1st. I guess my early season fishing will now be on Stellwagon Bank from now on.
So the wait for stripers continues but after the winter we just "enjoyed" another 2-3 weeks will be easy to endure. Get your gear ready, it's almost time to fish!