11 May 2018
The report is, no fish yet. Well, mostly.
That's a bit disappointing but we are sooo close!!!
On May 4th there were loads of herring in the fish ladder in Byfield (part of Newbury MA). The best part is that it was the 1st day the blueback's showed! There are 2 types of "river herring" here, alewives and bluebacks. The alewives show first and the bluebacks only come up river to spawn when the water reaches 50 degrees. 50 degrees is also the low range of the comfort zone for striped bass. I'm not saying they cannot live in colder water but they like 50 to 70 the best.
I put Summer Job in the water on May 9 for her maiden voyage. I took my buddy Fred and we tried for the first fish of the year in the Parker River. It was a great boat ride! The water temp at the route 1 bridge was 60 degrees and went down to 56 at the base of the Rowley River. We fished every early spot I know but No Joy.
On May 10 I splashed in the Merrimack River for high tide. Again the water temp looked good. It was 59.8 at the 95 bridge and I worked my favorite spots hard! An hour & a half in I had a tick on my jig! A swing & a miss? My heart rate went up to 150, I showed tremendous discipline by not trying for a hook set. I continued my cadence right to the boat and was rewarded with my first weed fish of the season! Not a big one, but a pretty shad of green! :((
After 2 hours I went down river but Joppa Flats, the end of Joppa & the Coast Guard Sand Bar were all to choppy & cold to stay & fish. I went out past the No#2 buoy to 70+ feet of water and the temperature settled at 53.6 degrees. Again, anything above 50 is good.
The best news of the trip was... At the dock I heard of 3 schoolies caught under the Plum Island bridge on May 9. That was confirmed by Surfland Bait & Tackle and were thought to be hold over stripers. But if they are active enough to bite a hook, I'm sure they have friends who will too and their cousins will be here very soon!!