Merrimack River Report >
2012 was a very good year!
2012 was a very good year!
Dec 1, 2012
Today is December 1st, Summer Job has been covered for almost 8 weeks and it is snowing outside. I just finished a presentation to be given at the Rockingham Fishing Show on January 5th and another season has come to an end.
It is only 25 weeks & 4 days until the marina re-opens!!!!
Again I would like to thank both my loyal clients and new friends for making 2012 a success!
I was catching schoolie stripers "up river" by the end of the 1st week in May. There was an influx of small fish this year that was sorely missed for the past several years. I've heard that some biologists believe they came from the Hudson River stock which would be unusual, our fish normally come from the Chesapeake, but I was just happy to see them! The better news is that the record young of the year crop of stripers from the Chesapeake & Delaware Rivers will be 3 years old next summer and should start migrating up & down the coast. Things just get better & better.
Due to our unusually mild winter the stripers and clients came out early this year. I started chartering May 13th. I was hoping for a solid catch of schoolies but I also trolled up several "keeper bass", then jigged up a few mackerel and caught the first keeper on live bait too! And the season just kept on rolling!!
The dominant school size this summer was from 29" to 33"s. There were also plenty of 34" to 37" fish but stripers over 40"s were harder to come but this year. I'm not saying there were not in our water, just that as a charter guy, I did not see as many as I did in 2011 and especially 2010!
The bass were in the normal haunts in the river, especially the mouth, but there were also fish in open water feeding on juvenile herring south of the river. They would pop up in water anywhere from 85' to just off the beach. At times it was obvious with birds, boats and breaking fish. Other days it required good old fashion hunting skills as they were just cruising around and slow trolling would find them. Once you found a school a fly-lined mack would generate a vicious strike and broad smile.
Mid August and September brought plenty of hard fighting bluefish and trolling season. We also had more days of casting to surface feeds than in the past few. I also "re-discovered" (daaaaa...! ) casting small diamond jigs for bass & blues with predictable results.
When the storms broke up the bluefish schools I turned back to schoolie fishing. I admit that I have not fished longer than everyone out there but I do get out a bit. I broke out the "trout" rod and could catch 30- 40 fish using a single hooked soft plastic or jig in an outing. The big kid in me was very happy!
So the end result for 2012 was I caught fish early. The boat landed more small fish, more fish total than the past few seasons and more "Keepers" (fish over 28"s) than I have seen in 14 years of charter! I am very pleased, grateful and looking forward to 2013!!
Enjoy the winter or at least your winter projects!