Merrimack River Report >
16 weeks until the marina reopens!
16 weeks until the marina reopens!
Jan 23, 2016
If we are not going to have winter, at least let us fish!!!!
Yes, I am one of those guys who actually likes winter. In fact, my "Winter Job" allows me to have Summer Job Charters. But as I sit here watching the snow falling south of us & waiting for our "dusting to an inch" I thought it was past time to check in on the web site.
I also want to thank those who came to the Rockingham Hunting & Fishing Show for my seminar on Fishing the Merrimack River w/ live bait. It was my 3rd year speaking there and as always it was a good time.
Last summer we had our second less than stellar fishing season in a row. But frankly, we have been very spoiled in the past and without those old numbers to look back on, it really was not that bad a season! Keeping it in perspective, I found out that there were more keepers caught on Summer Job than a friend & very good captain from up north, managed to catch all season! That's total fish of any size. Yes, it can always be better than somewhere else!!
Another very positive outcome of 2015 was that I had a lot of new customers!! I am very fortunate to have a very loyal following. I've watched some of my clients kids grow up and have one guy who used to be a guest at age 15 resurface as a married man & father. It is always fun to show new folks the river and surrounding area! I am a teacher at heart.
I have to say that the best news for 2016 is the north jetty reconstruction has been competed. If you were not there, it was an interesting spectacle. On any given day there could have been 3 barges loaded w/ boulders tied to the side of 3 other barges with cranes. The cranes moved the boulders that weighed as much as small cars to the jetty and 3 excavators moved the boulders into place or used one to beat others into place. You could almost feel the impact in the boat & any fish that were biting were suddenly fleeing the area! You had to fish early or fish anywhere but the normally productive mouth of the Merrimack.
In 2015 I fished Joppa Flats, did a fair amount of chumming & chunking, explored the Hampton River, the Ipswich & Parker Rivers and fished the beach fronts. I did cover a lot of water but there were stripers to be caught if you were willing to work for them (I used more fuel in 2015 than I did chasing football tuna a few years ago). I'm sure there will be more fish in the mouth of the Merrimack next summer without all of the noise & construction. But I now have even more places to hunt for fish or more "tools in the tool box" as my friend Paul Rogato says.
My feeling is that we have to stay positive or quit, so my prediction for 2016 is better fishing. My number one reason is that it simply cannot be as cold as it has been for the past 2 years. The cold weather made cold water and that made a thermal barrier the fish did not want to cross. There has been plenty of bait so the fish simply staid in place & did not move north in the same numbers that did in the past. My gut feeling is that the better bass went into deeper water, found food and staid there or staid on Stellwagon Bank where you cannot legally fish for them.There were some good spawning years in the past and the small fish should be big enough to travel so we will have them to play with. Just be gentle and release them unharmed. My final reason for a better season is that I really, really want it to be good. Not very scientific, but now it's out there!
So go clean your gear, sharpen hooks & tie new leaders 'cause 2016 fishing is coming and we all have to be ready for it!