Merrimack River Report >
The migration has begun
The migration has begun
Aug 19, 2018
It’s hard to believe that the summer of 2018 is coming to a close. Many college students have already left home and high school starts (for some) in a little over a week! I was just sitting on my deck and it sure did feel like September!!
Whether we want to think about it or not, the fall migration has begun! If there was any doubt in your mind, just motor out to 30’ to 60’ feet of water and witness the schools of pogies working their way south! Better yet, check out the hungry bass crashing through the bait and fattening up for their trip south as well. You will also see the gannet’s and shearwaters flying & diving closer to land or see the occasional mola mola finning off the beach.
It has been an unusual fishing season and some will have noticed that I have been silent since early June. The reasons are many. The short version is that fishing started 2 weeks later than normal this year and it was not easy! Not what most people want to hear. I have also been fishing many less well known spots that require a lot of travel time and that are pressure sensitive. My clients have enjoyed some very good outings but we traveled 25 to 40 miles a day to get it done. OPEC loves me!
There seem to be loads of small bass in the river. Soon we will be able to follow the birds around and cast to surface feeds with soft plastics! The same will happen “outside” along the sand bars and at the turn of the tide in the river mouth. Don’t be surprised if one of those schoolies turns into a “keeper”!
While bait has been hard to come by for some, I’ve had a solid supply by leaving the dock early, bringing lots of chum, using fresh sabiki’s rigs and fishing in deeper water. Frankly it has varied throughout the summer but I’ve moved from Hampton Shoal Ledge out to 90’ then 120’, 140’ and as deep as 200’ of water. I cannot say that my current favorite bait spot is any better than another. Just bring plenty of chum and sometimes patients. You might “land” on bait and or you might have to wait 15-20 minutes for them to find you. It can be hard just waiting (try it with expectant clients staring at you) but ultimately it is faster than jumping around from place to place and even then, by jumping around, you may come up empty.
With live bait you can capitalize on the bass stopping off at the mouth of the Merrimack while traveling south. Or you could troll them around the surface feeds or moving bait schools. It’s fall, you never really know what kind of fishy goodness you might come across!!
Fishing can be very relaxing this time of year. There are no crowds, boat traffic is way down and it is a time to take a few chances. I don’t mean fishing inside the surf line with curling waves chances but go try that spot you have been meaning to all summer. It may become your new “secret spot” and produce your biggest fish ever!
The real point is to get out and fish & fish hard because the marinas close in just over SEVEN weeks and we will all be moping around, counting the days until next year’s fishing season!