Albies at the Merrimack River
The August weirdness continues. Last week it was a sailfish in the Cape Cod Canal, this week it was false albacore popping up at the Merrimack River. Here’s the basics courtesy of our friends at Surfland Bait and Tackle:
This weekend I got a few reports of busting False Albacore off the beach and jetties. Now usually I figure these are just Bluefish being mistaken for Albies, cause I’ve never seen one caught around here in my 12 years on the island. But lo and behold, the photographs came in with the reports. Amazing.
From Carson Paul, “Hi Martha, we had talked briefly earlier this afternoon on the phone about some odd catches. Sorry it took so long, just got home and unpacked my gear. There were alot of albies eating this afternoon (August 11) which sounds crazy, but i kid you not… Here is one from the surf! had a blast probably landed around 5 or 6 alone! everyone was bent up on the jetties this evening on falsies!!”Jim L sent us a report of them too, “i guys out front today and we were hitting albies all up and down from the jettys to sandy point! Tight lines!!! “
Amazing stuff. There’s been a lot of speculation as to how and why. Here’s what we do know:
- They showed up here before they showed up off the south side of the Cape. Or the south side of Long Island, for that matter.
- This is a highly migratory species. Some anecdotal evidence (of which this is certainly one) would show that they are not nearly as temperature sensitive as we had thought. It may be the case that their preferred bait is temperature sensitive.
- The river is loaded with bait
- Water temp at the mouth was 60 degrees.
- The guys who fish the Merrimack all the time tell us this is not the first time. It has actually happened several times of the past few years.
Of course, that’s not the only news. Later in the week, Surfland reported that Angler Tom Dunphy & Captain Dave Miele took a fairly large sturgeon inside the river. You can read the full report here…
Okay, enough of that, let’s get onto the reports. Oh, and remember this report is only as good as the info I get from you. Send me a report and some pics if you’re on the water!
Merrimack River & Cape Ann
Surfland had this report from Steve (read the full report here):
Bird is the word…and a bit of the night bite.
Fishing has been pretty slow, so I have not had much to report. However, the recent cooler temps has turned the bite back on a bit it seems. My good friend and hell of a fisherman Gabe Chuckran hit the beach with me on Saturday afternoon and we found quite a bit of birds and fish working the beach just north of the shop (follow the birds and you will find the fish!!) . Using deadly dicks (aka murderous richards) we were able to pick off about 6 fish each. Nothing of size really but the biggest were 27? and 28?. The beach goer’s were out in force and we were the only ones fishing so the crowd was treated to quite a show (people wanted to see what we were doing and even some people wanted to “pet” the fish before we released them!!)
At Tomo’s Tackle in Salem, Tomo Shiriashi reports:
Tube ‘n’ Worm and eels has been producing good amount of schoolie to mid 30” fish at harbors, rips and rocks in north shore. Flies and Shimano Waxwing Jr. in Bone color has been working well for catching stripers surface feeding on small herring in north shore harbors. Squid fishing has been excellent, with larger size squid in the mix than previous weeks.
Capt. Wayne Frieden of Reel Dream Charters reports:
August 14: Clearing winds today after an awesome day of fishing yesterday. Overall, the fishing has been very good for stripers during the course of the past two weeks. Lots of bait, fish, and no shortage of boats! That makes it a challenge at times but it is what it is!!!
Capt. Dave Bitters reports from Baymen Outfitters:
on board today, I had repeat client, Jack Manly & Co. for light tackle striped bass fishing. Last night, I called Jack and suggested we pick a better day since today was forecasted to be nasty. “Not a chance!” was Jack’s reply!
At first light, we headed out on a dead-low rising tide, in hopes of finding fish in the same place I found then yesterday on charter. Lucky for us, they were there again today. Every single drift yielded hook-ups all morning in 14-24 FOW. At one point, we left to go check on a few other areas to see if there were fish moving around the bay. There were no fish at the other spots, so we returned to the honey hole, set our drifts and started to hook up again on every single drift!
The weather today was snotty. Yesterday’s pea soup fog was gone, but we had heavy downpoors, SW winds to 25 knots, and so choppy we could barely stand up at times. But the rains came and went, and we got use to the chop and made a snotty day a great day.
We had landed 37 striped bass after five hours and not a single fish was a keeper. All shorts. Jack really needed a keeper and I said my prayers. On our last drift of the morning, at the very end of the drift, we hooked up on a screamer! The fish peeled line on a scorching run and made the drag sing! After a lengthy fight, we landed the fish and everybody celebrated! Thank you Lord!
Total catch for the morning was 38 striped bass, 1keepah. All fish were on structure in 14-24 fow, right on the bottom. Drifts were ridiculously fast in SW winds 15-25 knots. We fished rubber crank baits and used the cast and count technique to get them down to the fish.
Another great day with Jack Manly and his family!
Capt. Dave Bitters