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Massachusetts Striped bass fishing in Massachusetts


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  #1  
Old 07-07-2008, 11:34 PM
squaretie squaretie is offline
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Wink Merrimack striper fun

I've been actively fishing for stripers for three years now. I thought I'd put down what I've learned so far. As a unit of measure, I was used to getting skunked the first year, minor success the second year, and have landed five keepers this year with countless schoolies.

Slugos

I like to fish them on Joppa Flats during the first two hours of incoming tide and the last two hours of outgoing tide. Early in the seaon, Mayish, I used 7 inch slugos. Just put a J hook or Circle hook right through its nose. No need to go bananas with getting the hook just right. Putting it through the nose will give it lots of action. When the nose becomes too week, just bite off the end and go for some fresh plastic. The trick to getting attention is all in the action. Cast, and then start reeling. Twich the slugo as you bring it in, slapping the tip toward the water to give it a little extra mojo. If you see a swirl around it, that means a striper got close enough to get interested, but not so much that it took the bait. This means you need to work the action a little more. Give it a little more mojo. If the color doesn't work, move onto something different. I like the blackish tops with the white bottoms. We call them "all naturale." Move up to 9 and 10 inch into June and July. If your arm isn't hurting after a few casts, then you're doing something wrong. Get that mojo going.

Chunking

Stripers seem to like the shiny parts of mackerel. Cut the bait horizontally into inch to an inch and half long chunks, then cut them length-wise so you have two shiny pieces. Use a fish finder, those sliding swivels that you attach weights to. In the Merrimack, the water is usually moving quite fast, so use a 2oz or so weight. Anchor up, and toss in. Now here's the hard part. Wait.

Live lining

This is by far the best and easiest fishing. Catching stripers on live mackerel is a blast, and just too darned easy. Where do you buy them? Don't bother, you can't. Just head straight out of the Merrimack mouth, head north or south. You'll need a mackerel rig -- lots of little hooks, followed by a 1/2 ounce jig. If you're on a school, you'll be in luck. If not, then you won't. I use chum, and wow does it work. Just buy a bucket of chum at a local shop and a net, hang it over the side, and once the schools hit, keep at the chum bag as it will keep the school near your boat. Swish swich the bag.

Load them up in your livewell. No one likes a boat full of dead mackerel, though you can catch stripers on them, but not as many.

Back to the merrimack. Outside the mouth is fantastic, as long as the water is moving. Hook the little guys through the head, between its nostrils. If you're losing them on your cast, then put it a little higher. Try not to hit grey matter. Keep the tension between the tip of your rod and the bait, so you can 'feel' it moving, but more so that you keep tension on the striper that's about to hit it.

Dead mackerel work well too. You will eventually have them as they only keep for a few hours. The trick is to keep them looking alive. Reel them in as if they are alive, but only at small bursts. Take your time.

If you do get a hit, but nothing actually takes your bait, that means a striper swiped it with its tail, trying to stun it. If you start to reel in, thinking you have a hit, but then realize you don't, stop. STOP. Let it sit there. That fish is still there, and probably coming back. If after a minute it doesn't, give it a couple of turns, and then let it sit. Believe me, it works.

After the party

Ok, so you're "done" for the day. Time to reel in. Time to go home. But you sure wish something would hit. Bring that bait in SLOWLY. It's your last cast, why not take an extra minute. I can't tell you how many times I've been done for the day only to get a striker on a slow retrieve. And then, of course, I'm done a few hours later :)

Hope this helps someone starting out. And please, feel free to add your own tips. There are far more fish out there than us trying to get them, so let's share the wealth.

rich.

Last edited by JakeF; 07-09-2008 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Edited location specifics.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2008, 07:30 AM
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Rickski Rickski is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

Nice post Rich.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2008, 09:08 AM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

myself, a buddy and my girlfriend drifted the merrimac thursday night with eels from about 7pm to 1230 am.....zippo... then we hit it friday the 4th and hammered the small fish and got a few of those almost keepers(26-27") all of this was on clams and chunked herring....funnny thing is everyone raves about eels but we were striking out on them,we even threw out some top lures and raplas ...nothing like the clams and herring.... im fairly new so do inlighten me....funning thing too was the fish didnt really bother the herrring in the am too much(all clam hits) but then slowly switched over to the herring in the afternoon??
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2008, 02:58 PM
spike10 spike10 is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

I agree, great post Rich.

Welcome aboard Jason, sounds like you had a great week-end. The reason people rave about eels is that they are targeting big bass (smarter) which are more likely to be fooled by them. School bass love clams and herring, if you want to catch a lot of fish that is a good way to go.

Tight lines
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  #5  
Old 07-08-2008, 03:04 PM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

not to post hijack(great read by the way rich) ... but do you guys think i should give the eels another chance? im going back friday night and saturday day?? weather and tide times look better at this point too...
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2008, 06:21 PM
surflandPI40 surflandPI40 is offline
 
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

I was out in the Mack all weekend and struck out bad. I used calm and mackerel off the beach in the river and got nothing, and then I switched to the ocean for a while and got nothing. That evening I took the kayak out into the mouth with the rest of my clams and mackerel and once again, nothing. The next day I did the same thing and got nothing. That night I took my kayak out on Joppa flats and trolled/floated/and fished the bottom with eels and once again I got nothing. This is the third weekend in a row I have not caught a single fish. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. My patience is wearing thin, any suggestion to turn my luck around.

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  #7  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:54 AM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by surflandPI40 View Post
I was out in the Mack all weekend and struck out bad. I used calm and mackerel off the beach in the river and got nothing, and then I switched to the ocean for a while and got nothing. That evening I took the kayak out into the mouth with the rest of my clams and mackerel and once again, nothing. The next day I did the same thing and got nothing. That night I took my kayak out on Joppa flats and trolled/floated/and fished the bottom with eels and once again I got nothing. This is the third weekend in a row I have not caught a single fish. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. My patience is wearing thin, any suggestion to turn my luck around.
not sure what you were doing but we caught 60+ fish friday there, mostly schoolies and a few almost keepers, but we werent the only ones once it was out going tide everyone was hooking up
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2008, 07:59 AM
spike10 spike10 is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

My first suggestion would be to stay out of the mouth with a kayak. I'm sure you know them and your abilities better than me, but I just see a lot of downside.

You may just be in a slump, it happens. Try changing up what you are doing. If I were in a kayak I would focus on trolling light tube and worm.

Drifting near Joppa might be a good option. Keep those eels with you.

Last edited by JakeF; 07-09-2008 at 08:11 AM. Reason: Edited for content. PLEASE do not be so specific...
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  #9  
Old 07-09-2008, 08:00 AM
spike10 spike10 is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

Jason, I'd give up on the eels, you tried them once...
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2008, 08:20 AM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

spike,
ya last weekend we bought 18 eels and ended up dumping them when we were done, but everyone on here swears by them for big fish, im heading back friday night i think i may pick up a few eels and just rig one pole with them, i dont have alot of faith in them at this point. im def not buying 18 of the slimy little suckas!
oh and i agree with spike kayak in the mouth is absolutly nuts, i was out there with my 19.5' boat and end of the day saturday it was just too much for us, so rough i got tired of trying to hold on and fish at the same time! lol
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2008, 09:00 AM
newt newt is offline
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Default Eels

I'm with ya on the eels at night and not catching. I'm convinced that I was not meant to catch fish at night. Went out a few weeks ago and fish ALL night long with only a couple baby stripers to show for it. We had eels, mackerel, pogies, plugs and nothing worked. I've done fine during the day but not at night.

Going to try again Friday night...should be on the water around 6:30. If anyone else is going to be out there and wants to share intel shoot me a PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2008, 09:08 AM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

newt i'll be ther friday night 730ish....look for a blue /white bayliner!
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2008, 09:47 AM
spike10 spike10 is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

Sorry Baitrunner. Just trying to help the guy out, if he hasn't caught a fish over the last three weeks we are talking serious slump ...and no one ever seems to listen to me anyways. I understand the policy.

Thanks for all your work. You and the rest of the mods make this a great place to visit.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2008, 10:00 AM
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JakeF JakeF is offline
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

No problem Spike. PM's are a great way to pass along info which may be a little too detailed to post in an open forum for thousands of people to read.
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2008, 12:58 PM
surflandPI40 surflandPI40 is offline
 
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Default Re: Merrimack striper fun

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsnova View Post
not sure what you were doing but we caught 60+ fish friday there, mostly schoolies and a few almost keepers, but we werent the only ones once it was out going tide everyone was hooking up
Were you surfcasting or on a boat? If you were on a boat what general area were you in? When i said i was in the mouth in my kayak i ment in the ocean out by the green channel marker. i agree that taking a kayak into the mouth is crazy. I think my slump might be due to the fact that i caught a 38 inch 22lb striper over memoral day weekend and im still eating it. i think that once i eat the whole thing i will start hooking up again. Im hoping that it will change my luck. Seems like i got a case of bad Karma.
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