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Massachusetts Striped bass fishing in Massachusetts


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  #1  
Old 06-11-2012, 01:07 PM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

Any general thoughts on where go for bigger stripers around the Merrimack River? I seem to see pretty much three groups of boats around - 1) Those that are fishing near the flats in the no wake zone, 2) those that are fishing right at the mouth between the jetties, and 3) a few that are a bit further out

Anyone have thoughts on where to go for some real trophies (catch and release only - no worries!). Would you find bigger fish deeper outside the mouth? Or no? What depth range of water do you find big stripers?

I have the same general question re: depth for mackerel. Do you tend to find them in a certain overall depth range? When in closer ( <30 feet) we seem to get a lot of groundfish on sabikis, but a little further out (>50 feet) get more macks. But, I'm not sure how deep you can really go. Can you find macks in 75 feet? 100 feet?
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2012, 03:15 PM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

roccus is your go to guy for big and where in the merrimac. for me i am usually fishing daytime so that usually consists of macs, if im chasing birds i try to drift into them engine off with a mac either swimming free of under a ballon, if i'm between the jetties/mouth i drag them along the bottom( to much current and other boats for them to swim around with out being a PIA)
most likely best chance at large would be trolling eels at night in shallow water under electric power either along the beach or the flats. (electric isnt a option for me)
macs lately are every where from 40-200' of water lots of bait this year
maybe roc will chim in
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2012, 06:05 PM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

Do you get a lot of stripers by watching birds this time of year? Seems like there are so many sand eels in the water, I'm not sure the birds actually are tracking with any actual big stripers.

How far away from the mouth do stripers really go?
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2012, 08:37 AM
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krbernier74 krbernier74 is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

Well you can legally keep them up to three miles out. They go much further than that. I actually like live lining a couple miles out, no traffic hassle like the mouth. you will catch far fewer fish but in my experience they will mostly be bigger fish. I have caught plenty of larger fish in the river its just a hassle and not relaxing.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:12 AM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

What kind of depth do you look for when you go outside the mouth? I assume you don't fish on the bottom in the deeper waters.

I've always had the most success in the mouth, but with all the boat traffic, shifting currents, rocks, etc., it doesn't always seem like fun - especially if they aren't biting right away.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:37 AM
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krbernier74 krbernier74 is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

i dont look for depth specifically. i look for structure, drop offs and humps. i find a promising looking area on the chart, go there and check which way the drift is. then i set up a drift so i will drift over the structure in 30 minutes or so. if the drift is 1 mph i will start .5 miles from the target area. once on the drift i put out a chum bag and start tossing out some small chunks. i usually have two macks under balloons and one with no balloon. works pretty good. no stress and no traffic. you wont catch 20 schoolies this way but most fish i catch are in the 30-44 inch range. I would consider 6 fish a average day like this.

Once i decide where im going to start fishing i dont just blind fish. i use the sonar to find fish. set up so the current will bring the chunks to them and pull them off the bottom. dont over chunk
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:49 PM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

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Originally Posted by NomarsFool View Post
Do you get a lot of stripers by watching birds this time of year? Seems like there are so many sand eels in the water, I'm not sure the birds actually are tracking with any actual big stripers.

How far away from the mouth do stripers really go?
85% of the time birds working = fish pushing small bait. you can tell if the flock moves at a good pace but not always. easiest way to decent stripers in the boat if the birds are working outside the mouth try to drift through them with a BIG mac floating under a ballon. i dont really go much more than 1 mile off shore till late july/ august when the fish are headed to deeper cooler water during the day.
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2012, 01:50 PM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

What's a good rate for chunking? 1 piece per minute? 3 pieces a minute? I piece every 5 minutes? It seems like with such a large volume of water, you'd have to get a good amount of bait in the water to get a chum line going.

You don't anchor? My thought was you'd want to anchor near where the fish are, get a chum line going, and hopefully have a few lines out to maximize your chances of getting fish.

The challenge, to me, seems to be finding a place where you have a consistent current. Lots of places seem to have swirling water, wind blowing the boat all over the place, etc.
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2012, 02:31 PM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

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Originally Posted by jasonsnova View Post
try to drift through them with a BIG mac floating under a ballon.
How do you rig your balloons? I was wondering that if you just tie the balloon around the line if it has enough grip to keep in place, or if it slips? Do you have to rig a 3 way swivel?
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:31 PM
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krbernier74 krbernier74 is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

i just tie the balloon on the line. i don't anchor, some people do but i dont find it necessary
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  #11  
Old 06-12-2012, 07:35 PM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

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Originally Posted by NomarsFool View Post
How do you rig your balloons? I was wondering that if you just tie the balloon around the line if it has enough grip to keep in place, or if it slips? Do you have to rig a 3 way swivel?
i simply run a 3-4'leader of 50lb fluro to a barrel swivel then i run the ballon right on the main line(braid) usually tie the ballon on with a elastic 2-4 above the swivel depending on how high i want the bait in the water. most ofter the braid will cut it off during the fight as its tugged down.
just this past weekend i was livelineing a mac under a ballon just south of the mouth and watched a 37" striper chase my mac around the ballon for almost 2 minutes before he finally tail slapped him and gulped him down. i had a few guys on the boat that had never see balloning before( they all had ballons on after that ,lol), one almost died when i through it back! lol. always fun to see your mac jumping out of the water trying to escape!
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:33 AM
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krbernier74 krbernier74 is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

i agree with roccus 100%. That is why i dont specifically target working birds and busting fish. dont get me wrong , when i happen upon it i fish em. i will usually drop a mack to the bottom outside of the feed and have found some big fish sitting on the bottom eating the stunned baitfish falling out of the feed. The big guys are smart, they let the little guys do the work and get fat off of the scraps.

My method relies on finding a group of fish sitting downstream of some structure where they dont have to work hard in the current. They wait there for the current to bring food to them. We tease them off the bottom with some chunks and they usually cant resist a nice fat mackerel floating near the top.

I do have a theory(maybe im just crazy) but on clear sunny days i have caught a ton of big fish from under the boat. It seems like these stripers get in the shade of the boat and are just eating the chunks we throw out. Many times i will bait up a rod and toss the fish in and just let it hang out next to the boat as i rig up rods for others and get everything set up only to see a big striper shoot out from under the boat and inhale the mack three feet from me. what ever the reason it is awesome to watch!


I would fish as roccus does all the time if i had a slightly smaller boat with an electric trolling motor.
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  #13  
Old 06-19-2012, 03:32 PM
NomarsFool NomarsFool is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

Every time I've been out recently the mouth has been very precarious. I've seen some people hooking up, but the waves are pretty rough, the wind is shifting direction all the time, and you get to put your line in the water for <5 minutes before you have to start up the engine to avoid running into the rocks or another boat.
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  #14  
Old 06-19-2012, 06:02 PM
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krbernier74 krbernier74 is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

Try drifting from the green can to green can outside the mouth. Very productive for me.n
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  #15  
Old 06-19-2012, 09:19 PM
jasonsnova jasonsnova is offline
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Default Re: In search of big stripers in the Merrimack

the mouth has been rough lately with those ne winds....hopefully it calms this week. As far as drifts ive been doing alot outside the mouth heading south and north. Last weekend i could by a bite outside tho....all the action was inside the mouth as much as i dont like that washing machine. We did ok drifting macs with fish up to 39" with most in the 32-36" range. nothing huge tho.
this weekend i am hoping to do a night mission to be looking for some larger fish...
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