Best of New England Boating 2010: Top 10 Fishing Articles
December 31, 2010
Seasons greetings! Dave and I are hoping you are enjoying the holidays and have survived the big Nor’easter (or “Wintercane”, as one Boston weatherman has termed it). All this week we’ve been taking a look at some of the major boating news, events, articles, videos, and reviews we’ve covered in the 5 months since the magazine launched.
Let’s continue our overview with a few of the notable fishing articles we gave you during the 2010 season.
Thanks for visiting New England Boating.
Tom Richardson & Dave Dauer
New England Boating Publishers
An epic bite of striped bass and bluefin tuna off Cape Cod that started over 2 weeks ago is still going on, according to local sources. The action is taking place very close to shore, and is concentrated mostly off the Outer Cape and Provincetown. It’s not the easiest spot to access for off-Cape boaters, but the folks who can get there are reporting acres of striped bass up to 40 pounds and tuna up to 300 pounds feeding among massive schools of sand eels, mackerel and herring. Best off all, these fish are taking plugs and flies fished on the surface.
Black sea bass may not garner the same amount of attention of reverence as striped bass or tuna, but they’re a lot of fun to catch and are great to eat. Their range extends from the North Shore of Massachusetts down through Florida, and they weigh anywhere from 1 to 7 pounds, although anything over 4 pounds is considered a trophy. (The world-record black sea bass weighed 9 pounds, 8 ounces and was taken off the coast of Virginia.) Perhaps best of all, sea bass are relatively easy to catch, which makes them a great target for kids.
3. Squid Fever
Spring is squid time in New England. When the water temperature reaches 50 to 55 degrees, the 10-armed marine mollusks migrate inshore and gather in protected estuaries, bays, coves and harbors. Once their predators (namely bluefish, fluke, seabass and striped bass) catch up and the water begins to warm, the squid schools move to deeper water, although the occasional pod can still be found inshore through the season.
You want big bass? Think deep! Top fishermen have long known that to catch the biggest stripers, you’ve got to get a bait or lure down to where they are holding, especially if you want to score during the hot, bright mid-day hours when most stripers are chillin’ near the bottom.
There’s nothing like catching the first striped bass of the season to make winter a distant memory. In southern New England, holdover bass and the first migratory schoolies begin to get active in coastal waters around mid-April. Connecticut sees its first action well inside the major estuaries, followed by the Rhode Island salt ponds and up inside Narragansett Bay. Buzzards Bay gets rolling in early May, with the fish spreading into Cape Cod’s south shore waters around the same time. Once mid-May rolls around, schoolies will likely have spread north from Cape Cod to the New Hampshire border.
The Pine Tree State is well known for its upland and big-game hunting, freshwater fishing, blueberries and steamed lobster, but its saltwater fishing can be a tough nut to crack. Maine’s marine fisheries present more challenges than the other New England states, and visiting anglers are often left scratching their heads when it comes time to break out the rods. Although dependable action with a short list of game fish is available, chasing down some of the other species requires more creativity.
If you’re serious about catching big stripers, you better get serious about eels. Eels, and particularly live eels, have accounted for some of the largest striped bass ever recorded, starting with the 76-pound monster taken by Capt. Bob Rocchetta off Montauk back in 1976. That monster fish, like many bass caught on eels, was taken at night, but eels also work in broad daylight. Cape Cod’s Capt. Terry Nugent, for example, uses live eels to take big bass in 10 to 20 feet of water, even on bright summer days.
Fluke (summer flounder) are one of my favorite fish to catch—and eat. In my humble and not very refined opinion, few things are tastier than a golden-brown piece of lightly breaded fluke served with fries and tartar sauce, and maybe a side of slaw. But that’s just one reason I get psyched when fluke season rolls around.
With the arrival of false albacore in the waters of southern New England, many anglers find themselves frustrated when it comes to hooking and landing one of these amazing—and amazingly picky—inshore gamesters. To help improve your odds, I offer the following tips, earned over many seasons of being frustrated by these seemingly diabolical late-season visitors.
The only way to catch a lot of fish is to put your lure or bait where the most fish are. That sounds simple enough, but most anglers have a hard time managing this task. The answer is usually there, right before your eyes—all you have to do is look. Train yourself to pay attention to the following list of fish-holding areas and you’ll catch more fish. It really is that simple!
Got any good fishing stories from 2010?
Share them with us in the box below.