The Weekly Bite, September 12-17

Illustration courtesy ## Fished Impressions##


Capt. Barry Gibson of Shark VI charters reports that bluefish continue to dominate the local catches off the Kennebec River, although he added that his clients also took 10 nice bass recently.

Craig Bergeron writes on the Saco Bay Tackle website:

  • “Wow. What a difference a week makes. I can finally pull out onto Rte. 1 without waiting a half an hour. Last week the store was jam-packed with fishermen flocking to local beaches and rivers trying to get as much fishing as possible before heading back home. The weather was beautiful and temps were hot.
  • Ron McKee said he spotted a few stripers under the pier at Pine Point, and many of them were 25- 30-pounders!
  • Ocean park had some life at day break with birds working the water and using some surface poppers and a silver side fly early morning. The fishing was pretty good!
  • Surf fishing this past week has been decent with slot-size and bigger bass taking eels, cut bait and clams fished on the bottom; we also had some bluefish invading the local beaches. Make sure to bring some steel leaders, as some of these fish were close to 15 lbs.
  • We still have some small mackerel hanging in the bay and around Wood Island. Use small Sabiki rigs and quarts of chum to keep ‘em close to the boat.
  • The groundfishing is starting to pick up on Jeffreys Ledge and will only get better as the waters cool.
  • The offshore report is still promising! Mike Lorelo brought in a 78-inch tuna to Camp Ellis. Plenty of blue sharks are swimming fairly close to shore. The backside of Tantas Ledge has had some large blues and many porbeagle sharks. Shane was on the Laura Maraih with Craig Macallum and landed an 8-foot mako weighing 320 lbs. Bluefin tuna have spread out the past couple of weeks. We are not seeing big bunches of fish like we did the past couple of months. I think the bluefish pushed the bait further north and the bluefin followed.”

New Hampshire:

Hampton Harbor Tackle reported that things have been pretty slow inside the river, as well as outside, although haddock fishing has held up offshore. Not many boats have been out the last few days, so it’s hard to get a read on the fishing along the beaches.

Suds n’ Soda in Greenland reports via the Kittery Trading Post website that saltwater fishing participation has dropped off dramatically.

  • “It’s too bad,” says Jason MacKenzie, “as now we have a lot of bluefish in just about the whole length of the Piscataqua River and Little Bay, actually all the way up to Adams Point and probably in Great Bay itself.”
  • Along with the bluefish, some nice stripers have apparently returned to the lower river.
  • Groundfishing seems to have picked up, as well, and some folks are gearing up for cod, haddock and big fall-run pollock.


North Shore

Capt. Scott Maguire of Summer Job Charters reports in from the Merrimack area:

Jim Gubitz bagged this blue off Plum Island with Capt. Scott Maquire. Photo by ## Capt. Scott Maquire##
  • “The fishing along the Plum Island beachfront has been good all week for bluefish. Blues are in 30′ to 40′ of water off High Sandy Dune. I’m certain they were farther south too but there was no need to burn the fuel. One day they were “cocktail”-size, but all others they were 8 to 10 pounds. Deep-divers are the ticket, and if you have a leadcore set up, that helps too. If you happen to have a Storm 30 Mag that you just had to buy for tuna trolling, but never used, here is your chance to try it out! The fish are holding on the bottom. I only saw one, brief, surface feed today (Thursday) but no others all week.
  • With the cooler water the Merrimack River mouth finally has more stripers again, from chunky 24″ schoolies to keepers. There are also bluefish at the tide changes or in the deeper water out toward MR Buoy.
  • The seal herd is building again at Badgers Rock. While I do not expect to see any great white sharks, do not be shocked if one of the hungry critters decides to snack on your fish before you can get it into the boat.
  • Be aware that the dredging project has started between the jetties of the river and will continue for 2 to 3 weeks. I’m not sure how it will affect the fishing, but I will report on it next week. Good fishing!”

Boston Harbor

  • Word on the water has it that surface action in the harbor has been slow. Tube-and-worm trollers are still picking up fish during the day on the flats and contour edges at high tide, and chunkers are picking away the fish as well. Nighttime eeling in the deep holes seems to be the way to go if you want to score big.
  • Bluefish are available off Graves Light, with deep-diving plugs and other lures fished on wire line producing.
  • Not much tuna activity to report on Stellwagen.

South Shore

Capt. Dave Bitters of Baymen Charters in Duxbury writes:

  • Kevin Ericson poses with a keeper bass taken on light tackle with Capt. Dave Bitters of Baymen Charters. Photo by ## Baymen Charters##

    “As predicted, the fall fish are on the move and they are scattered throughout our bay. They are not stacked up by any means, but all the spots we fished today from Plymouth to Duxbury to Kingston had fish in them. Some of the fish were 3-footers.

  • Onboard today, I had repeat clients Gary Condon & Ray of Affordable Closets, their friend Kevin Erickson. At first light on the dropping tide we found fish working topwater, with birds overhead. The fun part was some of these fish were in 2 to 4 feet of water, and at one point they had the bait pushed right up along shore! That’s light-tackle fishing at its finest.
  • Everybody was hooking up and then Kevin gets a reel screamer. When I looked up, the fish had already taken out 100 yards of line. I thought we may have to start the boat to give chase, but the fish stopped, and about 10 minutes later, Kevin puts a fat 3-footer into the boat!
  • Later in the morning, down Plymouth, we found a ton of fish up on the flats in a foot or two of water. We could see maybe 20 fish at a time zipping around in search of bait. We caught some of them up on the flats and then along the deep channel drop-offs. We also fished structure for a while and caught more fish, including two more keepers. We also have another 3-footer on, but lost it when the line snapped and the fish then threw the hook beside the boat as we watched helplessly!
  • Some small blues are mixed in with the bass, mostly in Duxbury waters. We found solid bass down in Plymouth waters. Total catch for the morning was 45 striped bass and 1 blue. All fish were boated on light-tackle rubber crank baits in waters ranging from one foot to more than 20 feet.”

Cape Cod

  • Reports have it that bluefish are thick in the waters off Barnstable lately. Stripers not so much, but folks have been finding a few decent fish inside and on the flats. Nothing much doing along the south side of the Cape in terms of surface action. Certainly not much happening on the albie front.

Martha’s Vineyard

  • The Derby is on, although the fishing is not gangbusters. Stripers are around, but they aren’t huge. Biggest landed so far in the Derby is 30.29 lbs., in the boat division. Nighttime fishing is your best bet, and the south-side spots seem to be producing the biggest fish.
  • In terms of albies and bones, there are a few pods popping around, but nothing great. The fish are very finicky as well.
  • Bluefish are getting more and more numerous, with a few fish in the mid-teens.

Buzzards Bay

  • Still no love in Buzzards Bay. I made 2 trips this week and found absolutely nothing on top during the day from Wareham to West Island and all along the eastern shore. To make matter worse, the east side is covered with ugly brown tide on the surface. Very depressing.
  • There are pogies in Marion and Mattapoisett Harbors, but not much under them, at least not yet. However, I have a feeling that some alligator blues can’t be far away.
  • Have heard reports of albies off Westport, but nothing confirmed. From what I have gathered lately, it seems like the best bet for albies is to head south and west.

Rhode Island


Arden at the Saltwater Edge reports that the big news has been albies, albies, albies, The funny fish are thick all along the ocean shores and even into the bay. Arden even caught one inside Newport Harbor the other day. He says that the action ebbs and flows, and that the fish seem to be getting pickier, but the fish are definitely “in”. He reports fish from Sakonnet Point to Ocean Drive to Jamestown and all the way to Point Judith.

  • Bluefish are thick as well, with the fish beginning to push farther north into Narragansett Bay, according to Capt. Jim White of White Ghost Charters. Stripers are showing as well, although most have been on the small side. Lots and lots of bait around, which bodes well for the rest of the fall.

Block Island

Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fishworks reports in:

  • “There are albies in New Harbor, bass in Old Harbor. Made a fly-fishing trip to Montauk over the weekend and it was kooky with great fishing. Grand slams became easier just 10 miles from our home waters. A lot of boat traffic and characters (maybe that’s why the tried to make a TV show about it) and short tempers too. It was all fun nonetheless.
  • The B.I. Inshore Fishing Tournament, hosted by the Lions Club starts Friday the 17th at 6pm and runs to Sunday the 19th at noon. The tourney benefits the National Childrens Cancer Society as well as an Island Charity. Hope to see you!”


Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle in Saybrook weighs in:

  • STRIPED BASS: A continuation of the last 3 weeks. Larger bass have been tough to find; it’s still a night game for those. Eel drifters have been picking a few at the Shoal, Bartletts, the Gut and the Race on night tides, plus some daytime fish if you can get through the blues. The Connecticut River has been giving up a few schoolies, no start yet to a fall run, but don’t throw in the towel yet. It’s going to happen, but the trend forecasts a lesser run than last year. Now, I made that same prediction this spring and I was dead wrong, the run was better than expected. The local beaches on either side of the river have also had some schoolies. From shore action has been better to the east with more schoolies on the Rhode Island beaches. Watch Hill and Napatree has had a pick of schoolies improving over the last week and the breachways have had some larger bass on night ebbs.
  • BLUEFISH: Blues are fattening up in the river. I’m sure there’s a lot of overestimation in the reports we’re getting, but they all can’t be wrong. Low and mid-teen-sized choppers are scattered from the river and adjacent waters across to Plum Gut.
  • PORGIES: We’re coming to the final week of the season except for partyboats. It’s been a season that has never let up. Big porgies are being caught at Hatchetts, Bartletts and most local rockpiles. The last day of porgy fishing is Sunday, September 26.
  • SEA BASS: The season has been extended until October 11. It closes until October 31 and then opens until December 31.
  • BLACKFISH: Season opens October. We’re having our BLACKFISH CONTEST this year in conjunction with Fishing Factory 3 in Middletown. It’s Old Saybrook versus Middletown to see where the best fishermen and women are. They’ll be the usual prizes, a picnic in November and the losing shop has to clean the winning shop.
  • BONITO & FALSE ALBACORE: The hot run at Montauk has cooled off in the last few days; the albies are there, but not very cooperative. No word from the Sluiceway or the Gut, but I wouldn’t leave them unchecked. The south side of Fishers up to Race Rock has has roaming small schools of albacore. There’s also similar action on the RI beaches with concentrations near the Breachways up to Pt. Judith.


In the western Sound, Nick at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reported:

  • Chunkers are doing well on bass and blues at Greens Ledge and buoys 28C and 11B. He added that diamond-jigging has also scored some nice fish at 11B in the early morning.
  • Bonito and false albacore have been popping up off Cockenie and south of Green Ledge as well, but they are in a picky mood.
  • Scup fishing remains strong as well over virtually any type of structure. Season closes to private boats on Sept. 26.