North Coast Angler
Fishing Reports
May 14, 2010
This past week was pretty much a carbon copy of last week. The shad run continues to be quite slow and spotty throughout the usual catching areas from Rocks Village to the Stone Dam in Lawrence; a few shad one day, none the next. By the looks of this season so far, Iím becoming more convinced that the Merrimack River returning shad population is well below historic averages and this is not just my opinion. Many longtime Merrimack Valley shad anglers are also quite concerned about the future of American Shad in this watershed. Nobody is at all sure why the shad population is so low, but there is a long list of possible reasons and it may be time for our state and federal fisheries people to find out why before they are lost and go the way of the Atlantic salmon; letís hope not!

The striper fishing around Cape Ann (Candy House in particular) was fair to good this past week; a few really good days earlier in the week, followed by somewhat fewer hook-ups at the end of the week. Anglers landed stripers using flies, soft plastics and metals. I didnít see any stripers above 30 inches, with most running in the 20ís; good, solid, and healthy hard fighting stripers. I have on reliable source that sizable schools of mixed sized stripers were observed along Marblehead beaches and along Magnolia rocks at mid-week. So with that news, I expect the fishing to improve through the weekend and into next week.

Reports coming in from the north at Essex and Plum Island were also indicating more stripers this week than last week with a few larger stripers taken along Plum Island beach (at dawn). Several large schools of stripers were also observed crashing sand eels from High Sandy to the South Jetty. Good numbers of schoolies can be found on Joppa on the dropping tide and well upriver beyond the RT.1 Bridge on the rising tide. I have also heard rumors of few 20+ pound stripers taken at the Stone Dam in Lawrence, again just rumors. I hope to get my boat in the water next week at the Merrimack and get some fishing time in up there in addition to shore angling at Cape Ann.

The weather looks good this weekend and I hope you all get out and catch a few stripers. Good Luck!

Capt Skip Montello

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