October 22, 2017

F&G Says Salt Fishing is Good to Go

Submitted - 2005-07-02
By Brian Smith, fisheries biologist, Region 3/Durham

Sometimes, when someone has had a bad day, they'll remark that they know what it feels like to be a baitfish. Last weekend, I was reminded of exactly what this means. I accepted an invitation from a friend to go live-lining mackerel for stripers out by the Isles of Shoals. We had a fish hit as soon as the first mackerel was put out -- but the bait came back cut in half by the teeth of a bluefish. Ouch!

After rigging a few wire leaders and missing a couple more fish, I finally landed about a 30 inch blue. We also managed to boat a 32 inch striper along with half a dozen schoolies. Thanks to captain Tim Mulder for a great trip. I was also fortunate enough to be along for the ride as Phil Trowbridge and his son Angelo enjoyed their first striper fishing adventure together. We fished with 3/8-oz. soft plastic fin S shads from the Fort Stark Jetty. When the high tide turned to outgoing, the fish turned on. Angelo hooked a nice striper that managed to throw the hook as I tried to grab it. I'm not sure if Angelo will ever forgive me, but I am confident he is hooked for life...

The stripers have arrived in force after a cold spring and it's time to get out and enjoy a first-rate day of fishing. I have been getting reports of large numbers of fish all over the coast and bait has been fairly easy to catch for the live-line enthusiasts. One angler I spoke with caught two keepers in three drifts, fishing from his boat between the route 1 and I-95 bridges in the Piscataqua River. Unbelievable numbers of birds and fish have been seen feeding on bait in front of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the morning hours and the fishing has been very steady. Try live bait, soft plastic herring/mackerel imitations, or large flies cast into schools of the feeding fish and you're sure to hook up.

Large numbers of sand eels and silversides are present in our estuaries and the herring are beginning to make their way back downriver out to the coast. Stripers will be feeding heavily on all of them. The fish don't seem to be selective yet but it never hurts to mix up your offering or retrieve if things get slow. The most important factor in finding the magic lure is getting the size right. Color is important, but size is everything, so make sure you have multiple sizes of lures when you head out. Live bait will most often out-fish other techniques but chunks of dead bait catch fish as well. Try one rod rigged with bait while you cast lures with another. I have spoken to several avid shore anglers who swear by fishing big Slug-o's for striped bass. Give these a try on your next trip.

I hope to see you all on the coast this summer chasing stripers or getting out after groundfish on the ledges offshore. Good luck and great fishing.
This report was provided by NH Fish and Game Department in Concord, NH. Follow this link for more specific information on the reports or the area - http://wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/fishing.htm