Well we enjoyed some nice weather up until the past few days and are now dealing with subzero temperatures, but do not worry there is only 97 days until the marinas re-open with the first run of schoolie stripers coming in around that time!
Quick review from the past season of charter fishing in Newburyport. First of all, thank you to all my customers who came and fished with us this year. We had some great days on the water and once again made some new friends in the process. We had kids, families, friends, and adults all catch their first stripers and/or sharks aboard Manolin this part year.
Although the fishing was still a little sub-par for what we come to expect around these parts, it was still better than 2014. We caught more fish and more keepers than 2014. What was great is that we saw some mixed year classes and with a huge amount of fish in the 25 - 26 inch range just short of keeper size. Those fish stuck with us throughout the summer and will return this upcoming season as keeper quality fish. Things started off hot with bigger schoolie action in this size range as wel had multiple days of topwater feeds and boating 30 - 50 fish a trip then we had some strong winds that kind of slowed things down and made it a late arrival for mackerel. The bait was pushed way offshore in June and didn't come back until June 14th. Fishing remained steady all through late July before things started to slow down.
This year in particular you really had to put the work in to find the fish. I burned a lot of fuel on trips this year compared to last but we ere able to add more tools in the tool box by fishing other place besides the surround Merrimack River areas. We had many a successful trip fishing the Parker River and Hampton Bay areas. It was a nice change of scenery from the mele that can be the Merrimack River.
Shark fishing was outstanding this year! We averaged 9 sharks per trip which is absolutely insane. Lots of big ones in the mix and the smaller ones we started to used lighter striped bass gear to catch and they were a blast! Our crew took second place out of 35 boats for the Newburyport Shark Tournament with 34 sharks released in 2 days. The winner was a true beast of the sea with a 648# mako with a set of jaws that would scare the life out of you!
In mid- August, I was fortunate to be part of a fishing tournament set up for veterans named Back in The Maine Stream. I donated a trip for sharks and it was an eye opening experience that I will never forget and was proud to be in the company of such brave men and women. It certainly was a humbling experience. I plan on writing a separate post on this great day in March.
I have high hopes for the upcoming season. The amount of fish present this past year was outstanding even if they were a little smaller than we are accustomed to. Those striped bass will be keeper sized this year. Also, the project of rebuilding the jetties is over and we no longer have 3 tons rocks smashing and scaring fish away. Those two main points alone set us up for a great year. Not to mention NOAA fisheries just announced the highest Young of the Year class for 2015 in a very, very long time. The other great YOY class was in 2012 which were those 25 - 27 inch fish we were catching this year, Its great news for sustaining a quality fishery for the next decade!
For those thinking of coming back out with us in 2016, the book has been opened and we are ready for business. I have even set up a credit card payment system to even further simplify the booking process. New this year if you refer a new customer to Manolin Charters you will receive a $50 credit towards your charter!
On February 27th and 28th I will be at Cabela's in Berlin, MA for Guides Weekend representing Manolin Charters. Cabela's will be having a big sale that weekend and if anyone is planning on going, please stop by and to catch up. Also, for those of you who are part of Newburyport Harbor Marinas, I will be giving another presentation during their fishing and boating show. The dates have not been confirmed yet, but I will let you know.
I have also really started dumping pictures onto Instagram and Facebook. Please like and follow us on each to see pics and reports from your trip! It's so much easier to do and spread than doing the website thing on my end during the season.
Keep Warm and think of the first arriving striped bass!