Where to begin? Oh, I know....The schoolie striper fishing has been off the charts incredible! I cant remember ever seeing this pure amount of fish in the Merrimack River. Yeah, yeah, yeah they may be small but this is a super healthy year class of fish that are EVERYWHERE! These fish are our future and I love them just as much as 40 pounders. They have been chewing no matter the tide, the wind direction, the moon phase, the time, or the lures/bait. When you are fishing in gin clear water 5 feet deep and you see a school of 50 fish right under the boat, it is nothing short of amazing. When you are deeper and the fish finder looks like this pic below for FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS you can't help but feel a little giddy. When that fish finder looks like this in 5 different spot in 5 different days, you know there is a lot of fish around. In my 20+ years of fishing the Merrimack, this spring run of micro stripers has been absolutely historic. We have had days where we just went out for an hour and caught close to 100 fish!
I have been out everyday since last Thursday and it has been consistent. All the fish you could possibly want. On Sunday, I made a challenge on Facebook to catch 200 fish in a 3 hour trip and it was taken up by my buddy Jay from Stellwagen Media and his friends Maddie and Rhett from Falmouth. They had non stop action all day and the count was somewhere between 250 - 300. Absolutely nuts. They also just missed by an inch or less at some keeper fish. We were able to find a pod of bigger fish towards the last hour or so of the trip
In between the schoolie action, I took a day off shore with Mike, Hilari, and Jeremiah. We took a bunch of beautiful haddock and pollock, but the real story was the amount of 15 - 20# cod we couldn't get away from (and couldn't keep due to cod be closed) and the amount of bait out on Jeffrey's Ledge....All I could think about was shark fishing...and maybe, just maybe ....we will see some schoolie tuna this summer!
To close out the week, at the moment I have trips Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. That leaved Saturday open and will the influx of keepers that have trickled in the past 3 days and the impending mackerel invasion (I will pop out there Thursday before my trip) it is shaping up to look pretty excellent. Memorial Day weekend historically is when we start catching keeper stripers on live bait! I for one cannot wait!