October 20, Scads of bait, nothing chasing

October 20, Scads of bait, nothing chasing

Today is just a beautiful day, and the tide was right to take a morning trip and see if there was any life outside the Merrimack mouth or along the beach. At the jetties I was greeted by the welcome sign of 50 gannetts diving followed by their huge, rocket-style splashes. I moved up slowly and watched the fishfinder. I figured Gannetts=mackerel. The fishfinder lit up with a pretty steady stream of marks in the 12-25 foot depth. I jigged for a while, but no luck.

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Now “fishfinders” and I have had a poor relationship in the past. I usually found little correlation between the “found” fish and real ones. This year, though, I bought a new (used) ride and it came with a nifty new Garmin 440s chartplotter. I usually fish the flats, so the real utility has always been depth to me, trying hard to avoid the sunken jetties. But this year I got outside a lot more and started using the sounder, fully expecting nothing from it.

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A month or so ago there was just a ton of bait along the beachfront about 250 yards off shore. I could actually tell from the huge red blobs that came up on my sounder. Sure enough, when I dropped a butterfly jig these little mackerel would follow it up. So now, in addition to looking for birds I have the added fun of watching the video game under my boat.

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Having no luck hooking up, I boated to the ever-productive High Sandy area off the Reservation beach. I threw out a mackerel swimmer that rides right at 30 feet and began to troll. I couldn’t tell if the little blips on my sounder was bait or just some clutter in the water. I trolled in 52 feet of water, and this clutter sat between 15 and 25 feet. Once in a while there were a couple of bigger blips under the clutter, but nothing took my swimmer.

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Kinda frustrated, I wanted proof that my fishfinder had actually found fish. I untangled my 5 hook fish skin sabiki rig and dropped it down into what I assumed was a pile of sandeels or something. Yup, soon as I got to 15 feet, without even jigging once, I felt some little tugs and reeled up. Three tinker macs. Next drop five little ones. Only hooked my finger once unleashing the macks. Another drop, another five.

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When I turned on my baitwell the hose coughed up about 75 little krill that at one time must have been sucked up. When I dropped the macs into the well they started hunting and one-by-one ate nearly every one of the krill. The macs didn’t even seem to mind being in a boat-bourne aquarium.

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I don’t have a big freezer to save these guys, so they all went back to their business in the sea. But if you want some great bait for next spring, I suggest you bring a bucket and head to the 50 foot mark off High Sandy and stock up.

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James Waldron
james@simplemics.com

Stickman is the resident web design guy at Surfland. We pay him in eels.

5 Comments
  • Irish Spectre
    Posted at 16:08h, 20 October

    Well, that’s frustrating as all heck to see and hear, I should say! …reminds me of my time on the H2O in Sandy Bay a week ago Sunday, just littered w/ active little macs, but no pursuers!!

    The blues and bass passed all of those tinkers by on their way south, did they??!! Could that really be, or are the gamefish still around; I GOTS TA’ KNOW!!

  • talljeff
    Posted at 07:20h, 21 October

    Ahhhhh if I only had a boat.. someday.

  • Joe
    Posted at 11:35h, 21 October

    there is a reason why my boat is winterized and under cover….My Dad always said.. a good run is better than a bad stand.

    good luck stickman…

  • Pingback:Chickity Check It! Surfland Fishing Reports « GoodMorningGloucester
    Posted at 06:01h, 22 October

    […] October 20, Scads of bait, nothing chasing […]

  • thecheat
    Posted at 10:31h, 22 October

    holy mackerel

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