Hello everyone! There is a good chance that I may be heading up to Newburyport for the weekend. I will of course bring the 9 weight, but I'm a little hesitant about fishing at the point due to weekend crouds. I have fished Joppa before and managed 1 tiny bass. Is Joppa fairly productive right now? When is the best time to fish Joppa? Does anyone have any recommendations as to locations harboring more fish than people? I want to fish but I try to avoid the mob scenes. Sometimes, it just doesn't seem like fly fishing. Any advice will be very much appreciated.
My son and I ran an errand last weekend so of course we took a detour by PI! The place was a mob scene and the fishing was so/so. We saw five guys out on Joppa as we drove by.
Low tides are late this weekend so either the beach crowd will join you or the morning fishermen would have left by then, it could go either way.
The bait has been much thicker up river, we stopped around the docks at Nbypt and up and there was bait everywhere. Some locals informed us that schoolies were busting everywhere around Stripers Restaurant the night before. I suspect that with the abundance of bait upriver that Joppa would have a lot of fish on the ebb. The low tide is at 1.3 ft so it's not extreme by any stretch, just get off there with plenty of time once the incoming starts to run hard.
You'll have a high tide around dawn so you might consider the oceanfront, fishing around the jetties placed along the beach to preserve the sand from the mouth down to the corner near the baitshop. I'd go to that option just to get away from the crowds, and there should be some fish in the wash this time of year.
If you know any accesses upriver they might be worth investigating this weekend. Another option would be to try Hampton on the south side of the bridge from the fisherman's terminal all the way around to the beachfront rocks. It's not always as productive as other areas but it's beautiful and there's always a few fish around.
I havent' done the end of the refuge yet but I suspect the water in the Ipswich area is very cold. If you could get up into Plum Island sound near the shoals and flats (north of sunset beach) you should do well; so the PLum Island river should be holding some fish too as far as crowdless opportunities are concerned.
With the outgoing starting at dawn, consider the Salisbury side from the pick east to the jetty base. Fish deep and slow with sand eels patterns in the seams between current and eddy and you should score pretty well.
I'm from Newburyport and whenever I tire of Joppa I go to the southern tip of PI where there's plenty of room.
The Salisbury Jetty is also, IMO, more productive than any spot around. About 3/4 of the way out, on the beach side is a reef which is reliable at the top of the outgoing or on an incoming tide, don't risk going to the end of the jetty, it isn't worth it.
If you are fairly adventurous there's also Moseley Pines on the left hand side of Merrimac street just before you cross the Chain Bridge into Salisbury. It's a tough place to fly fish and a steep walk down to the river but a very productive place with a drift of a sinking line, especially with bait around. Big stripers hang in the flow. The island off of Chain Bridge is good too but it can get crowded with too many meat fisherman.
Off of Route 1 in Newbury near Fernald's are some good access points. Smelly marshes but it can be productive. The area is great with a canoe or kayak. I'm not sure if Fernald's still rents them though.
Also, Juro is right on with recommending the beachfront on PI. Everyone packs in at the point for the easy pickings and it's too popular. There are plenty of spots to park and decent beach access along the way. Some serious water moves along that beachfront and so do big stripers this time of year.
To clarify, I haven't fished the tip of PI yet.... this year! Sandy Pt is a state beach area and since the rest of the island is off limits to protect shore birds it will fill up quick. Getting there at dawn is the best medicine.
On the point, they usually cordon off the rocky reef to the north east of the parking area. This really pisses me off because one can walk in the water to fly fish effectively. Actually, when I called Monomoy Wildlife Refuge they said I could walk in the water anywhere - even in restricted areas as long as I stayed in the water. I wonder if this is the same for PI / Refuge?
The rocky reef at the tip of the island is as close to a sure thing as there is for schoolies and occasional big fish (off hours, night). I have the best luck there on incoming tides near full.
Sand bars (change every year) extend off the sandy pt beach heading toward Crane's / Ipswich River mouth, providing breaks for fish to station behind... but the best action is a mile or so down the beach at Sunet Beach and it's structure near deep water. If the tides moving the fish get all excited and hunt around, but we've found them laying around on slack tides on the shoal between the points. Almost like Florida fishing.
Best thing to do is hop on a boat and fish the bars and shoals upriver from Sandy Pt, which is effectively the opening of the passage between Joppa and Cranes, the backside of PI. This is a mixing pot of warm PI River water and shrinky-dink Ipswich water with bright water and feisty fish as soon as the water warms up elsewhere (ie: upriver).
Crane's provides night access by registering w/ Ipswich town hall for a fee of 250. That's two dollars and fifty cents! You have to walk in from the outside gate, but once the dog days roll around the stripers love that cold water and it often provides great fishing opportunities in beautiful surroundings. I enjoy night fishing there because of the hardness and cleanliness of the sand. It lights up nicely on a partial moon allowing use of profile flies against the sky as well as dark sand eel patterns against the sand.
The current situation appears to be that bait has moved into the Merrimac river and the action is upriver... for now. Once the river turns to beef barley soup the fish will be thick around the refuge again.
Anybody been out there yet this year?
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