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FISHFINDER

Eels in cool water are best at night

After all that infernal heat, the nights have cooled down, and many old salts attribute the improved fishing in the Northeast to the cooler water. But in some areas, the bait has also improved and, generally speaking, the best fishing in midsummer is still at night, and still using live eels. There's plenty of evidence that striped bass forage for eels at night, sometimes close to docks, rivermouths, and in shallows over flats. Bluefish also continue to hit and miss, often early morning near shore, heralded by wheeling terns and gulls.

Area A: Much of the previously hot striper water in Maine and New Hampshire has slowed precipitously in the last week or so. But some stripers still come up at night around Saco Bay and the rivermouth, and the offshore ledges are still producing cod and haddock. Bluefin tuna is still the fascination offshore at Stellwagen. Piscataqua River and Great Bay are slow, and live eels at night account for most of the action. Out over the Canyons, big-time sport boats are doing well with southern migrants such as yellowfin tuna and white marlin.

Area B: Salem and the Parker and Danvers rivers have some small fish, and one angler off Singing Beach (a quarter-mile offshore) took a 38-inch striper this week. Some fluke at Point of Pines with bluefish showing lately off the B-buoy. Also, better action at Faun Bar and Great Brewster. A couple of big striper catches around the outer harbor at Boston Light, down at Bumpkin. A few smelts starting to show up in Boston and Hull, and they will be pursued. Across at Stellwagen, the bluefin (football) tuna action is still on, with a few small bluefish.

Area C: Relatively slow on the previously red-hot ledgewater along the South Shore, but nighttime anglers with live eels are doing well around Minots and Grampus, the Glades, and the Scituate beaches to the North River mouth. Action in Duxbury Bay to Plymouth and Kingston has picked up, with good, steady action on fish in the mid-20s. One guy hooked a 4-foot tiger shark off the Powder Point Bridge.

Area D: The Canal has improved for medium striped bass and some small blues providing topwater action. At the Buzzards end, the scup are holding strong with fluke at Mashnee, and a mix of small blues. The Elizabeths have some of the best striper fishing -- live eels again. One sailing friend reports seeing a sea turtle the size of his 9-foot inflatable dinghy -- a reminder that many visitors from the tropics abound in our waters, including false albacore and bonito.

Area E: The south Cape beaches are not too hot, but the water just offshore in Nantucket Sound -- especially the banks -- has a mix of small to medium game fish. Decent action at Wasque and the waters to Tuckernuck Shoals. Also check out Nomans on the other side.

Area F: Some decent bluefishing off the National Seashore, from Nauset to Newcomb Hollow and Cahoon Hollow. Some small blues inside off First Encounter and Kingsbury beaches, Pamet Harbor at Truro, Long Point Light, and Wood End.

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