Some hot fly-fishing on striped bass off Salem yesterday reminds us that we enter the summer with the first combination of prolonged good weather (at least until the weekend) and good fishing since Memorial Day weekend. Bass and bluefish are plentiful in most of the usual June haunts. Cod are moving deeper and mackerel are moving on. Captain Brad White from Marshfield Hills, who had a most successful bass trip on the back side of Truro last Sunday morning, offers the following hints:
``Fish against the tide, at first light, or one hour after high tide, still against the tide. Note the 2-3-knot tide against a trolling boat and the 3-knot forward boat speed. Keywords `slow troll' in about 20-30 feet of water is best. We were consistently successful with 38-inch fish and larger."
Reminder: It's just about time to start looking for football bluefin tuna that should invade the waters from Cape Cod Bay to the Gulf of Maine.
Area A: Plenty of stripers, bluefish, and offshore groundfish are working this week in northern waters. Saco Bay and the tidal portion of the river out to the offshore islands have been hot this week for striper action. Big stripers are chasing alewives up by the Biddeford Dam. Live bait and chunked mackerel are working well, and many anglers report their striper bait getting attacked by bluefish -- a tough problem to have. If you're fishing blues, don't forget the wire leaders.
Plenty of striper action off Kittery into the Piscataqua River and up into Great Bay. Check out striper action around Henry Law Park in Dover. At Plum Island, the stripers are still around, but smaller now, though some larger fish were encountered this week off Salem and Lynn shores.
Area B: Last weekend's Boston Harbor Striper Shootout Derby indicates how good the striper fishing is in the harbor. With 56 boats entered, the highlight was a 47-inch fish taken by Team Osprey, caught on a livelined pollock. Runner-up catch was just 1 inch shorter. Most fish were taken on tube and worm rigs. Funds raised went to the Soldier's Home in Chelsea.
Stripers are also active at Faun Bar and Outer Brewster Island, Grape Island and the Hull Gut environs. Some small bluefish have begun showing up regularly in the harbor -- 7-8-pounders, which are ideal table fish. Also, some big flounder are coming in around President Roads, near the MDC docks at the airport, and down around Castle Island and the JFK Library shore.
Area C: Fishing has been improving along the South Shore, from Minot's Ledge to Green Harbor. Two good-sized stripers were taken off Third Cliff in Scituate. Minot's Ledge to the Glades offered some blue catches. Most boats have headed for the southwest corner of Stellwagen where the bass, blues, and wolffish have been found fairly regularly by trollers.
Area D: Fishing has improved in the Canal this week, with bucktail jigs and sand eels doing well on good-sized striped bass. Early-morning and predawn fishing has been most effective. Near the west end, the fluke have been increasing in size and numbers. Pocasset to Wings Neck is a hot spot, but a 12-year-old from Marion took a good-sized fluke off Centerboard Shoal Tuesday. Squid are increasing as bait, and the bluefish are pouring into Buzzards Bay along with the stripers that have been there right along. Good fishing grounds at the ledge off Scraggy Neck, Cleveland Ledge to the Falmouth shore, Woods and Robinson's holes, and Cuttyhunk. Across the bay, plenty of bass catches from Fairhaven to Westport.
Area E: While the bass fishing has slowed around Martha's Vineyard, bluefish are abundant, especially between Wasque and out into Nantucket Sound. Nantucket is fat with bluefish this week, and the waters around the island are worth a shot. Falmouth shore -- just offshore -- has decent bluefish chasing squid. Check out Middle Ground for blues, scup, and seabass.
Area F: Fishing has been slow back here, and the anglers are getting steamed about the beach closing for birds. The Race is good, with catches off Provincelands, Herring Cove, and Provincetown Harbor. Billingsgate Shoal is also its usual productive self.
OUT AND ABOUT Check out Tony Chamberlain's All Outdoors blog at www.explorenewengland.com/fishing.