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Stripe bass fishing is as good as it gets — right now


Stripe bass fishing is about as good as it gets right now! The bass that were 15 pounds in the spring are now 20 to 25 pounds after their stay here in New England.

The stripers made their migration north in May and have been feeding heavily on menhaden, herring and mackerel for months. All these fish are great to the striper who will eat them at will and will stay close by a school of bait fish until they need to eat again.

The water temps must be in the 55 to 64 degree range to make a bass happy. At the 60-degree mark you will find stripers in abundance. They will be in water as deep as 200 feet and as shallow as 2 feet. The best area for these is the shallows of the Merrimack River called Joppa Flats in the Newburyport area — a very healthy alive place to fish. The mouth of the river is another great spot full of rocks and bait fish.

Along with the stripers are bluefish. They too made the long trip to our fair waters and fattened up on the same bait fish. The difference in the two fish is the bluefish is the preferred food of the bluefin tuna. So they were scattered all over this year. But many of the blues are now in schools making the run south. They make beach blitzes on every tide and if you’re there you will be in for a fight and a sight of your life. Some blues will come right out of the water a few inches from shore chasing food.

The best places to catch both fish are the Plum Island Beach front, Rockport, Salem Harbor, Lynn Harbor, Boston Harbor and the islands of outer Boston Harbor to Hull.

Fresh water got a big boost with the stocking of browns and rainbow trout in many local waters. Sandy Pond in Ayer, Long Sought For in Westford, Baddacook in Groton, The Nissitissit River in Pepperell and the Squannacook River in Townsend and Groton were stocked during the last two weeks.

Over-the-counter deer permits went on sale Oct. 12 for zones 10. 11, 13 and 14. There are no permits available for this region. The cost is $5 each.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about bears and bear hunting. Some people loved the article and some did not. To those who have an issue let me clarify a few things.

Chasing a wounded bear is not done for the simple reason as not to run the animal into other people, into homes, or to possibly injure the hunter. No one who hunts likes the idea of wounding then having to chase any wounded animal, but worse is if you lose it altogether. Pushing a wounded bear, moose, deer or any big game animal is not a good idea just for the reason of losing it.

Recently, I took out a book, a couple tapes and watched a few shows of hunters who are tops in their field. All are professional hunters — Mike Wadell, Dave Blandon, Stan Potts, Ted Nugent, The Benoit brothers and others. Each one said the same thing. When the shot is made, you wait a period of time, then you go looking. However if you cannot find it in a reasonable amount of time you need to think, “when in doubt back out.”

Most of the black bear hunting is done in western Massachusetts with a very small amount of hunters using this area. They want to go where the highest concentration of the animal is found. But if a person only has a limited time to pursue one they may try to hunt in Ashby, Fitchburg, Ashburnham Townsend, Leominster and Pepperell . You have to put in your time to know where you are going to do your hunting. If there is no sign of bears then your not going to hunt there.

If the animal is wounded it will run hard and fast and might go after the individual that fired the shot. Most of the time and I dare say, 99 percent of the time, they flat out run and then walk until they expire. The run is short and the walk is short until they lie down. If you push the animal you could lose it. Yes, look after a short time but don’t go on a long search because that will just make it go. No one has been killed in the Bay State in the last 100 years by a bear.

Any ethical sportsman does not want an animal to suffer, they want a quick clean shot that brings the game down on the spot. But let’s be honest here, that is not reality. It does not happen every time no matter how good the hunter. I watched one of the films when they had to leave the animal all night and found it the next day. They didn’t want to but it was found just a few hundred yards from the shot. Had they pushed it, chances are it might have run and maybe never been found.

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