Of the numerous kayak fishing areas off CapeAnn, Massachusetts, which includes the towns of Manchester, Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Ipswich, a few stand out for their close proximity to a variety of structure lines and fisheries.
In particular off Manchester are the cheek-by-jowl fisheries of large, open sand beaches adjacent to marshland areas, rocky islands and submerged ledges. Species in the area range from the expected and ubiquitous species stripedbass and bluefish, the former especially between late May and mid-October, to lesser-targeted species such as cod, pollock, flounder and mackerel.
Below are highlights of some of the varied fisheries in the area, with notes on parking and access, etc., as well as latitude and longitude in the even you are a gps user.
Singing Beach, Manchester.
Parking restrictions during the summer. This is not the most convenient place in Manchester to put in (the portage across the beach is about fifty yards) but it’s worth using if you’re interested in trolling the shores as far east as Magnolia or the outer chunk areas Great and Little Egg Rocks.
Be wary of dumping surf when the seas are up. Drive to the roundabout at the beach’s edge, unload, then park in the lot behind the bathhouse.
Parking here can be tough in summer, with just a small handful of spots reserved for non-residents.
Launch from the edge of the park that lies closest to the marsh. When paddling out to the fishing areas, mind the marked channel, which is both narrow and busy on weekends. The channel itself can be an effective trolling area on an outgoing tide.
Manchester Police Station.
Public parking lot and ramp. Parking regulations change here on a fairly regular basis. Usually no problems during the off-season. Carry down the asphalt ramp to put in. At low tide the bottom of the ramp is slick and reveals an abrupt dropoff.
Paddle beneath the train bridge and head downchannel through Manchester Harbor to Ram and House Islands, Whaleback Ledge, Halftide Rock, the Misery Islands, etc. Be mindful of the narrow boat channel, which can get crowded on weekends.
Next to the Manchester Yacht Club. A handy put-in in the off-season when there are fewer parking restrictions. Park to unload along the low boulder wall next to the grassy area, then park in the lot. There’s a sand beach to the right of the gazebo and docks, a gravel and eelgrass beach to the left.
Use this put-in for the quickest access to Ram and House Islands and the waters east of Gales Point.
Lat. 42°34’1.45″N, Long. 70°46’43.36″W
A shortcut to Manchester’s outer waters from Gales Point, where the shortcut is, to Magnolia.
If you put in at Tucks Point, Masconomo Park, or the ramp at the Manchester police station, this is the fastest route to the fishing spots that run to the east. The shortcut is passable at all but the lowest spring tides.
Exercise caution when the seas are up. This narrow chute can get pretty rough.