The waters of Salem Sound, Massachusetts, near Manchester and Gloucester, from Bakers Island to the entrance to Manchester Harbor, are as good a place as any for a kayak fishing enthusiast to try kayak fishing for the first time, particularly if you’re interested in trolling for striped bass. Relatively protected, wide and expansive, and subject to powerboat traffic patterns that are consistent and predictable, the small-boat saltwater fisherman can pretty much fish the area with a goodly amount of confidence.
In the area several nearshore areas stand out, among them House Island, Ram Island, House Island, Pickettt Ledge, and several others. Below you’ll find descriptions of each of the areas, with suggestions on fishing methods lures. How you access the areas is a matter of convenience: from Lynch Park in Beverly, Riverhead Beach in Marblehead, the asphalt boat ramp behind the Manchester Police station.
Note that several of the descriptions include latitude and longitude coordinates for gps users.
Troll the island’s perimeter close to shore. Drifting with chunks or jigs often works along the island’s edges for stripers.
If the seas are down, paddle southwest to Whaleback Ledge, a few hundred yards off and marked with an orange day beacon. You’ll often find keeper cod milling around there in the early and late seasons. Exercise caution both here and near Whaleback if the seas are up, as the breaking waves and swellwash running in from the open can be overwhelming.
A large, 14-feet deep hole adjacent to the craggy structures of nearby Ram Island, and facing the open water passage southeast of House Island. Use an anchor or drift. Exercise caution in this area. Large breakers running often break directly against the island.
Latitude:42°33’27.61″N; Longitude: 70°46’52.58″W
Pickett Ledge. A good place to chunk or deepwater jig in shallows close to 50-foot depths. Exercise caution in this area when the seas are up. The waves and swellwash can be intense. Stripers and bluefish during the warmer months, cod early in the spring and late in the fall.
Salt Rock. Stripers and bluefish; cod, flounder and mackerel. Chunk, troll, or jig. Abrupt depth drop-off from 8 feet to 52 feet.Exercise caution in the area if the seas are up. The waves and swellwash can be overwhelming. Latitude: 42°33’53.82″N Longitude: 70°45’35.41″W
Black Rock. Chunk, troll, or jig. A fast drop-off from shallow to nearly 70 feet. Stripers and bluefish. Exercise caution in the area if the seas are up. The waves and swellwash can be overwhelming. Latitude: 42°33’47.40″N Longitude: 70°45’16.00″W
Black Beach at Kettle Cove
Land here for a break. Troll the cove with tube-and-worm. The head of the cove where it pinches at Coolidge Point is often loaded with large schools of mackerel, with schools of bluefish close by. Watch for boils.
Note that beach access is always a debatable issue in Manchester – as long as you’re fishing, you have the right to land and walk the sands between the low and highwater marks. Some adjacent landowners tend to insist otherwise.
White Beach at Town Head, Manchester
Troll the cove at high tide with tube-and-worm or chum-and-chunk nearby Kitfield Ledge. Note that beach access is always a debatable issue in Manchester – as long as you’re fishing, you have the right to land and walk the sands between the low and highwater marks. Some adjacent landowners tend to insist otherwise.
Latitude: 42°34’36.85″N Longitude: 70°44’14.03″W