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    Geoffrey Gordon

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    Striped Bass on the South Shore

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

    The great sport fish, the striped bass, is making its way up the eastern seaboard, and the buzz with local anglers is palatable. Most stripers that come to Massachusetts Bay wintered in Chesapeake Bay with its rich estuaries and moderate temperatures. Each spring they begin their journey north in search of food. They're due.

    The food of choice around here are herring. Three herring spawning brooks feed the North River and are aptly named the First Herring Brook (in Scituate), the Second Herring Brook (in Norwell, where my father had a trap line behind his house as a kid), and the Third Herring Brook, the boundary separating Norwell and Hanover. Over the past several years, the North and South Rivers Watershed Association  has led an effort to remove dams from these brooks. Dams had powered mills back in the day, but lost their economic usefulness decades ago.  Their removal has paid off big in the resurgence of herring stock. Even native trout, gold standard habitat seekers, have returned to these brooks.striper and angler

    Resurgent herring bring more than striped bass. The North River is alive with cormorants and ducks, egrets and great blue herons, and osprey and eagles. Every fisherman knows, here there are water fowl, there are fish.

    The herring count in 2019 has been epic. Stop at the Third Herring Brook where River Street (Norwell) becomes Broadway (Hanover), through a pair of polarized glasses be amazed at the number of herring making their way up-stream. This food supply is why Stripers like the North River and nearby ocean.

    Today (early May) in Massachusetts Bay the water temperatures are getting to the high 40’s, so the migrating fish aren’t be far behind. Edgartown water is now at 50 degrees (in early May); Plymouth and Mattapoisett are at 49. These temperatures are a few weeks late this year with all the rain and cloud cover  (often the first fish arrive the third week in April). But they're where the fish are comfortable enough to begin feeding here.

    A lot of fishing is done alone, or with a single fishing buddy.  I personally like the alone time.  But fishing can be a great community event, such as the annual  NSRWA fishing tournament, happening in just a few weeks, the weekend of June 7-9.  That linked page will also describes many best fishing practices.

    The overall striper population is under pressure on the East coast.  Overfishing and loss of spawning habitat in the Chesapeake are two commonly cited reasons.  With recreational anglers taking 75% of the fish (commercial fishermen taking the rest), a careful harvest is in everyone’s best interests.

    Studies estimate a 9% mortality rate by recreational fishermen of caught and released striped bass . What can a recreational angler do to keep more fish alive?striper huge GG

    • Know the regulations. This year in Massachusetts the fish must be 28” long to keep; you may possess only one.  If you do keep a fish, filet, ice, and eat is as soon as possible. On the grill with a just a little mayo and fresh chopped dill is my favorite.
    • Retrieve quickly: don’t wait till the fish is so exhausted that it will die when you unhook and release it.
    • Skilled anglers remove multiple treble hooks from lures leaving only tail hooks to avoid fouling and facilitate hook removal.  You’ll still catch fish that bite, but you’ll always remove one hook faster than two, increasing the fish’s chance of survival. 
    • Return the fish to water as quickly as possible. This fish has just fought for its life and needs oxygen which it won't get above water.  If your landed fish is listless, help it get water through its gills by gently pushing it back and forth through the water. If successful, the fish will gain consciousness and take off.  You'll know.
    • This last one can be hard: release the monsters, like this holdover I caught last May  Female stripers are the bigger fish, and they carry thousands of eggs.  Let the really big ones go. The meat isn't as good, or as healthy, either. 

    Respect the water and the habitat. Most fishermen are great stewards of our natural resources: that’s why we’re out there in all kinds of weather at all times of the day.   Retrieve debris including all your own line and we’ll all continue to enjoy the great outdoors, and with any luck, even catch a fish or two.

    Tight lines!  

    Tags: fishing, striped bass

    Jacobs Pond: An Underrated Kayak or Canoe Spot

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 02:38 PM

    Jacobs Pond Great Blue Heron

    Recently, my wife and I decided to take our kayaks out on Jacobs Pond. What we found there was an unexpected array of wildlife and scenery on par with that of Maine or Canada. We live in Norwell and still were pleasantly surprised by what we saw, experiencing a truly relaxing afternoon right in our own town. Although the entire pond is beautiful, a real gem is found when you explore upstream.  Thankfully, we were greeted with sunshine and a beautiful day despite weeks of dismal clouds and rain.  Pictured throughout this blog are photos of the wildlife we took ourselves.

    Jacobs Pond Turtles.jpg

    Photographed is a Great Blue Heron and some painted turtles enjoying the sunshine. In addition to the Blue Heron and painted turtles, we saw a diverse population of animals such as osprey, cormorants, ducks, and bull frogs. 

    When it comes to fishing, this area is shallow and a little weedy.  However, if you enjoy bass fishing, the pond is plentiful. Besides bass you may find perch, pickerel, and sun fish. Given its great location, Jacob's pond makes for a fun and tranquil afternoon out on the water. 

    For access, use the Jacobs Lane entrance.  At this location you can both park and launch your kayaks/canoes into the pond.  Trail heads are located here as well.

    Kayaking on Jacobs pond.jpgTo finish off the day, I recommend walking across the boardwalk to the island located in the pond. The boardwalk is right off the Jacobs Lane entrance and is a perfect way to cap off a relaxing kayak/canoe tour of Jacobs Pond.

    For additional information about Jacobs Pond, including history and trail details, click here.

    Insurance question? Click here.

    Tags: norwell, wildlife, summer fun, Jacobs Pond, kayak, canoe

    Great Outdoor Opportunities in Halifax/Hanson

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 06:18 PM

    Are you looking for a place to fish, hunt, do some bird watching, walk the dog, bike or ride your horse?  Halifax shares this treasure with Hanson.

    There are parking areas off Elm Street in Halifax and Hawks Avenue in Hanson, but try not to block the walk thru for the equestrians at the Elm Street lot.  There is lots of wildlife and is well known by birders for the Heron, Egret, Osprey,swans, ducks, geese and lots of small birds.  You’ll have to get up pretty early to see deer but you can usually find their tracks.  The wildlife is more evident in the warmer months when you can find snakes, Muskrats and Snapping turtles.  You will find some hunters this time of year at Burrage and the adjacent trails, so be cautious and wear orange. If you’re walking a dog, be sure to keep it leashed.

    Sorry, no ATV’s are allowed since this is a Wildlife Management Area that was purchased by the state in 2002.

    Maybe we’ll see you there!  Enjoy and please don’t litter.

    For insurance information and relevant resources, visit the Andrew G. Gordon Website.

    And if you’re thinking of moving to town soon, visit our new home buyer page for tips on purchasing new home owner’s insurance.   Also check out our auto page for auto insurance deals and information, as well as our Whiteboard series for great general tips.

    New to MA eBook

     Geoff Gordon

    Tags: United States, hanson, Bird, Birdwatching, Egret, halifax trails, hanson trails, Heron, Muskrat, nature trails halifax, Recreation, walking trails

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