Shad Fishing the Merrimac River
Roger holds a 7 pound beauty that tested Elmer's netting skills.
Elmer has a nice one headed for the bait locker.
The day started out to be a beauty. I was heading to Methuen to meet up with Roger Aziz, owner of Merrimac Valley Fishing Tours. Large shad were on the menu. Downtown Lawrence was the venue. We were hoping to tie into some big fish. Roger who knows the Merrimac like his back yard, promised we would be in the correct spot to do the job. Boy was he right. We got to the boat ramp in downtown Lawrence, just below the Essex Street Dam, around 8am. There were a few boats anchored in the current, near where we wanted to go, so we tried a few other spots and got a few taps but no fish. Finally the boat traffic thinned out and we got to the "spot", set the anchor and sent our darts out to lure them in. As luck would have it, they were releasing extra water from upstream and the increased current sent the fish in motion.
The trick to catching fish is to find the right place in the current to anchor. The bottom was flat in places and the channels had weed growth in them. The fish seemed to hold to the channel above the weeds and shad darts 50-75 feet behind the boat kept us busy through the noon hour and early afternoon.
I had several big fish on and lost them to the current after long battles. Most fish were 2-4 pounds with one 5 pound fish for me and the 7 pound, 25 inch fish Roger took. In all we had hooked 20 or more fish with a dozen or more brought the net. Wounded fish went into the bait cooler while the rest were released.
I have fished for shad in the North River but not like this. If your in the right spot the fun is endless.
Thanks to Roger for a great day and many more ahead of us.
See Roger at Merrimac Valley Fishing Tours
Salt or Fresh Water - Roger will put you onto good fish!
Make sure you tell him Elmer sent you!