GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 24, 2013

Outdoors: Ground fishing hot spots

Outdoors
Dave Sartwell

---- — Finding the right spots for bottom fishing can be hard, especially for the fisherman who only has a few days a year to get out on the ocean. Over the years I have tried to be as specific as I can be to help. A few weeks ago I revealed some of my best striper spots. This week I am going to give you some of my best locations for groundfish.

The first is a rise in the bottom just south of Tillies at approximately 42.36.8 and 70.20.5. We have caught cod, haddock and cusk there every time we have drifted on through. It is an East-West running hump that is fairly small and runs about 228 feet deep. I think the reason this spot is so good is that to the East it drops off to 475 rather quickly.

This is a bit of a run out, but if you go on a quiet day you can have very productive drifts. In a breeze you will want to use a windsock of some kind to slow your boat down to a crawl. Remember to keep the weight bouncing on the bottom. You will lose some terminal gear, but the results are usually worth it. If you are not bouncing you will not be catching.

Just south of the above spot is another small hump that rises up to 238 feet. This can be found at approximately 42.35.0 and 70.20.9. Deep water is again found immediately to the East in a trough that can be over 600 feet deep. However, this hill can hold some really good bottom fish. We have also caught and released some big stripers out here as well.

A little closer to shore you might want to mark 42.35.6 and 70.23.3 for a try. Although it is less shallow at 278 feet, once again it is a hump surrounded by some deep water. To the East of this tiny rise there is a trough that reaches down to about 430 feet. Because it is a long way down, you might want to have some significant weight on the terminal end. We often use 16 oz. or more lead to get to the bottom and stay there.

Back toward shore some more there is an decrease in depth to only 191 feet at roughly 42.36.0 and 70.27.6. Here there is a long East-West plateau that often produces good result. Watch your electronics to find the rise.

To the north of here are three other spots you might wish to try. There is a channel that runs from the fl”2” Whistle off Thatcher Island that stretches all the way to Tillies. On the north side of that channel where it really narrows down there is a rapid rise in the bottom from 360 feet to 144. This underwater side hill at 42.38.2 and 70.27.4 is a great place for groundfish to hang out.

About seven miles out from Halibut Point are the last two for today. At roughly 42.46.9 and 70.31.1 there is a tiny knoll down about 240 feet. This one is hard to find because it is small. However, it can be a terrific spot to fish.

To the Northwest of this spot is a larger pinnacle rising up from the bottom. It can be found at 42.47.3 and 70.33.7. The top of this pinnacle is only down about 164 feet. This is a great place for cod and haddock. As with all of these spots, work them slowly keeping your bait right on the bottom.

I have given you approximations on these readings. To fish them correctly, you will want to use your bottom finder and drive very slowly around these points. By watching the depth changes on your electronics you can soon figure out exactly how to set up your boat for the drift that will keep you over the fishing ground longest.

Rhumbline Striper Tournament

Fred Shrigley is running his annual Rhumbline striper tournament on July 28. There will be cash prizes, great raffle give-aways, and a free t-shirt. At the end of the day you can enjoy his famous cookout and weigh-in at the Rhumbline parking lot. It is $20 for adults. You can sign up now at the Rhumbline. It’s always a good time.