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Maze of Channels: Essex, MA, Kayak Fishing Adventure

By Tom Richardson; Videography by AJ Derosa

Watch as ENE TV host Tom Richardson and Guyton Thorne chase spring striped bass in the Essex River estuary, north of Boston! Each June, stripers enter this river system in droves, setting up several weeks of spectacular light-tackle action. The fish can be taken on natural baits, trolled swimbaits, soft-plastic baits, and flies worked along the marsh banks, creek mouths, and channel edges. One cast may produce a micro; the next a 20-pounder. But that’s all part of the fun!

Fly fishermen can get into this game with a nine-weight outfit and an intermediate sink line. Lighter rods will work at times, but heavier gear is recommended for throwing bigger flies and dealing with windy conditions. Plus, you never know when you’ll need that extra power to beat a really big bass!

Productive early-season flies include 2/0-3/0 Clousers, epoxy sand-eel patterns, Deceivers, Half-and-Halfs, and similar patterns designed to imitate sand eels and silversides. Crab patterns can also produce at times.

Remember that a Massachusetts saltwater fishing license is required to fish the Essex River. You can order one online here.

Learn more about accessing and paddling the Essex River.

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