Featured Guide: Ipswich Bay Angling
By James Hamilton | Monday, June 1
What do Stripers on the fly, protecting our fisheries in New England, snowboarding, art, and new borns all have in common? Captain Mike Hart of Ipswich Bay Angling.
Captain Mike Hart's Ipswich Bay Angling is well into its fourth season of operation on the north shore of Massachusetts, Mike's seen a lot of change in those four years and over the course of his career. From his days as a sponsored snowboarder in the '90s, to art handling in New York City in the 2000s, and now starting a family and guiding on the north shore - Mike has always been one to pursue his passions in life. We had the pleasure of spending a Friday in June with Mike aboard his 20' Key West Sportsman, the Linda Marie, chasing stripers on fly and light tackle.
Mike and I originally met and bonded over a shared appreciation for fishing and the visual arts at a Why Knot Fishing get together in January, and GuideHire was lucky to have him as one of the first fishing guides on the team. We got around to chasing stripers last Friday, meeting up at Perley's Marina in Rowley promptly at 5:15AM. The weather ran the gambit from rainy and gray to bluebird, and the conditions ranged from glass to chop - 8 hours of fishing felt like what could have been at least three separate days, each one providing multiple shots at feeding stripers on the fly. Ultimately, we landed quite a few stripers, discussed the challenges facing the fishery today, the joy of fishing and being a father, and had a great time. Please find our Q&A below for your reading pleasure.
GH: What was your first fishing memory?
MH: Flounder fishing with my father and brother with handlines in town cove cape cod, I thought the sea worms were the coolest thing I had ever seen. I was 5. I have a great pic from this day.
GH: Favorite non-fishing activity or interest?
MH: Being a new dad.
GH: Are there any parrallels between your experience in snowboarding and your career as a fly guide?
MH: Just being outside and not in front of a tv or computer screen. Also, I was more of a pro/am snowboarder. Fully sponsored, but got hurt before I made the big leagues... I don't put it on my resume...
GH: Tell us about the striper fishery today, and how you've seen it change in the past few years...
MH: Sad. The first year I owned my boat and could cover a lot more water than I could from the beach, it was eye opening. Sustained surface feeds for entire tides with nothing but 30-40" fish. Each year the fish have been (generally) smaller and there have been fewer and fewer of them. And you have to cover much more ground to find them.
So there you have it - Ipswich Bay Angling is a world class option for fishing the tidal marshes of north eastern Massachusetts, and your captain is willing to chat about a bit more than just fishing. Many thanks to our friend Taylor Goodyear who put together a gopro edit of the day, which can be found here.
Captain Hart practices catch and release. If you wan't dinner - go buy a cheeseburger, if you want to chase surface feeding stripers on the fly in a beautiful setting - go book a trip here.