First of all, Happy Birthday to my Mom today, March 30th! Great to see her earlier and share cake with the kids.
For a lot of anglers, myself included, the first part of the season is a feeling of relief that the winter is over (hopefully), the boat is unwrapped, and the gear is back out.
A couple days before haddock season officially starts, I watch the weather in Cape Cod Bay in hopes of finding a window to get out. The anticipation of finally getting back out on the water is a feeling difficult to explain to my wife, but over the years she has to come to understand the family sickness.
Early season haddock usually involves bait and its usually clams. You can certainly jig for the haddock, but on many days, the bait rigs win out. On the days when it feels like the fish favor the bait, I use the squid skirted jigs with a weight. The presentation is pretty simple and the rod motions don't have to be very quick or high.
On other days, when I see my brother taking fish on a jig (he prefers jigging virtually 100% of the time), I'll switch over. The skirted grub teasers work well for that presentation because the jigging motion activates the action of the grub and the skirt and really makes them dance and move. The jig at the bottom varies. Some days the diamond jigs outperform the Norwegian style jigs. I usually use a diamond jig with a siwash hook or skirted treble at the bottom.
If the fish are really active, I'll take a heavier spinning outfit and drop a 3-5 ounce knife jig down and jig through the depths on the fish finder marking fish. It's a ton of fun getting any fish on a small jig on an assist hook.
In terms of colors, I have come to love the orange. An ugly orange teaser can outperform everything else on some days and I suspect it has something to do with the forage at the bottom, whether its small crustaceans or invertebrates. Purple and pink are other colors I like to use, but if I personally had to pick and go with one color it would be the orange.
Hope everyone can get out there on the water and catch 'em up.