Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 12, 2017

Neptune just may be gifting boaters with a sweet sendoff this weekend. Summer-like temperatures should continue to hold sway allowing many a parting shot at a nice striped bass. Mackerel remain plentiful and if we’re really lucky migrants from Maine will have arrived by this weekend.

Massachusetts Massachusetts South Coast Fishing Report

Water temperatures play a big part in all our fishing endeavors but when it comes to fall tautog, it’s a major determinate. Once water temps dip below that pivotal 60 degree mark, which should be imminent, scattered schools lose their territorial trappings, aggregate in big numbers and feed aggressive in preparation of their eventual offshore migration. That migration which won’t occur in earnest until next month eventually leads to tautog dropping into a rocky depression and basically hibernating until spring. A DMF Biologist who had a particular fondness for white chins once told me that a tog could probably be placed in a cage in just such a lair from December through March and not only would survive but not appreciably change. There’s a lot to admire about tautog, especially the catching and eating! Captain Jason Colby is back in the game with Little Sister Two and the tog are nervous!

Captain Jason Colby is back in the Buzzards Bay tog game!

Captain Jason Colby is back in the Buzzards Bay tog game!

Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters is still putting patrons into pelagics. While the commercial season is closed, as a licensed charter captain he is still allowed to fish for them, which is a good thing since he’s finding mixed sizes lurking at the edge of the 100’ contour line which is only 3-4 miles from shore! Mackerel remain the modus operandi but trolling them right now seems to be better than fishing under anchor. Duxbury through Hull has some significant stripers in abundance thanks to all the bait which consists of herring, peanuts, pogies and mackerel. The skipper believes that some of these cows were fish which were in the canal a few weeks ago and are now on the South Shore!

Massachusetts Greater Boston Fishing Report

Lisa from Fore River said that a few are finding flounder off the Pemberton Pier and some are 18” long! There are even a few boaters targeting them off Peddock’s Island and Toddy Rocks. In a bygone era, flounder were often pursued again in the fall as water temperatures cooled and the fished moved back in a little closer to shore. As has been the case since May, it shouldn’t take you long to top off your livewell with all the mackerel you could ask for. Latest reports have them by Boston Light where anglers such as Fore River’s Fearsome Foursome are fishing the bait among the Brewsters and catching keepers! The “FFs” are not some Johnny-come-lately lightweights but rather the re-loaded and greatly feared (among fish!) former Triple Threat which have grown by one (and counting!). Peanuts in the bays have been the precursor to some impressive blitzes. While no-one is targeting toothies, every once in a while a strike results in an eviscerated mackerel, so there are obviously still blues around. Smelt continue to be caught off lit piers and bridges in Hull and Hingham as well as Summer Street in South Boston. There even has been some smelt success off the Winthrop Public Pier according to Darlene of Bob’s Bait Shack. When asked about the availability of local mackerel, Darlene offered 5 shop coolers full of macks as proof of their abundance. There have even been reports of spike mackerel off the Belle Isle Bridge. Surf anglers have been catching nice mid-teen October stripers off Winthrop Beach. While the average size of the fish is about 25” there are some much larger linesiders prowling below.

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

While Tomo of Tomos Tackle is a wealth of knowledge I don’t expect to get a hot take on a bass bite in Winthrop, but he’s heard that it’s good! Shop regulars have been tossing Northbar Bottledarters and hooking 15-20 pounders from the surf! One of Tomo’s troops reported hooking and losing far bigger! Lynn Harbor has been home to some impressive surface feeds as bass from 25” to 32” belt baby bunker. Chunkers are doing well with keepers off Devereux Beach in Marblehead; I’ve done well off this beach with eels even during the day. Mackerel can be found off Derby Wharf, Salem Willows and the Beverly Pier. If fresh calamari are what you’re craving consider the piers off Gloucester where a few are enjoying a late season squid surge. The resident seaworm digger saw anglers catching a few flounder off the Fisherman’s Beach wharf in Swampscott.

Martha from Surfland said that night fishing off Sandy Point is Newburyport’s best big bass bet. Needlefish and SP Minnows have been standbys as has eels. Daytime along the river front, the ocean front and out to Plum Island Sound is schoolie play for the most part. If you’re a boater and this is you Swan Song, jig up some of the plentiful inshore mackerel and try trolling along along the reservation and Crane’s Beach. The most interesting news Martha came courtesy of of a customer from Maine. This determined guy drove all the way from Downeast to snap up something he can’t find locally, namely tandem-hooked Slug-Gos. And lest you think he’s into micros, keep this in perspective – he only wanted the 12” black and Arkansas shiner versions!

Leigh Heinemann's Berkshire smallmouth

Leigh Heinemann picked this big 26-inch fall smallmouth bass in the Berkshires.

Freshwater Fishing Report

Owing to his salt and freshwater fishing obsession, it’s not unusual for Patrick Barone of Early Rise Charters to talk of 38” fish, but it’s not every day that the source of those big fish is a lake. Such is the case recently from Cheshire Reservoir where he cranked in just such a 3’ plus toothy on a shad crankbait. This fish was hardly a lone wolf as plugs and spinnerbaits worked parallel to weed lines elicited hear-pounding follows from other seriously big ‘gators. The key is to opt for a lure/retrieve which can be worked near but not in the weeds. Just one strand of weed on a lure is a deal-breaker. Berkshire bronzebacks are on the feed also and lipless and conventional crankbaits are effective and allow the angler to cover a lot of water. I was bemoaning to Patrick a recent loss of two slab smallies which threw my crankbait back at me on the first jump when he suggested that I adjust my hook set. Actually he recommended that I not set the hook at all but rather “lockup” the hook before reeling. His theory is that the fish turn and attempt to move off before taking flight and hooks are more likely to gain purchase in their maw if the angler waits just a second or two before rearing back on the fish. You can bet I’ll be trying to redeem myself with that one next time.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Marina’s are getting noisy as the boats are being pulled with purpose. For a grand final consider a close encounter with Charlie along the 100’ contour line of MassBay. For stripers, the South Shore just might be the answer as to where all those canal cows might have gone! Winthrop remains the season-long bass best bet of Boston Harbor and its even drawing the interest of surf anglers from the North Shore. The pick of Plum Island is Sandy Point with “serpents” at night and trolled mackerel by day.

  1. jack

    hooked a 900 pound bluefin 6 miles out of situate harbor this weekend 3 hour fight lost it 20 feet from boat

    Reply

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