Massachusetts Fishing Report – June 11, 2020

Anglers enjoy spinning excuses – err, I mean reasons – almost as much as they like fishing. The pervasive logic behind larger lock-jawed linesiders has been the lack of big inshore bait. Bigger bass seem to be keying in on small bait and are tormenting fishermen by shadowing hooked schoolies but not striking. But there is evidence that the recent east wind changed all that and this weekend we’ll find out for sure!

Massachusetts South Shore Fishing Report

These are strange days indeed and that doubly applies to the lack of consistent inshore mackerel on the South Shore, so said Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters. Not surprisingly with the lack of other types of big inshore bait such as sea herring and pogies, stripers from the Three Bays out through Cape Cod Bay are topping out at about 30”. You can find plenty of schoolie blitzes but larger fish remain a struggle. Should you be in the mood for mackerel, Stellwagen Bank has plenty and the hope is on that a clash between wind, bait and big bass will soon send it all inshore! Provincetown is fishing like a ghost town. Buzzards Bay however is hot for humphead black sea bass.

Charlie Drollett
Charlie Drollett with a big South Shore bass taken aboard Go Get ‘Em Sportfishing!

In a year of unpredictability, it’s nice to find a sliver of normalcy and according to Captain Rich Antonio of Black Rose Charters that is exactly the case with haddock at the moment as they have settled into their deepwater summer haunts east of Stellwagen Bank. The sweet spot according to the skipper is around 220’ of water and every bit as important as location is freshness of bait. Clams, squid, mackerel – it doesn’t seem to matter what sort of bait as long as it passes the “smell test” and the bait is changed out every few minutes! For additional cooler fare, the Black Rose crew is filling coolers of scup in 25-40’ of water in Buzzards Bay. Rich has been calling some of his outings “Taco Tuesday Trips” meaning that fried scup make for one scrumptious taco feast!

For Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters, bait and haddock fortunes have been decidedly closer! He’s still finding haddock in that 150’ sweet spot not far from port in Scituate Harbor. And there are mixed sizes of mackerel a scant 1/2 mile from the mouth of the harbor. Scituate Harbor remains a schoolie show and with forage on the small side, smallish Rapala X-Raps have been working really well. If you’re looking to book Legit Fish, your are in luck as the skipper is taking possession of a brand spanking new 29’ Southport Tournament Edition. The hunter green color should make this ride stick out even more!

Pete of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate provided me with the most promising news of the week as there has been a big bass on mackerel bite off the deepwater ledges for almost a week and there have even been bluefish reports! The usual spots are on fire now such as Minot Ledge, Harding’s Ledge, Thieves Ledge and probably out through the BG Buoy. Pete ogled one photo of a patron of a pig of a bass which looked to push 50 pounds!

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Greater Boston Fishing Report

Last week while aboard my friend Captain Colby’s Little Sister, I was almost as interested in what we released as what we kept. While a few flounder went into the cooler, the short black sea bass we released was a possible hint of things to come. With less dragging we just may have a black sea bass fishery this season as we did years ago. It sure is a game-changer in these parts when you can “squid” vertical jigs while drifting through West Gut or Hull Gut and catch black sea bass.

Lynn Matteson harbor striper
Lynn Matteson with a harbor slot fish caught aboard Chasin’ Tail Sportfishing.

Already I’m hearing of accidental catches of keeper black sea bass including a 5 pound-class “humphead” reported by Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett which was taken at the mouth of the Chelsea Creek! Red and honey mustard Santini Tubes have been effective trolled by Martin’s Ledge with 3 to 4 colors of leadcore line out. This is one of the more reliable methods to pick off those first incoming big bass from offshore.

In addition to limits of flounder, Captain Colby has found a haddock honey hole within a few miles of the B Buoy. With the pounding that Deer Island Flats has taken I’d steer clear of this flounder spot and instead poke around at less pressured locations such as Snake Island, the Triangle and Green Island.

Captain Anthony Ahrens, of Chasin Tail Fisheries, has got word of a big bass bite on mackerel off the Scituate/Cohassett/Hull ledges. This could be the start of a big bass surge in the harbor. In the meantime, Anthony is finding willing schoolies chasing small bait throughout the harbor with bigger fish below and susceptible to a Butterfly Jig.

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing said he had been seeing bigger bass shadowing smaller hooked fish most everywhere he is fishing but because of the smaller forage the bigger fish have been extremely fussy. Look for that now to all change! The action on the outgoing tide in the confluence between the North and South Channels has been steady with Shimano Flat-Side Butterfly jigs the key.

Matt from Monahans Marine said that a slug of big bass pushed through the canal recently and local surf sharpies have been catching a few – 30/40 pounds – on big metal lips at night! Those fish may have been part of the push of big fish which materialized off Minot Ledge on the mackerel.

Brad Robison Boston striper
Brad Robison with a nice Boston bass he trolled up with a tube.

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Noel Leslie of Bridge Street Sports in Salem told me that a few small black sea bass have been in the mix mostly for anglers targeting flounder in Salem and Beverly Harbors. As had been the case, the swath by the Jubilee Yacht Club has been giving up flounder limits. Slot-sized stripers have been caught by the Beverly Pier as well as the Beverly/Salem Bridge.

Sam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem told me that finally mackerel have appeared off Nahant and out through the Tinkers Island/Devereux Beach section of Marblehead. Those sinking a mack below the school are occasionally finding an interested striped bass of decent size. Flounder fishing still has it’s devotees with the average size among the harbors of Marblehead and Manchester-By-the-Sea impressive at 16-18 inches.

Skip from Three Lantern Marine in Gloucester said that pogies are much more prevalent in the harbor and nearby environs than mackerel. His theory is that the two species don’t mix particularly well due to oxygen depletion from the pogies. With less lobster traps in residence and a lot of pogies, the Cape Ann/Ipswich Bay area could be hot again for big bass on bunker as it was last late June through July.

Liz from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that anglers have been snagging pogies right from the oceanfront of Plum Island! There hasn’t been much of note with the pogies but it sure is fun to try! A better bet for a big bass right now is Joppa Flats where the tube-and-worm, as well as eels, have been effective. It’s shaping up to be a fine flounder year as even shore anglers are catching a few flatties! For more of a flatfish sure thing, Crane’s Beach is a better bet.

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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

While hardly the stuff of legend, finally mackerel have appeared especially off the ledges of Scituate through Hull and with them are big bass. Some of those fish are cruising in close off area beaches putting them in reach of shore jockeys wielding big metal lips. Flounder fishing remains strong with the best fishing in Scituate Harbor, less-pressured harbor spots and Ipswich Bay. Pogies are most plentiful off Gloucester and for those who remember the big bass bite of last year, the hope is for a repeat!

5 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – June 11, 2020

  1. Bill W

    H0w is fishing in the bay and inner harbor of Hull? Windmill Point, Pemberton Peir? Allerton Point? Is it worth fishing from shore to catch makeral?

    1. Brett

      Mackerel, perhaps not but throwing bigger mackerel pattern plugs? Yes yes YES. Bubbas are lurking, but fish in the 20 to 25 range are very common on jerk baits in the 4 to 6 inch range very very consistently. Larger fish are starting to pull in. Try throwing an SP minnow or something similar with some shine, that you can bomb as far out there as possible close to high tide for your best bet for a striper from the shore anywhere around the areas you mentioned. I’d be surprised if it took long to run into some fish.

  2. H.T

    Three bays continue to be on fire! Fish up to 27 inches with the occasional lunker joining the party. Not much bird activity, but fish your structure spots and you’ll find the fish…

    P.S- Paddle tail sandeels and mag darters are irresistible

    Tight Lines

  3. Harold Cruz

    Hi I just want to find out information I am a handicapped person I am in their electrical wheelchair and that would like to go out and fish on the boat is there any boat that accepts wheelchair accessible and where thank you my name is Harold Cruz

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