Massachusetts Fishing Report – August 27, 2020

Bunker are usually the fuel for the fall run and the collision between bait, bass and even bluefish is right on time. The only caveat is that the bunker are pint-sized peanuts but the predators don’t seem to mind in the least.

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

Aboard Captain Mark Rowell’s Legit Fish Charters it’s become a game of “pick your pelagic”! While giant tuna have been part of the repertoire for awhile, “manageable” mediums – 68” on average – and footballs are now part of the offing. Some of those mixed sizes of tuna have been observed as close as Stone Ledge while the crew was hunting haddock. Mako sharks are cooperating as well and as for giants the western edge of the bank has been one of the better spots.

11 year old Adin with a tuna
11 year old Adin with a tuna by the tail he caught aboard Legit Fish.

Pete Belsan of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate has been sending me pictures of subjects more in line with a South Coast shop than a South Shore shop. Bonito and false albacore pics captured by patrons have now been joined by photos of weakfish! The truth is that the later shot took place by one of his customers at Buzzards Bay with the angler catching more than one of those colorful members of the drum family. For more expected quarry, the South Shore is awash with peanut bunker resulting in some pretty special blitzing very close to shore from Plymouth through Cohasset. There have been a smattering of mixed sizes of bluefish as well. Belsan’s best bets from blues are off Egypt Beach, where are few gators have been caught, while for stripers the pick is off Black Rock Beach in Cohasset.

Regarding the actual South Coast, Captain Jason Colby has been bringing green crabs/Tidal Tails Jig’z aboard the Little Sister since he’s been finding pre-fall tautog among rockpiles he intimately knows. The fish are not tightly schooled up as they will be a month from now but are spread out among territorial ledge, wrecks and other forms of structure and sanctuary and it takes pin-point accurate anchoring to find the fish. This year the skipper is deploying the Minn Kota Spot Lock trolling motor which tracks his waypoints to a T. The black sea bass bite remains historically as good as he has ever found off Gooseberry Point.

5 Year-Old Owen Bilodeau
5 Year-Old Owen Bilodeau plucked this solid striper out from under some birds with a spook-style plug fishing with his Dad, Grandfather and younger brother this AM in Hull Bay.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Many are beginning to say that it’s feeling like fall and it’s more than just a reflection of the weather. Blitzing of mixed sizes of striped bass is now part of the equation. A cast in the middle of the popping/tail slapping mayhem which is par for the course right now is just as likely to result in an 18” striper as it is a 48” fish. There are no shortcuts however and your success is dependent on being out there early. Cruise into the fleet at mid-morning and you’ll probably wonder what all the fuss is about.

Billy Blackstone
Billy Blackstone caught this slob striper while fishing with Get Tight Sportfishing.

On Thursday Captain Coombs found the bite best aboard Get Tight Sportfishing between the mouth of Lynn Harbor out to the 2 Can off Nahant. The peanut bunker have brought on bass and blue bedlam but be prepared as Brian is to downsize your offering since the prey is so small. Topwater is king early with the action dropping down into the depths as the sun rises. The captain retrofits many of his smaller lures with heavier hooks and split rings, if you don’t have the time to do this make sure your drag is relatively loose. There are big aggressive bass out there right now that will make short work of OEM underpinnings if you tax them.

Brian Leblanc
Brian Leblanc with a fine Fore River striper.

Lisa from Fore Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy was enjoying a Busman’s holiday aboard the Triple Threat when we spoke on Thursday and personally observed a bluefish blitz at the mouth of the Fore River as we messaged. That same spot has been kind to kayakers working eels in the shadow of the bridge for stripers.

Billy “bass” Eiker
Billy “bass” Eiker with a Greater Boston kayak-caught cow.

Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters has been sticking to the schoolie show in the harbor and the same Mojo Rigs and X-Raps that were doing the trick earlier are still paying dividends now!

Boston Saltwater
Boston Saltwater is still putting big bass in the boat.

Captain Sam from Boston Saltwater has been mixing it up all over Greater Boston. He reports that macks can still be found by Nahant’s 2 Can and blues are more numerous than they have been all season. Those macks are the key to the cows off Nahant and off the ledges of Hull. Should you simply look for a diversion from life’s wows, than the schoolie surface feeds from Quincy Bay through Boston Harbor is really something right now.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Massachusetts

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Summer may be slip-sliding away but it’s still bearing unexpected gifts according to Sam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem. Some recent examples of this are 1-2 pound bonito off Misery Island as well as black sea bass all the way into Gloucester! Nahant through Swampscott has the densest population of bluefish with peanut bunker drawing fire from both the toothies and the stripers. Some of the coves of Cape Ann have been sizzling with stripers as they corral peanut bunker in close and shut off escape routes. Pockets of adult pogies can still be found but with all the peanut bunker/blitzing hysteria few are even bothering looking for the pogies.

My friend Captain Tom Ciulla of T Sea Charters tipped me off to bluefish action off Halibut Point as well as stellar striper fishing around many of the islands.

Skip from Three Lantern Marine confirmed that report and added that mackerel are easy to come by as soon as you clear Gloucester Harbor and that’s the principal bait that the commercial guys are using. For groundfish, Skip suggests Southern Jeffrey’s Ledge while the middle bank of Stellwagen is his pick for tuna.

Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that dropping water temperatures are having the opposite effect on the striper fishing as it heats up. Sound and river spots such as the Parker and Merrimack Rivers have been getting a lot of attention from boaters and kayak anglers fishing eels at dark. Just this Thursday morning an excited angler came into the shop stammering about a blitz he enjoyed on the oceanfront. Anglers are not having to work hard for mackerel with all the usual inshore spots producing.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Massachusetts

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

It is on! Stripers and blues are feeding ravenously on small forage, especially peanut bunker resulting in memorable mornings on the water in the Three Bays as well as off Scituate and Cohasset. Owing to the small plentiful forage that the fish are preying on they can be selective so bringing along small jigs/soft plastics and similar sized hard baits can make a big difference. Mixed sizes of tuna make a pelagic run from Stellwagen out to the backside of the Cape a great alternative. Boston bluefish are more prevalent than in anytime of the season so far with blitzes as close as the mouth of the For River. Mackerel can still be found off Nahant and throughout the North Shore but with all the bass-on-baby bunker blitzing it’s almost moot!

7 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – August 27, 2020


    looks like a lot of strippers over the slot in the picture, take a picture but holding like that is a death sentence
    some people dont get it

  2. Bill from Falmouth

    Totally agree. So why doesn’t OTW get the message and start more aggressively advocating for better preserving this fishing resource before it goes away rather than glorifying it? Ticks me off.

  3. bumknee

    HENRY DUPLEASE 3 days ago
    looks like a lot of strippers over the slot in the picture, take a picture but holding like that is a death sentence
    some people dont get it-“strippers over the slot limit”?? What are they- double triple D size?

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