Massachusetts Fishing Report – September 10, 2020


Their was once a time in these parts when unquestionably cod were king! While that reign certainly isn’t what it once was, many still have a warm spot for our state fish. In less than a week we get to keep a cod in the Gulf of Maine as well as state waters. For those who view things through a glass-half-full prism, they can’t wait.

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

Aboard the Little Sister the loosening of the cod regs could be treated with shoulder shrugs as Captain Colby has been catching (and keeping) cod all summer long! His Coxes Ledge trips have featured banner cod fishing and south of the Cape there are year long regulations which allow anglers to keep up to 10 fish at a minimum of 21”! As water temperatures cool you can expect those cod to move closer and eventually into Buzzards Bay. Late fall even features an unlikely bottom-dwelling duo – tog and cod! Best of all, both species can be caught on a jig/crab combo!

Little Sister
While other await the start of the cod season, it has already been here aboard the Little Sister.

Unlike recreational anglers, charter captains such as Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters can already have at cod in the GOM and adjacent state waters and he knows where there are plenty in shipping lanes as well as east of Stellwagen Bank.

Escape Charters
Football season is here aboard Fire Escape Charters!

As is the case with other experienced skippers such as Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters, football season is now in full swing and it has nothing to do with the Patriots. Fun-size small tuna are ransacking bait schools from the bank out through the backside of the cape. These are perfect “popping” pelagics or ideal for intercepting with a squid bar. Stripers, averaging around 25”, are no problem from Plymouth Harbor through Scituate Harbor.

Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that the Cordage Park area had been especially good provided anglers offer the fish small offerings as the bass key in on “rain bait”. Anglers drifting with tinker mackerel in the North River as well as by Trouant Island have been catching fluke.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

While pogy schools have certainly taken a hit from commercial entities, they seem to have resurfaced a bit. A trained eye throughout the harbor should be able to pick them out but strangely there have been few reports of striped bass following the school.

Lisa from Fore Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said that anglers trolling a tube-and-worm by Grape Island have been catching stripers up to 50” long! There have even been fluke reports in the Town River/Fore River area. For the tooth-less version of a flounder, some have been caught at Rainsford Island.

According to Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters after a pause in the action, big bass returned to the season-long hot-spot between Egg Rock and the BG Buoy. With the fish feeding a lot on peanut bunker, Paul is adding shad baits to his arsenal of X-Raps and Mojo Rigs. A few blues are mixing it up with the stripers.

Boston Saltwater
Chris Malenowski caught this nice striper while fishing with Boston Saltwater.

Captain Sam from Boston Saltwater said that mackerel have been easier to catch lately around inshore ledges. He’s been putting those macks to good use off Wollaston Beach and Spectacle Island to the backside of Long Island. Have steel leaders at the ready should you give Wollaston a go since there have been blue blitzes there! Early mornings have featured surface feeds and good topwater action. He had a couple of banner bass days by the BG Buoy for fish in the 40” class with the only rub having been taken for a 20 minute tuna sleigh ride only to have the gear foul in lobster traps.

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing has a bit of an edge when it comes to inshore cod, since he’s been catching them for weeks by the PR Can while speed-jigging for stripers. He’s also been having some epic days working topwater baits from Graves Light and out to the Boston Humps. He’s sprinkling in false albacore (and bonito) adventures in with his harbor outings.

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Last week I was fortunate enough to be apart of team T Sea Charters during the first ever Boston Bluefin and Striper Classic tournament. I didn’t exactly need my arm twisted to dedicate three full days to targeting giant tuna. Our time was spent in the land of the giants – Stellwagen Bank – where, addition to exhausting every possible fishing tale left to tell, we managed to hook 4 (including three giants) and land 2. The results were bittersweet since the two we lost were huge; still, it’s hard to complain when catching 150-200 pound pelagics. It’s also hard to complain about spending time among whale shows, dolphin pods and over a grab bag of fish species which have you wondering what you have on every time you free-spool a jig towards the bottom. That 842-square mile National Marine Sanctuary is something else and we are lucky to have it just off our coast.

T-Sea tuna
Billy Doherty with 76” of tuna taken aboard the T-Sea!

Liam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem said that he’s advising patrons to tote along an arsenal of gear to match the diversity of prey that the stripers are focusing in on because they can be fussy. Mackerel, peanut bunker and even adult pogies are all part of the menu and being prepared to offer an artificial which imitates the forage can pay off. Of course something can be said for offering those bass the real thing. Inshore surface feeds are common as schoolies as well as the occasional larger fish push small bait by the Lead Mills and the Danvers River. Many are gearing up for cod and considering Halfway Rock as well as Saturday Night Ledge as potential places to catch when the season opens soon for two weeks. There have been a few random blue attacks mostly in the Manchester/Gloucester area.

Timing for tuna can be perfect if you’re on your spot after a slow period; the fish have to feed eventually! So is the case on the Middle Bank of Stellwagen according to Skip from Three Lantern Marine. He also mentioned Southern Jeffrey’s. And for those who would like to bait up and have their lines in the water at dawn, mackerel have re-emerged just outside of Gloucester Harbor. Some are griping that there are nothing but schoolies around but an experienced shop customer alluded to peanut bunker blitzes just south of Gloucester as to where the better bass are!

Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that anglers are grabbing cod gear in anticipation of catching a brown bomber. As to the closest spot, she suggests the Isle of Shoals. A few 5-7 pound blues were recently caught just off the Parker River Wildlife Reservation. On the day we spoke, an excited angler had just come in an crowed about the outstanding fishing he had at the mouth of the Merrmack! While he didn’t catch any cows, he had a lost of fun!

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

September is usually boom or bust time regarding striped bass and this year is no exception. Cordage Park on the South Shore has been hot for schoolies with the ratio small to big shifting favorably under low light. In less than a week, cod will be in the offing with the Shipping Lanes and east of Stellwagen Bank good options. Closer to Boston you may be able to scratch together a couple of keeper cod by the PR Can while the humps and lumps by the B Buoy are a better bet. The Egg Rock to BG Buoy grid should never be discounted even if the tranquility is occasionally busted by a big bluefin. For a better bluefin bite, Middle Bank and Southern Jeffrey’s gets the nod. As inshore water temperatures become more palatable for striped bass, look for linesider love in the Danvers River, Plum Island Sound and Merrimack River.

1 thought on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – September 10, 2020

  1. B

    Side shore/onshore winds have been HOWLING. Ruining the surf. You couldn’t cast a brick in this wind. Real session killer….waters all churned up..

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