Massachusetts Fishing Report – September 3, 2020

Step aside striped bass, it might be time to make way for “hard tails” – both big and small! The game is certainly on for giant tuna and if there ever was a diehard fishing community than the folks who pursue these pelagics certainly qualify. Every bit as addicted however are the anglers who pursue their smaller cousins, namely bonito and false albacore! Fortunately less than a tank away from most anywhere in the Bay State, those and other “funny fish” are making for a nice alternative to 24-7 striped bass.

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

There is just something special about bonito and false albacore that drives sane anglers bonkers! For example when I chat with my captain friends from north of the border such as Lou Tirado of Diamond Pass Charters and Jon Tregea of Sea Run Charters, as much as they enjoy putting patrons into striped bass in season, during the latter stages of the summer I notice that they begin to get a bit – distracted as news trickles in about those little tuna and they hatch plans for a road trip.

Get Tight Sportfishing albie
Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing is mixing in some hefty hardtail action in with his trips.

The same can be said for some of Boston’s finest such as Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing and his sidekick Vinny Simeone of Storm Buster Charters. That’s not to suggest that these guys are giving up on the Harbor, but every chance they get they are pulling their rides and pointing them in a southerly direction to chase those speedsters. Brian said that some of the false albacore they are catching are drag-smoking 14 pounders!

Little Sister mahi
It’s been mahi mahi mayhem aboard the Little Sister!

When you put the volume of fish that Captain Jason Colby does aboard the Little Sister it’s rare that you enjoy a busman’s holiday. Wednesday was one of those rare days when the skipper ran solo and he found bonito, bass and blues without even having to leave the Westport River. A good portion of the forage is peanut bunker making small, wide-profiled lures just the thing. Mahi mahi may not be as fast as bonito, but the leaping histrionics which is a hallmark of the species make them something special in their own right and Captain Colby is finding a bunch of them during his Coxes Ledge trips. The fishing out there is almost ridiculous with keeper cod and trophy black sea bass all part of the package.

Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters has been into a different sort of hardtail – giant bluefin tuna!The skipper has a few honey holes along the shipping lane which winds through Stellwagen on the way to Boston Harbor and they have yielded 6 fish in two outings! That’s some awesome Charlie chasing. He’s still finding limits of haddock a short steam from port in Scituate as well. There was even a recent bluefish-on-big-bunker massacre off Rexhame Beach with the hapless bait washing up on the beach.

Legit Fish bluefin
Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish has had a 6 tuna run during his last two trips!

Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters has also been having luck regarding tuna which he has been finding between the SW corner of Stellwagen and Scituate. Plymouth Harbor is one big schoolie surface feed in the morning as sub-slot-size stripers pound peanut bunker. There are big fish in the mix with early risers doing better for the big fish.

Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate told me that right on time for September are the night stalkers who are loading up on eels, needlefish plugs, Dannys and Swimmers and doing quite well. Some of the better picks are Peggotty Beach, Egypt Beach and the Minot/Glades area. Boaters and kayakers working the night shift are catching among structure such as Cowan Rock and Smith Rocks. There have even been a few fluke taken at the mouth of the North River and there has even been reports of trigger fish!

Greater Boston Fishing Report

From Captain Sam from Boston Saltwater came news that mackerel have become easier to find among the harbor’s inner ledges early in the morning. September could be called the Season of the Blitz and ferocious inner harbor surface feeds are certainly not belying that reputation. During an outgoing tide you’ll find the skipper shifting his focus between Deer Island and the PR Can. Medium-sized blues are now part of the surface feeds. On the southern side of the harbor Hull, Hangman Island and Toddy Rocks are all producing bass up to 36”.

Get Tight Sporfishing striper
Big Boston bass have been taking topwater plugs aboard Get Tight Sporfishing.

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing said that adult pogies have reappeared throughout the harbor as well as off Wollaston Beach and by Long Island. Blitzes are no longer exclusively the handiwork of schoolies as bluefish and big bass are taklng advantage of the schools of peanut bunker. The fussy fish of the Dog Days are long gone and even stripers up to 46” are taking topwaters and trolling plugs with reckless abandon.

Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters has been mixing tuna into his repertoire but didn’t expect to hook into one by the BG Buoy as he they fished for bass. The fight was furious for about a minute until the leader parted. Those same X-Raps and Mojo Rigs which are an essential part of the skippers striper plan also work for tuna on Stellwagen Bank just make sure you have the right stuff to handle such a fish. Mark from Monahan Marine told me that surf fishermen are finally getting their due at such spots as Cedar Point in Scituate and off the Squantum shoreline. Boaters have been doing good off Thompson Island.

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Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Sam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem said that striper fishing on the North Shore has become mainly a schoolie surface show from Nahant through Cape Ann as stripers and occasionally blues pound peanut bunker. Lynn Harbor remains hot for bigger bass with some buzz coming from Devereux Beach and the Danvers River. Some of the bigger bass in the region are holding in the white water off the Cape Ann Rocks such as near the backshore of Gloucester.

Skip from Three Lantern Marine said that if you poke around the Cape Ann islands you should have no problem finding all the mid-20” stripers you could ask for! Surface feeds point to some of the action but others are doing well blind trolling mackerel around the islands and beaches. Two of the better bets for a bigger bass are the Cranes Beach/Essex River effluence and Plum Island Sound.

Regarding Plum Island Sound, there is no better source than Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle and she was pleased to tell me that permitted beach buggies are now driving along the sands of the Parker River Wildlife Reservation. The word from those fortunate anglers is that there are plenty of wiling schoolies falling for clams and worms. Some of the better surf sharpies are putting in a lot of time on the oceanfront when the surf is kicked up and doing really well with needlefish and bottleneck swimmers. Blues have been relieving anglers of their soft plastic bait collection and proving really difficult to land. One guy who was tiring of losing baits to the blues clipped on a substantial casting spoon and still got cut off!

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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

September is living up to it’s stellar reputation with blitzes part of the norm, at least for early risers. In Plymouth Harbor or off Rexhame Beach you are just as likely to catch a bluefish now as a striper! If you’d like a respite for all things striped bass, Buzzards Bay through Vineyard Sound feature a heck of a hard tail bite right now with Spanish mackerel in the mix as well. The Hull side of the harbor remains hot as does the Deer Island through PR Can area. On the North Shore from Nahant through Cape Ann peanut bunker are taking a pounding from schoolies with the occasional cow or blue crashing the show. Beach buggy season is now in full swing in the Parker River Wildlife Reservation with a spiked rod baited with a clam or worm not lasting long before being noticed!

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