Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 1, 2020

Mixed sizes of willing bluefin, make tuna a Bay State best bet!

When on the right spot, the groundfishing could almost be listed under the too-much-of-a-good-thing category, at least from the perspective of the designated filleter! Tuna fishing remains terrific with the “where” question resulting in a sprawling answer. Peanut bunker remain the fuel for the fall feeds with both blues and bass getting in on the action.

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

The best Bay State bet just might be bluefin! Captain Mark Pettit of Fire Escape Charters called the Charlie catch “off the charts” since the blow subsided. Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters agreed and when listing some of the hot spots mentioned just off Duxbury Beach, Fisherman’s Ledge, Provincetown and Peaked Hill Bar. Giants, as well as the supporting cast, are gluttons this time of the year and bulk up in preparation for their own “run” which takes them to more southern environs to spawn.
There is an uptick in thresher shark encounters as well according to Captain Pettit, who has also been finding slot-size and bigger bass in the Three Bays as well as blues and pogies in southern Cape Cod Bay. Mixed sizes of stripers can be found in Scituate Harbor with the primary forage consisting of peanut bunker and sliversides.

Pete Belsan of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that a ribbon of peanut bunker from The Spit out to Peggotty Beach has been drawing fire from blues and bass! For the most consistent cow catching from now through the final phases of the fall run, it’s hard to top dusk to dawn in rivers and marshes. In addition to eels, South Shore shore sharpies are using needlefish, darters and metal lips to good effect.

Divers are seeing a lot of very nice tautog among the rocky structure of Minot. Now that seas have settled, the blackfish bite has improved for Captain Jason Colby and the Little Sister Charters crew in the Westport side of Buzzards Bay. There is no quit with black sea bass and slot-size and bigger bass have been fare game during his “casting eels” outings in the Westport River.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Many have been bemoaning the lack of mackerel, but not Captain Sam of Boston Saltwater who is still finding them inside the harbor among ledges. First light is essential to finding those macks with late risers ending up with lean livewells! Schoolie blitzes are par for the course inside the harbor with better bass more likely to be caught close to the harbor islands. For those who value their winks, the skipper recommends trolling umbrella rigs around Deer Island, Broad Sound and Wollaston Beach.

Andrew Meeks striped bass
Andrew Meeks caught his personal best bass while aboard Boston Saltwater!

Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing is back in Boston after his “south-of-the-border” terrorizing of funny fish. Incidentally captain Coombs has big plans and will be soon upgrading his ride to add tuna and groundfishing to his repertoire, stay tuned! It didn’t take long for the skipper to sniff out schoolie-on-peanuts surface feeds almost everywhere inside the harbor, especially by Governor’s Flats and Winthrop Harbor. When the prey is peanut bunker, putting on a Storm or Tsunami Shad, Kastmaster or Spro Bucktail is often effective but some of the forage is consisting of very small, slim and unidentifiable “rain bait”. When the fish are feeding on such specific forage they are nothing if not fussy so tote along very small, slim-profiled wares as well. There are a few pogy schools hanging in there by Wollaston Beach and Marina Bay with blues averaging 7 pounds taking notice!

Captain Paul Diggins has been putting his Reel Pursuit Charters ride into mackerel schools between Nahant and the BG Buoy. A backup in the bait department is pollock which are swarming around most of Nahant. Captain Diggins has been putting those macks to good use on an outgoing tide by the PR Can. He’s also picking up better than average fish in the middle of the harbor and Quincy Bay blitzes by sinking the macks underneath the melee.

Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy told me that surf anglers are having success by soaking mackerel chunks off Nantasket Beach and the ledgy northeastern edge of Worlds End. Boaters are doing best by trolling the tube-and-worm among the inner islands as well as such areas as Veazie Rocks and Jackknife Ledge.

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

It’s a shame that anglers who live and die by their striped bass obsession have no idea how intoxicating groundfishing can be! My friend Captain Tom Ciulla and his crew aboard T Sea Charters took a break from bass and bluefin on Saturday and sampled the potpourri of what swims around Jeffrey’s Ledge and left with a dizzying array of groundfish. Between keeper haddock, cusk, pollock and cod, the guys left arm-weary after hours-long action. No one, however, was quite as peaked as the skipper who had to slice his way through the grab bag of 82 gadoids!

Captain Tom Ciulla and mate Ryan Brobst
Captain Tom Ciulla and mate Ryan Brobst with proof that GOM groundfishing is just great!

If you lack the knowledge or boat big enough to make the haul out to Jeffrey’s, Tillies or Stellwagen enlist the services of one of the many fine charter captains who call New England home. One of the better ones is Captain Andy from Adventure & Catch Charters out of Great Bay New Hampshire who is dialed into a pile of really interesting groundfish on Platts Bank in the GOM and this guy has even had luck with halibut!

Sam from Tomo’s Tackle told me that the recent NE winds blew in more than just rollers as it lit the fuse for surface feeding stripers from Nahant through Cape Ann! Sam’s been doing well by focusing on pockets of white water among shoreline ledge. Schoolies may swim freely back and forth along the shoreline but the cows are more inclined to lurk behind or around structure. If you’re not putting your lure in just the right place you’d never know how big the bass are there! Super Strike Little Neck Swimmers are doing the trick for Sam as these plugs don’t lose their aplomb in the rough stuff.

Many consider the month of October to be the best of the year for tuna and aboard Captain Jack Patrician’s Time Flies, the bluefin bite is on! The more skilled skippers such as Jack network and right now he’s chasing Charlie from Cape Ann through Cape Cod Bay. There are mixed sizes of fish available now and floating mackerel or herring under a balloon could may result in fish ranging from footballs to giants! While searching for bluefish for bait, Jack has been picking them up by trolling X-Raps and CD-18 Rapalas off Cape Ann beaches.

For a shot at a big bass Matt from Three Lantern Marine recommends the backshore of Gloucester by day and the ledges of the harbor at night. There have even been blitzes right behind the shop! Three Lantern Marine is still selling serpents for shore jockeys fishing the rivers and beaches, especially those with inlets.

Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that the shop has been getting in plenty of fresh mackerel, which is proof that they are in close. She recommends drifting with those macks at the mouths of the Merrimack River and Plum Island Sound. The surf remains productive with mid-30-inch stripers as well as the occasional blue off the Parker River Wildlife Reservation. Seaworms are the hot bait.

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Tuna continue to terrorize whiting in close in Cape Cod Bay with the assortment of sizes available heightening the drama. Peanut bunker and other small forage are resulting in early morning blitzes from the Three Bays out through Scituate Harbor. Mackerel are a tough find closer to the harbor but active early and are the trick to a trophy by the PR Can or trolled/pitched in close to the islands. The white wash off the craggy North Shore through Cape Ann shoreline holds some of the better Bay State bass around with the backshore of Gloucester sticking out. Increasingly beach inlets at night are holding fish with eels the number one offering. The other option is a groundfishing trip and whether your destination is Jeffrey’s Ledge or as far as Platts Bank, you had better bring energy and a sharp knife!

18 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 1, 2020

  1. Paul

    What are those small strikers doing on the deck in Mr.Meeks picture?
    They look pretty small !!

    1. Logic1

      My thoughts too. Though judging by the tail one looks like a bluefish.

      1. Pete

        Looks like a couple bluefish and maybe a slot bass

      2. Derek

        Really! Why take a picture with fish all over the deck. Plus the fish to the left in the picture looks small and it’s a bass.
        Stop taken pictures and start helping the fish population.

  2. Ronson P III

    Agree with the above. OTW also needs to do more to help replenish the bass stocks via education and awareness. They have have been profiting off the resource for so long. It’s time to give back and go to bat for the fish itself. Do better OTW.

  3. Jason Colby

    Looks like one “slot bass” and a couple of legit blues so NO FOUL at all…
    In this day and age, no charter boat (in his/her right mind) would take illegal fish! They were in a good bite and I’m sure the “over-slot” fish went right back unharmed….

    1. JOHN C

      That fish is no way legal. Compare it to the guys shoe both length and width. I never caught a 28″ fish that looked like that and I’ve been at it for 40 years, unless this guy wears size 20 shoes. There is also what appears to be the tip of another striper tail seen in the bottom left side of the picture. This boat captain clearly has no morals or respect for the fish he is profiting off of. He was probably into a really great bite and instead of caring for the fish he just unhooked them and threw them on the deck to sort out after the bite stopped. Then he took all the shorts and probably the bluefish and dumped them back into the water dead! And the fact that another charter captain comes to his defense is no surprise to me

      1. mike

        “Detective” John C – You’re making all sorts of assumptions about a captain you know nothing about. He’s been doing this his whole life and isn’t going to risk his livelihood to let a client keep a fish outside of the slot limit.

      2. Justin Giampietro

        Shut up and go fishing you obviously have no clue two blues and that fish is over 28 and under 35 so eat a dick hater

  4. John Hoffman

    I’m sure those fish were on an umbrella rig and caught at same time and returned back into water

    1. John C

      “Non Detective Mike”. Part of being a detective is learning how to read. Where does is state anything about keeping fish?

  5. B

    Nah, The two fish behind him are definitely bluefish, and the one on the ground he’s probably just barely a keeper. Once again charter boats are not dumb enough to take a 25 incher but they would probably stretch the tail on a 27 and change. Bass look absolutely tiny when they’re on the ground. You can make a 15 pound bass look like a 30 pound bass and you can make a 40 inch bass look like a 20 inch bass depending on the camera angle. Bass look really small when they’re on the ground, and the angle doesn’t help. What I do I think is ridiculous how charters are allowed to go out there and slam them every single day putting rookies on 50 inchers and destroying entire Schools of lunker bass day in and day out and the average shore fisherman can’t keep a fish over 35, call me ignorant but I think that is total NONSENSE. These guys go out there and put kids on 30+ pounders EVERY DAY on live bait, and I grind day in and day out several hours every single day six months out of the year from 39 degree sideways rain to 105 degree scorching heat getting pounded by waves all year long with no boat and I pull in a 50 incher from shore on a $20 piece of plastic and you’re telling me I can’t even keep that thing? Bro it’s going on my wall, I don’t care. This rule should target the people on the boats because we all know they’re the ones that are having the largest impact. Don’t get me wrong I agree with having rules and limits, BUT I think they should make an exception on the maximum slot size for shore fishermen using ARTIFICIAL BAIT only. Tired of watching these rookies rock ‘n’ roll on are the bruiser bass post pictures of them slaying a million bass online and I can’t even keep a once ore twice a season hog that I catch in front of my house. That’s BS. I agree with keeping the photos to a minimum, I think it’s fine to take your own personal photos to show your friends and family, but it shouldn’t be a public photo op. Hey a man’s got to eat but the charters are the guys largely wrecking the fish populations (shrug emoji). I saw the opportunity so that’s my hot take for the day

  6. B

    Also add it to my comment, and exception should be made to the canal. I don’t fish the canal because I prefer to catch my Striper in the ocean instead of a man-made ditch, but I am fine with them keeping the 35 slot limit in the canal. But the average Joe schmo shore fisherman throwing plugs should be able to keep a hog if they want to. Change my mind. The vast majority of massive bass are not being caught from shore. They’re being pulled in by the bushel on these boats.

  7. Fair Point

    John Hoffman, “returned back into the water”….. after laying on the deck for a few minutes? Killing any striper at this point is just a little silly. One here and there for rec guys, sure. But a commercial fishery? Let’s , for at least a couple years, pick just one great fish to let TRULY rebound. Then open up to sensible and sustainable take regs.

    We pretend cod are rebounding but anyone above 45 knows that they’re a shadow of their former levels. I’m in my 50s and, as a kid, remember routinely catching 6-8 lb cod between the jetties in the Merrimack on Bucktail jigs. Oh, and releasing them because it was spring….

  8. Rob

    A 28 inch fish is actually pretty small, and who in their right mind would submit a picture with illegal fish? The other two fish in the picture are forktails, bluefish. You guys need to step back from the keyboard and actually catch a fish, identify it correctly, and then measure it.

  9. Ron P III

    I’m guessing most of us that have commented have been fishing a lot longer and more often than you. Maybe you should care more. No doubt you will if the stocks crash.

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