Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 15, 2020


Plenty are still catching striped bass but most who soldier on are doing so with diminished expectations. In spite of the calendar, blitzes are just as likely to be the work of bluefish as they are schoolies. When conditions warrant haddock fishing remains hot but as the season progresses, you may consider transitioning to (you guessed it!) – freshwater fishing!

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

Not all saltwater pursuits are taking place on a smaller scale, according to Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters. Impressive reports have been trickling in regarding a mixed pelagic bite at The Dump. For those unfamiliar with this location, The Dump isn’t far from Block Island or Rhode Island Sound and it is often considered among the closest of the inshore spots that behaves like an offshore canyon. Pockets of warm Gulf Stream eddies seem to find their way onto The Dump and bring along mahi, marlin, yellowfin tuna and other assorted pelagics. Mid-October may seem rather late for such a phenomenon but right now it is on fire! Anglers who troll around temperature breaks tend to do best.

Fire Escape Charters bluefish
Fire Escape Charters are enjoying bluefish action among the Three Bays.

Closer to home, Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters said that somehow big pods of pogies have taken up residence in the Three Bays! Unfortunately, all that seems to be interested in them are 25-30 inch bluefish, which isn’t a bad consolation prize. Striped bass, however, have become a “here today, gone tomorrow and back the day after” affair.

Joe was minding Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate when I called and pretty much echoed what most have been saying, namely that those who are still catching striped bass can be divided into two groups – night stalkers and run-and-gunners. There are never any guarantees when it comes to fishing but especially now with roving schools of bait and bass as likely to appear off most any beach from Green Harbor to Cohasset. The dawn to dusk eel/estuary cadre remain at it and when a big fish is caught it’s usually those guys doing the catching.

It’s never say die time aboard Captain Jason Colby’s Little Sister and when the seas settle, the crew is catching limits of tautog just outside of the Westport River. History favors the next few weeks as prime time for a drag-pulling, double-digit white chin!

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing had a few trips over the weekend which ranked right up there with the best of the entire season and then – the bottom fell out! However, as recently as a few days ago I was still getting good reports from Maine so I’m certain that there are still migrants on the way! Brian has a trip or two left in his itinerary and then he’s going to put this extraordinary year to bed.

When smelt were a staple in these parts, Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy was the epicenter of this unique fishery. Lisa tells me that many are trying but not having much success. There might be hope, however, because I recently learned of a blistering bass bite off Winthrop and the pummeled prey appeared to have been – smelt! There are efforts underway to restore eelgrass habitat which is essential for the survival of smelt. Maybe with more of this smelt sanctuary/nursery, their numbers are starting to improve? Regarding stripers, the Black Creek and Hummock side of Wollaston Beach have all been fishing well. A few flounder and tog have also been caught with Toddy Rocks reports favorable.

Ilea Salamone first striper
Ilea Salamone with her first striper caught aboard Boston Saltwater.

Captain Sam from Boston Saltwater said that his instincts tell him that the end is near but the bird/bass/blue/bait show says differently! There are times that the action is all-encompassing with the inner harbor, Broad Sound, Wollaston Beach and Hull Gut all on fire! Mackerel are still hanging in there among inshore ledges. Virtually the same report could have been given by Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters. The wildcard for him has been Nahant which still is producing some action. From all indications, the haddock bite remains hot and inside, making that among the best Bay State bets still.

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

The gear and info available from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem is among the best because the crew who works there are diehards! Sam said that he has friends who have recently tallied 40-pound stripers while fishing backwater bass haunts at night! Rivers and marshes from Winthrop to Cape Ann all have their devotees and they are still catching the occasional cow. Some who are eeling the Essex River estuary have been doing really well.

Steven DeVincent Jr schoolie
Steven DeVincent Jr of Saugus had some fine North Shore striper action recently.

The most recent striped bass reports from the backshore of Gloucester were favorable according to Matt from Three Lantern Marine. In addition to schoolies, there even were a few bluefish accounts. Principle prey remains peanut bunker.

If you’re expecting to get an “end of the road” report from Surfland Bait and Tackle, you are wrong. In fact, quite the contrary, as Liz said that some are enjoying their best fall ever! Even better are continued reports from north of the border of great fishing. One angler from Maine said that he recently caught over 100 fish from the mid to upper 20s! Prey remains plentiful in Plum Island and consists of peanut bunker, herring fry, silversides and even snapper blues. There are also reports of mackerel at the mouth of Merrimack River by the MR Buoy. The beaches have been a bit weedy but still fishy as has been the case with Plum Island Sound, the Parker River and the Merrimack River. It may be mid-October but if the northernmost section of the North Shore is a barometer then we have a long ways to go!

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

If the long season in the salt has you looking for an alternative then consider Wachusett Reservoir. According to Eddie, the all-important yellow perch “run” is on and when the perch fry begin aggregating in close, they bring with them lakers, smallies and rainbows. Some of the better gate areas have been 13 and 36. The rains are expected to trigger landlocked salmon to make a spawning run/migrate into the Stillwater and Quinapoxett Rivers. For pelagic diehards, it’s hard to top what is going on right now in The Dump as there are reports of mahi, marlin and yellowfin tuna. Pogy schools in Plymouth as well as the other bays are being pounded by bluefish up to 10 pounds. Fast-moving schools of stripers are making it necessary for Boston bass fishermen to keep on the move and look out for bird shows. From Newburyport comes great news of what’s still up north as Plum Island remains prime as is the case all the way into Maine!

2 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 15, 2020

  1. ed

    do you know where the haddock are located outside of Boston harbor?

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