Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

Dalton Clayton tautog
Dalton Clayton caught this trophy tautog while fishing aboard the Little Sister!

As the striper window closes, other fisheries are coming into their own. One of the better options remains tautog – those crab-crunching hellions that could put an angler in a padded room! The badly-needed soaking has been a trigger for all manner of river fisheries and has resulted in greatly improved fishing for everything from white perch to landlocked salmon.

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

It’s not every trip that Captain Jason Colby implores his crew to “stop catching fish!”. But that was precisely the case on Monday as the skipper furiously tried to turn a pile of tautog into filets. Jason had an appointment to keep but with the volume and size not letting up, the Little Sister Charters captain was in serious jeopardy of missing his errand. Relief came only when he barked, “Sinkers off!”. Or in the case of some of us – jigs off. The Buzzards Bay blackfish bite can be that good right now. The exception is when the bottom is roiled from storms; being sight hunters, the tog are at a serious handicap when their vision is limited and are much more difficult to catch. The fish are all bunched up right now and are feeding heavily in preparation to an eventual offshore migration, which will result in a virtual hibernation since during the winter months there is little if any feeding. This is why the fishing will be so good until well into November since the calorie-packing they do now must sustain them until spring.
Even Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters has been bitten by the blackfish bug. While not his specialty he took a tog trip with a friend and soon found the finesse-heavy fishing both maddening and addictive at the same time. Realistically we have about three weeks left to this fishery and that will be it; expect a smattering of cod, which can be harvested in Buzzards Bay, to be crashing the crab party the rest of the season as well.

Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that in spite of the risk/reward ratio regarding striped bass to be shifting in favor of the skunk, anglers are still fishing and catching. The Cliffs continue to hold short striper surface feeds with the occasional slot-fish or bigger bass surprise. A better chance of steady action is the hot haddock fishing which is still a short stream from port.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Recently I topped off my eel tank thanks to Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett and while visiting was surprised how many anglers were buying shiners. According to Mr. Santini the draw has been re-energized rivers and ponds thanks to all the rain. He mentioned the Charles and Mystic rivers as good possibilities for everything from carp to crappie as well as stocked ponds such as Horn Pond for rainbow trout.

Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said that smelt steadies have been catching their favorite fish off the Black Falcon Cruise Ship float. The Reserve Channel swath remains one of the last smelt strongholds in Massachusetts. Don’t be surprised if you get a few whiting while fishing there. The shop has a few faithful flounder fans who are still finding blackbacks around Peddock and Rainsford Islands. The inner harbor Coast Guard Station continues to feature feeds as schoolies pound peanuts. All manner of metal and soft plastics will catch these ravenous fish right now but a live mackerel thrown in the mix of the melee may catch bigger.

According to Captain Sam of Boston Saltwater, macs remain plentiful among inshore ledges. The skipper has also been finding schoolies and bass up to 28” from Sunken Ledge through the Lower Middle out to the PR Can and by the Anchorage. However, in Captain Sam’s world haddock remain the draw as he’s putting crews into limits of haddock by the “Weather Buoy” as well as Middle Bank.

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing may have his boat in dry dock but he’s hardly become a coach potato. He’s been keeping his reflexes sharp by hauling in 70 pound amberjack and other beasts in Harkers Island North Carolina. He, along with other top rod charter captains such as Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters, had fantastic years and want to thank their patrons for sticking with them in spite of very trying times!

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Most anglers would be border-line depressed to have lost a late October 30 pound class striper but Sam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem said that the 37” linesider he did land was a balm for the pain! Most surface feeds you’ll find from Salem through Cape Ann are going to be the result of mackerel, pollock or schoolies but there will be drag-pulling exceptions! Sam’s suggestions for a schoolie or better bass are outgoing tides at the mouths of the North and Danver’s Rivers. Eels, Hogys or Slug-Gos crawled in close to the bottom should be effective.

Briefly, fishery managers opened up the giant bluefin tuna quota on Wednesday and Thursday but with trying conditions there hasn’t been much word on the results. What I did hear however is that the fish are definitely moving south with the area south of the Shipping Lane holding good numbers of tuna.

Liz from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that not only are fish still present in Plum Island but patrons from Maine continue to catch also! This could be a case of the fish outlasting the fishermen! Pogies remain present in the Merrimack River and peanuts along the refuge are drawing fire from schoolies as well as fish up to 37”. A hot bite recently opened up at Sandy Point with worms and clams working best. Beginning next week the shop will he holding offseason hours and will be only open from Friday through Monday.

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

Somonn An rainbow trout
Somonn An with a nice
20.5-inch rainbow trout from the Wachusett Reservoir

Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Report

Rodney Flagg of Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange will be contributing mightily to this report through spring once again. Timing is good since Rod told me that on Tuesday, Masswildlife trucked in rainbows up to 20” to Lake Mattawa and almost no-one is fishing for them. A fly fisherman could catch nothing but a breeze until he switched to Rod’s hand tied Muddler Minnows and then he began cleaning up! Brown trout are making spawning runs in the Miller River at the effluence of tributaries. The river was bone dry but is beginning to rise with all the precipitation. There is plenty of water in the Swift River and according to Rod, the fishing for a variety of species of trout is terrific. Anglers floating a shiner form the boat ramp on Lake Rohunta have been catching largemouth up to 4 pounds. As for the Quabbin wrap-up, the salmon fishing was stellar this year with healthy fish thanks to a robust rainbow smelt forage base. We can only hope that next season boat rentals will be available once again; anglers who catch a salmon in such a pristine place are never the same!

Eddie of B&A in West Boylston said that the recent rains are finally luring landlocked salmon into the Stillwater Basin. Upstream navigation in the river for the breeding salmon has proven an obstacle however and it’s hoped that this changes with all the rain. Flow rates of the Quinapoxet River have been unpredictable but when the current is cooking the fishing for rainbows and browns has been good. Rainbows and brown trout have also been active in Wachusett with the southern section (Gates 6-8) seeming to have the most action. Float a small shiner at the drop-off contour line where a host of salmonoids will be cruising. While rainbows this time to of the year are common, the brown trout are not and are a nice addition.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

The Buzzards Bay blackfish bite remains a Bay State best bet. Previously scattered tog are schooled up and hungry and liable to be crunching up crustaceans among most any wreck or ledge you find just outside of Westport. Cod increasingly are making for a nice consolation prize. Charlie chasers however are hoping that an additional GBFT quota will be bequeathed to them and should that be the case south of the Shipping Lane could be the spot. Schoolie to slot-size striper surface feeds remain common from Sunken Ledge to the inner Boston Harbor with a mackerel the modus operandi to culling out a bigger bass. Outgoing tides among North Shore Rivers, especially at night have been effective for stripers up to 37” long! However if diminishing returns are convincing you to shed the salt, than Wachusett and it’s tributaries are calling!

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3 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

  1. B

    Yeah there still some Striper around but the risk is outweighing the reward at this point for me. 40° on the beach isn’t exactly inspiring in terms of making me want to go down in that water. Probably going to hang it up on the Striper front. I’m sure if you were insane you could probably catch them for the next month but it’s not gonna be easy. Please for the love of God I’m just saying this preemptively but do not and I mean do not blow up all the freshwater fishing spots on here. I swear. I don’t care if you’re posting the name of a big reservoir or something but don’t be dropping the spots bro. I’m just gonna say this ahead of time. People can easily find their own spots there’s 1 billion ponds and lakes in Massachusetts. And almost every single one of them has something you can catch in it. So please please please just do not blow up freshwater fishing spots once it gets colder on here. This site has taken some really sketchy liberties before (absolutely imploding a spot next to my house ) and I’m not happy about it. So just keep it vague. I swear on my life

    1. Cape

      Relax and stop crying..
      Don’t tell people what to do.
      Who the hell are you. You give me a paycheck? You pay my bills? I know, I am out of the service so I don t work for Uncle Sam anymore. Won’t care if you were the Presendent or the Pope.
      Pack your crap and sell your house if you don’t like people fishing near your land house.
      What the hell is having to this society.. grone ass man pleading with God knows who on a form about what to say and do… Crazy

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