Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 8, 2020

The sad news is that with the virtual disappearance of the pogy from Massbay, most of the breeding class of stripers have departed. However, thanks to the peanut version there is still bass, bird and bait bedlam! Not all angling is the watered-down version of a month ago however and if you’ve been groundfishing or pursuing pelagics you have proof!

Massachusetts South Shore and South Coast Fishing Report

Should you be cruising along shoreline roads along the South Shore or for that matter most anywhere in the Bay State, it would probably be a good idea to keep your eyes glued to the road to avoid “distractions”. Blitzes in spots almost too numerous to list are commonplace from the Three Bays to Cohasset. Peanut bunker are the most numerous prey drawing fire from mostly schoolies with the occasional slot-fish and bigger spicing things up.
The Cliffs have been among the hottest according to Pete Belsan from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate. Night owls continue to catch a few cows at the Herring River and other upstream locations. Those guys are fishing with eels but the shop is increasingly selling another live bait – shiners – as anglers target trout and black bass especially in Plymouth.

According to Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters, the urge to consume calories has made Charlie and his chums eating machines! With miles of mackerel stretching from Cape Cod Bay to east of Stellwagen along with patches of bubbleweed harboring butterfish, tuna are really on the move making running-and-gunning with soft plastics and hardbaits deadly. Scituate Harbor remains loaded with stripers said the skipper.

Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters has been finding all sorts of slots and bigger bass in the Three Bays. Blitzes have been the norm there and throughout CCB, with blues busting the bass party now and then. The for-hire cod season ended with a bang for the Fire Escape crew with anglers achieving their one fish bag limit with no problem while the haddock bite was and still is hot and heavy. You can still find those haddock in close too!

Jessica Heil tautog
Jessica Heil with two terrific tog taken aboard the Little Sister.

With every degree drop in the water temperature, the tog bite gets better and better according to Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters. With the for-hire black sea bass season ending on Friday, the focus will be all on tog, all of the time with stripers in the Westport River an enticing option. When weather permits, limits of tog should not only be a cinch but should be achievable surprisingly close to port.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

It takes some doing but with a learned eye you can still find pockets of pogies in the harbor according to Captain Sam of Boston Saltwater. Look for those pods near Hingham Yacht Club, Marina Bay and Wollaston Beach and odds are good you’ll find a bass or two big enough to eat a pogy! Small blues continue to wreak havoc on most everything which swims in Greater Boston and along with schoolies are resulting in impressive topwater action from the Dredges all the way into UMass Boston. The skipper shook things up recently and hit the haddock grounds where he found lots of them as close as the Weather Buoy!

Madison Meeks
Madison Meeks of Boston Saltwater with a fine October harbor striper.

Mark from Monahans Marine said that he, along with a few surf sharpies, have been catching a nice little nighttime bass bite in Scituate by the mouth of the North River.

Hudson's first striper
Six year old Hudson with his first striper caught while fishing with Get Tight Sportfishing.

Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing said that favorable outgoing tides over the foreseeable future bode well for a nice inner harbor and possibly Lynn Harbor bite as bait drains out with the tide and the stripers take advantage of it. Peanuts remain a principle forage so bringing along wide profiled offerings should help.

Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters had a few really good outings recently after finding tinker mackerel by Finns Ledge and then finding willing bass up to 38” in 40’ of water behind Egg Rock. For inshore surface fun, there have been a lot of roaming surface feeds between Castle Island out to the PR Can!

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

October oddities on the North Shore are usually reserved for Salem, but for those who are obsessed with fishing here’s one that rivals any of them. While tuna fishing on the Northeast Corner of Stellwagen Bank, George Iacono and Jim Henaghan, landed a 350-pound swordfish! The sword slammed a mackerel in 60 feet of water at 1:30 p.m. – so much for the need or a pre-dawn launch! My buddy Captain Tom Ciulla spoke to the captain who said that the sword came in boatside with little fanfare until it was stuck with the harpoon and then things got absolutely wild!

Stellwagen swordfish
George Iacono and Jim Henaghan, both out of Gloucester with a 350 pound Stellwagen swordfish surprise!

We have a lot going for us in New England, but the surprises that await those who spend time among offshore ledges is an an entire different category. Regarding Captain Ciulla, on Sunday I, along with Billy Doherty, had the good fortune of fishing for groundfishing on Jeffrey’s Ledge aboard T Sea Charters. We put 45 haddock in the cooler along with a bunch of over-sized cusk and even a few redfish in the cooler. We also caught cod up to 15 pounds. If something wasn’t inhaling our Sea Wolfe rigs tipped with clams, than it meant we were stripped of bait. At one point while cranking in a cusk within 10 feet of the boat, an ominous grayish figure appeared below the fish and was closing in quickly. Not wanting to share the cusk, I pulled as hard as I could and yanked the fish onto the boat. That spooked the unidentified shark, which turned tail and sped off in a whirl of white water and bubbles. The stuff that goes on out there is truly amazing.

Captain Tom Ciulla
Captain Tom Ciulla offers proof that it’s hard to top GOM groundfishing!

Sam from Tomo’s Tackle told me that bonito are still belting peanuts from Swampscott through Cape Ann! Some of these speedsters are drag-pulling 2 pounders! Also in the unusual category are reports still of fluke from Lynn and black sea bass from Beverly and Salem. While the black sea bass season is closed and the fluke season ends on October 9th, you can stow this away for next year! Blitzes involving schoolies and small blues are still randomly occurring throughout the North Shore. The reemergence of mackerel are providing anglers with big bass bait options under the surface feeds. The backshore of Gloucester remains one of the better bets for surf anglers.

Liz from Surfland Bait and Tackle has patrons that travel from as far away as Maine and if there is still a demand for bait from Downeast than we know we have some time to go in the Bay State. With peanut bunker still in abundance, river herring fry beginning to push seaward from the rivers and mackerel in close there is plenty of bait to keep the predators in residence. Liz was recently shown a video of an impressive blitz in the Merrimack River. Martha even spotted an adult pogy washed up on the sandbar. The beach buggy brigade is catching mixed sizes of stripers from the wildlife reservation on bait. The shop still is selling eels which is a surefire indication that the estuaries and rivers remain hot at night.

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Bluefin from Cape Cod Bay through Stellwagen are moving quickly between schools of mackerel and butterfish making the current conditions ideal for picking off a pelagic with a spinning rod. Haddock remain in close proximity to Scituate while the Cliffs are one of the better bigger bass spots for night stalkers. Surface feeds in Greater Boston have become commonplace but with the reappearance of mackerel at inshore ledges, a live bait tossed under the blitzes may reward with an October surprise. Not all blitzes on the North Shore are the result of bass or blues, as bonito seem determined not to leave in spite of the calendar. And then there’s the offshore option, where most everything comes in large quantities whether it is bluefin, sharks, swordfish or a cooler big enough to fit all those haddock!

3 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 8, 2020

  1. Walleye

    Plenty of big bass still coming down the coast eating pogies off Browns bank in 30-40 foot of water. tight lines!

  2. Richard Barron

    It seems true that large breeder size female stripers have left the area of the south shore for the most part but there are a lot of smaller stripers still around Hull, Cohasset, and Marshfield in the 25-30 inch range. They are hitting on traditional cut bait on a circle hook on a mono/flouro leader, with a slip sinker or small sinker and slider. Fishing around high tide dropping for a couple of hours has been the most productive. While fishing several days ago there was a massive school of breaking bait, birds, fish underneath off hull gut towards Weymouth for an hr, or more at 7-8AM. I’ve been catching stripers on clams, mackeral, herring chunks, Going out again shortly and it’s 1:40PM. afternoon. It’s gonna pour after Saturday so get out and enjoy the fishing while it’s nice. Obviously fishing after dark may yield bigger fish. Try eels! Good Luck.

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