The calendar, new moon and east wind all point to a break out next few days for big striped bass! Not surprisingly there’s word now of 50” striped bass all the way into the North Shore! Flounder fishing remains fantastic and haddock is still a hit.
Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report
It’s been a while since Massbay anglers have had a consistent bluefish bite but with the preponderance of toothies in Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay they may chase rising water temperatures northward. Meanwhile Captain Bruce Calvin of Strike II Charters is finding plenty of them from snappers to gators outside of Cleveland Ledge. His primary goal has been black sea bass and he’s getting plenty of them on Spro jigs but the blues are proving hard to avoid! Nomans Ledge is next on the agenda for fluke and stripers are in his wheelhouse while deploying umbrella rigs in Hyannis rips.
Captain Rich Antonio of Black Rose Charters is finding limits of haddock but the bite is off the northern section of the bank in 230’ of water. Scup as well as black sea bass in Buzzards Bay remain on the menu.
The NW corner of Stellwagen has also been good to Captain Mark Rowell and the Legit Fish Charters crew however they did spot a bird show only 5 miles from port and his hunch that it might be a mixed bag of species pushing sand eels paid off as both mackerel and haddock occupied the predator role! There are a lot of sand eels which is shaping up nicely for Charlie when those brutes come to town.
Captain Mark Petitt of Fire Escape Charters is finding stripers off of Provincetown! He also backed up the plentiful sand eels opinion. The skipper also said that with the appearance of mackerel he expects the Race to pop any day! There have been a lot of folks wondering whether there will be a bass bite there this year so that is encouraging. Loads of sub-slot stripers are in the Three Bays with the better bass being duped on macks. Somehow he’s finding the time to fish for haddock too, and on that front he’s doing well northeast of Stellwagen.
Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate suggested macks up against Farnham Rock or Smith Rocks as good inshore choices. Boaters trolling macks among offshore ledges from Minot Light through Boston Light should catch some serious cows over the next week.
Greater Boston Fishing Report
Like the iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger line in the Terminator, my headline text a few days ago from Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing read “I’ll be back”! It didn’t take the skipper long to get back into the Boston groove as on his first trip he tallied fish up to nearly 50”! More good news is that I know of: at least 3 fish of that size were caught within the last few days! Brian had to steam all the way out to the B Buoy to get his fix on mackerel but I know of a big spook fish taken along the NW corner of Long Island as well.
Captain Sam from Boston Saltwater said that the harbor is transitioning from schoolie central to breeder central! He has been putting patrons into stripers up to 52” in both inside the harbor as well as outside. Pink Hogy Pro Tails are the ticket to fast action among close-in surface feeds while the cows are calling for macks from the BG Buoy out to the B Buoy. He’s also been taking advantage of a night bite where black SP Minnows are crushing it right in front of all the bustle and hustle harbor activity along the wharves. It’s truly unique to be catching in the shadows of that nightscape!
Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters had been getting me nervous. That is nothing unusual when I’m on his boat thanks to his nasty habit of bringing up to mixed company every trophy I’ve lost on his boat. But this time was serious as he was experiencing a dip in flounder action for a bit which Captain Colby found concerning. That has all changed big time as he’s experiencing heretofore unheard of drifts with as many as 30 keepers! It’s one thing for the “flounder king” to be bailing blackbacks but when others are doing equally well than it is especially encouraging.
My buddy Rick Paone and his dad set sail for the Quincy side of the harbor over the weekend and achieved their limits of flounder with no problem! Drifting is the key and as to where, I consulted Boston’s longest running tackle/bait shop owner, Captain Pete Santini, as to a hint where the harbor might hold the most flounder and without hesitation he offered up Peddock Island! He also said that for local haddock some are getting them as close as Graves Light and Three-and-One Half Ledge. He told me that Captain Jimmy Brennan of Strike Sportfishing Charters has been culling out the cows with mackerel between Egg Rock and the Harbor Humps. There has also been a lot of big blackfish taken among the ribbon of wharves/pillings in the inner harbor. While worms will work well, the real winner is green crabs. And then there is the night brigade! Surf sharpies and the kayak cadre are pursuing their passion under the cover of darkness and are finding good fish on eels, GT soft plastics and Magic Swimmers. Name most any beach in Boston and you’ll find a few hardcore anglers doing very well there once the sun goes down. It’s not for everyone but if you stick to it you’ll catch well save for a lack of winks.
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Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report
In some fishing circles the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree! A textbook example of that came my way from one of Boston Harbor’s elder angling statesman, Captain Carl Vinning of Somerville. He informed me that his grandson, Nick, has been slaying slob stripers on serpents throughout the Plum Island area and while not completely spilling the beans as to where, I have a hunch it’s been at night in some of the quieter sections of the Merrimack River. Some of the fish taken have been close to 50”!
Fresh from that news, I just had to consult Martha Moulton from Surfland Bait and Tackle who when asked, replied, “Oh yeah, it’s probably because of the pogies around the bridges!”. For the third week in a row Martha described local fishing as really good! In addition to the Merrimack River, she offered up the jetty, ocean fron and Plum Island Sound as all places of recent luck.
Sam from Tomo’s Tackle touted the fishing as terrific thanks to pogy schools from Lynn Harbor through Salem Harbor. Suffice to say, where you’ll find the big bait, you’ll find the better bass! Some are also doing well off Phillips Beach, Devereux Beach and Marblehead Harbor. While spotty, macks trolled off Misery Island and Halfway Rock are now producing a nice pick of nice bass. The Cape Ann crags such as the Gloucester Backshore often hold harbor pollock and sometimes mackerel which makes those spots prime for striped bass. You might get lucky tossing a Sabiki out into the wash and find fresh bait but have a backup plan of bronze Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows and mackerel Daiwa Salt Pro Minnows. Bump up the OEM gauge of hooks, odds are that there are hook-straightening cows there now.
A few surface feeds in Manchester and Gloucester Harbors have been the handiwork of schoolies to slot stripers. Rivers which hold herring runs remain a shore fisherman’s better bet until the end of the month when the runs dry up. Flounder fishing remains steady off Lynn Harbor, Swampscott, Salem, Beverly, Manchester and Gloucester. Before you haul all the way to the offshore ledges, sniff around for haddock in closer spots such as Saturday Night Ledge and Hills 47 and 101.
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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
While it’s been hard to complain about local angling, if there’s one thing that’s been missing it has been a lack of inshore bait – mainly sea herring. The onset of easterly winds along with a new moon could very well change that and result in explosive big bass fishing! After a few disappointing years, Race Point is starting to show some life largely due to the volume of sand eels this year. Bass will be on the agenda but I suspect so will bluefish soon. The Three Bays have had plenty of bass action and just maybe the change in wind direction will blow in bigger bass. Still, I would look for pogies in Duxbury Bay and live line them. This has perennially been money for better fish on the South Shore. Mackerel tossed up against Smith Rocks or trolled near Rexhame Beach has habitually worked in early summer. I’m sure the three 50” stripers recently taken in the harbor were not outliers and favorable winds should send more closer to the shore. Deer Island Rip should be good, as should the 6A Can, the Triangle, NC Buoy and BG. Flounder fishing has been fantastic, and with a new class of fish showing up it might be time to revisit dormant spots such as the Deer Island Flats and Hospital Shoals. Cows have been grazing on pogies most anywhere you‘ll find them such as in Lynn Harbor, Salem Harbor and the Merrimack River.