Massachusetts Fishing Report – August 5, 2021

West Marine

Whether the size of your thumb or your hand, bunker rule! Finding and sticking with the pogies or in some cases the peanuts is the key to cow chaos. The blue bite is still a thing on the North Shore and there is a rather tasty groundfish cooperating a short distance from the South Shore.

Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report

Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters was the victim of a gator attack recently, but don’t feel bad he was actually enjoying it! Big blues have taken up residence at the front side of Wood End and for charters who hadn’t experienced the ferocity of a double-digit yellow-eye, it was a blast! Smaller blues are plentiful as well and make prime pelagic bait as mixed sizes of tuna are gorging on a never-ending stream of bait between the mouth of the canal and Fisherman’s Ledge. Mark told me of a funny story recently involving a charter who wanted to catch haddock. The angler was concerned about enduring a long boat ride and when the captain pulled up but a short ride from port in Scituate, the charter thought there was something wrong. Minutes into bailing haddock, the wrong was supplanted by limits and all was right!

Inshore haddock continue to cooperate.

Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that increasingly young guns are peddling their bikes towards a pretty good bass-on-peanut bite off Humarock Beach, Rexhame Beach and Egypt Beach. The beauty of those baby bunker is that they appear just as fledgling gulls take flight resulting in a bass, bird, bait collision that is unmistakable and can be heard/seen from afar. There have been decent fluke caught in the Three Bays as well as the North River. Black Rock Beach in Cohasset has stuck out recently as one of the better striper spots. Shops move a lot of eels in August but crabs not so much.

Dalton Clayton cod
Dalton Clayton caught this killer South Coast cod while aboard the Little Sister.

Often the iconoclast, Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters is catching tautog when few are fishing for them – namely in the heat for the summer – necessitating the need for crabs. Additionally black sea bass and occasionally cod are cooperating among the same rockpiles/wrecks on the Westport side of Buzzards Bay.

Greater Boston Fishing Report

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Jack “Captain Jack” Jandreau who was a fixture in the Boston Harbor fishing scene for years. He was a character to say the least, a competent fisherman and for decades as much a part of the local fishing environment as Nixes Mate, Deer Island or Hull Gut. As a stealthy, clandestine commercial striped bass fisherman, the last thing he wanted was for me to mention his boat – Maggie Mae – in my writings, but sometimes I’d get tipped off by our mutual friend, Carl Vinning, and I just couldn’t resist! While hardly an online lurker, Jack would inevitably hear about it second hand and boy would he let Carl have it! But at the end of the day, there were no hard feelings. Fishing in the harbor certainly will not end, but for some of us who have been around a while, it’s just not as interesting without Captain Jack.

Reel Pursuit Charters
Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters is putting patrons into big bass by trolling around pogy schools.

Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters logged a solid week and a half of non-stop catching inside and outside the harbor and he has yet to touch a piece of bait! Mojo Rigs, X-Raps, Umbrella rigs are all working around pogy schools (when he can find a seam in the fleet) and around deepwater ledges. The key to trolling effectively is to have an exact feel for how deeply your offerings are. Bigger bass generally lurk below the prey/smaller bass and blues and getting it down there pays off big time!

The opposite of that has been the deepwater big bass-on-sea herring bedlam that Captain Brian Coombs has been enjoying from the NC Buoy to the BG Bouy and beyond. Perhaps the appearance of blues has moved herring in closer triggering an explosive topwater bite at low light. He’s also been poking around pogy schools between the Dredges and Deer Island and finding big fish there.

Ryan Hurley
Ryan Hurley caught this PB 50-inch bass while fishing with Boston Saltwater.

Joining in the catching among those skillful skippers has been Captain Sam of Boston Saltwater who has been shadowing pogy schools and picking off big bass with the prey. As back-up he’s keeping live mackerel on hand which he’s finding by Nahant’s 2 Can and off Egg Rock. The swelling of peanut bunker in our world is setting things up nicely for a late August through fall run!

If you’re looking for a respite form the madness which sometimes plagues the hot harbor bite, Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett suggests a tube-and-worm alternative from the casino through the Tobin Bridge. Another trick which is working is baiting clams or worms under a bobber among the piers and wharves which line the inner harbor. Pogies pop up now and then as well so bring a long appropriate gear to fish them.

Boston Harbor Striped Bass
Kirk and Kirk Wetherbee Sr. (right) smiling after they reeled in a 43″ bass outside Boston Harbor Monday.

Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said that anglers continue to catch black sea bass from West and Hull Gut, with the latter even giving up a few from the shore! Bunker being fished throughout the Town and Fore Rivers is resulting in some of the bigger bass on the south side of the harbor, while blues make occasional slash-and-grab sorties on pogy schools of Wollaston Beach.

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Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Sam from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem had a few heartbreaks recently off the Cape Ann crags as he was scrubbed off among the nasties by determined cows! The “what” is varied and less important than the “where” as Sam targets specific boulders, upwellings where striped bass lurk in ambush. If you’re off even a few feet you might as well have an empty clip on your line. There are peanuts in Beverly Harbor and as expected surface feeds/blitzes pointing to the bedlam! A few blues continue to make an occasional appearance between Nahant and Cape Ann. There has even been a few black sea bass taken on diamond jigs just outside of Gloucester Harbor. The smattering of cod there bodes well for the brief recreational cod opening the last two weeks of September. Speaking of September, the August quota for giant bluefin was filled but the fishery is expected to reopen September 1st.

North Shore Striper Ken Ganley
Ken Ganley with a North Shore bass.

John from Three Lantern Marine told me that just last week tuna and stripers were observed pounding pogy schools in Ipswich Bay. This has been the best year in sometime for bluefish and they are still there for the offing off of the Dogbar Breakwater, mouth of the Annisquam and Halibut Point. After a respite, there’s been a spike in striper activity throughout the Merrimack River according to Martha from Surfland. Blues have been caught as well as striped bass for the bait-it and spike-it contingent fishing the Parker River Wildlife Reservation. Because of the toothy presence, anglers are mixing up chunk with the clams/worms, owing to the blues preference for fish as bait. A few peanuts are showing up on the North Shore as well.

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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Bunker of all shapes and sizes have been the catalyst to better blue and bass fishing throughout the Bay State. The Three Bays are occasionally lit up with surface feeds as the predators find the prey. Small boaters, kayakers and shore jockeys hitting Humarock Beach, Rexhame Beach and Egypt Beach have been catching stripers as well as occasionally blues. Just offshore, Stone Ledge is still squeezing out haddock for happy anglers. In spite of it being the thick of the summer, tautog can be found among crunchy structure along the South Coast. Your best bet for a big Boston bass is to find a pressured pod of pogies and live-line what is attracting those bass. Pogy schools on the North Shore are under fire as well from the gateway of Gloucester Harbor out towards the mouth of the Merrimack River with tuna almost as likely to join the mayhem as bass and blues!

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