Gone are the days of creeping up to staging stripers which are resting from a meal, the fish are on the move! Odds are that if there is no bait where you are wetting a line, than there will be no fish. But when found, the combo of bait, bass and blues is sure to be combustible!
Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report
On a hunch and for the sake of shaking things up, Captain Rich Antonio of Black Rose Charters decided to vertical jig the hole by Bug Light in Plymouth and he came up with keeper black sea bass! Still in the experimental phase, the next move was to try the same thing off The Gurnet where he found 12-14” bergalls stacked there! We in these parts have historically referred to those bait-stealing little devils as sea perch, but when that size they make for a tasty treat! For a more expected black sea bass bite, the skipper has been heading out to Nomans Land where limits have been no problem. If you’re looking for one more shot at a knothead or maybe a limit than you had better make haste since the season closes on September 8th!
Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish has a warning for those looking for groundfish off the eastern edge of Stellwagen Bank – stay clear of 190-220 depths! The dog pack is there in force! Deeper water however – around 240’ – has a plethora of hake, haddock and “market” size cod! The cod factor will come into play as of September 15th when for two weeks recreational anglers can keep one cod (21” minimum) in the GOM and adjacent state waters. Should you not want to wait than hire a charter captain! The for-hire folks season is September 8 – October 7th.
Regarding stripers, according to Pete from Belsan’s Bait and Tackle in Scituate peanut bunker are under fire from mixed sizes of stripers front the Three Bays, through Green Harbor and out through area beaches off Cohasset!
While most wait until there is a chill in the air before targeting tautog, Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters has been finding limits among piles of black sea bass in the Westport side of Buzzards Bay. For the duration of the season expect the skipper to be bringing bushels of green crabs aboard his boat now that he’s found fish. As water temps drop the fish will school up and the bite will only get better and should include cod! Interestingly, in spite of the heat, the striper action in the river never cooled down and while chumming and clamming he’s still finding everything from schoolies to slots to slobs.
Congrats to Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing and Captain Sam Streubel of Boston Saltwater who placed first and third respectively in the striper category in the recent Boston Bluefin and Striper Classic! Having such top rod contributors to this report sure is invaluable and much appreciated!
Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing will be on a brief hiatus from the harbor as he chases hardtails in Vineyard Sound. However, he did leave a little nugget – load up on pogies in the harbor and fish them off the rocks of Nahant for larger linesiders.
The drill in the harbor remains the same, find a pressured pod of pogies and live-line for slot stripers! Blues have been wrecking havoc on pogy schools off Wollaston Beach and out towards Nahant according to Captain Sam; he’s also been finding pockets of mackerel again by Flipp Rock and the Two Can.
For something different Captain Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett has been suggesting flounder – the toothy kind! I’ve been catching toothy flounder or fluke in these parts for longer than I care to recall and I’m convinced that there are more locally than people realize, it’s just that not many target them.
While I’ve never caught a real “doormat” I have caught fluke of over 6 pounds in these parts. Fluke have been taken in Green Harbor, the North River, the Town River, Pemberton Pier, Wollaston Beach, Revere Beach, Lynn Harbor, the Pines River and Saugus River. Even Martha from Surfland said that there have been a few fluke caught up there. Any standard fluke rig will do and for baits, Gulp Swimming Mullets, curly tail grubs or squid/fish belly strips all work. The tide must be cranking to catch and depth changes, especially deep to shallow, fish best.
Captain Paul Diggins of Reel Pursuit Charters is keeping it real by poking around the pogy schools between Castle Island and the Logan Airport. He’s putting patrons into fish by trolling around pressured pogy pods while deploying umbrella rigs. His favorite color shads have been chartreuse. Lisa from Fore River said that Santini Tubes have been working well for bass and blues by Grape and Slate Islands. There are squid off Nut Island Pier as well as black sea bass. You’ll also find black sea bass in the usual haunts such as Pig Rock, Rainsford Island, George’s Island, Hull Gut, and West Gut.
By the looks of the report from Sam of Tomo’s Tackle, customers shouldn’t have to travel very far to catch a solid striper! One guy fresh from picking up Savage Sand Eels caught a 43” striper right behind the shop! Blues seemed to have moved onto pogy schools nearer Nahant with slot stripers as well as the occasional larger figuring in the feeds.
Salem and Beverly Harbors are holding striped bass up to 47” on big soft plastics and eels at night. Sam has been putting a hurt on numbers of bass right from shore on Danny plugs as well as the 1-ounce Yo-Zuri Mag Darter. Don’t discount the smaller version of that lure either, especially in black when bass are pushing peanuts in the dark.
TJ from Three Lantern Marine told me that the bluefish bonanza continues, especially outside of the Groaner and out towards Ipswich Bay. In many cases anglers are searching out the pogy pods and with them are the blues and the bass. Peanuts are swarming Manchester, Magnolia and Gloucester Harbor. Some of the surface feeds are prime for topwater action.
The giant tuna season opened up on September 1st and Stellwagen was hot on it’s opening day! Most experienced Charlie chasers hooked up but not everyone landed a fish! Such is life when you’re battling those beasts. Regarding tuna, their smaller cousins are still a player off Plum Island according to Martha from Surfland Bait And Tackle! One angler landed a 25” specimen off Sandy Point as well as a 33” striper and several bluefish. That’s a hat trick you don’t hear about every day off the North Shore! Post-storm Martha recommends that anglers walk the shoreline and gun casting spoons such as Kastmasters and Charlie Graves Butterfish. You could catch darn near anything with that offering right now from the surf. Parking lot 3 has been good for bass and blues and there even have been a few fluke taken between Plum Island Sound and Sandy Point.
Had this storm struck late September than it might have been concerning but this early on it will only be a cow catalyst! Westport River is holding a variety of striped bass sizes and will only get better as migrants from up north join the fracas. Haddock and cod abound in 240” of water east of the bank, but you risk running into the dog pound should you go shallower. Peanuts and adult pogies are drawing fire from the Three Bays into Boston Harbor. Blues remain a fixture off Wollaston Beach and especially off Nahant. Those looking for larger linesiders are tossing eels among inshore structure throughout the North Shore while pogy schools are holding prowling blues and stripers. The surf off Plum Island is living up to it’s legendary reputation with some anglers tallying an interesting triple, composed of bass, blues and even – bonito!