Massachusetts Fishing Report – September 9, 2021

West Marine

At last football season is here! The “football” I’m referring to has less to do with the gridiron or a pigskin but rather “fun” sized tuna which can be caught on heavy striper gear! Elsewhere bass are binging on bunker in both big and small portions and toothies of all sorts remain in abundance.

Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report

Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters is usually one focused guy when it comes to fishing, but when we spoke on Wednesday he was hopelessly distracted. The culprit was the volume of boats he was seeing on Scituate Harbor which were bringing giant tuna after giant tuna in for market. Cape Cod Bay is loaded with monsters, in fact I’ve heard of at least two very experienced skippers who swore they had granders on! Bluefish are the preferred bait. On the bank and out through the backside of the cape it’s a schoolie zone with plenty of mid-40” fish that aren’t hesitant to fall for popping, jigging or trolling.

Drew Ricci tuna
Drew Riccio of Winchester is all set for football season!

Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate told me that blues are the big news on the South Shore from the Three Bays through Cohasset as blitzes have been common as big bluefish belt peanuts. For a shot at a bass, stick to structure/shallow areas near the blitzes where the ambush-oriented bass have the edge over the open-water blues. Some of the beaches off Duxbury and Humarock have held some of the better feeds. Those looking for mackerel are more likely to catch baby bonito which are swarming throughout the South Shore! A few fluke continue to be caught for the few who are targeting them in rivers/estuaries.

Rachel Pollara fluke
It continues to be a good year for fluke as evidenced by this nice one caught by Rachel Pollara!

Captain Rich Antonio of Black Rose Charters has been tackling toothies also but they have been the shark kind on Stellwagen and as he put it, some of those sharks are of the “tasty” kind with a few mackerel porbeagles, makos and threshers figuring in the mix of the blue shark swarm. Once the seas settle he’ll be all in on funny fish in Buzzards Bay with reports of double-digit false albacore common.

Dalton Clayton striper
Dalton Clayton with fine striper taken aboard the Little Sister in the Westport River.

Regarding all in, Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters will be all in on tautog now that the black sea bass season is closed. The routine for him is not changing much as tautog have been on the agenda for awhile as has Westport River stripers. The wildcard will be cod and unlike in the GOM, anglers can keep up to 10 fish per trip at a minimum of 21”!


Greater Boston Fishing Report

The awesomeness of Autumn is that it brings bedlam in close and Boston is no exception. The other fishing-friendly factor is that daylight and big bass are no longer mutually exclusive.

According to Pete Santini’ of Fishing FINatics in Everett there is an inshore swath from the Tobin Bridge through the Amelia Earhart Dam that is awash with pogies and slots! I’m certain that if you put in the time you’ll found bigger as well as the occasional bluefish. The Santini tube (and worm) in red is working but with the bass pushing big bait there is now an exciting topwater bite provided your working a big offering! Fishing FINatics “house plug” – the Wahachi – is a big spook which has alluring moves and is killing them! I intend on putting this plug through the paces soon and will pass along my results.

Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy sent me a picture of Buzzards Bay worthy fluke which was caught off Peddock Island by an angler fishing for black sea bass. Overwhelmingly when fluke are caught they are inadvertent catches but for the few who target them they are one of the best kept secrets from the South Shore through the North Shore! You can keep things simple for these toothy flounder: seek out a muddy bottom, drift a bucktail embellished with squid, mackerel or gulp as well as a teaser on top and pump the rod intermittently to give your wares an alluring look! The methodology is simple but it works.

River herring fry are staging at the mouth of the Weymouth Back, Charles and Mystic Rivers and the bass are well aware. Pogies from Wollaston through the inner harbor are drawing fire from slot stripers as well as the occasional bluefish. Anglers jigging up macks by Boston Light and out through the ledges off Hull are coming up with more bonito than mackerel!

Fresh from placing third in the striper category in a hotly contested local striper/tuna tournament Captain Sam of Boston Saltwater was back at it this time looking for a highly-placed Charlie. Sam and crew battled what looked to be a grander for 5 1/2 hours only to have it come unbuttoned 12’ from the boat. The brute jumped on a bluefish being flown from a kite. The blue jumped multiple times out of the water as the giant pursued it, with the tuna eventually dispatching it’s prey. While I’ve been fortunate to catch giants before I’m not sure if my ticker could take the sight of a 1000 pound monster taking air as it chased down a chopper! It takes work but Sam is still finding mackerel and they are often the key to cows from Broad Sound out through Nahant. A slam dunk is a slot on a pogy inside the harbor with pressured pods easy to come by.

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Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

While the day bite is better now, there’s always the hardcore graveyard shift guys that will not waver, like Sam from Tomo’s Tackle. He’s hitting the rocks and beaches on the North Shore and having his way with mixed sizes of stripers form schoolies, to slots to far bigger while deploying Yo-Zuri Mag Darters, Hogy soft plastics and swimmers. The volume of bait from Swampscott through Salem and Beverly is phenomenal with a special uptick in silversides! It’s little wonder that slim-profiled swimmers are working well. Squid can be observed being chased by stripers along area beaches at night and it’s quite the show!

John from Three Lantern Marine said that there are still plenty of big bluefish in the Cape Ann area with trolling plugs working the best. A few pods of pogies are being rushed by bass and blues and peanut bunker have been under siege in Gloucester Harbor by mixed sizes of bass with a few bluefish sorties. For a chance at a cow, eels off the beaches, the backshore or at the mouths of the Annisquam or Little Rivers is a best bet.

With all the fanfare about fluke this year, I asked Brandon from Surfland Bait and Tackle to weigh in on it and he told me that indeed there was a group of taciturn fluke fishers who were doing quite well. While specifics are hard to come by, knowing the species preferred habitat I have to think that Plum Island Sound, Sandy Point, Joppa Flats and the mouth of the Merrimack would be prime for fluke. With scads of silversides in residence, I’d toss out a minnow trap in inlets and mosquito creeks and see if you can catch mummies, killies or silversides prior to fishing. With one of their preferred prey on the hook, you’ll need no additional attractant for fluke.

Anglers driving along and walking the beachfront are catching stripers of all sizes while blues are usually the domain of the boater able to troll in 30’+ of water!

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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Fantasy football geeks aside, who needs to watch football when you can participate in it! While there are no guarantees, there seems to be a line of demarcation where you can pick your pelagic. The biggies are inside of Cape Cod Bay and belting bluefish while spinning gear-suitable 50 pounders are swarming Stellwagen and gorging on sand eels and mackerel. If you’ve never experienced the rush of a school tuna taking a topwater at boatside than you don’t know what you’re missing! Bunker in both big and small versions are the source of bluefish and bass bedlam from the Three Bays out though Boston Harbor. While the black sea bass season is now in the books, there are still “southern” species available such as fluke and baby bonito! The north shore is still holding blues with trolling the ticket to tackling those toothies. Gloucester Harbor has been going off and you can thank the peanut bunker for the bird and bass show!

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1 thought on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – September 9, 2021

  1. Walleye

    Big Blues bonanza off Plymouth beach with smaller ones off Sandy’s for you Tuna tamers looking for bait! Tightlines!

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