Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 28, 2021

West Marine

The weather has hardly been favorable for the weather forecast or the fishing forecast but not all have caved into the conditions. With stellar sweetwater options in the offing it’s tempting to totally drop the salt but then there’s that little matter of a singing drag that remains a possibility.

After receiving encouraging freshwater reports from multiple sources, I was perfectly content with steering the forecast in the freshwater direction until I got a killer Gloucester report of a striper bite from my friend Captain Tom Ciulla. Far from settling on “diapers”, he and chums slammed slots with live mackerel while aboard his T Sea McKee Craft center console. In spite of the wind and vacillating pressure fronts the bass were plentiful and on the feed! That prompted me to find a lee in the Harbor on Tuesday and launch the ol’ Hobie to see if I could find similar action a little closer to home. Five fish and several “sleigh rides” later the answer was a resounding YES! With water temperatures still unusually warm for this time of the year, November just might be the new October!

Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Report

For many, however, sweetwater beckons! And considering the awesome report I received from Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston – Wachusett Reservoir deserves to be tops on that list! The quandary is deciding whether to cast among the 37 miles of shoreline along the Chu’ or try the tributaries! Those rains have been a magnet for brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon and drawn them into the Stillwater and Quinapoxet Rivers. Eddie himself recently plucked a couple of beautiful brownies from a pool in the Stillwater! Not far from him were a few anglers who caught impressive salmon! Above all should you be lucky enough to land a landlocked, please respect that it is a wild salmon and consider catching and releasing your prize. Wachusett is home to the Bay State’s only self-sustaining population of these patrician fish! And then there’s the reservoir itself with cooperative smallies, lakers and rainbow trout! If I had to pick one section after the deluge, it would be the stretch from the causeway to Bull Rock. The storms have created current flowing from Thomas Basin which will often stack the fish up like cordwood. You’ll need 3/4 ounce spoons to reach the bottom and in addition to the standard-issue Kastmaster, take along the slim-profiled Deadly Dick which is similar in shape to smelt, which are the most valuable forage in the reservoir.

Regarding reservoirs, the wrap-up word from Rod Flagg from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange is that Quabbin was awesome for smallies and lakers and not so much for salmon. Smelt numbers fluctuate and this past season was a down year for them which resulted in rather skinny salmon. While the Q’ season is in the rearview mirror, recent stockings (including brown trout), in Lake Mattawa, Clubhouse, Moores and the Miller are giving anglers plenty of options. As you’d expect the rivers are roaring right now but once manageable should have good fishing. Bass up to 7 1/2 pounds as well as crappie are cooperating at Lake Rohunta.

Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report

Reports from most charter captains right now are few and far between with some dry-docking their boats for next season and others on a southern sojourn to boat shows this week, but not Captain Jason Colby whose favorite time to the year is approaching when caps, gloves and wool socks are as required as a bucket full of crabs! For such a warm season, the tautog season in the Westport side of Buzzards Bay has exceeded expectations and as waters cool, it’s only going to get better! Soon cod will be a frequent addition to the catch and unlike in the GOM, cod can be kept aboard Little Sister Charters!

Little Sister tautog
Westport white chins are keeping Captain Colby busy!

The South Shore was among the hardest hit during this Nor’easter but fortunately Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate told me that he’s hoping to have power restored and the shop open on Saturday! More good news was reports of awesome fishing off area beaches on Tuesday for fish of up to 30 pounds! While it’s impossible to predict the state of striper fishing once seas settle, with slots-a-plenty over the weekend on the North Shore, those fish just might be a castaway from South Shore beaches. Consider Long Beach, Rexhame Beach, Egypt Beach and The Glades for your next trip! What is easy to predict is the trout fishing in Little Pond in Plymouth thanks to recent stockings of rainbow, brown, brookie and even tiger trout!

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Surf sharpies pre-Nor’easter found no shortage of schoolie through slot stripers off Greater Boston area beaches. At least one guy I know of was reveling in each and every fish expecting it to be his last of the season. However thanks to recent reports, he told me his Van Staal, Lamglass, and Corkers combination will be getting a new lease on life. While I don’t surf fish as much as I used to, beaches always rewarded my efforts in November. A few of my favorites were Revere, Winthrop and Point Allerton. Jumpin’ Minnows, Yo-Zuri Mag Pencils and Magic Swimmers were three of my go-to fall favorites.

harbor striped bass
The author is still enjoying a little late-inning harbor “sleigh rides”!

Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy said that the striper fishing was superb just before things got nasty. Worlds End, Hull Gut, the inner harbor all held stripers and blues and while pogy numbers have waned at least one 30” had a belly full of them! Some weird yet wonderful tog thing is going on in the harbor! Fresh from Captain Pete Santini’s report last week of terrific tog fishing came word from Lisa that she’s even considering carrying green crabs! In addition to the ribbon of wooden wharves throughout the harbor, anglers targeting other species near Boston Light, Martin Ledge, Ultonia Ledge and Harding’s Ledge have been catching tautog! One guy drifting with worms and squid caught haddock, cod, flounder and tautog all along the same inshore ledge! That’s one heck of a harbor grand slam! The Santini tube-and-worm is still producing by Bumpkin, Slate and Grape Islands. Over the weekend peanuts and predators were still a factor between Castle Island and Deer Island.

Another option with all this rain is to target freshwater species throughout the Charles and Mystic Rivers. Upstream populations of river herring fry are now being gradually washed out to the sea and wherever the flow is stemmed you’ll find the fry and white perch, crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and even occasionally stripers! Pre-dawn to first light fishes best and each hit becomes a “whodunit” because you never know what you’ll catch!

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

Tomo from Tomo’s Tackle in Salem told me that baby bonito are still present from Marblehead through Cape Ann! Some have been observed pushing peanut bunker. Those peanuts and silversides have resulted in striper surface feeds right behind the shop! There have even been a few bluefish encounters for anglers live-lining mackerel for bass. Unusually this time of the year big squid are being caught off the Beverly Pier.

Tom Ciulla striper
Captain Tom Ciulla as recently as Sunday found hungry slot stripers off Cape Ann!

My friend Captain Tom Ciulla of T Sea Charters over the weekend found all the mackerel the crew wanted between the Groaner and Thatcher’s Island. Those mackerel didn’t last long with all the hungry 33-35” stripers still in abundance. What was a pleasant surprise was the volume of 26-28” cod that they jigged up in 71’ of water as they sounded for mackerel! Tom remarked that days later he was buzzing more over the cod than the stellar striper fishing!

Matt from Three Lantern Marine echoed that report and alluded to the prospects of squid and schoolie surface feeds inside the harbor.

Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle said that while it will be a while before the Plum Island shoreline cleans up with all the storm-strewn weed, prior fishing reports are a good harbinger of things to come. Upriver by the American Yacht Club, the Merrimack was fishing well for schoolie to slot stripers. Sandy Point held some interest as well but the big news was Parking Lot 7 with eel slingers at night catching better than they had in quite a while! Prior to the boats being lifted, anglers were still finding mackerel and even a few blues in deeper water! The million-dollar question will be what’s left once conditions calm down? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to give it a go yourself!

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

While there are no guarantees in fishing, rarely is it such a wild card as it is now! Most striped bass and bluefish have departed for southern environs, but not all. In some ways catching a striper as the calendar nears November almost feels like cheating! My friend Steve Langton who just this Wednesday had a magical day, summed it up best. He said that as he caught fish up to 38”, that fought like the dickens, he kept turning around looking for no one in particular and feeling a bit guilty at catching so well this late in the season! While freshwater is a slam dunk, the salt is obviously less so – but a drag-pulling striper makes the gamble well worth it!

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2 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – October 28, 2021

  1. Captain Jason Colby

    The tog fishing will only be getting stronger as the days go by!!!

    Captain Jason Colby

  2. MrBiem

    How’s the smelt bite around Boston Harbor? I haven’t done this in years but always excited to catch a few smelt to fry.

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