Peanut bunker have supplanted their adult forebears as the most important forage in Massbay. But like the adults not every school of bait has bass and blues! While peanuts should be sticking around well into October their pursuers are on the move, I guess that’s why it’s called – the run!
Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report
On The Water’s Andy Nabreski evidently needed some fresh tautog for an upcoming edition of Living off the Land and Sea so he jumped aboard the Legit Fish out of Westport which proved to be a good move! Pictures don’t lie and I have to admit that as I admired repeated shots of those white chins I was more than a little green with envy! After combing that section of Buzzards Bay for well over a decade you would think that it would be bereft of secrets to Captain Jason Colby but he recently discovered an interesting “rock”! Judging the success, it’s a safe bet that that “rock” will be a regular in the rotation! With limits of blackfish a foregone conclusion, the skipper’s combining charters with river stripers and those looking to selectively harvest are going home with fresh striper fillets to go along with the tog! Many are sticking with the casting, catching and releasing side of things also and having a ball.
Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters said that it would be one tough task to not catch a striper in Scituate Harbor with fresh sea lice covered 28-32” fish adding to resident bass. Go small for fish throughout the South Shore as prevalent forage consists of bay anchovies, river herring fry and of course peanut bunker! Rock cod are common among irregular bottom but for a shot at a white-belly (deep water cod) then plan on fishing in at least 200’ of water off the edges of Stellwagen Bank. Keep off the bank itself unless you plan on hooking a lot of sharks, and those sharks run the gamut from dogfish through threshers! A sabiki rig dropped most anywhere in deep water is as likely to come tight to a 10-12” bonito as it is a mackerel! Some of those hard tails are stretching 14” and mugging peanut bunker inshore. On a light rod, those tiny tuna are fun! As for more oddities, the east wind, big tides blew in trigger fish which are rummaging around floating weed patches!
Bluefish can still be found according to Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate with deeper ledges from Plymouth through Hull holding them for trollers. As for striped bass, not every peanut bunker school holds fish! If the bait looks way too relaxed as opposed to tightly wound like a ball than move on! The next cove over may be the stuff of legend! Duxbury and Rexhame Beach have been hot spots in recent days.
Greater Boston Fishing Report
It’s been a slow week on the black drum front according to Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett! Man would I have loved to mobilize really quickly to give drifting sea worms on Vella Rigs off Revere Beach last week. Odds are I’ll catch nothing but bubbleweed but I’ll be sure to try! Meanwhile pogy schools inside Hull, Winthrop and off the airport are hanging in there but the bass size has dramatically dropped off. What a difference a year makes, this week last year was among the hottest for big bass while 2022 has been it’s antitheses! No sooner was the commercial quota filled than the trophy fishing many enjoyed fell of a cliff! Peanut bunker are “everywhere” with picking the right school mattering greatly. When unmolested, peanuts will happily stick to deeper water but when under duress will push in tight to the shoreline, making them a surf fishers best friend. Look for a school that is hugging the shoreline to short circuit your search for the right school.
Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy chimed in on surf fishing prospects with Hull Gut, World’s End and Squantum among her prime picks! When in doubt drop a Santini tube into the wash around Bumpkin Island and Sunken Ledge. The harbor has also filled up with butterfish, which make for mighty fine striped bass on their own right. That sacred one cod should be child’s play off Martin’s Ledge. Boston Ledge, Graves Light and Egg Rock. For something different, king-sized cunner are lurking among Point Allerton and through Toddy Rocks. You may also find a cod or two there!
• Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Massachusetts
Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report
While the east wind complicates things with a big surf and weed, some surf sharpies view it as just the thing to light the striper wick! Tomo from Tomo’s Tackle told me that as the seas built, the fishing for the wader/wet suit squad became fantastic! If you’re paying attention a good dose of the east is scheduled to hit this Saturday, so get ready! Rocky shorelines off Cape Ann have been especially effective with slot stripers and blues joining in. Bait has consisted of silversides, peanut bunker and even a few pogies! Don’t discount rivers and estuaries which by and large were too hot during the summer, dropping water temperatures along with the ever present possibility of peanut bunker will undoubtedly make inshore/upstream areas explosive. It’ll all come down to timing and putting in the hours. That same spot by night will still hold bait but the bass will be bigger!
Captain Tom Ciulla of T Sea Charters has had some luck tossing footballs off Jeffrey’s Ledge! The fish are falling for mackerel fished at the edges and especially during slack tide! As is the case most everywhere expect to donate a few rigs to sharks of various persuasions. Tom traded blows recently with an acrobatic mako which after a few amazing leaps gnawed through the leader.
Martha from Surfland Bait and Tackle in Newburyport said that the east wind blew in weed, bait, bass and blues! With that lineup, word has it that not many were complaining about the weed! While few are talking in terms of trophies or toothies, schoolie to slot sized fish are nothing to complain about. As for blues, most encounters are resulting in bite-offs rather than beachings, so pack steel leaders. The tube-and-worm is producing in Plum Island Sound as well as Joppa Flats. Mackerel can be found by the Speckled Apron area as well as Hampton Shoal Ledge. If you’re looking for some place to use those mackerel, Martha’s pick for that is Emerson Rocks!
Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
Finding the “right” peanut bunker school from the Three Bays through Boston Harbor is the surest way to stack the striper odds in your favor. That preferred forage cruising in close to shore is a hint that you’ve found the right one. As water temperatures drop, estuaries and marshes increasingly are becoming an interesting option with nights especially deserved of a look. This east wind predicted over the weekend and beyond could very well light a fuse and bring bait, bass and blues in close especially off the North Shore. Of course not all is stripers and blues or nothing with standout options consisting of cod off Davis Ledge, Martin Ledge, Graves Light and Halfway Rock as well tautog in Buzzards Bay. For the latter you just have to find the right “rock”!