Massachusetts Fishing Report – August 4, 2022

Legit Fish Charters striped bass
Big bass fishing should only get better aboard Legit Fish Charters now that peanut bunker are on the South Shore.

In spite of being under siege from all directions and from more predators than can be listed, somehow those pogies managed to make – more pogies! Peanut bunker are now in residence and surf fishers, who by and large have been on the sidelines, might just be the most to benefit.

Massachusetts South Shore/South Coast Fishing Report

Both Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters as well as Pete Belsan of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate have confirmed that peanut bunker have arrived and it didn’t take long for striped bass to notice! More good news along with the appearance of these little bass nuggets is that those schools tend to hug the coast and hopefully will draw some of the bass which are hunkered down among the pogy schools in a little closer for the caster. There appears to be an uptick in bluefish numbers in the Three Bay Area. For those looking for a mackerel acquisition the impetus for an early rise is even more so now that yellow-eyes has made an appearance. The exception is Stellwagen where it’s challenging to find bottom with a free-spooled sabiki. According to Pete some anglers have been trolling up blues off Davis Ledge, Flatt Ledge, Enos Ledge and Strawberry Ledge. Trolling plugs such as CD-18s, X-Raps and Jawbreakers are all working. As for Rebel Jawbreakers, I haven’t heard of that lure in ages! That plug was Rebel’s answer to Rapala’s CD-18 with a similar look and coloration but was made of a durable, high-density foam; those things were built to last as well as catch fish and amazingly Belsan’s still has them in stock! Peanut bunker blitzes have been observed off Plymouth, Green Harbor, the North River as well as Cowen Rock. There’s a lot of life in the Stone Ledge area according to Captain Rowell as tuna, haddock, cod and even thresher sharks are all foraging in that area. Regarding cod, save that tip for September when regulators are freeing up one cod per person of a minimum of 21” with the possibility of a month long season.

Little Sister tautog
Limits of tautog are now a possibility aboard the Little Sister.

If you want variety, then Little Sister Charters’ Captain Jason Colby is your man – seriously! Take a peak into Thursday’s trip for proof! Limits of big black sea bass (18” minimum) – check! Big blues – check! Fluke – check! Tautog limits – check! The last one really sums up what life is like aboard the Little Sister. If you know tog than you’d be expecting “no-one” to be limiting out on them in the heat of the summer, because those territorial buggers spread out and lay claim to their own rockpiles/wrecks and chase interlopers off. Today however those tog met their match!

Greater Boston Fishing Report

Increasingly anglers are looking to steer clear of the zoo which is the outer harbor pogy schools. Pictures sent my way look as if it’s a center console convention with so many boats joining in the fracas. Many are feeling the effort and stress involved with catching bass among that melee is just not worth it. Fortunately, break off pogy schools all the way into Winthrop Harbor as well as interspersed throughout the Charlestown, Chelsea and East Boston are holding fish! Yes, you can find you’re own “private” pile of fun should you desire! Should the arrival of peanut bunker continue to swell that will surely spread the linesider love around and thin out the fleet. When we spoke, Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy saw just such a school of peanut bunker, with mixed sizes of stripers in tow, swimming past Wessagusset Beach! As for pining the hopes of surf fishermen on peanuts, if you’ve been spending time around World’s End you may not need to wait as chunk mackerel fishers have been doing really well.

Paones' inner-harbor striper
An inner harbor school of pogies enabled the Paones’ to tag-team this slot striper!

I can always count on my friend Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett to toss out alternatives to the striped-bass-or-nothing mindset. Pete’s been talking up the success of a local headboat classic – literally, as in American Classic – during our weekly talks. The captain – Jimmy Walsh – has not only been having his way with the full gamut of gadoids, but his overnight trips have been yielding halibut up to 150 pounds! Ironically a Granite State Charter Captain I know recently took a trip to Alaska to catch such a fish and right here, in the Gulf of Maine, captain Walsh is finding them!

If the photo of that incredible 10 pound brown I included in last weeks report had you considering a sweetwater respite than you’re not alone. One guy in need of a freshwater break headed to Fishing FINatics in Everett and Pete set him up with crawlers, a worm inflater bottle and pointed him towards Walden Pond where he’s enjoying solitude as well as cooperative brown trout, rainbow trout as well as the occasional brookie!

Sofia Ciulla striped bass
Sofia Ciulla with a fine harbor striper which fell for a pogy!

Fresh from his slip in Winthrop Harbor, Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing has been finding surface feeds which just could be the result of a peanut bunker invasion! This could possibly explain why during a Busman’s Holiday, Brian’s hot fly was a peanut bunker pattern! Docs, Jumpin’ Minnows as well as soft plastic stick baits have been a nice diversion from pogy-mania. Interestingly what Brian’s been most pleased with is the original of it’s ilk – the good old Slug-Go! That baby started the stick bait revolution and still slays them.

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

Massachusetts North Shore Fishing Report

My buddy Dave Flaherty from Nahant feigned interest in taking a dip recently at Tudor Beach off Nahant to masquerade his real intention, which was to see what was swimming there! Much to his pleasure he spotted a promenade of peanuts followed closely by striped bass and as he put it, it’s now “Game on”.

Jason and Gianna Ludwig
Gianna Ludwig let her Dad Jason pose a bit with this nice North Shore striper she caught.

Squid are also the name of the game according to Tomo of Tomo’s Tackle in Salem as they continue to be numerous from Nahant Bay through the Dogbar Breakwater in Gloucester. This might explain a bit of an uptick in fluke numbers’; after all where the prey is there is usually predators lurking nearby. I’d look for those toothy flounder in most any estuary/marsh throughout the North Shore. Blues have been bashing bunker off Swampscott and Marblehead. Dread Ledge, the Outer Breakers as well as Tinker’s Ledge have all been fishing well with most anglers having success trolling plugs.

I was taken aback by Liz from Surfland Bait and Tackle when she told me that one of the hottest bites at the moment was shad from the ocean front! In August? As befitting the month as well as the water temperatures nighttime eel casters off the ocean front are doing better than most for bigger bass. Bigger is better when it comes to selecting surf eels since they cast farther and are noticed from farther away than their smaller kin. Pogy acquisition requires a bit of a search to find a pod while mackerel is more of a marathon. While talking to Liz she asked a shop sharpie how he had fared that morning in his bait quest to which he replied “9 fish in 45 minutes” – that’s not exactly the mother lode!

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

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

With the bait buffet now including baby bunker look for blitzes to be increasing in frequency among the Three Bays, Green Harbor and Scituate on the North Shore. A deep diving plug worked off The Gurnet, High Pine Ledge as well as Davis and Flatt Ledge is a good bet for bluefish which have become more numerous. Along the South Coast there are big black sea bass held up over structure in 50’ of water but if you can get a hold of a few crabs you might find willing white chins. For many, Boston is a more interesting place now that break off schools of pogies are moving throughout the harbor making the bass bite more spread out. The hope is on that peanut bunker will even the playing field allowing surfcasters a shot at a cow for a change. The squid surge continues on the North Shore with the Dogbar Breakwater a favorite. Bluefish have moved in just off Marblehead with a trolling plug the ticket to a toothy!

12 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – August 4, 2022

  1. Marty H

    Go just offshore for mackerel, look for structure on your sonar and play the side where the incoming tide is creating turbulence.

  2. H.T

    The situation in Plymouth is both exhilarating and disheartening, all in one. It’s great to see a large group of anglers (100 plus boats) work together to pursue one of their favorite fish. Unfortunately due to the excitement of what’s occurring, most have thrown away the use of proper catch and release techniques. For example, comm guys gaffing undersized fish, rec guys using snags hooks instead of circle hooks, and many just tossing fish over without reviving. After checking my lobster traps, I buzzed by and it was a shame to see how many fish were floating belly up.

    Not to note, the extreme lack of enforcement…

    The fishery will soon be all but forgotten

    1. Squidly Fishman

      Yup. I haven’t seen first-hand comm guys gaff undersized fish, but their release practices are generally horrible. Wait, isn’t every rec angler transferring their snagged pogy to a circle hook? What a joke. Because there is NO presence, they’re is NO enforcement.

    2. Ron

      So sad H.T.. As a wise man once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”! It’s like watching a crash in slow-motion and there’s not a thing you can do about it!

      1. H.T


        Spot on! In the meantime, I will keep lurking along the shoreline! That night bite shows no signs of slowing down! Had fish to 20 pounds the other night non-stop for 2 hours

        Tight Lines

  3. H.T


    Spot on! In the meantime, I will keep lurking along the shoreline! That night bite shows no signs of slowing down! Had fish to 20 pounds the other night non-stop for 2 hours

    Tight Lines

    1. MFC

      Shout out to HT / OTW for highlighting this poor behavior. What a travesty. Come on folks. Please please protect this magnificent resource for future generations. Thanks in advance!

  4. MFC

    Shout out to HT / OTW for highlighting this poor behavior. What a travesty. Come on folks. Please please protect this magnificent resource for future generations. Thanks in advance!

  5. H.T

    Good news! DMF announced today the comm. quota was filled. Hopefully the non sense settles down

  6. APEX

    Out among the rocks at Cohasset I saw two jerks in a very expensive boat keep two undersize fish. If they can afford a boat like that, they can afford to buy striper fillets in the fish store. Half hour later, a family in another pricey boat handling their undersize fish so badly that they had several floaters around their boat. This State is running a huge budget surplus, why not spend a bit of that to educate these people and beef up enforcement.

  7. Rocko G

    Too many bozo’s, rookie idiots with complete disregard for the striper fishery and no sh*t where is the enforcement
    Rocko G

  8. Ricky

    Boston Harbor is a lawless zoo right now. Boats are snag and dropping like there’s no tomorrow. 10 minute photoshoots with 40inch fish. Hundreds of boats out and not a single license checked.

    How is there not one DCR boat out there making the rounds every weekend? I bet things would settled down pretty quickly.

    JFC what a mess

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