Black sea bass are all but guaranteed off Hyannis. Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

Black sea bass are all but guaranteed off Hyannis. Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

The waters off Hyannis are duly famous for producing striped bass and bluefish, but they also offer some first-rate bottom fishing for black sea bass and scup—2 tasty and kid-friendly species that can be found close to shore.

Sea bass fishing in particular has been so good in the last few years that you’re likely to find them over any rocky area or sandy shoal in Nantucket Sound, according to Capt. Joe Huckemeyer, owner of the Helen H Deep Sea party- and charterboat fleet, based in Hyannis Harbor. “The southern portion of the Bishop and Clerks—a string of rocks 3 to 4 miles south of Lewis Bay—holds lots of fish,” says Huckemeyer. “It’s an easy place to fish, but watch out for the rocks, many of which lie just below the surface.”

You can stock up on bait and tackle at Hy-Line on Hyannis Harbor

You can stock up on bait and tackle at Hy-Line on Hyannis Harbor

The best action takes place from mid-May through early July, although you can still find plenty of smaller fish throughout summer. (Note: you will need a Massachusetts saltwater fishing license, available online at The easiest way to catch sea bass is to set up a slow drift in 10’ to 30’ of water (fish the deeper areas in midsummer) and send down a 2- to 4-ounce bucktail jig with a small strip of fresh squid on the hook. Hop the jig over the bottom with short, quick lifts of the rod. Try different spots and different depths until you locate a concentration of fish.

You’ll catch some big scup this way, too, but anchoring also works. Use a 1/0 Octopus hook baited with a small piece of squid and lower it to the bottom with the help of a 1- to 2-ounce bank sinker. Let it sit and it shouldn’t be long before you get a customer.

If it’s bigger game you seek, striped bass can be taken around the rocks and ledges of Point Gammon throughout the season. Poppers and soft-plastics worked around the big boulders account for some nice fish in the early season, with eels producing well at night during summer. Slow-trolling tube-and-worm combos, parachute jigs and live baits near this structure also works during the day.

Nearby rips such as those over Succonesset Shoal and Wreck Shoal, as well as off the southern tip of Monomoy, are also within easy reach of Hyannis anglers. Wire-line trolling with parachute jigs and plastic squid lures can produce fast action in these turbulent waters.

Bluefish abound in the spring, with late May through June being prime time for these hard-fighting fish. You can find blues in the aforementioned rips, but the open beachfronts will also hold them. Look for several days of southwest wind to drive bait into shore and spark the feeding activity.

Bait & Tackle:

  • Hy-Line Bait & Tackle (508) 771-2551
  • Sports Port (508) 775-3098

Charter Boats:

  • Helen H fleet (508) 790-0660: Runs full- and half-day party boat and private charter trips out of Hyannis for stripers, bluefish, fluke, tautog, scup, sea bass, sharks and tuna.
  • Stray Cat Charters (508) 428-8628

State License Requirements and Catch & Size Limits:

State of Massachusetts Requirements


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