False albacore sometimes stir it up in Sippican Harbor in early fall. Photo by Tom Richardson

Marion may be best known as a sailing town, but local anglers—this scribe included—know it as a great place to fish. That can be bad for snoozing cruisers. Those slumbering aboard their vessels are often rudely awakened in pre-dawn hours by the bait-making activities of nocturnal anglers engaged in pogy snagging.

But usually everyone gets along just fine.

Fishing in the Marion area generally kicks off in mid-May, when school bass begin filtering into the shallows of upper Buzzards Bay. The southern shore of Ram Island, with its numerous rocks, often produces excellent action from Memorial Day through June. The same goes for the entire rocky shoreline of Sippican Neck out to Butler Point. Work this area on a rising tide and toss 6” Slug-Gos, Hogy’s and Fin-S-Fish as close to structure as possible. Poppers and stickbaits, especially Zara Spooks and Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, work very well.

…big scup often invade Sippican Harbor in June, setting the stage for some incredible light-tackle bottom fishing that the kids will love.

If pogies (aka, bunker) show up, get ready for some excellent action with keeper bass and huge blues. You can often catch both species by snagging a pogy on a weighted treble hook around the schools and simply letting it swim around. If no fish are harassing the schools, take some pogies out to the mouth of the inner harbor, between Ram Island and Silvershell Beach. Anchor on the edge of the channel and fish live baits or chunks. Fishing chunks of pogies on the bottom of the channel or along the drop-off can be a great way to score with gator blues and bass, even in the middle of the day. I have found that this area generally fishes best on the outgoing tide.

Nearby Bird Island is another fish magnet through June. I like to work the stones on the south side of the island on an incoming tide with soft-plastics, poppers and flies. A southwest wind tends to stir up action, but can also make fishing difficult, as it’ll blow you into the numerous rocks that lurk surround the island. If you don’t get a few strikes on your first couple of passes by the island, head over to Butler Point and try the rocks there.

Trollers can score with live pogies, swimming plugs and tube-and-worm combos fished along Sippican Neck and Bird Island Reef. This is a great way to pick up a big blue in June.

If squid are plentiful in Buzzards Bay, expect phenomenal topwater action with bluefish up to 10 pounds through mid-June along the southwest-facing shorelines of Upper Buzzards Bay. Cast a Cordell Pencil Popper or similar hard-bodied topwater plug next to shore and rip it back to the boat and you’ll get all the action you can handle.

If you are looking for fast action with a great-eating fish, don’t miss out on the early-summer black sea bass bite in central Buzzards Bay. This is easy fishing, and you can learn more here.

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BoatingLocal: Back in the Black


Similarly, big scup often invade Sippican Harbor in June, setting the stage for some incredible light-tackle bottom fishing that the kids will love. Simply rig up a light spinning rod with a basic dropper rig and bait it with a tad of clam or seaworm. If the wind is light, drift along a stretch of flat bottom until you start getting hits. At that point drop anchor and stay put. These big scup make fine eating, by the way.

Buzzards Bay fishing drops off in July and August due to high water temperatures, but relief sometimes comes in the form of false albacore and bonito in September. Bonito usually arrive first, followed by albies, on the east side of the bay, then make their way into Sippican Harbor by mid-September. It’s impossible to predict when and if these so-called “funny fish” will move into the bay, but if you see fast-slashing fish that won’t hit normal bluefish lures, you can bet they’re here!

If you can get close enough to a breaking school, toss out a 4” white Slug-Go rigged on a worm hook. Twitch it slowly across the surface and you should get bit. Flies also work very well at times, especially Skok Mushies on Bonito Bunnies, although much has to do with matching the bait.

Fall fishing in Buzzards Bay has been something of a bust in the last 10 years, for reasons that aren’t clear. However, it’s still possible to encounter blitzing schools of fish from late-September through October, especially if the bait is plentiful.

Bait & Tackle

License Requirements

A Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit is required to fish the marine waters of Massachusetts out to 3 miles from shore. Cost is $10 for both residents and non-residents. The permit expires on December 31.


No permit is required for the following individuals:

  • Persons under 16 years of age.
  • Persons fishing on a charter or partyboat.
  • Persons who possess a saltwater fishing license from Connecticut, Rhode Island or New Hampshire.
  • Persons who, regardless of age, otherwise meet the definition of a disabled person.
  • The permit fee is waived for anglers 60 and older; however, these individuals must still register with the state. A small fee will be charged by the vendor to process the permit if purchased online.

For more information:

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries: Permits

To purchase a license online:

Mass Fish Hunt License System

Seasons, Catch & Size Limits

For a current list of fishing regulations, by species