The Weekly Bite: September 26 – October 1

Illustration courtesy ## Fished Impressions##


Craig Bergeron offers the following on the Saco Bay Tackle website:

  • “Don’t put the poles away just yet; we still have plenty of time and good weather to fish a while longer. Captain Cal fished with his wife Amy last week a caught over a dozen fat stripers in the Saco River using a surgical tube tipped with sandworm. He said there was still plenty of fish in the river and out in the bay.
  • Our good friend and avid surf fisherman Ben Day caught a handful of slot-sized fish on Old Orchard Beach with some silver KastMasters. He also got into some small snapper blues busting on baitfish close to shore.
  • Keith Hall of Scarborough fished with a client a few days ago and filled a few buckets with spiked, medium and horse mackerel—all in the same school. He used flats of Tournament Master ground chum and small Sabiki rigs. Chum makes all the difference in keeping the bait near the boat.
  • The groundfishing is starting to get better. I had a few customers that fished on Tantas Ledge last week and caught their limit of market cod using 16 and 20 oz. lead cod jigs. They rigged them with a teaser bucktail fly ahead of the jig and tipped them with a bit of clam. Jefferys Ledge was also productive, with many market cod taken on cod jigs and double-hook bait rigs.
  • Scott Smith ventured offshore last week in search of sharks. He started on the backside of Tantas in the deeper water and did not do very well. The water temp has dropped quite a bit and I think the sharks have gone farther offshore. Smith ended up on Platts the end of the day and did very well with the blue sharks. I still have plenty of buckets of chum in the back freezer. We are offering a 2-for-1 sale now until the end of October. Come on in a take advantage of this great deal.
  • Bluefin tuna action is still very good right now, and you don’t have to go very far to find them. Most anglers are using fluorocarbon leaders rigged with Spro heavy duty swivels and Gamakatsu or Owner hooks. Make sure to have some small live-bait hooks to rig some of the small spike mackerel you catch. Using a standard-sized hook either makes your bait look suspicious or kills them.

Saco Bay will also be holding a bluefin tuna rigging class on Monday, October 4, from 5-7pm. Cost is $50, but you get to keep the rigs you make. Call (207-284-4453) or email to sign up.

New Hampshire

Rocky at Hampton Harbor Bait & Tackle says that fish are still very much available off the New Hampshire coast.

  • Cod, haddock and pollock are biting well at Jeffreys Ledge when boats can get out there. The fall monster pollock bite should be getting underway soon.
  • Bluefin tuna are around as well, although weather has been a big factor lately. Most of the boats have been stuck at the dock for the last few days, and it doesn’t look good for this weekend.
  • Inshore, bluefish are being taken from Shoal Ledge up to Rye on plugs and natural bait, and there are quite a few mackerel starting to show.
  • Striped bass are still in the rivers, with many being caught on clams and chunked mackerel. Rocky says that if you can catch some kind of small baitfish, put it in a 4/0 hook and you should do well.


North Shore:

Capt. Scott Maquire of Summer Job Charters checks in with the following report from the Merrimack/Plum Island area:

  • Rosario Robert is all smiles with her bluefish. Photo by Scott Maguire.

    “They are finished with the beach replenishment on the Salisbury side and are now shifting over to the Newburyport/Newbury beaches. They pulled the dredge back upriver so I’ll be curious how they set up for what should be the major portion of the dredging. Maybe the “hump” will get taken out yet.

  • The fishing was up and down this week, which can be typical of fall conditions. Last Friday saw a mix of striped bass to “keeper” size and bluefish up to 12 lbs., while Saturday was painfully slow with only a couple of blues to show for the effort. The next 3 days were weathered out due to wind and rain.
  • Wednesday the bluefish were back with a vengeance up and down the beachfront of Plum Island and today (Thursday) as well.
  • There were a few bass in the mouth of the Merrimack over the last few days that were caught both from a boat and from the jetty. I know of a 39″ boat fish and a 38″ jetty fish, both from very reliable sources.
  • The marine forecast has the boat fishing shut down Friday with maybe a chance to fish in tight to the beach on Saturday, with Sunday looking to be a safe bet to get back out. The marinas close in 2 weeks in this area, so we have to make the best of what is left of out boating season.”

Boston Harbor

  • Stripers are still around inside the harbor, but it can be hit or miss as the fish shift locations from day to day. Some anglers are still reporting decent night fishing around the inshore structure. No surface blitzes to speak of.

South Shore

Capt. Willi of High Hook Charters in Duxbury posted the following on his site:

  • Sept. 16, 2010: During Thursday’s bass and bluefish trip we managed to find some nice-sized fish off of Plymouth. The bass fishing was a little slow so we decided to try for some bluefish. Not much of anything going on inside Duxbury bay. There were only a few birds, but with no fish under them.
  • On Friday we headed out to the eastern edge of Stellwagen Bank to look for slot-size tuna. The seas were choppy, but the bite was really slow with only a couple of boats hooking up in the morning. There were a bunch of whales in the area so we stuck it out. Around noon we managed to get a take down on a deep diver rig. After about a 10-minute fight, we got the fish to the boat. Nice 51” slot size tuna.

Capt. Dave Bitters of Baymen Guide Serice posted this on Thursday, Sept 29:

  • Daniel Putnam is excited with his 39" bass. Photo by Dave Bitters.

    15 Fish, Keeper Bass, Blues…WIND!!!

  • Onboard this morning I had Keith McDonald and friends for some LT fishing on the bay. At first light, the winds were howling out of the SW and they never let the entire morning. But they stayed steady and did not keep increasing, so we made the best of it and went hunting for bass and blues. First cast of the morning on Brown’s Bank—keepah! A nice bass hit a 4 1/2″  swimbait—on 45-pound wire leader! Blues were out and about, so we fished wire leaders the entire morning. We also picked up a few small bass off Long Beach in a foot of water.
  • Thank God I looked up bay at the right time and saw a big flock of gulls working about 1/2 mile away. The waters were very choppy, but the birds were working and we ran for them. We pulled into a small pod of solid medium blues knocking bait into air and tearing up the water. We rigged everyone out with topwater hard baits, poppers, and then back to soft-plastic shads. The blues hit poppers and shads about 50/50. The fish screamed off line and ran into the winds and that made for awesome fish fights on the LT.
  • A really cool thing happened: The winds were so strong they kept blowing us right up onto Captain’s Flat whenever we had a fish on. So I told my charters to jump off the boat, use the wind and waves to our advantage, and beach the blues on the sand right up to Captain’s Flat! This was great fun and once everyone got it down, it was automatic. A few photos of the guys beaching blues are on my site under the Baymen Reports.
  • We wrapped up the morning with about 15 fish total, 3 of them bass, including a fat keeper, and the rest were solid blues. It was a great morning and a nice turnaround from yesterday. I’ll leave you with some of my tried and true sayings: “Every Day Is Different, And No Two Tides Are The Same” and “You Never Know, If You Never Go.”

Cape Cod Bay

  • Wind, wind, and more wind have made things very tough for the tuna crowd. Fish have been sighted and hooked, but the awesome fall that everyone had hoped for has failed to materialize. Still a good month left, though.

Martha’s Vineyard

  • The Vineyard has yet to “light up” and winds have made things difficult, but there are some fish to be had. Bass fishing is still a night pursuit, especially for bigger fish. Eels are still the top bait, and Gay Head is the place to be.
  • Small blues are also available off many of the North Shore beaches, including plenty of “rats” to keep the kids happy.
  • Not much in the way of albies, but some pods of fish are still popping up around the Chops and in Vineyard Haven.

Buzzards Bay

Mark Falco, Outdoor Columnist with the New Bedford Standard Times, writes:

  • Big blues to 14 pounds are being taken in Padanaram Harbor near the bridge, presumably on pogies and chunks.
  • Wind has kept most boats off the water, so reports are lacking. Tautog are starting to fill in over shallow structure in the upper bay. Anglers who have made it out to Cleveland Ledge are reporting good ‘tog and scup fishing, with some sea bass mixed in.

Rhode Island

Narragansett Bay

  • Not a whole lot happening on top right now, save for some small blitzing bass. Rocky Point recently gave up some small stripers.
  • No bluefish blitzes reported, although some blues were taken off Barrington Beach one evening this week. Small blues are scattered throughout the Bay, but nothing huge.
  • Bottom fishing for scup is supposedly great around deep structure near the mouth of the Bay.

New New England Boating contributor Capt. Jim White reports:

  • “There are still bass inside the Bay still. You have to search for them. Guys are going out for boat rides looking for breaking fish. Not gonna happen.
  • “There are big bluefish in the bay as well, many into the mid-teens, but they are in deep water on the bottom. Sixteen-pound blues usually don’t bust the surface. You can get them with eels and fresh cut bait.
  • “Bonito were in the Sakonnet River and Mt. Hope Bay this past week. As far as I know the albies are still in the Narragansett area. What this storm will do is anybody’s guess though.
  • “Bottom fishing is off the charts, but some species are closed right now. I need a computer on my console to keep track of all the bag limits, sizes, seasons and dates.
  • “The fishing this fall is actually a lot better than it was last year at this time. Now it’s become a matter of weather and wind, and if you can even get out there. Unfortunately, the extended forecast looks like crap until maybe next Tues. or Wed.”


Arden at Saltwater Edge was commiserating over the terrible wind that has been making it so tough for anglers, although he said that there are fish around.

Blues have been available in the surf between windy bouts, and stripers as well.

  • The albies and bones are long gone, but could stage an October reappearance as they have in years past.

South County

  • Big blues and some bass have been patrolling the surf zone along the western beaches. Eels are the top bait right now. False dawn and nighttime are your best bets for solid action.
  • Report just in that Westerly has been producing bass over 30” at night on eels.

Block Island

  • Nonstop scup action reported by anglers fishing the rocky bottom all around the island, esp. the East Grounds and hard bottom on the south side.
  • Boats that have gotten out to Southwest Reef have found very good striper action this week, with most fish taken on wire line.
  • North Rip has been dead.


Watch Hill/Stonington

Mike Wade at Watch Hill Outfitters says:

  • A family shows off a big pike taken in a local pond. Photo by Mike Wade/Watch Hill Outfitters.

    The Pawcatuck River behind the shop is loaded with big bunker and big blues to 12 pounds. Snag a bunker and catch a gator blue: it’s that easy.

  • Mike also reports of some good albie fishing in the eastern Sound and up against the Stonington breakwall. Apparently some chaps from England were over for a visit and enjoyed some bloody good fishing. Albies are also occasionally popping up around Watch Hill Reef.
  • Stripers are available along East Beach and the reefs, with daylight being best. A 33” fish was weighed in recently, along with a 22-pounder that had a whole lobster in its stomach.

Saybrook/CT River:

Rivers End Tackle says the following:

  • Stripers have been taken on the local reefs (Crane, Hatchett) on eels at night, but not many people have been out lately because of the weather.
  • Loads of big blues are stationed in the river mouth and are being taken on chunks.
  • Albies and bones have been very scarce locally.

New Haven

Dee’s in New Haven says:

  • Aside from bluefish in the Sound and outside the river mouth, there isn’t a whole lot to report.
  • Most of the regulars were excited about the opening of blackfish season, but of course the weather won’t allow a trip for the next few days.

Western Sound

Rick Mola at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk says:

  • Bonito and albies are still a reliable option around the Norwalk Islands and out to Green Ledge. Cockenoe Island has been hot this fall.
  • Stripers up to 12 pounds are still being taken around 11B and Eatons Neck on diamond jigs. Jigs and chunks are also taking big bass off buoy 28C. Some topwater blitzes have been reported along the Westport shoreline.
  • Bass up to 33” are also being taken inside Norwalk Harbor, along with big blues on the incoming tides. Both topwaters and chunks are taking them.
  • Rick says everyone is gearing up for the start of blackfish season, which starts today.