Fishing Hyannis, MA

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—two tasty and kid-friendly species that can be found close to shore.

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 four-inch 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.

Sea bass, in particular, are so abundant that you’re likely to find them over any rocky area or shoal in Nantucket Sound, according to Capt. Joe Huckemeyer, owner of the Helen H Deep Sea party- and charter-boat fleet, based in Hyannis Harbor. “The southern portion of the Bishop and Clerks—a string of rocks three to four 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.”

The best action takes place from mid-May through early July, although you can still find plenty of smaller fish throughout summer. 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 two- to four-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 one- to two-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.

In fall, false albacore, bonito, and occasionally Spanish and king mackerel spice up the inshore action. These fish all fight hard, and will take a variety of flashy spoons and plugs, as well as soft-plastics. Fly fishermen also score by matching the prevailing forage fish.

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


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