Fishing Mattapoisett, Massachusetts

Local angler Jonathan Craig displays a big blue taken on a live pogy in Mattapoisett Harbor. Photo by ##http://newenglandboating.com/author/tom## Tom Richardson##

The waters off Mattapoisett offer some very good fishing with a variety of species, most notably striped bass, which typically arrive in early May. School bass and some larger fish can be taken inside the Mattapoisett River in May as they follow silversides and migrating herring upstream. Soft-plastics, poppers and jigs all work inside the river at this time. Early morning generally brings the best fishing.

In June, the fish tend to take up station around the rockpiles and points in deeper water. Tossing plugs, flies and soft-plastics around the rocks off Ned’s Point and Angelica Point is a great way to score at this time. The rocks of Mattapoisett Ledge, Ram Island and nearby Cormorant Point also hold fish. Just be sure you have enough water in these bony areas.

Buzzards Bay also holds some enormous scup in June. These fish can reach “dinner plate” proportions…

Bluefish invade the local waters in mid-May, and can be taken on topwaters under working birds. If the fish aren’t visible on top, try tossing pencil poppers and chuggers along the western shore of Angelica Point and around Ned’s Point. A rising tide usually produces more fish. Trolling swimming plugs along Angelica Point and out to buoy RN “2” will also pick up fish. The rocky bottom off Nye Ledge is another good place to troll up a blue.

Of course, if adult menhaden (pogies) show up inside the harbor, all bets are off. Huge bass and blues can both be taken right around the pogy schools as long as the bait sticks around. Look for the big baitfish flipping on the surface and snag them with a weighted treble hook. Re-rig them on a single and send them back in to swim around the schools. You’ll know soon enough if the predators are present. Fishing chunks of fresh menhaden in deep holes in the harbor can also be very effective.

Another early-season favorite is black sea bass. Sea bass can be found almost anywhere inside the upper bay from late May through June, but top spots include areas of hard bottom off Angelica Point, Nye Ledge and Cleveland Ledge. All you need to score is a 2- to 4-ounce bucktail jig sweetened with a strip of squid. Hop it off the bottom as you drift along and you should be all set.

Tautog are also available over shallow rockpiles in the upper bay at this same time. Anchor carefully over structure in 10 to 20 feet of water and send down a green crab. The ‘tog and sea bass clear out as the waters warm in late June, but return in October and November. Fall ‘tog fishing can be spectacular in the bay, with many fish being taken in 10 to 20 feet of water over spots like the Bow Bells and Nye Ledge. The action typically lasts until Thanksgiving.

Buzzards Bay also holds some enormous scup in June. These fish can reach “dinner plate” proportions, and you’ll find them over virtually any type of rocky structure in 10 to 30 feet of water. All you need to catch them is a simple bottom rig and some pieces of squid, clam or seaworm. Great fun for kids.

Summer fishing can be very slow inside the bay, which is why most serious fishermen head for the islands at this time or fish at night. Many big stripers can be taken through the summer on live eels and slow-trolled tube lures along the Sound side of the Elizabeth Islands, especially at night or false dawn. Chunking can also produce at the islands and in the various holes (Robinsons, Quicks) during the daylight hours.

Fluke can be caught inside Buzzards Bay, particularly in June before the water temps get too high. You can still find fish in the bay into July, but you’ll have to put your time in and work the edges of structure, such as Nye Ledge. Live bait works well when targeting these lone summer doormats. For faster action with fluke, you’ll do better by drifting the shoals in Vineyard Sound.

Come late August, false albacore and bonito often move into the bay, although some years the fishing can be poor to non-existent. You never know when or where the “funny fish” will pop up, but if you encounter some slashing surface action, be ready to throw out a white 4” Slug-Go or small metal lure.

Bait & Tackle

  • M&D’s, Wareham (508-291-0820)
  • CMS Enterprises, Fairhaven (508-995-2372)

Charters

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.

Exemptions:

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