Hook ‘Em off Hingham

Winter flounder like this are making a resurgeance on the South Shore. Photo by ##http://newenglandboating.com/author/tom## Tom Richardson##

Hingham-area fishing action kicks off in late May (weather permitting) with a run of winter flounder that seems to be improving with each season. It’s nothing like the boom days of the 1960s and ’70s, but good numbers of keeper-size blackbacks can be taken over mud-bottom areas in 12 to 20 feet of water. And some of these fish measure over 21 inhces! Seaworms are the best bait, and hotspots include the flat, mud bottom off Peddocks and Rainsford Islands, as well as nearby Quincy Bay.

Striped bass also arrive in May, with schoolies flooding into Hingham Harbor as water temperatures climb into the upper 50s. The best action at this time occurs in the local rivers and creeks, especially on an afternoon dropping tide. Seek out areas with structure (rocks, pilings) and good current flow, where the bass wait to ambush a meal. In June the fish spread out along the many islands in and around Hingham Bay and Boston Harbor. For anglers who want to toss poppers and flies for schoolies, the area just outside the Hingham Yacht Club is a good bet. The flats and channel edges here hold lots of fish. Also, the rocks along World’s End and those off Langlee Island will hold fish.

Dawn is the best time to take a big fish on flies and topwaters around the rocks.

Bigger bass arrive in early to mid-June, taking up station around rocky outcroppings, river mouths and steep drop-offs. Dawn is the best time to take a big fish on flies and topwaters around the rocks. Later in the day, deeper areas like Hull Gut and the edges of Bumkin Shoal may produce for anglers who like to troll tube lures or drift live baits. Good fishing can also be had around the mouths of the Weir, Weymouth and Fore Rivers, especially if big schools of pogies (menhaden) are present. As midsummer approaches, trolling tube lures and umbrella rigs on wire line along the deep, rocky structure off Stony Beach and Point Allerton, as well as the ledges off Nantasket Beach, can yield action with big stripers. Many anglers also do well by anchoring and chunking with fresh pogies or mackerel in 15 to 30 feet of water in areas of good current flow and bottom structure.

Bluefish show up in June and can be taken in many of the same spots as stripers, but you can also find them busting bait on the surface, especially in the early summer and fall. In previous years, good numbers of blues taken on the Hingham Bay flats, on both lures and chunk baits. Trolling a deep-diving plug off Graves Light and around the “B” buoy is another good way to bag a slammer blue during the midsummer months if nothing is going on inshore.

If it’s tuna action you seek, head for Stellwagen Bank, which is a relatively short run from Boston Harbor. The best bet is to be on the bank at first light, when the tuna usually feed near the surface. Trolling squid bars and daisy chains seems to works best at dawn and slack tide. Drifting live pogies or mackerel on the bank or in areas where tuna are showing can be a dynamite tactic as well, as can deep-jigging with big Ron-Z lures and butterfly jigs.

Mackerel are one more option, and a great one for kids. Macks can be found off the outer harbor islands, particularly Graves Light. You can easily catch them on Sabiki rigs or on light spinning or fly gear. Use small metal lures and flashy flies to score.

Bait & Tackle:

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