I was sitting around one day during the Winter of 2017, dreaming about the Spring Striper run, when I opened my email and there was a newsletter from Ryan Collins of My Fishing Cape Cod. I decided to reach out and ask him if there was anything I could do to contribute to the site. He immediately responded and asked if I would be interested in writing a quick start guide to fishing the Boston area. With pleasure I agreed.
I have decided to break my writing into three parts. Shore fishing, near shore (small boat) and offshore, going through the upgrades as I did in my years spent fishing the Boston area.
How I Grew Up Fishing Boston
My father's idea of saltwater fishing was taking my cousins and I to Castle Island in South Boston, on the worst day of Spring, with a box of Sea Worms to catch Skate. My Dad being from Wisconsin was an avid fresh water fisherman, but when it came to the ocean, well, that's another story...
Eventually my Dad found the deep sea fishing charter, "The Flounder Fleet" out of Dorchester, Which sparked my interest in saltwater fishing. A few Flounder later and I was "hooked." That year for Christmas I asked my Grandmother for a saltwater rod, which she was happy to provide. I think I was around 14 years old. I remember waiting all Spring for the Boston Herald to announce that the Spring run had begun, with Bluefish feeding at the Charles River Dam. Then it was off from Brighton on the Green line with tackle box and pole in hand, on way to the Science park MBTA stop, from where we could walk to the Charles River Dam. We casted plugs, poppers, soft plastics and chunk bait into schools of feeding Bass and Blues for hours on end and it was then I got my first case of "Fishing Fever."
The good fishing at the dam didn't last long into the season, so we had to start exploring other public transportation accessible areas of the Boston shoreline. Something a lot of people don't know is that the "Harbor Walk" provides many piers and excellent spots from shore to fish from including Deer Island in Winthrop which became one of my favorite and most productive spots.
The Spring Run
In the Spring when I start hearing news of fish being caught in the Cape Cod Canal I know its just a matter of weeks before we start seeing "Schoolies" in Boston.
Use bone colored SP Minnows , small soft plastics and poppers. Try the Charles
River Dam, Neponset River (Marina Bay, Quincy) Emelia Earhart Dam, Town River, Webb State Park and The Hingham Shipyard.
Fish arrive in mid to late May in rivers and estuaries.
The Ferry Service
Did you Know? Boston Harbor Cruises offers access to many of the Boston Harbor Islands, where fishing and camping are allowed.
There are ferry services from Boston, Quincy, Hingham and Winthrop to name a few. These ferries will take you to numerous Boston Harbor Islands
Spectacle, Peddocks, and Lovell's islands are my favorites to fish, because of the surrounding structure, ledges and channels within casting distance.
Info on ferry service can be found at:
Info on islands can be found at:
I carry a small plug bag with an assortment of baits and a cooler with some Clams and a couple frozen Mackerel. One thing I always have on hand is a small laminated Captain Seagulls fishing chart so I don't waste time at low tide showing up at new spots when there is no water.
I have 3 ten foot Okuma Solaris poles, I like them because they are light weight, relatively cheap and are a two piece rod so they travel well. Plus these rods can take a beating. One of them is set up with a Penn Battle 2 with 20lb moss green Power Pro braided line for casting lures. The other two are outfitted with Shimano Baitrunner 8000's with 30lb moss green Power Pro braid for chunk bait. While casting lures I like to drift a piece of Mackerel (no weight) and fish bottom with a weighted clam. The more bait you put out the better the chances right? For casting plugs I like to use a 50lb fluorocarbon leader directly attached to the braid. I use and Albright special for that line to line connection and I use a non slip loop for my lure connections so the baits swim naturally.
There are many helpful apps now for tides and knot tying, and I strongly recommend downloading a couple, you can never know too many knots.
For the chunk setups I also like the 50lb fluorocarbon, anywhere from a two to five foot leader, but with a 150lb barrel swivel instead of a direct line to line connection. I use a Palomar knot for the braid to swivel connection, and a cinch knot for the fluorocarbon to swivel and hook connections. For fishing Clams on the bottom, the only difference in the setup is a fishfinder rig above the swivel, with a two to eight ounce weight depending on current. If crabs are eating up the bait I will sometimes use a three way swivel with the weight tied on one end, with a one or two foot leader, and the hook on its own leader with an in line float. For hooks I like Gamakatsu circle hooks of assorted sizes. I like the Baitrunner reels because the Baitrunner feature is like free spool on a conventional reel with its own drag. I keep the Baitrunner open with minimal drag which allows the fish to run with the bait, giving you a little time to get to the pole before tightening up on the fish.
In the later months of the season and into Fall I use the same techniques and follow the fishing forecasts from On the water and The fisherman magazines. These forecasts are written by local bait shop owners and captains and are usually pretty spot on. If fishing the North Shore I always stop in Fishing Finatics Bait shop in Everett, and say hi to Pete, the inventor of 'The Deadly Santini Tube Lure." The bait is always fresh and Pete will give you help with where to fish.
When I fish my own neighborhood, Lisa at Fore river Bait and Tackle is my go to girl. there are even a few great fishing spots within footstep's of her shop. Also, Ronnie at The Sportsman's Den on Sea St. in Quincy is very knowledgeable and helpful.
Closer to Cape Cod one of the most popular spots on the South Shore is "Hull Gut" or Windmill point in Hull, for its deep drop off and currents. You will also find Pemberton Pier, home of Pemberton Bait and Snack Bar within footsteps from where you fish. This spot also offers spectacular views of the Harbor and Boston Lighthouse which is the oldest manned lighthouse in the country, and if you look directly across the channel you will see Peddocks Island "Shutter Island" Well, I hope this is enough to get you started fishing in and around Boston Harbor. Below are a few links I thought may be helpful. Check back for part two, and feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Capt. Sam Streubel.
Links (Click links below, links will open in new window)
Sportsman's Den Quincy: www.thesportsmansden.net
Fish Shimano: www.fishshimano.com
Okuma Fishing: www.okumafishing.com
On The Water Magazine: www.onthewater.com
Captain Seagulls charts: www.captainsegullscharts.com
Animated knots by Grog: www.animatedknots.com
Boat Ma, Tides: www.boatma.com/tides