5 Best Striped Bass Fishing Spots in Massachusetts: Expert Guide

The Bay State offers an abundance of prime fishing locations to satisfy the adventurous spirit of seasoned anglers seeking new and exciting challenges or a novice looking to experience the …

The Bay State offers an abundance of prime fishing locations to satisfy the adventurous spirit of seasoned anglers seeking new and exciting challenges or a novice looking to experience the thrill of reeling in the iconic striped bass for the first time.

This expert guide will lead you through the pristine waters of Massachusetts, taking a closer look at some of the finest spots known for their teeming populations of striped bass. Come immerse yourself in the beautiful natural scenery while you work to land your next trophy bass on the east coast.

The Best 5 Striper Fishing Spots in MA

1. Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal Massachusetts Striped Bass

Overview

Located on Cape Cod, the Cape Cod Canal is an artificial waterway that connects both Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay. It is one of the best spots for recreational anglers to catch stripers and other game fish. 

This renowned saltwater fishing spot is almost always top of the list in the Cape Cod fishing reports and offers easy access along its banks for shore-based anglers to cast their lines.

The canal’s strong currents and deep channels attract large schools of striped bass during their migration, and you can expect to catch striped bass ranging from 20 to 50 pounds in this spot.

Best Techniques

For fishing in the Cape Cod Canal, one of the most effective techniques is to use live eels or chunk baits on a fishfinder rig.

Casting heavy metal jigs or soft plastic swimbaits into the swift-moving currents can yield fantastic results as well and is normally the option I see local anglers using.

Best Lures or Baits

Popular presentations for striped bass in this location include bucktail jigs, paddle tail swimbaits, and topwater plugs.

You can also try soft plastics during the early summer here since the bass will be eager to strike. Live eels are a top choice for bait anglers, but chunk baits like mackerel or menhaden also work well.

2. Wasque Point

Wasque Point Massachusetts Striped Bass

Overview

Situated on the southeastern end of Martha’s Vineyard, Wasque Point is a prime fishing destination with abundant striped bass populations

Accessible by foot or 4×4 vehicles with a permit, this very pretty location offers a mix of sandy beaches and rocky shorelines overlooking shallow bays and changing tides for some enjoyable striper fishing. 

Striped bass, often exceeding 40 inches, can be found here during the spring and fall migration as they move along the island’s coastline.

Best Techniques

Surfcasting is a favored technique at Wasque Point, allowing you to cast your lines into the rolling waves and hook up with some feeding fish.

To optimize your chances of landing a fish in the swift currents, use a fishfinder rig with fresh bait like squid or bunker since these are preferred by striped bass in this area.

Drifting live eels or herring can also be productive during evening hours and can be very successful close to shore as the water warms.

Best Lures or Baits

When using mid to large-size presentations, I would suggest focusing on using topwater plugs, poppers, or swimming plugs that mimic local baitfish, especially in the spring months.

If you prefer to do some bait fishing, use chunks of fresh-caught squid, mackerel, herring, and menhaden to get the best results, even if it’s your first striper experience.

3. Monomoy Island

Monomoy Island Massachusetts Striped Bass

Overview

Located off the coast of Chatham, Monomoy Island is a remote fishing spot accessible by canoe or kayak. The island boasts a diverse recreational fishery and is particularly famous for its fly fishing. 

During the spring and summer, striped bass and many other fish species will gather in the flats and shallows surrounding the island from the north shore to the south shore.

Best Techniques

For fly fishing enthusiasts, using Clouser Minnows, Deceiver patterns, and crab imitations can entice strikes from striped bass in the shallow waters.

Spin anglers can try casting soft plastic jerkbaits, swimbaits, and sand eel imitations to mimic the local prey the fish in this area are feeding on.

Best Lures or Baits

For fly fishing, Clouser Minnows in white/chartreuse or olive/white patterns work exceptionally well and are my go-to in this spot.

Spin anglers can get great results with soft plastic paddle tail swimbaits, weighted swim shads, or bucktail jigs tipped with squid or scented bait.

4. Great Point

Great Point Massachusetts Striped Bass

Overview

Situated at the northeastern tip of Nantucket Island, Great Point is a well-known striped bass fishing spot accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles with a permit. 

Its remote location and pristine beaches make it a favorite spot for anglers seeking larger striped bass, with fish often ranging from 30 to 50 pounds.

Best Techniques

Surfcasting is the go-to technique here, allowing anglers to target striped bass as they follow schools of baitfish along the shore.

Break out your fishfinder rigs or use sliding sinker rigs with fresh bait like squid, bunker, or sea clams for the best results and fastest strikes from early May all the way into the late summer months.

Best Lures or Baits

Large soft plastic swimbaits, metal jigs, and pencil poppers are effective presentations to cast into the waves for enticing strikes.

When using bait, fresh or frozen squid, bunker, and clams are going to get the most attention from late April spring to late September, especially during high tide.

5. Parker River Wildlife Refuge

Parker River Wildlife Reserve Massachusetts Striped Bass

Overview

Situated along the northern coast of Massachusetts, Plum Island’s Parker River Wildlife Refuge offers an array of angling opportunities, including excellent chances to catch striped bass.

The refuge features various access points, with the southern beaches being particularly popular when surfcasting for stripers.

Best Techniques

Surfcasting with bait such as live eels, mackerel, or chunk baits on fishfinder rigs is a productive technique at Plum Island.

Casting swimbaits or topwaters from the shoreline during low-light conditions can yield impressive results too.

Best Lures or Baits

For presentations, soft plastic swimbaits, topwater plugs, and metal jigs are very popular and effective choices.

When using bait, live eels and fresh chunk baits like mackerel or menhaden are preferred by the bass fish in this area.

Best Times to Catch MA Stripers

From April to mid-May or June in the spring, as the water temperatures rise, striped bass and other fish are making their way up the coast after a long winter.

As we move into the warmer months of July and August, things in Massachusetts are still looking pretty good when it comes to striper fish action.

From September to November, all throughout New England, striped bass fishing is off the charts! This is what a true Massachusetts angler will call “the fall run,” and it’s when massive schools of striped bass migrate south to be easily caught.

As we move into the winter in Massachusetts, the water will be cooling down, but the striped bass and other fish are still active, and you can find them hanging out in deeper waters or near warm water discharges like power plants feeding on herring and bluefish periodically until spring. 

How To Catch More Stripers in the Surf

Massachusetts Striped Bass

Choose the Right Gear

To tackle the surf in Massachusetts, all recreational anglers will need the right gear. Go for a sturdy surfcasting rod, typically between 9 to 11 feet in length, matched with a durable spinning reel that is made to handle saltwater conditions with a good drag system to hold up to the power of a striper caught in the surf. 

Use the Right Presentation

Striped bass love to feast on baitfish like bunker, mackerel, and sand eels, so try using realistic-looking lures that mimic these prey. Poppers, swimming plugs, soft plastic jerkbaits, and bucktail jigs are all effective choices for catching stripers too.

Master Your Casting

Casting is a crucial skill in surf fishing, so don’t be afraid to spend time practicing different casting techniques, such as the overhead cast and the sidearm cast, to increase your accuracy and distance in marine fisheries along the coast.

Read the Water

Striped bass and other ocean fish like to hang out in areas with structure since they can find food and shelter in these areas. Look for sandbars, rocky outcrops, jetties, and troughs in the surf since these are prime spots where stripers are likely to gather.

Time it Right

Early mornings and late afternoons into the evenings are generally the best times for surfcasting. Striped bass are more active during low-light conditions and may come closer to shore to feed when it’s overcast or foggy.

Stay Stealthy

Striped bass have sharp senses, and they can be easily spooked. Keep a low profile and avoid making unnecessary noise when possible. Wear clothing that blends with the surroundings, and don’t cast shadows over the water.

Be Patient and Persistent

Surfcasting for stripers in marine fisheries requires patience and persistence. It’s not uncommon to experience slow periods between bites, even when the fish are normally voracious and aggressive.

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AUTHOR
Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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