Massachusetts USA

Destination Information
 

Striped bass are rarely found more than several miles from the shoreline. Anglers usually catch stripers in river mouths, in small, shallow bays and estuaries, and along rocky shorelines and sandy beaches. The striped bass is a schooling species, moving about in small groups during the first two years of life, and thereafter feeding and migrating in large schools. Only females exceeding 30 pounds show any tendency to be solitary. Schools of striped bass less than three years of age (sometimes called “schoolies” by anglers) occasionally travel from upstream into rivers such as the Hudson, Connecticut and Merrimac. Although adult striped bass move into rivers to reproduce, fish less than three years old probably make such journeys to take advantage of a river’s abundant food resources. Striped bass normally do not migrate during the first two years of life. However, adult stripers generally migrate northward in the spring and summer months and return south in the fall. Individuals that hatch in the Hudson River generally do not migrate beyond Cape Cod to the North and Cape May to the south. Fish hatched in the Chesapeake Bay exhibit more extensive Migrations, some being captured as far north as the Bay of Fundy in coastal Canada. Stripers are strictly spring to fall transients in Massachusetts. Only a few fish inhabiting coastal Massachusetts waters in the summer have been known to overwinter in the mouths of southern New England streams. Some stripers frequenting coastal Massachusetts in the summer will overwinter in the mouth of the Hudson River, while many spend winter along the New Jersey coast in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Stripers reproduced in rivers and the brackish areas of estuaries. Spawning occurs from the spring to early summer, with the greatest activity occurring when the water warms to about 65 degrees F. The eggs drift in currents until they hatch 1 ½ to 3 days after being fertilized. Because newly hatched larvae are nearly helpless; striped bass suffer their highest rate of natural mortality during the several weeks after hatching. The major spawning activity for the entire East Coast fishery occurs in the Hudson River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Roanoke River-Albermarle Sound watershed. Striped bass are most abundant in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states following year when reproduction in the Chesapeake Bay has been particularly successful, suggesting that much of the East Coast is strongly dependent upon the success of spawning in that one watershed. Striped bass eat a variety of foods, including fish such as alewives, flounder, sea herring, menhaden, mummichogs, sand lance, silver hake, tomcod, smelt, silversides, and eels, as well as lobsters, crabs, soft clams, small mussels, annelids (sea worms), and squid. They feed most actively at dusk to dawn, although some feeding occurs throughout the day. During midsummer they tend to become more nocturnal. Stripers are particularly active with tidal and current flows and in the wash of breaking waves along the shore, where, fish, crabs, and clams become easy prey as they are tossed about in turbulent water.

Species & Tactics

Striped Bass

The Striped Bass, or "striper," are one of the most avidly pursued of all coastal sport fish. They are highly prized for their size, battle on the line and culinary merit. Stripers are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America from the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of Mexico to approximately Louisiana. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. Striped bass spawn in freshwater and although they have been successfully adapted to freshwater habitat, they naturally spend their adult lives in saltwater. Stripers can live up to 40 years and can reach weights greater than 100 lbs., although those larger than 50 lbs. are rare. Females reach significantly greater sizes than do males; most stripers over 30 lbs. are female. Males reach sexual maturity at two or three years of age, however, females will not mature before the age of four and some not until the age of six.

MORE ON Striped Bass >

Spinner Shark (& other shark species)

One of the best kept secrets in all of salt water fly fishing is the Spinner Shark migration in late winter through early spring in. It happens in a place where you least expect it...West Palm & Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Really, we aren't kidding. This is spring break for sharks. They migrate to the beaches off of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach chasing fish (snook, blues and false albacore & other tuna species) that are breeding & feeding in the surf or just beyond the surf. You can sight fish for a 100+ lb. powerhouse in just 8 feet of water. Flyfishbonehead had so much fun that we went out twice in 2012, hooked 9 and landed 5 on our first trip and landed 5 of 6 on the second. Considering the fight and how hard it is to subdue this beast that was pretty darn good.

MORE ON Spinner Shark (& other shark species) >

Marlin

There is no fight like the fight of a Marlin. This is the prized fish of most saltwater anglers all over the world. They span almost all of the waters of the globe and can be caught by a variety of methods at various times of year in many diverse places. Marlin fishing is considered by some game fishermen to be the pinnacle of offshore game fish, due to their power, size and the relative rareness. It is an expensive hobby, requiring considerable money to pursue on a regular basis, single day of Marlin fishing can cost over $1000. They are possibly the most well-known fish in the entire world which probably accounts for millions of dollars in commerce spent hunting them. The novel by Ernest Hemingway, "The Old Man and the Sea" chronicles the struggle of a Marlin fisherman who after 85 days of failure, ventures out to sea to change his luck and catch a Marlin. Hemmingway frequently fished for Marlin, quite successfully with his family. The Marlin is the largest of the billfish and comes in many variations: Pacific Black Marlin Pacific Blue Marlin Atlantic Blue Marlin White Marlin Striped Marlin

MORE ON Marlin >

Mahi Mahi

Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) (aka Dorado, Dolphin, Lampuga, Lampuki, Lapuki, Maveriko) If you're interested in catching super-strong, beautiful, not-too-choosy, leaping fish, here ya go. These are the saltwater equivalents of bluegills, except they jump, and they get big. Like as big as your aging retriever. The common English name "dolphin" causes much confusion and lots of hand-wringing. Let's be clear: this fish is not related to the marine mammal also known as dolphin (family Delphinidae).

MORE ON Mahi Mahi >

Tuna

General Information If not already fishing for tuna on the fly, we'll just ask....Why not? This is a serious Saltwater fly fisherman's target. It's big, hits your fly at 40 mph (75 kph) and is found in just about every fishing destination you could possibly think of. Tuna are incredibly beautiful and powerful predators that come is many many different flavors too: Bluefin, Blackfin, Yellowfin, Bigeye, Longtail, Dogtooth

MORE ON Tuna >
What To Bring
 

Striped Bass

Stripers usually require a 10 -12 weight. Most anglers prefer a 12 weight for the lifting power and usually gives the angler more control when trying to land the fish. Wind is usually not an issue when casting a 12 weight. Many will use a tyable metal tippet in case bluefish are encountered, a 15 lb should do just fine. Use a floating line or what we prefer is the intermediate sink line with at least 300 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9-12 feet with at least a 20 lb tippet. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which simply means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

Most baitfish patterns will work for stipers Try eel patterns, surf candies, & ultra shrimp too

Billfish: Marlin, Sailfish

Offshore fishing for billfish & tuna usually involves a 12 -15 weight. Here you will have a chance at blue & white Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi-mahi & Tuna. We prefer a 14 weight and there are some which even have a butt suitable for gimbel use. Again because we are all about control of the fish and landing the fish quickly which decreases mortality and injury after release. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

We like baitfish, poppers & squid (EP flex calmari) Best are blue & white, pink & white, green & white

Marlin & sailfish flies - flyfishbonehead fly tying videos

Tuna

Offshore fishing for billfish & tuna usually involves a 12 -15 weight. Here you will have a chance at blue & white Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi-mahi & Tuna. We prefer a 14 weight and there are some which even have a butt suitable for gimbel use. Again because we are all about control of the fish and landing the fish quickly which decreases mortality and injury after release. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

Small minnow patterns like surf candy, DNA minnows Eat Me in blues & greens, click the link for more.

tuna flies - flyfishbonehead fly tying videos

Shark

Shark usually require a 12 weight. A 12 for the lifting power and usually gives the angler more control when trying to land the fish bacause they fight. Use a floating linewith at least 300 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 6-9 feet with a metal tippet material. (we use 30-60 lb metal tippet) The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

Great Pumpkin Baitfish


Preferred Guides
Lodges
tail fly fishing magazine