Duxbury Bay and the surrounding waters offer excellent fishing, particularly from mid-May through late June, when striped bass invade the bay en force. This is a great time to find the fish feeding under big flocks of birds. Flies (try the Bayman Special, Clouser Minnow and Gurgler) and a variety of poppers and soft-plastics can work very well at this time.
Once the fish move into the bay, they often take up residence around structure, such as oyster bars, rocky points and eelgrass beds.
If big pogies (menhaden) show up inside the bay (look for them in the channel leading to Snug Harbor), they can be put to good use by fishing them live or as chunks in the main channel, out by Bug Light, in the Potato Hole (off the northern end of Clarks Island) and off Gurnet Point.
Stellwagen Bank is just 20 to 25 miles east of Duxbury and Plymouth. Decent action with both cod, hake and haddock can be had in 90 feet of water on the southern end of the bank in April and early May.
If you hanker for some quiet, scenic sport, school bass can be taken on soft-plastics and flies inside the many creeks feeding into the bay. These backwater spots usually fish best in the early summer and again in the fall, as well as at night. It’s a great opportunity for kayakers and skiff anglers to get in on the action.
As the water warms inside Duxbury Bay, the bigger bass tend to move out to the ocean waters. Trolling tube-and-worm combos along channel edges or close to deep, rocky structure on leadcore or wire line is a proven method. These same spots are also good places to drift chunks or live baits, including eels and mackerel. The latter can often be jigged up over structure just outside the harbor.
Another excellent spot for big bass is Gurnet Point, which has plenty of rocks to hold the fish. However, boaters need to use caution here when a swell is running. The Gurnet is a good place to throw plugs and large flies, especially in the early morning. Chunkers and eel fishermen also score here, as do skillful trollers who are able to avoid the maze of lobster pots.
A little north of The Gurnet, High Pine Ledge is another great place to find stripers. Again, the abundance of lobster gear here poses a problem for trollers, but bait fishermen can usually work between the buoys. The top of the ledge comes to within a few feet of the surface, providing a perfect target for early-morning plugcasters and fly fishermen, as long as the water is calm enough to get in close to the structure.
Trolling parachute jigs, swimming plugs and tube-and-worm combos on wire line off Plymouth Beach can also be productive. The pros focus on the 20’ to 30’ contour lines and scattered kelp beds and ledges, keeping their tubes as close to the bottom as possible and trolling no faster than 3 knots.
Bluefish can also be taken on trolled tubes and jigs, although the fish tend to come and go, and rarely seem to move deep into the bay system. A few days of easterly wind seem to push the choppers close to shore along the Duxbury/Plymouth outer beaches. Once the wind shifts back to the southwest, the blues move to the Cape Cod side. Good spots to look for blues following 2 or 3 days of east wind include Duxbury Beach, Plymouth Beach and Mary Ann Rocks. Of course, you may also encounter bluefish in open water at any time. If you see a group of birds ganged up, get there fast and toss some topwaters into the frenzy.
Fluke (summer flounder) are yet another inshore option. These good-eating flatfish can be caught by drifting jigs and bait (squid strips work great) along the edge of “guzzles” (small channels) between sand flats on an outgoing tide. The Powder Point Bridge is a great spot to find fluke, although you may end up catching a lot of shorts. The bridge fishes best on an outgoing tide.
For those who seek offshore sport, Stellwagen Bank is just 20 to 25 miles east of Duxbury and Plymouth. Decent action with both cod, hake and haddock can be had in 90′ of water on the southern end of the bank in April and early May. After that, the best fishing occurs in deeper water (240’ to 300’) east of the bank and continues through the summer months.
If you can get the numbers to some wrecks and ledges in 200’ to 250’ of water, you may be able to score a mixed bag of cod, winter flounder, seabass, cunner and tautog closer to shore. Closer still, the structure in 60’ to 100’ of water are likely to hold some large striped bass and bluefish during the summer. Pinpointing these tiny fish havens is the hard part, and it requires a detailed chart, an accurate GPS and a good color depthsounder.
Duxbury fishermen can make the relatively short run to Stellwagen to tangle with bluefin tuna and sharks beginning in late June or early July. While you never know exactly where the tuna will show, the southwest and southeast corners of the bank have been consistent producers over the years. Keep your ear to the ground on a daily basis to locate the hot spots.
Blue sharks and the occasional mako or thresher visit the eastern edges of bank from July through September. The trick is to set up a chum line and drift baits under balloon floats. Sometimes the “blue dogs” can be so thick that you can even fly-fish for them.
Bait & Tackle
- Belsan Bait & Tackle (Scituate) (781-545-9400)
- Fisherman’s Outfitters (Plymouth) (800-500-TUNA or 781-834-3750)
State License Requirements; Catch & Size Limits
Related Video: Capt. Dave Bitters: Duxbury Bayman