Cape Cod Fishing: The Complete Guide

Video Cape Cod Fishing: The Complete Guide
Studying Time: 9 minutes

Stretching 65 miles out from the mainland into the ocean, it’s hardly a shock that Cape Cod’s fishing scene is up there with the most effective within the nation. Heck – it even has a fish species in its title! This peninsula boasts centuries of angling custom that some even say return so far as the Vikings. So with out additional ado, let’s get began.

A map of Cape Cod and its main towns

You’ll have to cross a productive fishery simply to get onto the cape – the Cape Cod Canal. Then, an entire world of fishing opens up. You’ll discover prized fish throughout Cape Cod, with 1000’s of anglers getting out on the water each day. There’s even the addition of some freshwater fishing grounds, as you possibly can see above.

What fish can I catch in Cape Cod?

An infographic showing the different fish you can catch fishing in Cape Cod, including Striped Bass, Haddock, Cod, Bluefish, Bluefin Tuna, Sharks, and other saltwater and freshwater species.

The listing of fish you possibly can catch in Cape Cod is nearly limitless. Hit the sounds, bays, flats, and even head out into the Atlantic, and also you’re certain to catch what you need. Among the most scrumptious fish on the East Coast and loads of prized recreation fish name these waters dwelling, so put together to get your fish on!

Cod and Haddock

There was no manner we might begin a piece on Cape Cod’s fishing targets with out mentioning its eponymous fish. Cod, together with its just-as-tasty cousin Haddock, might be discovered aplenty off the shores of the Massachusetts coast. Nevertheless, you’ll be restricted within the north of the Cape from catching Cod many of the yr.

A group of anglers at the dock holding their catch of Haddock after a successful Cape Cod fishing adventure

From Nova Scotia to Norway, these are two of essentially the most sought-after creatures within the North Atlantic, and for good purpose too. Their chicken makes for all types of scrumptious seafood dishes. One of the best half about focusing on these fish in Cape Cod, nonetheless, is which you can go after them year-round. Head offshore from January by way of December and get your fill of fish to take dwelling.

Striped Bass

Simply as we couldn’t miss Cod, Striped Bass is one other must-have on the listing of Cape Cod fishing prizes. This East Coast favourite is the state saltwater fish of all of Massachusetts’ neighboring states. It stays the primary goal for many anglers, even in “The Bay State.”

A man holding a Striped Bass caught while fishing in Cape Cod

Regardless of falling sufferer to overfishing within the mid-Twentieth century, this inhabitants has been recovering because of strict rules lately. Most anglers desire to catch and launch them for that goal. Nevertheless, you possibly can nonetheless take one dwelling to benefit from the fruits of your labor.

Come Might by way of October to focus on these beauties in Cape Cod, with the bays and the canal providing loads of angling alternatives. Whether or not gradual trolling within the deeper waters or fly fishing from shore, you’re in for an unbelievable struggle!


The Bluefish is commonly neglected in favor of some extra frequent desk fare. However, fortunately, Cape Cod fishing execs respect this hungry critter for precisely what it’s. They’re good fighters and really keen biters, keen to go after all types of bait.

A Bluefish being held on the water after being caught in Cape Cod

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Whether or not you’re a newbie in search of your first catch, or a eager angler hoping to check your abilities, few different fish are as versatile. Hit the shallow waters of the flats and bays from Might by way of October, and also you’re certain to come back throughout loads of these beauties alongside Striped Bass, Flounder, and Scup.

Bluefin Tuna

If Cod and Haddock are the preferred fish within the North Atlantic, then Tuna should be the preferred worldwide. These creatures are sought-after in each ocean they usually provide up extra than simply award-winning costly meat. Come to Cape Cod in summer time and get your fill of those fish!

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A man sat aboard a boat holding a Bluefin Tuna caught while fishing out of Cape Cod

Prepare for motion, adrenaline, and unbelievable rewards if you goal Bluefin, the most important Tuna species. These warm-blooded fish thrive in Cape Cod’s chilly water. Typically, yow will discover them simply off the tip of the cape in summer time. Settle in for the struggle of your life, as you jig deep all the way down to entice the chew, and nearly get thrown overboard when the Bluefin takes your bait to the deep.


Whereas a Tuna struggle will keep within the thoughts perpetually, nothing fairly compares to battling it out with a Shark. The ocean’s greatest predator is harder than something you’ve ever examine. Hooking one in every of these beasts is a surefire strategy to get your pulse racing.

A man smoking a pipe holds a Shark atop an ice box caught while fishing out of Cape Cod

There are many Cape Cod fishing lovers who’re pleased to indicate you the ropes of fishing for Sharks, because of the quite a few species that come by all year long. Goal Porbeagle Sharks nearshore everytime you need, whereas Threshers come shut from June by way of October. Nevertheless, in the event you’re in search of the catch of a lifetime, peak summer time is the most effective time to go to Cape Cod. It’s if you’ll get to go after perilous Mako and Blue Sharks.

And Extra!

If that hasn’t whetted your urge for food for a Cape Cod fishing journey, you’ll be glad to know that the listing is way from over. There have been loads of different contenders for our shortlist above, however we merely couldn’t match all of them.

A man holding a Black Seabass caught while fishing in Cape Cod

The summer time and winter Flounder inhabitants means which you can just about goal these tasty creatures year-round. Black Seabass, Tautog, and Scup are all additionally accessible inshore. In the meantime, Pollock and Atlantic Mackerel add to the ever-growing menu of fish yow will discover offshore in Cape Cod, with Mahi Mahi and Wahoo displaying up within the deep, too!

How and The place to Go Fishing in Cape Cod

With so many creatures on provide, the subsequent query is, “How one can catch them?” Luckily, there are many skilled guides to take you out, together with a variety of hotspots so that you can search out by yourself.

Shore Fishing

A man fishing from shore in Dana Point. He is standing on a rocky outcrop and casting towards a kelp bed near the shoreline

When most individuals consider fishing, the very first thing they think about is sitting by the water with a lunchbox and wiling away the day. Effectively, if that sounds proper up your avenue, then Cape Cod’s fishing alternatives received’t disappoint.

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Cape Cod Canal is the preferred shore fishing vacation spot on the peninsula. This slim physique of water is good for casting into from shore. Loads of prized fish go near land as they make their manner from northside to south (and vice-versa). Whereas Sandwich’s Scusset Harbor, situated on the northern mouth of the canal, is at all times crowded with anglers, there are many different spots alongside the canal, too.

And that’s not all! Throughout the cape, you’ll discover a vary of seashores, inlets, and jetties that are perfect for establishing camp. Hit Dowses Seashore for the best-kept Scup fishing grounds, or Wellfleet’s White Crest Seashore the place you’ll discover breeding Stripers and loads of Bluefish. You may additionally be part of the sun-seeking vacationers on Previous Silver Seashore, and mix your angling journey with some bathing.

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Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing in the waters of Marathon, Florida

Fishing from a kayak is an ever-growing fad all all over the world, and Massachusetts isn’t any exception. A Cape Cod kayak fishing journey can show to be very fruitful, to not point out extremely enjoyable. Prepare for a exercise earlier than you even take into consideration fishing. You’ll use nothing however your energy to get to the candy spots, earlier than casting away.

In actual fact, a kayak might be the most effective mode of transport, relying on the place you wish to go. These mild vessels will maintain you afloat in even the shallowest of waters. They’re excellent for getting you to the flats and rocky bottoms – which is the place the fish like to cover! Rent one or deliver your personal, and set off looking for Seabass, Tautog, Scup, and even Bass, as you discover out the true which means of “working up an urge for food.”

Celebration Boat Fishing

A picture of a downeast part boat cutting across the waves of a bay on the East Coast

If you happen to’re on a price range or are alone and fancy some firm, Cape Cod occasion boat fishing is an effective way to get into it. In all main port cities, from Provincetown to Falmouth, you’ll discover giant vessels able to take you out to the bays. These boats come absolutely geared up with the whole lot you want for a productive day. All you’ll want to do is settle in and benefit from the trip.

Fashionable in all of the East Coast bays, occasion boat fishing presents one thing for everybody. Captains and tour guides can run journeys that embrace some sightseeing or whale awaiting the children, with others targeted on getting essentially the most out of the water. No matter you determine on, you’ll be sharing your expertise with like-minded people. Who is aware of? You would possibly even make a pal!

Constitution Fishing

A group of anglers returning to the dock in Dennis, Massachusetts, having aught some Striped Bass

There’s no higher strategy to uncover saltwater fishing than by boat, and constitution fishing on Cape Cod will get you to the spots that you just can’t entry by yourself or by kayak. They’ll even take you additional than any occasion boat might handle! Not solely that, however a personal constitution will see you reside the excessive life, as you head off to sea with simply your nearest and dearest, with the open ocean at your mercy.

Your skilled captain will know precisely the place to go to seek out the fish. You’ll be capable of combine it up and go after a variety of various creatures. If you happen to’re seeking to fish the center of Cape Cod Bay within the north, or the attractive Winery Sound within the south – a constitution is the one manner.

It goes with out saying that you just’ll want a constitution for a Cape Cod deep sea fishing journey. Head to the deep waters on the Stellwagen Financial institution and even additional offshore. There, you’ll get your fingers on scrumptious Cod and Halibut, together with the largest creatures the ocean has to supply.

Freshwater Fishing

An aerial view of Cape Cod

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Whereas Cape Cod’s fishing highlights undoubtedly lie in its entry to the ocean, there’s nonetheless the possibility for some freshwater favorites, too. Spanning 339 sq. miles, the world lends itself to all types of wildlife, with ponds and streams providing lots to the freshwater angler. When Striper season is over, many saltwater anglers head over to the ponds and lakes to get their fingers on another Bass species. These underdeveloped fishing grounds present an escape to nature, with Nickerson State Park providing up among the greatest spots.

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Hit up Higgins and Cliff Ponds for Smallmouth Bass, together with Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout. In the meantime, Flax Pond will provide up some beautiful Tiger Trout to your consumption too.

When is the most effective time to go fishing in Cape Cod?

An aerial photo of the Cape Cod hook.

We’ve already let that summer time is the most effective time to come back fishing on Cape Cod, with most fish on provide from Might by way of September. Nevertheless, there’s by no means actually a nasty time to come back. The year-round Haddock and Cod inhabitants implies that, in the event you’re capable of finding a dry, calm day, you possibly can even expertise a fruitful fishing journey in winter.

However, in the event you’re pondering of bringing the household alongside, why not mix your trip with another in style actions? Come within the following months and make the most of a variety of festivals, shows, and far more:

  • June: Whereas Stripers replenish the canal, Sandwichfest lights up its northern mouth, with food and drinks, music, and humanities and crafts. In the meantime. Dennis’ Clambake and Wellfleet’s Restaurant Week will mild up your palate.
  • August: With the children off college, the seashores of Cape Cod are calling your title. Mix a fishing journey with the Naukabout Music Competition or the Provincetown Carnival for some shade.
  • December: ‘Tis the season, so why not take advantage of it? Courageous the chilly and revel in Falmouth’s Vacation by the Sea or Chatham’s Christmas Stroll, together with a visit to land some warming meat.

Cape Cod Fishing Rules

An infographic featuring the Massachusetts state flag along with the text that says "Cape Cod fishing regulations what you need to know"

Earlier than embarking in your Cape Cod fishing frenzy, ensure you’re updated on the newest guidelines and rules. If you happen to’re saltwater fishing from a constitution or a celebration boat – you received’t want a license. Fish from shore, a kayak, or your personal vessel, although, and each angler over the age of 16 will want a license. Seize yours on-line, whereas these of you over 60 will be capable of apply for a free allow.

There’s some excellent news, nonetheless, for anglers from neighboring states. If you happen to maintain a New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Connecticut saltwater fishing license, then you possibly can fish these waters free of charge!

For freshwater anglers, you’ll want a license whichever manner you propose on fishing. This time, all anglers over the age of 15 might want to purchase a allow – though MA residents aged 15-17, or over 70, can get a free license. Get yours right here!

As at all times, there are many dimension and bag limits which are continuously in flux. Cape Cod’s fishing rules are so advanced that there are even completely different rules for north and south Cape Cod. Control MA’s newest limits right here, and ensure you’re fishing inside the regulation.

Why Cape Cod?

A view of Princetown looking towards the sea from the Pilgrim Monument

Cape Cod is undoubtedly one of many gems of the entire East Coast. With historical past courting again to colonial occasions, breathtaking coastlines, and unbelievable fishing, why would you wish to be anyplace else? Come fishing on this little piece of paradise and never solely will you get your fingers on some trophy fish, however you’ll head dwelling with far more.

Have you ever ever been fishing right here? How was your Cape Cod fishing expertise? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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