BEST HARBOR – 12 Spots Around Buzzards Bay for Spring Striper Fishing

BUZZARDS BAY – As the waters of Buzzards Bay slowly begin to warm, we’re all starting to think about a fun-filled summer of swimming, boating, and paddling. But for local anglers, the fun is already starting! In April and May, striped bass begin to return to our shores – and so do the fishermen and women who love to catch them. If you want to try your hand at catching a striper, tautog, or scup this spring, read on for some tips on where to go and what you’ll find!

Why is spring such a great time for fishing in Buzzards Bay?

After spending a long winter in the Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, and North Carolina, stripers begin to migrate up the East Coast once water temperatures warm in spring. They follow the food as they swim north, gobbling up smaller forage fish such as river herring, shad, and menhaden. The first big schools of striped bass usually begin migrating through Buzzards Bay around mid-May – where anglers await their first big catch of the year.

In late April, schools of juveniles (called “schoolies”) are usually the earliest stripers to reach Buzzards Bay’s shores. Schoolies are on the hunt for river herring that are heading upstream this time of year, so they’re often found where harbors, coves, and estuaries meet the Bay.

Stripers are Buzzards Bay’s most prized and popular sportfish. But they’re not the only fish you might catch around here in spring:

  • Tautog usually start running around April, moving into estuaries and rivers when water temperatures rise. Look for tautog in rocky areas such as jetties, bridges, reefs, and ledges.
  • Small, plentiful scup are a favorite catch for new anglers because they’re fun and easy to catch. You can fish for scup from most piers and boats around Buzzards Bay starting in May.
  • Black sea bass season opens May 21 this year. You’ll find these striking blue-black fish in similar areas as tautog and scup: around bottom structures like rocks, reefs, and wrecks.
  • Ravenous schools of bluefish are more common in summer and fall, but you can sometimes catch some big blues starting in late May.
  • Buzzards Bay is home to summer flounder, more commonly called “fluke.” Search for these flat bottom-dwellers in shallow bays and estuaries over sandy or muddy bottoms.