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Cape Cod, MA Fishing: A Marine Biology Hotspot

Cape Cod, MA Fishing: A Marine Biology Hotspot
Published: Friday, February 26th, 2021
Updated on: Sunday, May 9th, 2021

Cape Cod is a fascinating geographic wonder in the northeastern side of the United States, a cape that extends into the Atlantic Ocean and is comprised of other small islands surrounding it. It is divided into four sections. The Upper Cape, which is the nearest area to the mainland, encompassing the towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich. The Mid Cape is composed of the towns of Dennis, Yarmouth, and Barnstable. And finally, the Lower and Outer Capes are where you will find Brewster, Orleans, Harwich, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Provincetown, and Truro.

Aside from its relaxed atmosphere, it is a marine biology and environmental science hotspot. Woods Hole is home to several scientific facilities, including the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Geological Survey.

Provincetown hosts some of the best weekend events and outdoor festivities in the Cape.  Artists and writers flock to Cape Cod for its inspiring atmosphere. Anglers, too, find Cape Cod’s towns a haven for many fishing opportunities, especially that it provides access to the Atlantic Ocean, the protected waters of Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound, and the Cape Cod Canal.

Cape Cod Fishing: A Must-Experience for All Anglers


Each of the four sections on the Cape offers various fishing experiences for anglers of all levels. At the Upper Cape, anglers will have access to the Cape Cod Canal, famous for its striped bass. The best spots to fish for this species, as well as bluefish and sea bass, are the Buzzards Bay Recreation Area and the Herring Run Recreation Area. Both areas are just a bike ride away from each other.

Over on Falmouth, anglers will enjoy fishing the waters of Buzzards Bay, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket sounds that surround it, especially on land. Check out the Megansett Harbor, a great spot for fly fishing and light tackle anglers. It has both a beach and a jetty from which you can catch bluefish and striped bass.

South Cape, located in Mashpee, gives you access to Nantucket Sound, where you can target plenty of scup, striped bass, and bluefish. Head south, and you will find Waquoit Bay to fish on a jetty or a boat.

Barnstable in Mid Cape is the largest of Cape Cod’s towns and offers the most diverse fishing experiences on the cape.  Situated between Cape Cod Bay and the Nantucket Sound, it is filled with great estuaries and harbors and bays and beaches with plenty of catch. If you can only visit one place here in Barnstable, Barnstable Harbor should be your priority. It’s pretty as a picture, and the fishing opportunities here are equally stunning. Shore fishing is great here during the spring, but come summertime, you can catch even more Spanish mackerel, false albacore, bonito, and needlefish.

The town of Dennis, another Mid Cape locale, is yet another fishing hotspot where you can catch fluke, scup, tautog, and Sea bass on the Cape Cod Bay. Anglers have access to the Atlantic Ocean via a Dennis Port fishing charter which can take you to the Stellwagen Bank. Here you can target mahi mahi and wahoo and bluefin tuna and some sharks.

If you want to try flats fishing and kayak fishing, Brewster in the Lower Cape is your town. You can fish the sand flats during low tide and weather permitting, or go hop on a boat and troll for a larger catch in the deeper waters. Kayak fishing on Paine’s Creek can be a tranquil fishing experience.

Over on Chatham, anglers can experience the best of fresh water and saltwater fishing on this side of Cape Cod. Here you can troll fish or surf cast for Cape Cod’s top 3, and if you’re a veteran angler, you will enjoy the waters of Georges Bank, which is home to more than a hundred species of fish, most notably the cod, haddock, and flounder. It is home to many sportfishing charters as well.

Wellfleet is yet another Cape Cod fishing spot that anglers love. Its prime fishing areas include the Billingsgate Shoal, which is popular for its trophy bass, the Herring River, and the flats of Lieutenant Island.

For more freshwater fishing opportunities, you will do well in Eastham’s Herring Pond. It’s 43 acres of clear water, where you can target a variety of trout, including brook, brown, rainbow, and tiger trout. You can also find both smallmouth and largemouth Bass here, as well as yellow and white perch, pumpkinseed, and chain pickerel.

Finally, Provincetown is a fantastic place to surf cast, though it is not as productive as it used to be. Though the whole coastline of the town is great, Wood End, Race Point, Herring Cove, and Long Point are particularly great spots. If you head further out into deeper parts of the water, you can catch Atlantic mackerel, sand eels, and herring here.

Cape Cod hosts a number of great fishing tournaments. The five-month Striper Cup is dedicated to the striped bass and gathers thousands of anglers from all over New England. The Cape Cod Bass & Blue Fish Tournament on East Dennis is a summer staple on the cape, and the BIG 3 Challenge, which is for the benefit of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program on Cape Cod. 


Top 10 Fish Species in Cape Cod, MA

The top 10 fish species to catch on Cape Cod are striped bass, tautog, bluefish, black sea bass, fluke, Spanish mackerel, bonito, false albacore, cod, and scup.

Cape Cod, MA Fishing: A Marine Biology Hotspot Fish species
Chain Pickerel
Chain Pickerel fish

Habitat: Lake, River, Pond, Bogs, Swamps

Weight: 3 - 5 Pounds

Length: 14" - 39"

Bluefish fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Onshore

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 15" - 51"

Atlantic Bonito 
Atlantic Bonito  fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Reef

Weight: 10 - 12 Pounds

Length: 8" - 36"

Spanish Mackerel
Spanish Mackerel fish

Habitat: offshore, onshore, nearshore

Weight: 8 - 120 Pounds

Length: 20" - 72"

Scup  fish

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Reef

Weight: 2 - 4 Pounds

Length: 10" - 18"

Atlantic Needlefish
Atlantic Needlefish fish

Habitat: Onshore, River, Nearshore, Offshore

Weight: 1 - 5 Pounds

Length: 23" - 27"

Tautog  fish

Habitat: rocky outcrops, boulders, jetties

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 1" - 36"

Sea Bass

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 2 - 9 Pounds

Length: 10" - 26"

Cape Cod Seasonal Fishing

Cape Cod is a great fishing destination all year round, but it is particularly fruitful from spring to fall. At the beginning of spring around April, yo