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Dennis, MA: Nantucket's Golden Blue Nugget

Dennis, MA: Nantucket's Golden Blue Nugget
Published: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
Updated on: Monday, May 3rd, 2021

Home to around 14,000 locals, Dennis is a small but developing place found in Massachusetts’ Barnstable County. It is a famous seaside resort town with its world-class beaches located along Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay. Dennis comprises five villages: Dennis, Dennis Port, East Dennis, West Dennis, and South Dennis.

There's something for everyone in Dennis, MA. When you're done with the beaches and history, you can explore the trails for some outdoor recreation or check out the rich art scene there.

Known previously as the East Precinct, Dennis was first inhabited by Thomas Hawes, Antony Thatcher, and John Crowe in 1639 as part of Yarmouth. One and a half centuries later, it was separated from Yarmouth and incorporated as a town named after Rev. Josiah Dennis, its resident minister. If you want a piece of its history, his home has been refurbished and is now known as the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum.

Dennis is an exciting hub for anglers. It offers numerous fishing charters, making every fishing appointment productive and something to look forward to. So, the next time you drive by Massachusetts, make sure not to skip this town. Bring your fishing and camping gear to relish every ounce of satisfaction this thriving town could offer.

Dennis Fishing: A Dreamland for Anglers


Dennis encompasses Cape Cod, with Yarmouth to the west, Nantucket Sound to the south, Harwich to the southeast, Brewster to the northeast, and Cape Cod Bay to the north. Dennis is like a golden nugget surrounded by pristine waters and a silver coastline. Swan Pond River and Bass River, both carved in the southern glacial outwash, are formed by the waves from the Laurentide Ice Sheet of the Wisconsin glaciation.

Bodies of water teeming with fish basically circle Dennis. It is known for Chapin Memorial Beach, which has tidal flats and black sands. Dennis Port, named after the town’s first postmaster in 1850, is teeming with fish species waiting to be lured in. There is a beach named Cold Storage Road; the Quivet Creek marks its border on the east side. On the south side, it has the legendary Scargo Lake, which is shaped like a fish. There is West Dennis Beach and Kelly’s Pond on the western side. A fishing hamlet named South Village is located in the former, a favorite fishing spot for many anglers.

The most famous fishing tournament in Dennis is the Cape Cod Bass and Bluefish Tournament held during summer. This is held in Northside Marine at Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis in July. 

With its vast bodies of water, adrenaline-inducing fishing opportunities, Dennis offers the following local fish:

Striped bass, a game fish, offers great sport through catch and release fishing. This species is found in estuaries, bays, tide-rips, rees, inshore bars, and the whole coast surfs. Anglers find it great capturing this big fish using the following methods: using light to heavy tackle, boat-trolling, and casting from shore. The best baits and lures to keep this game going are herring, squid, eels, and seaworms, and spoons, spinners, plugs, and jigs, respectively. The striped bass’ cousin, which is probably tastier, is the black sea bass. Most of the population is found in the southern area of Cape Cod and Cape Cod Bay. This fish is usually found in wrecks, rocks, and reefs, so it is best to bottom fish them from a boat.

Bluefish have sharp teeth; they strike at anything. Catching them makes it risky but at the same time enjoyable for anglers. This species can be found in estuaries, bays, tide rips, and inshore bars. The biggest bluefish caught in Massachusetts set a record of 12 pounds.

The tautog is a slow-growing fish that migrates to inshore waters during spring and goes offshore during winter. Catching tautog requires conventional methods like medium action spinning and still-fishing from boats. An adult tautog can weigh up to 8 pounds; to catch this interesting fish, anglers use any kind of shellfish, clams, and crabs.

The squeteague, also known as weakfish, is very popular in Massachusetts during summer; interestingly, this species is usually found feeding alongside the Striped Bass. This fish can be caught using various baits and lures, including squid strips, eels, tinker mackerel, seaworms, shrimp, sand eel imitations, jigs, tubes, and bucktails. Anglers use the following methods and tackle to lure in the squeteague: trolling, casting from shore, chumming, drifting, still-fishing, and light to medium tackle.

Dennis boasts of two species of flounder: the winter flounder and the fluke. The former is primarily captured using still-fishing from breakwaters, bridges, jetties, piers, and boats. The fluke has a fierce fighting ability. This aggressive predator is a delicious fish primarily fished from Cape Cod Bay. This can be captured using casting, schum, trolling, and drift-fishing. Jigs, spinners, shrimp, squid, and minnows are the best lures and baits to utilize.


Top 10 Fish Species in Dennis, MA 

The top 10 fish you can catch in Dennis, MA are black sea bass, bluefish, scup, tautog, squeteague, fluke, bluefin, yellowfin, shortfin mako shark, and cod. 

Dennis, MA: Nantucket's Golden Blue Nugget Fish species
Cusk fish

Habitat: Offshore, Deepwater

Weight: 20 - 45 Pounds

Length: 36" - 47"

Black Sea Bass
Black Sea Bass fish

Habitat: Offshore, Onshore, Nearshore, Wreck, Reef

Weight: 2 - 9 Pounds

Length: 10" - 26"

Squeteague fish

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Shallows

Weight: 12 - 20 Pounds

Length: 14" - 39"

Striped Bass
Striped Bass fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore

Weight: 10 - 81 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

Bluefish fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Onshore

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 15" - 51"

Tautog  fish

Habitat: rocky outcrops, boulders, jetties

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 1" - 36"

Yellowfin Tuna 
Yellowfin Tuna  fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 40 - 150 Pounds

Length: 27" - 94"

Bluefin Tuna 
Bluefin Tuna  fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 200 - 600 Pounds

Length: 78" - 180"

Dennis: When to Go Fishing


Striped bass is the most sought-after species in Dennis. Nearshore anglers love this big fish known for its good taste. This can be caught from mid-April to October. Its cousin, the black sea bass, is available from May to September. 

The bluefish, on the other hand, is a ravenous species that is active from June to mid-October. Scup is pretty abundant from May to October. Tautog -- also known as “white chin”, “tog”, and “black fish” is highly open for fishing from April to November. 

The squeteague thrives best during summer, specifically from late June to September. The fast-swimming mackerel fall prey to many anglers from May to September.

Dennis is a good source of tunas, particularly the bluefin and yellowfin. These fish are usually available from June to October and are best caught by chumming and trolling.

Cod, which Dennis is very popular for, can be harvested all year round. Cusk, just like the Cod, can also be fished any time of the year.


Dennis: Where You Can Go After Your Fishing Adventure


1.Fishing Charters

This town in Massachusetts is a place with diverse fish species. To guide and help you reel in some of the best fish to target in Dennis, book any of the several fishing charters there. 


2. The Historic Vibe

Go to parks and libraries. The best perk it offers is its extensive resources, including the Dennis Historical Society collections. Despite it being seemingly antiquated, this library has a modern online database and several events such as art exhibits, programs, reading activities, book launches, academic lectures. 


3. Dennis on Screen

Dennis is a source of global talent; it cultivated many actors through its theaters.