Provincetown, MA Fishing: Rich History and Fishing Adventures

Provincetown, MA Fishing: Rich History and Fishing Adventures
Published: Wednesday, March 10th, 2021
Updated on: Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Provincetown lies at the northernmost point of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It is a place known for its rich history and aquatic resources.  Anglers looking to visit this coastal town won’t be disappointed because of the variety of fish available in the area. Aside from the cod from which the Cape got its name, there are also other prized fish such as tuna and even sharks

Located in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, Provincetown sits between the Atlantic ocean in the east and Cape Cod in the west. Provincetown is also famous as the site of the Mayflower landing in 1620. Since its inception, Provincetown has been a home for artists, writers, and anglers. Today, the town is still famous for the same reasons --  a place for artists to express themselves and for anglers looking for a big catch.  

Aside from its historical significance, Provincetown offers a wonderful shopping experience for visitors who want a souvenir during their trip. The town also provides opportunities to observe the many unique animals that visit the town and its waters. If you’re more historically inclined, you can also visit the various museums preserving Provincetown’s past. There’s so much to see and do in Provincetown that it’ll take more than a single day to experience them all.   

Fishing In Provincetown

Being situated between two great bodies of water ensures that anglers will enjoy fishing in Provincetown. Located at the very tip of Cape Cod, it has been a perfect deep-water harbor for ships and anglers throughout the centuries. 

Fishing here can be done either through the beach, where you can do surf casting, or on chartered boats and party boats. The town, predictably, allows anglers to catch both cod and its cousin, the haddock, as well as striped bass and bluefish. If you’re looking for a bigger catch and challenge, head into the town’s nearshore or offshore waters and catch some bluefin tuna, porbeagle sharks, and if you’re lucky, blue or mako sharks

Speaking of chartered boats, the town has 42 fishing charters. These fishing charters provide their services to both new and old anglers who visit the area and do different types of fishing. There are charters for inshore, offshore, and nearshore fishing and all sorts of fishing techniques, from light tackle to deep-sea fishing. They cater to anglers with different budget considerations and preferences.

The most popular fishing styles in Provincetown are inshore fishing, nearshore fishing, offshore fishing, surfcasting, fishing on one of the town’s many ports, chartered fishing, kayak fishing, and fishing at a party boat. On the other hand, some of the most popular fishing techniques are light tackle, jigging, heavy tackle, deep sea fishing, and trolling. 

"View from Pilgrim Monument - Provincetown" by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Some of the popular fishing spots in the area include Stellwagen Bank’s southern part which is teeming with haddock during spring and Race Point beach if you’re looking for striped bass. Another good spot to fish on is at the Provincetown harbor if you want to sit back and relax while catching fluke, also known as summer flounder. Some other spots where you can do surfcasting are Wood End, Herring Cove, and Long Point. 

Bluefish is considered a prize catch. This fish is fairly easy to catch because it bites on any bait, and therefore, is great for new anglers. Bluefish is particularly common from June to July and October while its low season is from January to March and December. 

Another fish that’s worth your time in the area is the black seabass. This fish is most commonly found on deep offshore and shallow inshore waters beneath structures in the water. It’s prized both for its meat and the challenge it offers anglers. Unfortunately, its presence varies significantly in Provincetown. It is best caught from June to August, and its season often closes between January to April, and September to December. If you’re planning on catching black seabass, keep in mind to do it during the summer months. 

Bluefin tuna is known for its delicious meat. These fish are found offshore, so be sure to hire either a party boat or a chartered boat to get to them. The peak season for this fish in September and October, while its low season is from January to May and November to December. 

A fish that shouldn’t be left off your list when visiting Cape Cod is the striped bass. This fish is popular due to the challenge it offers to anglers as well as a delicacy for its delicious meat. Because of this, the fish nearly became extinct in the Cape Cove area, and it was only after strict regulations were placed on catching it allowed it to recover. Even today, it is recommended for anglers to practice catch and release when catching these fish to preserve their number further. Its high season is from May to July, and its low season is from December and February. 

And of course, no discussion on Provincetown’s fishes would be complete without discussing the cod. Aside from its meat being delicious, cod is also caught as a prize fish by anglers. The fish that gave Cape Cod its name is extremely common here, so common that it can be caught throughout the year. This means that no matter what month you go to Provincetown, there will always be cod waiting for you there.  


Top 5 Fishing Spots In Provincetown, MA

  • Stellwagen Bank
  • Race Point Beach
  • Provincetown Harbor
  • Wood End
  • Long Point


Top 10 Fish Species In Provincetown, MA

The top 10 fish in Provincetown are bluefish, cod, haddock, bluefin tuna, black seabass, mackerel, striped bass, summer flounder, tautog, and blue shark

Provincetown, MA Fishing: Rich History and Fishing Adventures Fish species

Habitat: rocky outcrops, boulders, jetties

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 1" - 36"

Atlantic Mackerel

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 14" - 24"


Habitat: Nearshore, Onshore

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 15" - 51"

Atlantic Cod

Habitat: Offshore, Ocean Floor

Weight: 4 - 103 Pounds

Length: 48" - 60"

Striped Bass

Habitat: River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore

Weight: 10 - 81 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

Summer Flounder 

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore

Weight: 1 - 5 Pounds

Length: 15" - 37"


Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Rocky Bottom

Weight: 2 - 10 Pounds

Length: 14" - 36"

Black Sea Bass

Habitat: Offshore, Onshore, Nearshore, Wreck, Reef

Weight: 2 - 9 Pounds

Length: 10" - 26"

Seasonal Fishing In Provincetown

Although Cod is available throughout the year in Provincetown, many other prize fish aren’t as readily available during the other months of the year. Most of the prize fish in the area, such as bluefish, striped bass, and bluefin tuna, are most active from May to October. To make the most of your trip, it is recommended that you visit Provincetown from June through October so that you can catch many of the prize fish there. This is especially important if you’re looking to catch black seabass and flounder. The former can only be caught from June to August, while the latter can't be caught during January and February. For those of you who are planning to go fishing from November to December, the most common fish that you’ll be able to catch in the area are cod and flounder. 


Provincetown: A Tourist Haven In Cape Cod

1.Fishing Charters

Due to its location, it's no surprise that Provincetown has many fishing charters offering their services to anglers visiting the area. Provincetown boasts 42 fishing charters that offer various services to their clients to make their fishing trip an even more fun experience. These fishing charters offer everything, from inshore fishing to wreck fishing and from trolling to fly fishing. If it's your first time fishing in Provincetown, it's not a bad idea to hire a fishing charter to get to know the area better for your next trip there. 


2. Visiting Provincetown's Museums 

Because of its historical significance, it is no wonder that Provincetown houses a lot of museums. These museums are primarily focused on preserving the history of the first Pilgrims who settled in the area, such as the Provincetown Museum and the Provincetown Heritage Museum, and the town’s more “colorful” past. The Whydah Pirate Museum, located at the town’s pier, focuses on narrating the history of piracy in the town in its early days and is an interesting sight that shouldn’t be missed. 

While these museums focused primarily on the town's history, some museums focus on its world-famous art. Being a town famed for being an artist’s haven, there are many art museums and galleries in Provincetown that both preserve and showcase the works of these artists. For the more artistically inclined, they can visit the Provincetown Art Association Museum and the Julie Tremblay gallery to have a glimpse of the fruits of Provincetown's artists. 

3. Going On A Whale And Dolphin Watching Trip

If you find yourself tired of catching fish, Provincetown also provides visitors with an opportunity to watch Whales and Dolphins up close. Because of its proximity to the Atlantic, Provincetown is the perfect place to do some Whale and Dolphin watching. You can hop onto a boat in the Provincetown Harbor in McMillan Pier and Provincetown Marina to go out and see these magnificent animals. 


4.Experience Provincetown’s Carnival

If you visit Provincetown around Mid-August, you can experience the week-long Provincetown Carnival. The Carnival is the town’s biggest event, and thousands of tourists flock to it each year to experience it and be a part of the celebration. It consists of parades, food stalls, displays, and many more. 


5. Relaxing at Race Point Beach

After a successful day of fishing, there’s no better place to take a break than the beach. Aside from having bountiful waters, Provincetown also has an award-winning beach as well. Race Point beach has won a 2015 Traveller’s Choice Award and is on the list of the top 10 beaches in the world. It’s perfect for walks, watching the sunset, and even just relaxing and absorbing some Vitamin Ds.  


Fishing Techniques
Surf Casting
Deep Sea Fishing
Heavy Tackle Fishing