You could dedicate your entire life to Cape Cod fishing (a lucky few do!) and still not catch every species the New England peninsula and surrounding islands have to offer.
In this post, we'll cover everything you ned to know to catch fish in Cape Cod and Nantucket. We'll start off sharing on where to hire cape cod fishing charters and nantucket fishing charters, and then we'll cover the different species anglers can target and how to catch 'em up.
Let's dive in!
Idyllic and historic fishing towns polka-dot Cape Cod and Nantucket from the Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown (pictured below) at its northernmost tip. Driving south from Boston or east from Providence, Rhode Island, you'll first hit Bourne and Sandwich along the Cape Cod Canal.
The Canal, connecting Buzzards Bay in the south to Cape Cod Bay to the north, is a busy highway for giant Striped Bass ("Stripers"). Standing on the canal's rocks for shoreline fishing is very popular, but be sure to load up with heavy tackle.
The heart of Cape Cod fishing is undoubtedly Hyannis, Massachusetts. Located on the southern side of the middle Cape, Hyannis Port is the port of call for numerous Cape Cod fishing Charters:
What's more, if you're looking to ship out to Nantucket Island, Hy-Line Cruises runs just about hourly from Hyannis. The trip takes an hour and is comfortable as the ferry features air conditioning and restrooms, a bar with drinks and snacks, and outdoor seating to take in the view.
Zig-zagging across Cape Cod to the north shore brings us to Sesuit Harbor, with immediate access to Cape Cod Bay:
Cape Cod Bay offers some of the best striper charters and bluefin tuna fishing trips, which can also double as world-class whale watching trips if you're lucky.
A must-stop for lunch is the Sesuit Harbor Cafe. The Cafe is a quintessential beach cafe with the best tuna burger I've ever had and one of the best lobster rolls on the cape. Order it hot or cold, there's no wrong answer!
Next up is Harwich, ~30 mins. east of Hyannis by car. Like Hyannis, Harwick is another bustling port home to many Cape Cod fishing charters. The Freedom Cruise Line also runs a ferry from Harwich to Nantucket that is equally as comfortable as the Hyline Ferry from Hyannis, but takes 1.5 hrs. vs the Hyline's 1 hour trip.
Chatham, situated on the "elbow" of Cape Cod, is known to some as the "gem of the Cape".
Most anglers agree: Due to its geography, Chatham has fantastic access to Nantucket Sound to the south, the vast Atlantic Ocean immediately east, and never-ending nearshore and flats fishing opportunities at its doorstep presented by Pleasant Bay and Monomoy Island.
Curling up from the Lower Cape to the Outer Cape, our next stop is Nauset Beach of Orleans, Mass.
Just to the north of Pleasant Bay, Orleans is a fantastic fishing destination because the Outer Cape skinnies out, offering direct access to Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Nauset Beach bears the brunt of the Atlantic Ocean and thanks it for some mighty swells at Nauset Beach:
Just north of Nauset Beach sits Eastham, Ma.
Eastham Mass is home to the Nauset Lighthouse:
Cruising north towards Provincetown, the drive through Cape Cod National Seashore is gorgeous with Cape Cod's rolling dunes. On the way, we stopped at Wellfleet, a town world famous for its oysters and sunsets:
We finally reach the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown, Mass. In line with Hyannis and Chatham, Provincetown is another major Cape Cod fishing destination.
While Provincetown may not offer as much as Chatham in terms of inshore fishing, everything's a tradeoff; Provincetown provides arguably the best deep sea fishing access on the cape given its direct access to Cape Cod Bay, and the fact that the open Atlantic Ocean is just a quick roger around Long Point Beach and Long Point Light Station, Wood End and the Wood End Lighthouse, and Race Point Lighthouse and Race Point Beach.