Boston Stripers


Aug 19, 2007
Santa Monica
31' Cabo Express
I had never been to the East Coast before this short little 3-day trip. My wife travels to Boston about twice a year for work as her firm is based there. This time I got to tag along.

I didn’t know what to expect from Boston. To be honest, everything I have come in contact with over the years which I associated with the “East Coast” has been strange. From college roommates to accents, to three hours ahead, to well, everything. I just never saw the appeal, and thus, while I would consider myself a “world traveler,” a visit to the left coast was never on the agenda I guess. Boy was I wrong.

Of all the cities in all the countries I have visited, Boston is by far my favorite. I loved everything about Boston. From the food, to the people, to the history, to the city on the Ocean. I love Boston.

And yes, the fishing. The fishery in Boston is so different from what I am used to in Southern California. For starters, we don’t have to take our boats out of the water from October to May. We also have a much greater variety of fish to target. But it would be hard to choose which fishery I prefer. Mostly because Boston has two things: stripers and big blue fin tuna that can be caught “inshore.” And while we didn’t get a shot at the blue fin this time around, we got a nice little taste of what the striper fishing can be like.

I had never seen a striper before this trip outside of photographs. My first chance came late in the afternoon on a Friday after a very long flight. Sam, one of the partners my wife works with, was gracious enough to offer to take us out on his beautiful 26 foot Edgewater center console. He picked us up at our hotel a little after noon, and drove us North, just outside of Boston, to where he keeps his boat. Along the way we shared fishing stories and Sam filled me in on how the fishing had been and what to expect. Unfortunately he said it had mostly been a morning bite lately, but that we would give it our best shot.

Our best shot called for fishing with bait. Live mackerel to be exact. So our first priority was to try to make a couple mackerel with sabikis. This I was very familiar with, and eventually Jenn and I managed to put about 10 smallish size macks in the tank. Interestingly, the macks we caught looked almost exactly the same as our Pacific Greenbacks. However, they were not very hardy baits, and apparently had white meat and were good to eat. So in that regard, very different.

Our method of fishing with the mackerel was also familiar. We basically slow trolled the macks over structure spots, similar to what I have done several times in Mexico, or what I do at Catalina for yellowtail in the summer. Unfortunately after we were done making bait, the wind picked up and it started blowing 20+ knots. Thankfully Sam was able to move us to a couple protected coves around small little islands that dotted the coastline.

But alas, before we knew it, hours had gone by and it was nearing the time that Sam needed to get us back, and we had yet to catch a fish. I was starting to wonder what I had done to jinx us, when Sam resorted to a very odd style of fishing with only five minutes left before we had to call it a day. He pulled in tight to a little cove and had me grab the buoy of a nearby lobster pot and tie the line off on the bow cleat. He then rigged large bobbers to our lines (yes bobbers like you used for trout fishing with your grandfather when you were 4 years old), hooked the last remaining mackerel in the back with a large treble hook, and instructed us to cast near the rocks.

We did as Sam instructed, and then placed the rods in the holders with the clickers on, and began to give Sam a hard time for using a bobber. (note, while Sam is technically one of my wife’s bosses, he is a great guy, and takes kindly to playful joking). So, after about a minute went by, I lost interest in the rod and began to divert my full attention to making fun of Sam for using bobbers in the ocean. That’s when Sam smiled and said “where did your bobber go?” Of course I wasn’t stupid enough to fall for that one, and as I was thinking of something witty to say, I heard Jenn repeat the same question in a serious tone of voice that I know all too well.

So I turned around, and indeed, my bobber had disappeared. In disbelief, I grabbed the rod, brought the line tight, felt resistance, and set the hook. Fish on!!! Whatever it was took me up to the bow, and then back to the stern, made a couple head shakes, and was mine.

My first striper!!!!!!!

Jenn and I with my prize. (note bobber floating in the water in the bottom right hand corner).

I gave Sam about 1,000 high fives, and thanked him another 1,000 times as we headed back in. Needless to say, Sam has an open invitation to fish with us when he is in California.

Back at our hotel, I couldn’t stop talking about the striper I had caught. However, Jenn, who had been very tolerant and happy for her boastful husband up to that point, was clearly starting to get annoyed as she had yet to catch her own. Thankfully for her, I am a fishing fanatic, and scheduled not one, but two days of fishing out of only three days in Boston.

The next morning at 5:30 a.m. we met our fishing guide Rich Armstrong. I learned about Rich by doing a quick Google search for “fishing” and “Boston.” His website ( was one of the first couple hits from my search. His site looked clean, professional, his rates were competitive, and his charter schedule was flexible. Better yet, he could pick us up at a dock that was only a two minute walk from our hotel!

Waiting for Rich at the dock Saturday morning in the middle of Boston Harbor while the sun was rising.

A shot of Boston looking the other direction from the dock.

Rich arrived right on time, and we jumped into his awesome little 22 foot Freedom center console and were off! And within about 5 minutes, we were fishing!

What we used: Light tackle spinning gear with braid, fishing mojo plastics on lead heads. Fun stuff.

We started the day off drifting between the islands just outside of Boston Harbor looking at the sounder for schools of stripers to breeze through. While Jenn and I began casting our lures, letting them sink to the bottom, and then twitching them back to the boat, Rich was actively working the binoculars looking for birds a breaking fish.

As we fished, I couldn’t help but think I had seen Rich before. Rich and I were talking about fishing, and specifically how I first became interested in fishing Boston after watching an episode of a fishing show called “City Limits” with pro bass angler Mike Iaconelli where Mike went fishing for stripers in Boston Harbor. Rich smiled and acknowledged that he was the one who took Mike fishing on that episode. I knew his face looked familiar!!!! Obviously we talked at length about the show and the experience, etc.

Back to the fishing. Things were slow in the morning, but Jenn connected early with a random fish even though we had yet to meter any on the sounder. Her fish fought hard on the light gear, and after a few minutes, Rich got ready to bring it in the boat.

Jenn with her first striper!!!!

We were all very excited, but you could tell that this “pick bite” was not what Rich was hoping for. So Rich fired up the outboards and we went looking for what Rich called a “striper blitz”……and boy did we find it.
As we came around another beautiful little island, we saw birds diving and fish pushing schools of mackerel to the surface. In short order, both Jenn and I were hooked-up. I got to see my fish inhale my lure about 3 feet from the boat, and I was freakin’ pumped. Unfortunately Jenn’s fish came unbuttoned, but I was lucky.


After that, we thought the bite was going to be wide open, but the fish were moving fast and it made things difficult. It reminded me of typical “run and gun” fishing for yellowtail under the birds at the Coronado Islands. It was very hard to keep up with the school. We also ended up getting short bit a ton, as our plastics were rather long, but the shanks of the hooks on the lead heads were pretty short. I was only able to land a couple more fish out of several hook-ups. What I wouldn’t have given for a lucky craft flash minnow crankbait!

Another nice striper!

Unfortunately Jenn was pretty jet-lagged and slept through the majority of the bite. We tried to wake her several times, but she was just too tired.

Towards the tail end of the bite, I hooked one last striper that went on several nice runs and was clearly a nicer grade fish.

My largest striper of the trip.

I also hooked a nice bluefish but only had him on for about a minute before he bit me off. Again, I really wish I had brought some crank baits with me on this trip.

Well, that’s about it for the fishing. I could go on and on about the rest of our trip, but I won’t. Thanks to everyone who gave me such wonderful suggestions on where to go, what to do, and where to eat. Needless to say I will be heading back to Boston again, both for more stripers and to target big blue fin with Rich.



Legend in my own mind
Sep 6, 2005
Buster Brown
28' Silverton "ConSeaMate"
Always an outstanding post.......Thanks for sharing.....


I see OJ
Dec 20, 2008
San Clemente
Brett Weinberg
Parker 2120SCDV
And that was crappy fishing by normal May/June standards Johnathan. Glad you got to go bass fishing :). Next time set up a tog will forget sheepshead fishing fast


Farming Specialist
Mar 21, 2007
Altadena, CA
Very nice! I grew up near Boston and during high school/college we would run and gun for stripers in Plymouth and Duxbury bays, typically using light tackle spinning gear. We used slug-go and Fin-s plastic jerk baits most of the time and usually did pretty well. Poppers are also a fun way to catch both stripers and blues.

Those are nice grade fish you were catching--much of what we caught were typically smaller "schoolie" sized fish, with the occasional keeper in the mix. But fun nonetheless.

Glad you enjoyed Beantown.