Plum Island is located on the northeastern coastline in Massachusetts. The island is a productive fishery, and shore anglers have the opportunity to catch numerous species of saltwater game fish. The island is long and narrow, and the channel that separates it from the mainland is a popular place for shore fishing. The eastern edge of the island also is productive, and fishermen with specialized surf-casting equipment have the best chances of reaching the larger game fish.
The most popular game fish for shore anglers on Plum Island is the striped bass. Shore anglers can also catch shad, smelt, white perch and the occasional bluefish. The striped bass caught from the shore often weigh 20 pounds, and trophy fish more than 50 pounds are taken each year. The water surrounding the shoreline typically is shallow, and the striped bass, shad and perch will enter the flats to feed. Bluefish are less likely to come within reach of shore anglers, but they are occasionally caught by several anglers each year.
Seasons and Regulations
The fishing season on Plum Island is year-round for striped bass, bluefish, white perch, shad and smelt. Anglers are allowed to keep two striped bass, with a minimum size of 28 inches. Bluefish also can be caught year-round, and anglers can keep 10 fish with no minimum size limit. Shad, white perch and smelt can be caught year-round, and anglers can keep 25 white perch over 8 inches, 50 smelt with no size limit and six shad with no size limit. All anglers fishing on Plum Island must also have a current fishing license.
Surf-casting is the most popular and most effective shore fishing technique on Plum Island. Surf-casting requires a long, stout rod and a heavy duty spinning reel. Fisherman will use circle hooks with clam meat for striped bass, but fishing with plastic worms and jigs also is effective. Surf-casting requires practice and timing to make the long cast, and anglers will also wade into the water to increase distance. The northern point of Plum Island is a popular area for wading along the rocks where the Merrimack River meets the ocean. The area is especially productive for striped bass during the evenings and at night. Many shore anglers will focus on this area during the rising and receding tides. It is much less productive between the tides.