The Seasonal Fish of Cape Cod: A Monthly Guide to What’s Biting


Cape Cod, a hook-shaped peninsula of Massachusetts, is a paradise for anglers year-round. Each month brings a new set of opportunities for both novice and experienced fishermen looking to land their next big catch. Our guide dives into the seasonal fish available in Cape Cod waters, alongside expert tips on how to catch them and the best fishing spots for each season.

cape cod fishing

January: Cod and Haddock

Despite the cold, January is a prime month for targeting Cod and Haddock off the coast. These species are found in deeper waters this time of year. Recommended spots include the waters off Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank. Jigging with heavy lures or bait fishing with clams and sea worms can be particularly effective.

February: Winter Flounder and Mackerel

February offers the chance to catch Winter Flounder and Mackerel. Focus on sheltered bays and harbors such as Lewis Bay for Flounder using small hooks and worms. Mackerel can be caught from the shore or by boat using shiny lures or jigs.

March: Early Striped Bass

March marks the beginning of the Striped Bass season. Look for them in estuaries and near the mouths of rivers. Successful techniques include using live or artificial baits that mimic small fish or eels.

3 Easy Access Cape Cod Fishing Spots for Spring-Time

April: Tautog and Squid

Tautog, known for their fight, become a prime target in April. Rocky areas and wrecks are their preferred habitats. Squid fishing also starts to pick up, especially at night using squid jigs around lighted docks and piers.

May: Peak Striped Bass and Bluefish

May is peak season for Striped Bass and Bluefish. The waters around Cape Cod come alive, offering fantastic surfcasting and boat fishing opportunities. Live bait, topwater plugs, and soft plastics are effective for both species.

Bluefish on the Flats

June: Black Sea Bass and Scup

Black Sea Bass and Scup fishing heats up in June. Target these species around structure using bottom rigs baited with squid or crabs. The south side of Cape Cod and around Buzzards Bay are hotspots.

Fishing for Black Sea Bass on Cape Cod

July to August: Tuna and Shark

The warm summer months are ideal for offshore fishing, targeting Bluefin Tuna and various Shark species. Trolling and chumming are preferred methods. Cape Cod’s offshore waters, especially around the Cape Cod Bay and the Outer Cape, are renowned for these exhilarating fights.

September: Bonito and False Albacore

As summer transitions to fall, Bonito and False Albacore make their appearance. These fast-moving fish are caught by casting small metal lures or flies into breaking schools of fish.

October: Fluke and Sea Bass

The fall season is perfect for targeting Fluke and Sea Bass as they feed aggressively before winter. Drifting with squid or minnows over sandy bottoms can yield impressive catches.

November to December: Winter Fishing

As the year winds down, hearty anglers can still find success with Cod, Haddock, and Winter Flounder. These species move closer to shore, providing excellent opportunities for those willing to brave the cooler temperatures.


We encourage all anglers to practice catch and release when possible and to stay informed about local regulations to ensure the health and longevity of Cape Cod’s fish populations. Visit our TRAVELING ANGLER OF CAPE COD: FULL GUIDE page for more information.

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