Fishing Tips in Duxbury Bay for Late Summer (August–September)

Welcome to one of the best fisheries in New England and a world-renowned destination for sport fishermen. An abundance of target species and gastronomical delights abound throughout the summer, particularly in August, including striped bass, bluefish, tautaug, fluke and flounder. Duxbury Bay exits via Plymouth Bay into Cape Cod Bay through naturally tortuous, carved and often narrow channels, many of which were recently dredged (2018) and now marked by navigation buoys. The entrance to Duxbury Bay begins at Pier Light (aka Bug Light, see photo 1). Structure and a continuously changing tide averaging 10 feet help flush nutrients, bait and target species in and out of the three bays (Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth) every 6 hours. Whether high or low tide, there are plenty of places fish concentrate in order to ambush their prey giving us fishermen ample opportunities to catch-em-up. See some of my favorite spots in August differentiated for high and low tides marked on the map, as well as access points (ramps) if your trailer or kayak and seeking safe anchorage areas to overnight.

Two tools are especially handy in our Bays, a good GPS and sonar. Also, because our temperatures are hot during most days in August, fishing is best done at first light (4am–9am) before SW summer winds build or in the evening before and after sunset, especially on an incoming tide. My buddies and I often look for a shift in tide from dead low and along deep structures like Bug Light. For many species, the bite is best when water temps are between 55–62F, so an influx of cold water from Cape Cod Bay is a big boost.

Favorite baits in Plymouth include live mackerel caught in Cape Cod Bay, generally in deep water and typically within 2 miles of Gurnet Light and Can #1 at the entrance to Plymouth Bay. Live menhaden (aka pogies) are found tight inside our harbors and most easily snagged at first light when the water is calm. Crabs and squid that hang in at the entrances to each bay in the channels; and sea clams caught off any of the sandy beaches at low tide, including Browns Bank, a popular boater/beacher hangout during the summer along the main channel to Cape Cod Bay.  

Favorite artificial casting lures for our area include any of a number of floating plugs like pencil poppers, Atoms with bucktails for surface action, and those that dive or spin or flash below the surface like cast masters and sluggos and similars. Great trolling lures include Rapalas, X-raps and alike. Other soft baits either cast individually or trolled in a group like Niners and shad rigs are particularly successful when few weeds are in the water. Wireline trolling with lead heads, parachute jigs with or without soft bait paddle tails are becoming more popular, thanks to our friends’ successes in waters south of New Jersey. Chartreuse and/or white soft baits seem to work best for me and others.

My favorite method of fishing involves using live bait, mackerel or pogies. Given a choice, live pogies would be our go-to bait. These meaty 12”+ baits are hardy and like candy to large (legal-sized) stripers. They are difficult to find, however. Gill netting is a common method. Purchasing live or frozen pogies for cut-bait at a local bait shop is possible too. Plan ahead or tuna fishermen will snatch them up. I have fished this bay for 30+ years and enjoy taking new friends out on charter trips. Contact me through cuzcharters.com and try to catch and release when possible.

Top 10 Duxbury Fishing Sites and Tide Preference Marked (see map)
  1. Bug Light (Low incoming)
  2. Eastside of Brown’s Bank mid-tide outgoing
  3. Northside Clark’s Island outgoing
  4. Westside Clarks Island and Duxbury Channel either side of channel incoming
  5. Cowyard entrance to Kingston Channel incoming
  6. Rip exiting Kingston Channel outgoing
  7. High Pines to Duxbury Beach in moving water
  8. Inside of Duxbury Beach Channel and from Powder Point Bridge outgoing and evenings
  9. Saquish Channel early a.m. before boater traffic
  10. Duxbury Channel at the Bend before Duxbury Harbor mooring field early a.m./later p.m.