Inshore Fishing Tips

Cape Cod is renowned for its world-class fishing, and its inshore fishing scene is second-to none. From Provincetown to Woods Hole, the Cape’s inshore waters burst with activity throughout much of the year with species such as striped bass, albies, tautog, bluefish, black sea bass and much more.

But while inshore fishing is home to plenty of exciting activity, anglers who understand the nuances of inshore fishing have a better chance of finding success.

A good strategy is to look for sportfish around underwater structure, whether it’s natural structure like a rock outcrop or manmade like a wreck. You will often find predators such as stripers hanging around the edge waiting for smaller prey hiding in the structure. Also, if there is a strong current, sportfish might shield themselves behind structure waiting for baitfish to tumble by in the current.

You’ll also often find fish along the edges of transitional zones, where the bottom changes from rock to sand or from grass to mud, and also convergence zones where freshwater meets saltwater. Baitfish sometimes like to hide in the dips of small underwater hills or bumps, and also in depressions like holes or channels. If baitfish are hiding there, you’ll likely find large predators waiting nearby for their chance at a meal.

It’s important for inshore anglers to keep an eye on the tide and currents. The best times for inshore fishing are often right after a slack low or high tide with a moving current. Fishermen should understand how tidal currents work. They don’t always follow the tide. Near channel entrances and inlets, they can significantly lag behind. Anglers should pay more attention to the speed and direction of the water than the height of the tide.

Keep live bait in good condition when inshore fishing. If your bait doesn’t look good to you, it likely won’t look good to the fish you’re trying to catch. If you keep your bait in a bucket, change the water often to remove waste and keep the water oxygenated.

Use lures that will get attention. If you’re fishing in the turbulent waters of a strong current, it’s extra important for your lure to stand out. Lures that are brightly colored and make noise are often effective.