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Bob Greco

Bob Greco

Chief of Staff, Department of Fish & Game (DFG)

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Scup Fishing

Fishing in the dog days of summer can be slow, particularly during daylight hours. But the waters of Cape Cod, the Islands, and southeastern Massachusetts offer an abundance of scup, which are easy and fun to catch all summer long.

Recently, I was on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard with my family and friends. One tradition of the week is a fishing trip with the kids, who this year ranged in age from four to 13. The target species for this group is the not-so-elusive scup.

All you need is tackle that even fresh water anglers will likely own. We use spinning gear with light or medium action rods and 8 pound or 10 pound test line. Tie on bait rigs with hooks size six to 10 and sinkers of a ½ to 1 ounce. After a trip to the local tackle shop to get squid, clams, or sea worms (and bait rigs if you need them), you are ready to go. I prefer squid for bait since it stays on the hook very well. Just cut off a small piece, attach it to the hook a couple of times, cast out, and wait until you feel the fish.

This light and simple gear makes it easy and fun for kids to cast and catch the fish by themselves. Try to find a spot with moving water at an inlet to a salt pond, harbor, or river, or a jetty or pier, and you should have good luck. We have also done well from the beach early in the morning or in the evening.

The photo is of my friend and his daughter proudly displaying their catch of that day.

If you have no experience fishing and would like to try it with kids, or want more of an adventure, try fishing from a party or charter boat. They provide all the gear and bait and you will catch scup, and likely many other types of fish.

Division of Marine Fisheries scup fishing info.

Division of Marine Fisheries’ Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide.

Massachusetts Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations.

Remember that people age 16 and over now need to register before fishing in marine waters.

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