This post was originally published in November of 2013. Today I wanted to re-publish this post with updated information about fishing the waters and shorelines of Provincetown, MA.
Fishing in Provincetown, Massachusetts goes back centuries, well before the Pilgrims arrived on the Cape's sandy shores.
In fact, ancient fishermen once landed mammoth 100 plus pound codfish, door-size halibut, haddock, and a variety of other valuable fish species right off the P-town coast.
The fishing today may not be as incredible, but it's still pretty darn good. Just a few years ago there were several 1,000 pound giant bluefin tuna caught within sight of Provincetown's Race Point Beach. Large schools of striped bass and bluefish also show up at Provincetown throughout the course of spring, summer and fall.
As with most Cape Cod fishing spots, Provincetown fishing changes from season to season.
I recall one year where the bass schools were so dense that my sonar began to malfunction. The next summer I couldn't find a fish anywhere. I guess that is what keeps fishing in this area so interesting and exciting.
In this article, I would like to share with you my experiences and knowledge of fishing the Provincetown area for striped bass, bluefin tuna and other species. Please scroll below to continue reading.
Provincetown Fishing Opportunities
If you look on a map, then you will clearly see how well positioned the town of Provincetown MA is for fishing.
PTOWN (as Provincetown is often referred to by locals) is at the very tip of Cape Cod, with Cape Cod Bay to the west and the mighty Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Provincetown Harbor is a naturally-made, near perfect deep-water anchorage for ships. The harbor and geographical characteristics of Provincetown has attracted fishermen and their ships for thousands of years.
Extensive written records of indigenous peoples utilizing the Provincetown region for fishing are hard to come by, but there is little doubt in my mind that the indigenous Nauset and Wampanoag Native Americans must have fished here extensively.
Scroll below to learn more details about all the different types of fishing available in this special region of Cape Cod.
Fishing Provincetown From Shore
Provincetown is famous for its surfcasting. Decades ago, before the seals began to inundate the beaches of the Outer Cape, surfcasters would catch 50 pound bass, 10 pound bluefish, pollock and even tuna from shore. Can you imagine what that must of been like?
The shore fishing is a bit more challenging these days, but if you login your time you can still find a good bite from the beaches of Provincetown. If you get lucky you may even encounter a striped bass blitz like the one I experienced during June of 2013.
Click play below to watch!
For bass and blues from shore, night time is definitely the right time at Provincetown. Swimming plugs and live eels are good choices. During the day chunking or fishing fresh dead sand eels is a good idea.
I've had my best luck surfcasting the beaches of Provincetown during the first part of the incoming tide. Virtually the entire coastline of Provincetown provides good fishing, but some hot spots include Race Point, Herring Cove, Wood End, and Long Point.
If you are interested in learning more about surfcasting Provincetown, then we have an entire collection of resources here on My Fishing Cape Cod to help you, including:
Fishing Provincetown From Boats
Bluefish are pretty common at Provincetown too. We often catch them while trolling tubes along the drop off, which is located just offshore Herring Cove Beach.
The bottom of the sea floor off this area of Provincetown plummets from 20 to more than 150 feet deep. The structure here is like a sheer cliff edge, just located underwater.
Atlantic mackerel, herring and sand eels are common here. There's a strong current that runs right along the drop off, which definitely helps the fishing.
Back in 2017 large schools of very big striped bass could be found most mornings during late spring and early summer off the coast of Provincetown and nearby Truro.
During that time period we ran quite a few My Fishing Cape Cod group fishing trips to this area. You can see a preview of the action by clicking play below.
The striper bite the last few years in the Provincetown area has not been as crazy and wild as it was 4-8 years ago.
However, the fishing often comes and goes in cycles, so I would think crazy topwater action like what's shown in the above video will eventually happen again.
Provincetown Fishing Tips
And Strategies For Tuna
Keep an eye peeled for tuna because they swim incredibly close to shore here. Some summers the tunas are plentiful with many footballs and giants in the area. Other years are less productive.
Trolling spreader bars or soft plastics like Slug-Gos and Hogy's along the surface is a good way to target smaller bluefins off Provincetown at places like Stellwagen Bank.
This is how I caught my first tuna ever, while fishing with my dad, friend Jay, and his dad Pat. It was caught on a Hogy trolled right along the surface at about 5mph at the southeast corner of Stellwagen Bank.
The most common way to target giants off Provincetown is to drift with live bait. It's usually not too difficult to jig up live bait like mackerel or whiting. During the fall some guys will anchor up in deep water and start chumming.
Fish a live bait down deep under a balloon or along the surface using a kite. You may have to spend an entire season floating out there before you get bit, but when you do get a bite there's a good chance the tuna will be huge.
I did not talk much about it in this article, but there is also some good freshwater fishing located nearby Provincetown. Feel free to make a post inside our members forum if you need help with freshwater.
When you cast a line from a Provincetown beach, you are in essence casting a line at the edge of America. Fishing Provincetown is a unique and sometimes wild experience.
Visiting Provincetown, its shops, restaurants and bars is also a pretty wild and unique endeavor. The town has a lot of character and you never know what you may see next.
If you need any assistance planning a trip to Provincetown then drop me a line at email@example.com.
I'm happy to help - tight lines and take care,