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Top Fishing Charters in Chatham


Fishing in Chatham

Located on the “Elbow” of Cape Cod, Chatham is surrounded on three sides by great fishing grounds. Chatham fishing charters can launch in pretty much any direction and get you on amazing fish. Close to town, you have epic Tuna grounds to the East, and ideal Striped Bass territory to the North. Head south, and you’ll find productive Cod fishing and huge pelagic Sharks. You can also find Mahi Mahi and even White Marlin when the warm currents of the Gulf Stream drift closer to land. 
 
Drag yourself away from the dock, and you’ll find a charming main street with plenty of locally-run shops. You can learn about the ocean’s top predators at the Chatham Shark Center, or lose yourself in the remote beauty of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Add in mile after mile of beautiful, sandy beaches and you see why this is one of the most popular destinations in the Northeast. Chatham has the whole bounty of the cape right on its doorstep.

Fishing Seasons

The season kicks off in May with the arrival of big, spring Stripers and runs until October, when most of the fish move on. The big game species usually show up sometime in June. Bluefin doesn’t hit its peak until early fall, but Sharks can be found in large numbers all summer long. The busiest months in terms of tourists are July and August, so if you take your trip a little later, you can experience the best fishing without the huge crowds.

Fishing Spots

Sticking out 40 miles into the Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod is perfectly-placed to scoop up migratory fish as they make their way along the coast. The waters around Chatham are even more popular with fish than they are with people during the warm summer months. You don’t need to travel far to find fish here, but the more distant spots are well worth the journey.
 
Outer Beaches
Cape Cod’s outer beaches are a nirvana for Striped Bass anglers. Huge, 40-pound “Cows” spend the summer feeding along the local beaches, and smaller “schoolies” can be caught just about everywhere inshore. The very best Linesider action is towards the north of the cape, but even Chatham’s own Lighthouse Beach produces some monster catches. As well as the Stripers, you’l find plenty of big Bluefish in the first half of the season.
 
Crab Ledge
Just a couple of miles off the coast from Chatham lies Crab Ledge, a large plateau with plenty of structure and bait to draw in big Bluefin. By late summer, the waters inside the cape warm get too warm and the best action moves out here into open atlantic waters. If you’ve ever wanted to experience big game Tuna fishing with a view of the beach, this is the place for you. Of course, the close proximity to shore means you won’t be alone here. The area can get pretty busy when the bite is hot.
 
Regal Sword Wreck
Thirty miles offshore from Chatham, this 670-foot wreck is one of the best spots around when it comes to big Bluefin. The fishing pressure is a lot lower out here, because Chatham is the only town within daytrip range. The action at Regal Sword is incredible in early fall. Monster Bluefin and plenty of 100-pound schooling-sized fish tear through the cool waters around the wreck. It’s not just Tuna, either. Huge pelagic Sharks like Makos, Porbeagles, Blues, and even Great Whites are common visitors. And if you’re after some tasty food fish, you can find big Cod here, too.
 
And Beyond...
Once you set your sights out beyond the Islands, there’s no telling what you might find. Mahi Mahi and White Marlin show up on warm years, although it’s never a sure thing. What is for sure is that the further you go, the bigger the fish get. For the ultimate deep sea adventure, some captains offer multi-day trips out to the canyons on the edge of the continental shelf. This is the home of legends, with Blue and White Marlin and a huge mix of Sharks, some weighing over 500 pounds.

How much does it cost?

Chatham fishing charters cost roughly $100 per hour, regardless of the species. If you’re heading offshore and want a bigger boat, you’ll pay a bit more for the higher fuel burn. The waters off Cape Cod can be rough even in summer, though, and the fish you’ll be battling can weigh as much as a small horse. Spending an extra two hundred bucks for stability isn’t a bad investment. Multi-day trips out to the canyons cost around $1,000-$1,500 per day. If you can afford it, you won’t regret it. 800-pound Blue Marlin and 1,000-pound sharks have been caught in these waters, and the Tuna fishing is incredible that far out.

Fishing Techniques

You can troll inshore or offshore around Cape Cod. Striped Bass chase baits and cod tubes along the coastline, while Bluefin devour lures, strip bait, and whole, live Mackerel with equal ferocity. If you don’t fancy trolling, you can always throw lures. Plugs and poppers drive big Stripers crazy, while most Bluefin go for jigs. Soft plastics and metals are equally-effective, and can be thrown on the surface or dropped for some vertical jigging for big fish below. Sharks are caught by chumming and chunking, using the heaviest tackle around.

Need to Know

You need a saltwater fishing license to fish aboard charters or from shore. Buy these online or from approved vendors when you get to town. Tuna anglers should be aware that fish bigger than 7 feet stay with the boat.
 

Chatham Fishing Seasons

January is a wild month in Chatham, with driving winds and icy temperatures. There is a certain savage beauty to this time of year, though, and you'll find some great deals if you don't mind the cold.

Most businesses close over the winter, and you're best off sticking to larger towns if you're visiting in February. Charter boats stay firmly under wraps, but Cape Cod's freshwater fishing is great all year round.

You can find some early fishing opportunities over in Cape Cod Bay by March. On the outer cape, businesses open up and captains start getting their boats ready for the summer season.

The first run of early spring Stripers often shows up in April. Offshore, you can catch Pollock and Cod on long runs, making for a tasty meal to prepare you for the summer.

The whole cape comes alive in May, as boats head onto the water and tourists start to show up at the dock. You can enjoy some great Striper and Bluefish action or head out for world-class food fishing.

June is one of the best months for Black Seabass on the North Atlantic Coast. These delicious fish have a short harvest season, but that just makes them even better when they're available.

The sky explodes in a shower of red, white, and blue at Chatham's Independence Day celebrations. Things are just as exciting on the ocean, as Shark and Tuna season kicks off offshore.

Cape Cod can get extremely busy in August, especially on the beaches. You can easily avoid the crowds by heading offshore, though. And with awesome Shark and Tuna fishing, why wouldn't you?

Bluefish, Striped Bass, and Weakfish make Chatham's shallows a fly angler's heaven in September. The Bluefin action is hitting its peak, too. Remind us why this isn't high season again...

October is the last big push to catch that fish of the season. The Tuna bite is on fire, the Sharks are getting ready to leave, and the last big Stripers are being caught along the coastline.

Chatham reverts to a sleepy fishing town in November, and you won't find much action. You can still enjoy the area's stunning natural beauty if you pack your hat and gloves, though.

Chatham embraces the holiday season with warmly-lit storefronts and fun, family-friendly events. First Night is a great example of this, with music, fireworks, and high spirits to ring in the new year.

Chatham Fishing Calendar

Chatham
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Top Targeted Species in Chatham

Tuna (Bluefin)

Seabass (Black)

Bass (Striped)

Bluefish

Nearby Fishing Destinations