Common Questions About Fishing In Nantucket
Nantucket may be a leading destination for honeymoons, summer vacations and a second-home location for the rich and famous.
But it is also considered an angler’s paradise by many as well.
Once known as the whaling capital of the world, today, this New England island which is 30 miles south of Cape Cod, is a desired spot for fishing enthusiasts – beginners or advanced.
So you’re planning on doing some fishing while visiting Nantucket and have already picked a suitable local house and booked a ferry or plane ticket for your stay? In that case, you may want to know the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding fishing on the island.
What Fish Can You Catch?
The top ten fish which you can catch in Nantucket, MA, onshore, nearshore, or offshore, include the common dolphinfish, Atlantic cod, little tunny, bluefish, striped bass, Atlantic bonito, Atlantic sharp nose shark, and bigeye tuna.
If you are a beginner, you can try your luck onshore and fish for popular game fish like bonito, bluefish, false albacore, or stripers.
For a slightly more challenging fishing experience, you can rent kayaks or boats and try catching cod, stripers, or cod near the island’s coast.
The best option for advanced and adventurous anglers is one of the open ocean Nantucket fishing charters in the Nantucket Sound or the open North Atlantic Ocean. The targets are enormous marlins, tuna, mahi-mahi, swordfish, wahoo, and sharks. If you are lucky, your fishing guides may take you to spot some whales such as pilot, finback, and humpback minke.
Which Are The Best Spots For Fishing?
It is advisable to book a local fishing guide to take you to the best fishing spots on the island of Nantucket. But if you prefer to explore them on your own, then some of the best places to do some fishing there are:
Brant Point – This is a popular place for anglers at the western inlets of the Nantucket Harbor. Since the currents there are stronger and faster than in the harbor, you can expect to catch predatory fish like bluefish and striped bass.
Great Point – This is another preferred casting spot loved by adventurers and anglers, not only for the fish but for the location.
It is at the northernmost point of the island.
To get there, you will need to pass through the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, which can be done with an all-terrain vehicle and a local over-sand driving permit.
Madaket Harbor – There is a big chance of catching bluefish, bonito, big bass, or bottom-dwelling fish like fluke or scup if you rent a kayak or boat and head to the middle of this harbor. You can also cast from the shore for fish like striper, false albacore, or bonito. When evening comes, don’t forget to admire one of the most stunning sunsets from the nearby Madaket Beach.
When Is The Best Time To Go Fishing?
You can enjoy fishing in Nantucket all year round. This is especially true if you will be aiming at larger targets offshore in the Nantucket Sound or the Atlantic. You can catch swordfish, marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, or wahoo there.
If your plans are for onshore fishing, then the most suitable time to plan your trip is during the warmer months, from mid-May to mid-October. It is then that you can catch some bonito, striper, false albacore, or bluefish from the shore.
Do You Need A Fishing Permit?
You will need an MA saltwater fishing permit for fishing in and around Nantucket unless you are under the age of 16, disabled, a non-resident with a valid permit from NH, CT, or RI, or if you will be fishing on a permitted for hire chartered boat, or another vessel.
A saltwater fishing permit from MassFishHunt will cost you $10 per adult up to the age of 60. Older anglers can get their permit for free.
The permits can be purchased online, in person, and by mail, and all are valid until December 31st of the same year.
How To Get To The Island?
The least expensive and most popular way to get to the island of Nantucket is via the traditional ferry by the Steamship Authority from Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. The 30-mile ride takes about two hours and 15 minutes. For a faster option, you can get on a high-speed passenger-only ferry by Hy-Line Cruises instead. This ferry trip takes only an hour.
If you prefer flying, there are various options to get to the Nantucket Memorial Airport by air.
There are regular direct flights by Cape Air from Boston, Providence, Hyannis, and New Bedford.
Or you can board a US Airways flight from LaGuardia Airport in New York or on a JetBlue or Delta Air Lines flight from JFK.
As for your stay in Nantucket, you can choose from a wide variety of local rental residences, houses, hotels and bed and breakfasts.
While taking your own vehicle to Nantucket is quite expensive, you can rent a 4×4 off-road vehicle there if you need it to get to Great Point, Eel Point, Smith Point, or other remote locations which require over-sand driving permits and a 4W drive.
You will need a permit issued by the Trustee of reservations for driving on the beaches which are north of Wauwinet and a permit from the town for driving on other shores where driving is allowed.