A Guide To Fishing And Shellfishing On Nantucket

September 9, 2015


The abundance of fish and shellfish in Nantucket waters is one of the reasons for the island’s popularity with anglers. Along with the different varieties of marine life, there are also numerous ways to fish. Options for fishing platforms here include piers, jetties and beaches.

Fishing On Nantucket

If you are a serious angler, pay attention to the time and tide; however, it is possible to catch fish at any time of day. Younger anglers may find success fishing from a dock where they can set up a bottom rig with a lead weight to catch fluke and scup.

Another option for older fishermen is to fish from the beach. Dionis Beach is a good place to try this due to its shallow waters. The surf there is not usually an issue. Anglers can catch bluefish using the cast and retrieve method along with surface plugs or other topwater methods.

If you want to try your hand at the fish found in deeper waters, you will need a boat. If you have your own, the waters around Great Point are a good place to start. If you want a charter skipper, there are many to be found in Nantucket Harbor.

Shellfishing On Nantucket

Nantucket is world famous for its bay scallop, but the scallop is just one of the many shellfish types found in its waters. Shellfishing here encompasses digging for clams and oysters as well as for mussels.

Fishing And Shellfishing Regulations On Nantucket

Whether fishing or shellfishing, it is important to be mindful of local restrictions.

  • Bay Scallops - The recreational season runs from to October 1 to March 31 with a limit of one bushel per week (Wednesday to Sunday).

  • Steamers - The recreational season is September 15 to June 14, Sundays only. The limit for steamers is a 10-quart pail per week.

  • Blue Claw Crabs - There is no need to get a permit unless you are using traps. The season is closed January 1 to April 30; you are required to return egg-bearing females.

  • Eels - Open season; you will need a permit.

  • Oysters - The recreational season runs from September 1 to April 30. You will need a permit and are limited to a half-bushel per week. In addition, oysters must measure three inches.

  • Mussels - Open season; you will need a permit and are limited to one bushel per week.

  • Quahogs - Open season; you will need a permit. Shells must be 1 inch thick at the hinge.

  • Bluefish - A fishing permit is required for anyone over 16, whether fishing from the beach or from a boat. Individuals over the age of 60 can apply for a free permit online at the Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs website.

If you are moving to Nantucket to enjoy the fishing, you will need a place to store your equipment during the closed season. Nantucket Self Storage can help. Contact us to find out about storage spaces where you can keep your fishing gear.

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