September could quite possibly be the best time for fishing in Massachusetts. So many of the more annoying aspects of preparation and safety are gone. No longer are you forced to trudge through marinas full of summer explorers, or slather on tons of sunblock, wear that dorky hat, or come home exhausted from the sun. September’s fishing is much more low-key; with the lower temperature, you also get less foot traffic on the docks, marinas, and beaches. There’s less sun damage, and more time to contemplate just how much you love to fish.
After the first cold front hits New England, when the temperature first starts to change, the way we fish will need to change, too. Or more specifically, where we fish. Although fish like bass aren’t quite ready for their southern migration, after that first cold front they are on the move nonetheless. With the change in weather comes a change in the water’s plant life and habitats, and the fish are affected by this. A grouping of rocks may no longer offer the shelter it once did. The re-bloom of phytoplankton causes the fish to shift around, looking for snacks. As we do when the seasons change, the fish begin to sense the approaching cold (winter is coming) and their needs become different than when the temperatures were high.
So how do we adapt to this shift and find the fish? First off, know that the shift is actually good news for us. As the temperature drops, the fish start to sense their need to fill their bellies before the cold season, and they become more aggressive. So, if you happen to find a large grouping of fish together … chances are you are heading home with some of the greedier ones. But what if you can’t find them where you once could? A great tip for fall fishing is to go to your usual spots, and then move over a little bit. Chances are the fish haven’t traveled too far away from their summer hangouts yet, and as always you’ll be able to spot schoolies before you find the big guys. You may also want to try coming inland more, since the fish will be as well, to adjust to the drop in the water temperature.
Fall fishing is relaxing and bountiful if you know how to change with the temperature. Just be sure to change up your location, and keep your eyes peeled for signs of life in new places.