Striper fishing off Marblehead, MA


Sculpin Enterprises
I put in a request to the salt water forum for recommendations for a striper guide for a summer visit to my relatives in the Boston area. As I expected, you came through with a great recommendation. The first day was just my brother Philip and I flyfishing for stripers with Randy Sigler, a fishing guide based in Marblehead, MA (see Because Randy also runs morning fishing camps for kids, we scheduled an afternoon trip. We arrived with plenty of time and took in the scene…. It was a sunny day with light breezes.

Randy’s partner, Pete Yukins, pulled in just before noon and unloaded his morning “campers”. We were scheduled to go out on Pete’s boat on Wednesday; he had another boatful of kids scheduled for the afternoon. A short time after, Randy brought in his 24’ Everglades boat and unloaded his campers. After introductions and developing a game plan (flyfishing only, all fish to be released), we pushed off and headed into Marblehead Harbor to see if there was any surface action. Randy also used the time in the harbor to teach Phil how to cast a flyrod, a first for Phil. Phil took his position in the bow while I had my Sage 9wt. with a fast sinktip line in the stern. Because he is right handed and I am left handed, this bow/stern arrangement was actually going to work quite well. Phil picked up the basics pretty quickly under Randy’s tutelage. After a few false alarms we concluded that it wasn’t happening in the harbor and we headed out to fish rock ledges.

Our first stop was a triangle of three large rocks that were barely submerged. Randy instructed us to cast into the froth created by the waves and to quickly retrieve the fly (clousers). Randy and I saw a striper follow my first cast toward the rocks, but it didn’t strike. After a few more passes, Phil hooked up with a nice striper, over 30”. He fought it well and Randy managed to grab it with the boga grip for a few pictures of the victorious angler. We continued to probe the green froth around the these three rock ledges with our flies. A short time after, it was my turn as a nice striper slammed my fly and took off. I had my drag set quite light and it was a battle to bring the fish in. Again, Randy grabbed the fish in the boga grip and took a few pictures of the 28” catch before we released it. Deciding to give these fish a rest, we continued south, at one point with a nice view of the Boston skyline in the distance.

Randy kept the boat at a comfortable casting distance from the rocky ledges and islands that we were targeting. He kept calling out quality spots to drop a cast, typically a crack or channel in the rocks. The idea is that the fly would drop below the froth of the crashing waves and seem like a disoriented prey that had been battered by the waves; a striper sitting in ambush below would then pick off the prey.

A bit later, I was rewarded when I hooked up another 26+” striper off some rocks north of Tinker’s Island. But this fish had ambitions of heading away around the bow of the boat and I had to follow it forward. Unfortunately, Phil was in the middle of a retrieve on the bow and I had to pass the rod around him (much to Randy’s amusement). In the slack created by that transfer, the fish got off…. Adding salt to the wound, Phil picked up another striper there too. Randy continued us counterclockwise around Tinker’s. The northeast corner has a submerged boulder field that he felt would be promising. During one of Phil’s first cast in this area, all three of us saw a toad of a striper follow Phil’s fly; alas, it broke off the chase as it neared the boat.
After having a fish strike but not get hooked, I did redeemed myself with hooking and landing a 24-26” fish from the east side of Tinker’s Island.

All in all, we accomplished our goal; both Phil and I caught some stripers on fly rods. Randy helped my brother quite a bit with his casting and gave me the occasional tip as to likely spots of target. I would certainly recommend Randy to anyone looking for a striper guide for the north shore of Massachusetts.

The next day, my brother Phil and I were joined by his son Phil, my other brother Francis, and his son Jonathan. We went out with Randy’s partner, Pete Yukins, in his larger boat. The other guys fished live mackerel off the stern while I continued to cast flies from the bow. It worked out really well. The live mackerel certainly were candy to large stripers. For me it was a bonus day of flyfishing. Everyone caught fish, we had lots of laughs at each others expense, and we had a great day on the water. We ended up landing 10 fish for the day, kept 3 and released the rest. Like Randy, Pete did a great job keeping an eye on everyone, helping as necessary, and working seamlessly with our group.



My Kind Of Wave
Awesome!! Nothing like a day chucking flies for stripuhs off of Mahblehead. Never mind 2 days. Randy knows that north shore water like the back of his hand.
Hope you stopped for a beer and a lobsta roll at the Landing or Matties while you were down there. I have friends who still lobster fish out of that harbuh.
Sounds like a great trip. Thanks for sharing


Sculpin Enterprises
You betcha!!! They're having lobstah wahs between the canucks and the 'Mericans. Lobstahs are dirt cheap. Had some steamahs and beah (lack of dark beers, except Guinness, was disappointing) followed by a pre-molt, bug just full of meat. [I had forgotten about the combination of heat and humidity. Even on the water, you could build up a sweat just sitting on the boat at rest....]

Also, the recovery of the striper populations along the east coast might be one of the best examples that we have of a commercial/recreational species that has recovered after overharvesting. One could make the point that the fisheries managers were just lucky or you could say that a multi-generation (fish generation) closure actually worked to recovery spawning stocks to the point where the fish can withstand a regulated commercial and recreational harvest.


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