Boston Harbor

Pro Talk: Topwater Casting to Offshore Striped Bass with the Charter Grade Dog Walker

Pro Talk: Topwater Casting to Offshore Striped Bass with the Charter Grade Dog Walker

We spent 15 minutes on the phone with Capt. Jack Murphy to discuss topwater casting to offshore Striped Bass with the Hogy Charter Grade Dog Walker outside of Boston. Here’s what we learned…

 Capt. Jack Murphy 
Lucky Jacks Fishing

Targeted Species: Striped Bass

Location: Boston Harbor, South Shore

When you think of fishing Boston Harbor, monster offshore striped bass is not the first thing that comes to mind. But for Capt. Jack and his crew, this is exactly the type of fishing they anticipate all winter long. Capt. Jack has three moorings; one in Marblehead, one in Boston and one in Cohasset, which makes his clientele diverse in lifestyle yet glaringly similar in fishing technique.

Before the resident fish move into the harbor, Jack takes his clients offshore in search of herring and pogy schools.

“The offshore herring and pogy bites are the most fun because it’s all topwater action and we don’t have to use live bait,” said Capt. Jack.

After a good wind out of the east, which usually takes place in mid-June, the bait fish get pushed inside the 3-mile line. Before the wind, they are sitting past the line in illegal waters. Once inside the line, captains and anglers alike are able to make their runs but if you’re not seeing the pogies, you’re likely not going to catch any stripers.

Tides: Unlike most Massachusetts waters, this offshore area is not tide dependent. Instead, the bite is rather predictable and dependent on the light. If there are no clouds in the sky, the bite is best 30 minutes after first light and it’ll last about an hour but if there are clouds in the sky, the bite tends to be best an hour or so after first light and can last from an hour to an hour and a half.

Photography Credit: Sean Maiorano @seanmaioranophotography

Approach: These fish can often be found following bait in 100 – 120 feet of water. Despite the depth, they are almost always topwater. The best way to find them is through trained eyes that can spot small v-wakes. Although it’s not technically sight casting, these fish are almost always hanging out a few feet behind these schools of pogies. If they hit the pogies instead of your lure, you’ve likely missed them.

Rigging/Lure Selection: Hogy Charter Grade Dog Walker and the Hogy Charter Grade Sliders

Photography Credit: Sean Maiorano @seanmaioranophotography

Why This Bait? Imitation! The herring coloration matches the herring baitfish and the bone coloration matches the pogy imitation.  

Colors: Herring (Dog Walker), Bone (Slider)

Retrieve: Since these are primarily larger fish, they often don’t like a fast retrieve. After you’ve casted out behind the pogies v-wakes, try to work the lures as slow as possible. Anything faster than slow and they’ll lose interest as they don’t like quick movement. With the dog walkers and sliders, you’re able to twitch the lures and keep them slow right below the surface or up on top.

Photography Credit: Sean Maiorano @seanmaioranophotography


Rod: Temple Fork Outfitters GIS Series Spinning Rod

Reel: Van Staal VR50 Spinning Reel

Line: PowerPro Super Slick 30lb Braid

Leader: Seaguar 40lb Fluorocarbon



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