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Top Places for Bass Fishing in Massachusetts

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Massachusetts
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

Although fishing has been considered a "consumptive" sport since the earliest days of fisheries management, New England's bass anglers can give themselves a hearty pat on the back for their contribution to the management of black bass throughout the region. Once considered a mecca for trout anglers, the Northeast is now a premier destination for largemouth and smallmouth anglers, and no matter how many anglers participate, the fishing simply gets better. Here are your best bets for bass fishing in Massachusetts.

Favorite Baitcasting Reel: Abu Garcia Revo MGX

Abu Garcia Revo MGX, 33.5%

Bass-chaser Jamie Chmielewski is convinced the Revos are the best out there. 'I have had several Abu Garcia Revo reels over the last few years, so I got one of these about a year ago and found out very quickly it was the best reel I had ever had my hands on. Easily the best casting reel for all weights of baits! '

Honorable Mention

Shimano Chronarch CI4+, 22.2%
Quantum Tour MG, 13.7%

Favorite Castable Umbrella Rig: Berkley Schooling Rig

Berkley Schooling Rig, 36.9%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Flashy Times, 33.8%
Road Runner Buffet, 13.8%

Favorite Fluorocarbon Line: Berkley Trilene 100 FluoroXL

Berkley Trilene 100 FluoroXL, 63.9%

Honorable Mention

Seaguar InvisX, 19.4%
Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series, 13.2%

Favorite Mono/Copolymer Line: Berkley Trilene XT XL

Berkley Trilene XT XL, 77.4%

G. Jacobs reported that he was using Trilene line and a Shimano rod and reel with a Strike King lure when he caught this largemouth.

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series, 13.2%
Seaguar Senshi, 9.4%

Favorite Sunglasses: Berkley Zephyr

Berkley Zephyr, 41.3%

Honorable Mention

Costa CatCay, 28.7%
Wiley X WX Gravity, 22.7%

Favorite Soft Plastic Swimbait: YUM Money Minnow

YUM Money Minnow, 32.9%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally, 14.2%
Savage Gear Real Trout, 13.2%

Favorite Rain Gear: Cabela's Guidewear Bass Angler

Cabela's Guidewear Bass Angler, 53.9%

Honorable Mention

Shimano Dryfender Insulated, 20.4%
Frabill F Series, 17.2%

Favorite Jig: Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Football

Bass Pro Shops Enticer Pro Series Football, 45.1%

Honorable Mention

Terminator Weedless Football, 32.2%
Jackall Spade Jig TG, 12.9%

Favorite Baitcasting Rod: G Loomis GL2

G Loomis GL2, 30.6%

'Best feeling rod I've ever held, ' wrote Dave Lapotka, also known as Fishboy1. 'It's light and just a tremendous rod. '

Honorable Mention

Abu Garcia Veracity, 27.9%
Cabela's Tournament ZX, 18.4%
According to Allison, who swears by the ZX, she caught a large smallmouth right before she caught this one, but no one was around to see it or take a photo of it!

Favorite Spinning Rod: G. Loomis GL2

First Place: G. Loomis GL2, 26.7%

Reader Gary N. Watkins says he reaches for his G. Loomis rods over all others. 'I like all G. Loomis rods. The craftsmanship is the best. ' Kevin Field voted for the GL2 because of its impressive weight-to-power ratio.

Honorable Mention

Abu Garcia Veritas, 23.7%
Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite, 20.3%

Favorite Wirebait: Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye

Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye, 37.1%

Honorable Mention

Strike King Tour Grade Night, 30.9%
Sebile ProShad, 17.2%

Favorite Fish Finder: Lowrance Elite-5 DSI

Lowrance Elite-5 DSI, 42.6%

Honorable Mention

Humminbird 598ci HD SI Combo, 39.4%
Garmin Echomap70s, 12.3%

Favorite Small Outboard: Mercury 9HP ProKicker

Mercury 9HP ProKicker, 59.6%

'One of the best kicker motors available, ' wrote Debbie Harbin. 'Price is right also. '

Honorable Mention

Yamaha F70A, 31.5%
Suzuki DF20A, 5.7%

Favorite Shallow Water Anchoring System: Minn Kota Talon 12

Minn Kota Talon 12, 60.2%

Honorable Mention

Power-Pole Micro Anchor, 39.8%

Favorite Small Bass Boat: Ranger Z118C

Ranger Z118C, 49.2%

Honorable Mention

Alumacraft Dominator 185 LE, 29.0%
G3 Eagle Talon 17 DLX, 12.3%

Favorite Large Bass Boat: Ranger Z521C

Ranger Z521C, 54.5%

Like most of the voters who commented on their choices, James Davis speaks from experience. 'As a Ranger owner, I think that this is the ultimate bass rig. '

Honorable Mention

Triton 21HP, 27.8%
BassCat_Puma, 14.5%

Favorite Hard Plastic Swimbait: Rapala BX Jointed Minnow

Rapala BX Jointed Minnow, 72.1%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Z9R, 14.2%
Savage Gear Glide Swimmer, 8.0%

Favorite Crankbait: Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank, 59.3%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill, 15.7%
Storm Arashi Series, 10.4%

Favorite Craw/Creature Bait: Savage Gear 3D

Savage Gear 3D, 30.1%

Honorable Mention

Havoc Papa Pit Boss, 19.8%
ZMan Turbo CrawZ, 19.5%

Favorite Spinning Reel: Shimano Stradic CI4+

First Place: Shimano Stradic CI4+, 27.6%

'Smooth, strong and never has a problem. Great drag, ' said Logan W. Seth Mahler also voted for the Stradic. 'Smooth retrieve good cast. '

Honorable Mention:

Quantum Energy, 22.2%
Pflueger Patriarch, 14.6%

Favorite Braided Line: SpiderWire Glow-Vis

SpiderWire Glow-Vis, 50.5%

Honorable Mention

PowerPro Zero Impact, 24.9%
Sufix 832 Advance Lead Core, 18.1%

Favorite Hook: Bass Pro Shops XPS Magna Superlock

Bass Pro Shops XPS Magna Superlock, 49.0%

Kyle Cortiana was one of many who likes the price and quality. 'I use these hooks on all of my Texas Rigged baits and you can get a pack of 25 for $8!! They are sharp, strong, and you won't cry if you have it off to keep from getting on top of the fish. '

Honorable Mention

Mustad Grip-Pin Swim, 25.7%
VMC Drop Dead Weighted Hook, 13.9%

Favorite Topwater: Bass Pro Shops XPS Slim Dog

Bass Pro Shops XPS Slim Dog, 30.1%

Honorable Mention

Booyah Poppin' Pad Crasher, 20.6%
Evolve Nervous Walker Ghost, 15.7%

Favorite Large Outboard: Yamaha V MAX SHO 150

Yamaha V MAX SHO 150, 39.0%

'Quiet, great hole shot, and fuel efficient, ' according to Louie M.

Honorable Mention

Evinrude 150 HO, 35.8%
Honda BF250, 23.5%

Favorite Artificial Worm: YUM Mighty Worm

YUM Mighty Worm, 35.5%

Honorable Mention

Havoc Federale, 13.3%
ZMan FattyZ, 7.9%

Favorite Soft Jerkbait: Zoom Super Fluke

Zoom Super Fluke, 67.2%

Honorable Mention

Bass Pro Shops Shadee Shad, 24.1%
Havoc The Jerk, 8.8%

One reason, of course, is that the majority of fishermen release nearly every bass they catch, tossing the smaller ones back to "grow up" and letting the big ones go after a quick photo session. When you use a resource but don't abuse it, the results are predictable: Plenty of big bass to go around and more on the way.

With all this in mind, here's a look at bass management strategies in New England and where avid bass anglers can find the best fishing in their state:

The earliest reference to largemouth bass management in Massachusetts occurred in 1879 when they were introduced from northern New York State into ponds of Essex County.

During this early period, management consisted of transplanting adult bass from pond to pond. Beginning in the early 1900s, hatchery culture and stocking programs for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) began, which included widespread stocking of fingerlings.

By the late 1960s, tagging studies and surveys showed that largemouth bass populations were self-sustaining. It was then determined that stocking bass into waters with self-sustaining populations did not improve the fishery, so the bass hatcheries and stocking programs were phased out. Currently, the largemouth bass is managed statewide by a year-round fishing season, a five-fish-per-day creel limit with a 12-inch minimum size restriction.

MassWildlife fisheries biologists now ask bass tournament officials to submit a voluntary online creel survey to help monitor the size and number of bass caught each year.

Thanks to the popularity of bass in Massachusetts, MassWildlife offers a list of "best bets for bass" designed to help anglers decide where to go, with the caveat that "pin" (state fishing award program) fish are found in waters large and small across the state.

The following lakes and ponds top the list of "official" options, but great bass fishing may be found in a wide variety of waters from the kettle ponds of Cape Cod to Onota Lake on the state's western border: Wachusett, Quabbin and New Bedford reservoirs; Johns Pond and Mashpee-Wakeby ponds in the Southeast District; Webster Lake in the Central District and the Agawam River in the Southeast District.

For a complete list of Massachusetts' best bass waters, licensing information and more on the Bay State's excellent bass fishing opportunities, log onto www.mass.gov.

Don't forget to share your best bass photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

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