Hot Spot: Ram Island - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: Ram Island

The name ‘Ram Island’ is one of those cliché nautical landmarks that seems to exist everywhere; like Middle Ground, Black Point or Halfway Rock… seemingly every micro-region of the Northeast coast has one. The one I’m talking about this month though, happens to be the natural obstruction that shelters Sippican Harbor in Marion, Massachusetts.

If you’ve driven through the town of Marion, then you know it’s an affluent, yet quaint, seaside town with a famous private school at its core. Tabor Academy sets the tone for this small town and if you launch from one of the local ramps you’ll get a taste of what the academy brings to Marion. Whether you’re driving on the road or idling through Sippican Harbor, the views are stunning, the homes well-kept and there are more high-dollar boats moored here than you can shake a stick at!

Heading south out of the harbor, you’ll see a small island crammed into the cove between Silver Shell Beach and Allens Point, with the remains of an old granite dock on its north end and two beautiful homes looking south. This is Ram Island and, because the west end of the Canal, Cleveland Ledge and the Elizabeth Islands are all within striking distance, most fishermen motor right by this unassuming hunk of land, on their way to what they assume will be, better fishing. But at the right times of year, this is a mistake.

Any place where freely moving water is compressed and forced to pass around a large obstacle or through a smaller space, should automatically become an area of interest for fishermen. The width of Sippican Harbor is 0.6 miles just north of Ram Island and all that water is forced to move through two spaces that, combined, barely equal half that. The result is two jets of increased current and a hole on the west side that dives down below 20 feet. Putter through this hole with your sidescan running and you’ll see that vast boulder fields with some especially large boulders interspersed, line this passage to Buzzards Bay. Rips form in both openings attracting gamefish like stripers, bluefish and weakfish in the spring and you can add false albacore in the fall as well. On a spring day here I once drifted through a massive school of stripers, ranging from 20 to almost 40 inches. Spooks and paddletails captivated their attention until the entirety of the school passed through and dispersed or disappeared.

In the spring and fall the vast boulder-strewn bottom on the west side will hold tautog and scup, with the habitat being right for some sizeable specimens of each, although I have not seen them myself. The rips here and the baitfish that are surely swept out into Buzzards Bay on each dropping tide make this area a perfect ‘sleeper spot’ for albies in the fall. However, it’s not a spot where one should expect to find them every day, but it’s also not a spot where one can afford not to look when scouring Buzzards Bay for these porpoising green torpedoes. And I glossed over it before, but Sippican Harbor is one of the few spots in Massachusetts where weakfish are regularly reported, and with the nickname ‘tiderunner’ these areas of faster water should not be overlooked.

There’s a tendency among all anglers to look at the water in front of us and then look to the horizon where we assume better fishing must await. But the keen-eyed angler can often find great fishing without even leaving the harbor, and the waters that race around Marion’s Ram Island are one place where you might be able to do just that.

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