Funny Fish: Two Out of Three

Aug 05 2016

With anglers trolling up bonito regularly at the Hooter and at least two anglers boating Spanish mackerel in Nantucket Sound and Buzzards Bay, the so-called funny fish season is two thirds complete.  The arrival of false albacore in the next several weeks will complete the trifecta.

Around the Hooter, bonito are hitting deep running plugs, as well as bluefish and the 50-lb Bluefin tuna that this week spooled a very surprised angler. Over the next several days the bonito should turn up at Hedge Fence and other shoals in Nantucket Sound.

Hedge Fence accounted for the Nantucket Sound Spanish mackerel while the waters off  West Falmouth Harbor produced the Buzzards Bay Spanish.

With August in full swing, striped bass have retreated to the deeper and/or cooler waters off Gay Head and Squibnocket and the shoals around Monomoy.  Small bass continue to be caught by both boat and shore anglers throughout the sounds and bay but bigger fish require a boat and often a night-time trip.

Ground fishing for fluke and black sea bass remains steady, with the bigger fish of both species coming from the deeper waters of 80 to 100 feet.

The offshore bite near the dump continues with both bluefin and yellowfin tuna being trolled up on spreader bars and ballyhoo. Calm seas and the relative proximity of the bite can draw a lot of boats, as happened last weekend when an estimated 100 boats were in the same area of the dump.

Bass Retreating, Bonito Arriving, Bluefin at the Dump

Jul 22 2016

The lazy days of July (and soon August) have chased striped bass to the summer haunts and habits. From shore and near shore in the sounds and bay, night or first light fishing is the best bet for a keeper bass.  To insure better success, boat anglers can head toward Monomoy where plentiful bait and a twice daily injection of cold ocean water have attracted bigger schools of bigger bass.  The same holds true for Wasque and out toward the Hooter off the Vineyard.  For the most mobile boat anglers, Cape Cod Bay remains the best destination, except on Mondays and Thursday anglers will compete with hundreds of boats fishing commercially.

On a brighter note, bonito have been caught off the Vineyard’s Wasque Point and the Buzzards Bay beaches of West and North Falmouth.  Bonito fishing can be expected to improve steadily for the next several weeks.  Bonito action will slow in a couple of weeks when the more aggressive false albacore arrive.

Bottom fishing continues to be good, with the biggest fluke and black sea bass now being taken in the deeper water (up to 100 feet) near most of the local shoals.

For the big game crowd, there are plenty of school Bluefin at the dump.  They range from the mid-30s to 60 inches.  Weather permitting, it’s worth making the relatively short run for action on the troll or casting.

Summer Settles In

Jul 07 2016

The July 4th holiday ushered in the first real stretch of summer weather and fish, particularly striped bass, are heading to their summer haunts.

Going forward the best bass fishing will be at night, in deep holes or spots exposed to the colder ocean temperatures, such as Wasque and Squibnockett Points on the Vineyard.  However, bragging size bass were still be caught during the daylight hours, including nearly 34 and 24-lb fish weighed Thursday morning.  Earlier in the week a local charter guide fishing eels at night found 20 and 30-lb bass along the Elizabeth Islands. For boat anglers willing to make the run to Chatham’s Monomoy Island, the shoals there have bass chasing squid and pogies.

Bluefish can be found just about everywhere, with the biggest blues (up to 30 inches) coming from Horseshoe Shoal.  Buzzards Bay is filled with small blues — a nuisance for some and a delight for others.

Bottom fishing remains steady and good for fluke, sea bass and scup.  Sub-legal fish are easy to find on most shoals with the bigger fish coming from the nearby deep holes. One spot mentioned by many anglers is the deep water trough between Lucas Shoal and Cedar Tree Neck on the Vineyard.


Prelude to Summer

Jun 29 2016

It’s officially summer, but the summer fishing conditions have yet to arrive. Striped bass easily can be found throughout the sounds (Nantucket, Vineyard, and Buzzards Bay). There is no need to travel to spots such as the Hooter, Squibnocket, or Wasque. Several reliable customers have been reporting that the fishing has been great. Several striped bass up to 30 in. and 4-5lb bluefish have been caught along the shoals (Middle Ground, Half-Way, and Hedge Fence) with top water plugs at first light. Along with the good top water bite, the ground fishing for fluke and black sea bass has been excellent. Most anglers are using fluke rigs, Spro bucktails, or our custom sea bass rigs.

May 12: Big Blues Off South Cape, and maybe big bass…

May 12 2016

A regular and very reliable customer took his boat east toward South Cape Beach this morning and ran into acres of blues in the 8 to 10-lb range.  The sun was high, the sound was flat and the blues could easily been seen cruising off the beach.  Our angler described it not unlike bone fishing. For the record, he and his buddy boated about a dozen.

And another customer today showed us a picture ostensibly taken last night with three 30-lb bass caught last night by a group fishing the inlet to Great Pond in Falmouth.  Could the bass have been in the pond looking for a worm hatch?

Overall, the fishing is picking up and should continue to improve as each day passes.  So now is the time to get out.

Stripers and More!!!

May 06 2016

The striped bass are here, as well as a smattering of small bluefish. Early season anglers have been catching school-sized bass up to small keepers for almost two weeks now.  Most of the bass are being taken inside and at the mouths of the bays and salt ponds.  And there have already by documented reports of worm hatches, which will draw in any large bass for miles around.  With the squid run underway in Nantucket Sound the first bluefish have shown up.  Initially they’re been 2 to 3-lb blues but the bigger fish will probably arrive within days.

Bottom fishing anglers will have to wait until May 21 and May 22 for sea bass and fluke seasons to open.  In the meantime there are scup with reports of some very large specimens being taken.

In freshwater, trout fishing this spring has been superb and will probably continue that way for several more weeks.

Albie Invasion

Sep 03 2015

Bonito were here for more than month, but as August neared its end, the false albacore had been strangely absent.  Until Saturday, August 29 when the albies arrived in force.  From Nobska Point to Cotuit, along the Islands and along the Buzzards Bay shoreline, pods of albacore chased the plentiful schools of bait.  And they continued through the following Tuesday, with the action slowing (just a bit) Wednesday morning but picking up that evening.

With black sea bass closed and striped bass fishing slow, targeting the funny fish is probably the best option from the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Lure of choice this year is the Hogy Standard Issue Epoxy Jig in the 20 and 30 gram sizes. But Deadly Dicks, Swedish Pimples and Roberts Hammers and PJ Specials will also work. For the trolling crowd the Yo-Zuri Deep Diver is the plug of choice.

For striped bass the best option remains the Canal or Cape Cod Bay off the Sandwich and Barnstable beaches.  Shore anglers can find fish at night from those beaches.

First Funny Fish Reported

Jul 16 2015

The weather’s been downright tropical so it’s only appropriate that the first funny fish — a bonito — was reported caught on an umbrella rig at the Hooter. And there are multiple reports, albeit unconfirmed, of bonito being caught or spotted at the Bonito Bar off Nantucke and the Hedge Fence shoal in the sound.  Both traditionally will attract the funny fish. Reports from Rhode Island and points say bonito are being caught regularly at Block Island.  No word yet on false albacore.

Striped bass fishing remains steady, with fish being caught in the Hole, along the Islands and down toward Tom’s and Wasque.  Jigging is the best day time tactic; eels will produce best at night or during the low light hours.

Fluke fishing is the best it’s been in a number of years.  The ratio of shorts to keepers (16 inches) is very good and many anglers are getting their limits on a single tide.  One very productive spot has been the deep holes off Nobska Point.

Bluefish up to 10 pounds are roaming the mid-Sound shoals, with the best action at Horseshoe.  For light tackle fans, a 10-pound slammer provides a lot of sport on a spin or fly outfit.  With bass hiding during the high sun hours, bluefish are often the best option.

Erratic Start Giving Way To Steady Action

Jun 18 2015

Until mid-June, the 2015 saltwater season at first was delayed and then became erratic, as very hot fishing days were often followed by days of disappeared fish.  But with summer officially set to start, the fishing is steadily improving day by day.

Striped bass up to 30 lbs or m0re are being caught on jigs and even topwater plugs from Halfway Shoal (the west end of L’Hommedieu Shoal) to the rips off Nobska Lighthouse and the Middle Ground.  Woods Hole is giving up bass on live-lined scup and jigs.  Robinson’s and Quick’s Holes also are producing bass on a regular basis.  Beach fishing for bass now is best as first and last light.

Big bluefish — up to 10 lbs — are roaming all over Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds and Buzzards Bay.  Blues will chase most any topwater plug or metal spoon or jig.

Black sea bass fishing remains superb, particularly in Buzzards Bay along the Hog Island Channel and Cleveland Ledge.  The spawning schools have dispersed but most any structure is holding sea bass.

Fluke fishing is steady on and along most of the shoals.  For the biggest fluke, however, the best strategy is to fish deep holes of 80 to 100 feet of water. You can find deep water holes just off Nobska Light, past Lucas Shoal and along the Islands.

Like everything, scup were slow to come into the harbors but are now being caught regularly from most every jetty and breakwater.  The biggest scup are going to boat anglers working down toward Hyannis.

Fish Are Here! Go Fishing!

May 15 2015

They’re several weeks late but the fish are back.  Schoolie bass started showing up about two weeks ago and 28 to 30-inch fish were being caught this past week.  Despite the long winter and cooler than normal water temperatures, worms are hatching regularly inside the salt ponds and estuaries. The first bluefish have also hit the flats off South Cape and Popponesset. Except for scup, bottom fishing seasons for sea bass and fluke will not open until late this month.