Bluefish were strangely absent earlier this summer but the past weeks have seen the arrival of literally thousands of 1 to 2-lb harbor (or cocktail) blues. At times there are acres of blues chasing peanut bunker, silversides and sandeels, with hundreds of terns diving on the melee. The feeding frenzies are popping up throughout Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, as well as Buzzards Bay.
Bonito are still the only so-called funny fish to make an appearance in the local waters. With a few exceptions, trolling rather than casting has produced better results for speedsters. And there continue to be reports of small king mackerel in Buzzard Bay. False albacore are due to make an appearance in the coming days.
Striped bass fishing is slow, if not very slow. The heat wave has warmed the local waters to levels that have chased bass to deeper hideouts and to almost exclusively night-time feeding.
Bottom fishing for fluke and black sea bass remains steady, although the keeper-size and bigger fish, like striped bass, have retreated to deeper holes.
The first of this season’s funny fish have arrived. Bonito were caught two weeks ago off the south side of Nantucket and this week (July 27) they were caught in Menensha Harbor and off Tashmoo. Once the seas settle down from the mid-week storms, bonito will probably show up off the south side beaches and Elizabeth Islands.
Striped bass fishing in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds continues to be good, not great. There is now shortage of small bass but keepers are often elusive. The best bass fishing has been in Buzzards Bay, through the Canal, and Cape Cod Bay.
For shore anglers bass fishing remains pretty much a night-time endeavor. A bonus for the after-dark angling are brown sharks which seem to be here in good numbers this year. (Remember: Brown sharks are protected and if caught should be released immediately.)
Fluke fishing is difficult. Catching fluke is easy; getting a 17-inch legal fish is much more difficult. Best advice is to fish deep — real deep as in 80 to 100-feet of water.
For better worse, bluefish continue to be elusive, although there were reports early this week of big schools of slammers in Buzzards Bay and the Canal.
The early July heat wave has ushered in summer fishing conditions for the local waters.
During daylight hours striped bass are retreating from the shallow inshore waters, making beach fishing difficult. Shore-based anglers seeking stripers should plan on fishing during the night tides or at first light.
Boat anglers, however, are still finding bass on most of the rips, with the best action now centered off Gay Head or (admittedly a long trip) the Monomoy Shoals. Halfway, Hedge Fence and Toms, as well as the Middle Ground, are still producing bass.
Bluefish continue to be somewhat of a mystery. One day slammers are everywhere, including the south-facing beaches just before dark, and the next day they disappear. And sometimes the slammers are replaced by the 3-5 lb fish.
Fluke fishing ranges from generally good to, at times, very good. Several anglers 3-1`short-to-keeper ratio from Toms Shoal and Wasque. The west end of Middle Ground to Lucas Shoals has also fished very well.
Black sea bass alert: they’re still everywhere and represent the best fishery of the year. Anglers may have to work a little harder than they did a month ago but 4 to 5-lb sea bass are not uncommon.
Earlier, we wrote that the canyons were just starting to show fish, now they are officially hot. Multiple boats have gone to Veach Canyon, coming back with upwards of 10 yellowfin, bigeyes, swords, and marlin. This fishing can only get better as warmer water is set to move in later this week.
On the inshore game, Wasque Shoal has held fish for the first time in many, many years. These fish include both stripers and big bluefish.
Over the weekend multiple boats headed out to the edge all having successful trips. Boats reported catching many 50-80lb yellowfin tuna along with both white and blue marlin. This is a great sign that this year will be a hot year for canyon fisherman since all of these species were caught in only 68-70 degree water. So, these early reports are signs of a very good offshore year.
The week before the July 4th holiday saw many bass and bluefish moving into the local waters. From Devil’s Bridge in Vineyard Sound through Nantucket Sound to the shoals at Monomoy anglers reported finding huge schools of keeper-sized bass, including fish in the 20to 30-lb range. Mixed in with the bass were slammer-sized bluefish topping 10 pounds.
At Monomoy, shell squids drifted into the rips were the ticket to success. At daybreak bass were found on top at Halfway, Hedge Fence, Tom Shoals, as well as off Wasque Point. As the days brightened, jigs or soft plastics continued to produce fish.
Soft plastics fished at night and toward daybreak also worked well for several anglers fishing the Knob and Megansett in the West Falmouth area.
To the north side of the Cape, the bay also is loaded with bass, some bluefish and surprising numbers of hickory shad. Several anglers reported getting more than a dozen shad in Scorton Creek.
Like everything this strange spring, the fish have been late but appear to have arrived for the holiday weekend.
The endless early spring-like weather finally broke this weekend, with fishermen (and women) boarding boats and setting up along the local beaches.
Schoolie-size bass continue to predominate throughout Nantucket Sound. What they lack in size they make up in numbers. Bigger bass are being caught on most rips early in the morning or late afternoon. The biggest bass — 30 pounds and up — are in the Woods Hole Passage. Anglers who can successfully jig or drift eels or live scup are doing the best. Buzzards Bay also has more big bass that are heading into the Cape Cod Canal and to points north.
Black sea bass fishing remains strong, although the popular fish are off their spawning grounds and spread throughout the local waters. Fluke anglers are finding the best numbers and sizes down toward Lucas Shoal and beyond.
Beach anglers are finding that day-time fishing has slowed and are finding the best success during low light or night hours.