One would presume that with a huge slug of bass having moved through the bay into the west end and then moving back and forth throughout the Canal that boat guys would have picked some up, but Mike Thomas at M & D’s in Wareham said that on Thursday morning “recremercials” were struggling to catch a single fish.
Most of them having fishing in deeper water around Cleveland Ledge over to Marion, but there are no concentrations of fish. Mike heard from one guy who managed to hook up with a bass that he estimated to be around 35-pounds, but he broke it off at the boat.
With schools of pogies very limited in most every spot where people particularly look for them, including Marion, the Wareham rivers, and Onset, some boaters are still making the run to the east entrance of the Canal to jig up some mackerel and bring them back to liveline.
Mike added that there are plenty of bass around in the 30-inch range, but many anglers are targeting them with lures that are way too big. One effective method to use when targeting these fish around areas such as the Mashnee Flats is to dead drift an unweighted, medium length (six to seven-inches) soft plastic as your boat moves along with the current. Smaller spook style plugs are also effective, fished slowly and with a retrieve varying between a traditional walk-the-dog and a straighter waking movement.
Early mornings and again after dusk have been the best time to target mainly schoolies and the occasional 30+-inch striper around the extensive rocky shoreline from Monument Beach to Quissett Harbor, with the key avoiding the heavy boat traffic that starts around 8 AM and continues all day.
Some folks are also switching over to live eels right now, especially at night.
The fluke bite has been OK, with a far greater number of fish above the recreational 17-inch limit than last year, but you are still going to have to work for them. The dropoffs around the Mashnee Flats are typically a good area to look for bigger fish, as well as between Stony Point Dike, Bird Island, and Cleveland Ledge. Many anglers favor Spro style bucktail jigs in pink or chartreuse, but a fluke rig featuring a soft plastic squid, spinner blades, and tipped with fresh sand eels is hard to beat.
Tommy over at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach has weighed in a number of two to three-pound fluke recently and said that sales of fresh sand eels have been brisk. He added that many of the best fluke anglers use a combination of baits, including squid and mummichogs and they make sure to keep their baits bouncing on the bottom, providing the attention grabbing action that aggressive fluke key in on.
There are plenty of scup in the bay, but the average size is smaller; meanwhile, the vast majority of larger sea bass have moved into deeper water, so you will have to pick through far greater numbers of sublegal (under 15-inches) ones to get your limit of fish to take home.