Folks seeking bigger bass this week have seen the bite slow this week to a pick, including those employing pogies, whether live or fished whole dead or chunked. The same is true of live eel slingers; if you find bigger fish, you might manage to catch one or two per spot, but there are definitely very few reports of big numbers.
On the other hand, there are large numbers of schoolies in a multitude of locations on both sides of the islands. Searching with topwater plugs such as the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow and Heddon Zara Spooks is a great deal of fun, but I typically use them to fish and then switch over to single hook soft plastics to avoid too much damage to the fish. No matter what type of hook, bend the barbs down.
The one confusing aspect of fishing the islands this year for me has been the lack of breaking fish, either bass or bluefish. You could pretty much count on finding fish pushing bait on the turn of the tide in spots such as Quick’s and Robinson’s, but other than a couple of times finding mini-bass on the Vineyard corner of the latter, it has been pretty quiet. Instead, I have been finding them in some stretches of shallow water among the rocks, as well as in deeper water outside where I typically would find them.
I also haven’t seen many people trolling the tube-and-worm as I typically do this time of year; it seems more boaters are using umbrella rigs and doing well in Woods Hole, especially on white shads. Speaking of the Hole, there doesn’t seem to be as much bait this week, but first light has produced some bigger bass and a few bluefish on plugs, while switching up between white and amber seven-inch Original Hogy’s worked really well before first light.