Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report – August 11, 2017

If you’re looking for some fun topwater activity, then you can’t do much better than the schools of small blues and schoolie bass that are feeding heavily on large concentrations of peanut bunker, as well as some sand eels and immature sea herring. You are almost guaranteed to find surface activity during any run from the Buzzards Bay side of Wood Hole down to Cuttyhunk; most of the daytime activity right up until dusk has been blues and then the schoolies seem to have magically replaced them, often in the exact same locales.

On an interesting note, at least for me, is that we had two bluefish stolen by seals yesterday while fishing around Gull Island and Penikese. In one case, it got away with everything, but in the second case I followed it and eventually got the head back – with the plug still attached. I obviously can’t tell for sure, but it certainly looked like the same seal that got both blues since one of the critters kept hanging around the boat and watching us after the first incident.

We also found some nice schoolies in among the rocks – and had another gray seal intervention on one occasion, but managed to pull the bass away before it became another victim.

Overall, I can tell you that it is pretty impressive when a big gray seal jumps a fish, with plenty of water thrown about and finally a grand “toilet flush” as it sounds with its catch.

I have come to rely on Phil Stanton for reports on the islands for two reasons: he probably spends more daytime hours around our local archipelago than anyone I know and I trust him explicitly to give me accurate news without giving away any locations – not that I would ever ask for them. This week, we had a nice, long talk and he emphasized that so far this summer has been the worst he has had in a long time; he has managed one 28 to 30-inch striper and a handful of schoolies on his best trips, with too many resulting in a single small fish or two. And that’s tossing live eels.

There are smaller fish that we have been targeting in the rocks during the day with small, spook-style plugs such as Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Yo-zuri Hydro Pencils, Zara Spooks, and MirrOlures, as well as seven-inch Hogy Originals and six-inch Skinny’s, especially in bone and bubblegum. With peanut bunker around, however, sometimes it is hard to beat Zoom Super Flukes for profile and casting distance when used unweighted.

I had high hopes that the full moon this week would produce some good nighttime activity and the decision to lose some sleep paid off with three consecutive successful trips. There wasn’t anything tricky, just dusk to approximately midnight drifts while casting eels into the rocks. There were even moments when the bass were all over Mr. Wiggly just when he hit the water. We didn’t catch any huge fish, but a good number were in the 30 to 38-inch range, and the interesting thing is that these bass weren’t covered in sores and lesions like the 20 to 25+-pound stripers of the last few weeks.