Overall, the islands have been tough for the average angler in terms of catching larger bass; even folks tossing live pogies found the spots that were producing for them pretty much dead recently, most likely because they have been fished out. That appears to be the pattern, with small schools of quality bass, but no real sustained fishery throughout the islands.
Catching small bass is still pretty good, with the best action for folks willing to get close in and target rock piles and ledges. Generally, surface activity for either bass or blues has been tough to come by, with Woods Hole in the morning and again in the evening perhaps your best bet if you need birds and breaking fish to find your action.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, since the assumption is that any bass in the area would take an eel, but some of my best fishing this season has been with plugs. Pencil poppers have been especially productive and you need to put them in up against the beach, just as you should do with eels. Smaller Danny plugs have also been working and I have to sound like a broken record since plugs with rattles, such as Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Heddon Zara Spooks, and Stillwater Smack-its, have been excellent producers.
The one thing I noticed this year that has surprised me is the apparent lack of tube-and-worm fishing; I still see a few boaters jigging, but not the slow-as-you-go signs of a dedicated tuber. It’s been a while since I saw a jigger with a bent rod in the Hole, but those anglers who don’t mind dragging an umbrella rig set up with shads have had some good moments.