Whether drift or cast, live eels are a good way to go at the moment if your target is larger bass along the islands and in Woods Hole.
Three-waying eels or fishing them on a rig with a sliding sinker rig of sufficient weight is working in the deeper holes in the Hole, as well as Quick’s. A simple, yet effective, sliding sinker system includes an egg sinker followed by a bead and a swivel, then a length of leader material to which an Octopus or circle hook of sufficient size is snelled.
While I prefer my eels lively, remember that some anglers prefer to slap their tails on something hard to crack their vertebrae, thus making them less likely to wrap themselves around you line and create an eel ball.
Reports of good action on casting eels during the day have been limited, but Phil Stanton continues to prove it can be done by moving and searching rather than hanging in one spot. Still, most anglers who have had success are opting for fishing in the dark. The few people who seem to be catching a fish or two of size consistently have been traveling farther down the islands.
Jigging wire is also still working well around Quick’s and in Woods Hole, with white or chartreuse parachutes apparently a better choice at the moment than green, whether alone or with white, as well as red/white.
Most of the anglers I know who fish the islands regularly have reported not seeing many boats trolling the tube-and-worm, which typically is a rig that people turn to this time of year as the water warms. Perhaps it’s a matter of there being so many scup around that it is impossible to keep them off the worm. That reminds me: don’t skimp on the number of worms that you take along if tubing is going to be your main style of fishing.
Light tackle and fly rod anglers will be happy to hear that there are numerous schools of bass in the 20 to low-30-inch class working on both sides of the islands, as well as in Robinson’s and Quick’s. The clouds of accompanying terms will be a dead giveaway as to where they are; whether the bass are feeding on sand eels, silversides, or baby sea herring, chartreuse/white Clousers are a good place to start, along with smaller soft plastics, either unweighted or rigged on jigheads or weighted swimbait hooks. Both white and bubblegum are excellent colors, along with Arkansas Shiner, silver, and chartreuse.
I have never really been a paddletail guy when it comes to targeting fish on small bait, but I would imagine the smaller Pro Tail Paddles would work well, along with the Pro Tail Eels.
Early morning plugging is still working on both large and small bass, with white or bone top colors. We have managed to raise fish pretty much on every point or rip line this week from Woods Hole to Naushon and Pasque. It really hasn’t mattered what time of day when it comes to small fish, but the larger ones are best targeted at first light or dusk, with the brief window of slack tide and then the beginning of the current especially effective. Even if the tide is really pulling hard, there are plenty of areas of “soft water” where there are back eddies or breaks in the current caused by rocks and points that hold fish.
For flyrodders, subsurface presentations featuring generic baitfish patterns such as Deceivers, Mushmouths, Clousers, Hi-Ties, and Sea Habit Bucktails, to name a few, will work, but we have been having a lot of fun with topwater presentations, including foam poppers and Gurglers.