June 14, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I can only take off a half point from my rating of the Vineyard because of the lack of larger bass from the shore. Julian Pepper at Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown knows of a 38-pound beach fish, but that was a rogue as most of the stripers caught from shore have been schoolies up to 30-inches.
Bluefish have picked up off the beaches, especially from shore along Chappy and Wasque. The larger body of fish are six to eight-pounds, but there have been some 12-pounders caught and Julian said a 15-pound chopper was also caught.
The rips are filled with bass, from Middle Ground to Wasque, with the latter holding some larger fish pushing squid. Out in Vineyard Sound, guys fishing bait, including pogies, eels, and scup, have managed some 20-pound fish, while guys snapping wire have only managed an occasional good one.
Some fluke have been caught on the shoals from Chappy to Wasque, as well as along the northside, while along with a recent push of smaller fish, there are enough larger sea bass to make for a good catch around the wrecks off Oak Bluffs as well as along Cedar Tree Neck and other northside spots.
Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs confirmed that there are plenty of small bass around the island, with the occasional larger one caught anywhere from the shoals to the north shore. Bluefish are being caught, but there has been no rhyme or reason as to where they show up from day-to-day; it could be Middle Ground one day and they off Chappy the next. They aren’t huge, with the larger ones running between six and ten pounds. The sea bass bite is very strong, and although Steve hasn’t seen any catches officially, folks are talking about fluke.
I am going to include this tip in the Vineyard report because it came from my friend Bob Lewis, who was fishing off Wasque at the time. Bob finds it very productive when rip fishing to run a shell squid from a rod kept in the rocket launcher. Unfortunately, when they decided to make the run for home, everybody forgot about the rod up there, and since the captain of the boat Bob was on likes to run at a nice clip, it didn’t take long for the reel to be spooled. Of course, it could have been worse as the reel was a Shimano Stella and the rod of equivalent price.
June 6, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5
They might not all be huge, but the Vineyard is absolutely humming with stripers, with 50 to 60 fish days not uncommon at all.
It was really cool to hear how jazzed Doug Asselin was about the fishing on the island when I called Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs. Doug made it clear that you could visit any shoal around the island, including Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, Wasque and others and you will catch bass. Technique doesn’t matter; some folks are tossing soft plastics and plugs, others are trolling deep diving Yo-zuri’s, and some are even drifting scup or live eels, as well as chunks of squid. And who can forget the tradition of jigging wire?
Shorebound anglers are enjoying the shoals of bass as well, from all of the salt ponds to the southside beaches, where Doug caught a number of bass in the middle of the day on cut squid. Flyrodders are enjoying a banner early season down Menemsha/Lobsterville way, but it seems like you would be hard pressed to name a locale where light tackle and long wanders aren’t having a ball.
A few more bluefish were reported this week down around Chappy and off of State Beach, but generally the choppers have yet to make a full invasion of their typical island haunts.
You will have no problem catching sea bass around the wrecks off Oak Bluffs and the waters between Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu, but the average size is starting to wane a bit with the spawn winding down and the largest fish moving back into deeper water.
Beautiful weather, little wind, and lots of bass mean that the named shoals, especially Middle Ground, will be crammed with boats. Get there early if you must fish there, but be prepared to leave when things get crazy and consider a cruise down Vineyard Sound where there are plenty of smaller shoals that hold their share of bass.
May 30, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Last weekend’s tournament put on by Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs had no striped bass weigh-ins, with the only entries a couple of boat bluefish, the largest just over four pounds. Doug Asselin said folks are catching plenty of bass, but they are all 18 to 24-inches; he hit six spots recently and caught schoolies at each one, but he said he didn’t even have to take out a tape measure because he knew everything was sublegal. The flyrodders and light tackle anglers are happy, but most everyone else is waiting for something larger to tug on the line. There is plenty of bait around, including squid in Edgartown Harbor where folks are filling up buckets.
Overall, Doug said everything looks good, but they are still waiting for a school of larger bass to show up – and perhaps some bluefish.
Keep fishing; everyone on the island is, Doug added. Almost every vehicle has a rod on or in it because Vineyard anglers don’t give up. And the next tide might just be the one.