Nantucket and Vineyard Sound Fishing Report – August 17, 2017

There is definitely some more life in Nantucket Sound in terms of bait and fish, particularly bluefish, as we have had some cooler weather that could be considered a lead in to the fall migration.

Schools of peanut bunker are driving a great deal of the activity, with bass around the entrances to the many protected waters along the southside. Early mornings have found both bass and blues around the opening to Waquoit Bay while Popponesset is mainly holding bass both around the entrance and well up inside, especially in the early morning when the water has had a chance to cool over night. Folks leaving the Three Bays area of Cotuit and Osterville in the morning are also reporting some good schoolie bass activity.

Earlier this week, a full on bluefish blitz was reported at Craigville Beach; this area typically is where schools of baby menhaden, sand eels, and silversides produce good false albacore action and the scene certainly seems to be set for a repeat this season.

As the backwaters all along the southside cool, more and more bait will pour into Nantucket Sound, typically creating some impressive surface feeds all along the shoreline from Falmouth to Dennis, as well as in deeper water up to a couple of miles from shore. Although most funny fish anglers concentrate on schools close in, there is a very good chance that anyone who is willing to spend some time out around Horseshoe Shoal and the farthest reaches of Hedge Fence, Succonesset Shoal, and similar areas just might find schools of albies in full on blitz mode without any other boats on them. As with any good albie scenario, the key is locating spots where there is a good amount of bait holding. It’s pretty well known that albies and bonito are available in the rips and shoals running between the Vineyard and Nantucket, but those waters typically require a boat that is larger than what most members of the Mosquito Fleet run, while there are a good number of spots located between there and the southside shoreline that can hold some good action, particularly before the full on rush between Falmouth and Hyannis starts.

Horseshoe Shoal just might be fishing as well as it has this season when it comes to bluefish and last weekend it gave up at least two 8+-pound bonito to folks who were casting and trolling for blues. We’re talking wire leaders and large jigs here, obviously belying the typical thoughts about how persnickety bones can be.

Black sea bass definitely are moving into deeper water, with some folks making the run all the way to Noman’s in search of the biggest specimens. Closer to home, there is still some good fishing for them in the deeper water off of Middle Ground, while to the east the Harwich reef is producing both sea bass and scup.

When I launched out of Stage Harbor on Monday, there were some small schools of adult pogies in the area, but we didn’t see anything substantial bothering them, just a few telltale small bluefish splashes. We also witnessed at least one light tackle angler picking up schoolies in the midday sunshine from the Harding’s Beach side of the entrance to the harbor.