Nantucket and Vineyard Sound Fishing Report – July 21, 2016

Most boat reports for the sounds concern fluke and bluefish, with bass news more limited. There are bigger bluefish on Horseshoe Shoal, while Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu are holding mostly smaller fish. Shore anglers from Waquoit to Osterville have reported seeing schools of smaller bluefish working just outside their longest casts, meaning frustration for them but good news for boaters.

Schools of pogies down around Stage Harbor are being harassed by good-sized blues as well.

Shore anglers and boaters who are concentrating on the protected waters that dump into Nantucket Sound continue to speak of small bass in good numbers, but this is definitely an early morning affair or an after dinner activity. Soft plastics rigged with single hooks are really effective and also allow for clean releases, while folks who just can’t resist a topwater bite are experimenting with single, in line hooks on plugs such as Smack-its, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, and Tsunami Talkin’ Poppers.

Chunk baits such as mackerel, pogies, or squid, along with live eels, are definitely increase your odds of catching any larger bass and blues that move in closer to shore under the cover of darkness. That said, some of the best action from the beaches involves fishing bait for brown sharks at night; some of these fish go over 100-pounds and provide an encounter you won’t soon forget. Jeff Clabault asked one of these shark regulars if he is encountering any bass or blues, but the only fish he has caught other than brown sharks are dogfish.

Fluke fishing is a matter of picking through numbers, but you can manage your limit if you concentrate on areas of deeper water that surround the shoals. Bigger baits will also help you target larger fluke and a combination that is popular with top fluke anglers in other states, but as of yet doesn’t seem to have caught on around here, is a bucktail tipped with a Gulp Alive Mullet or Shrimp, with another one of these Gulp baits fished on a teaser hook above the jig. Rather than just passive bottom fishing, these rigs are very effective when cast and retrieved or fished from a moving boat with a slow, snappy retrieve, allowing you to key in on a fluke’s aggressive nature.

Entrance channels and other areas where there is a distinct dropoff are good spots for shore anglers to fish for fluke and boaters should also consider this type of topography when deciding where to fish.

Scup are still very plentiful, both from boat and shore, with sea bass often mixed in with fluke in the deep water around shoals such as Wreck, Eldridge, and Hedge Fence. Most folks who fish Vineyard Sound head for Lucas Shoal, but there are numerous other areas with varied bottom structure that are productive. Shore anglers fishing from the many jetties along the Nantucket Sound shoreline can also target sea bass.