Nantucket and Vineyard Sound Fishing Report – May 25, 2017

One has to wonder if they would get bored if the fishing around the shoals in the sounds continued to be as good as it has been – but for someone who makes his living off putting flyrodders and light tackle anglers on mainly stripers, I wouldn’t complain at all if the hordes of 2011 year class fish stuck around all season long.

From Middle Ground to L’Hommedieu/Halfway Shoal and Succonesset, as well as in numerous rip lines that remain unnamed up and down Vineyard Sound, there have been stripers from 24 to 28-inches in incredible numbers chasing squid and sand eels. There is always the anticipation of catching something larger and they are mixed in; white, bone, pink, and yellow topwater plugs have been excellent choices, but old school seven and ten-inch Hogy’s in bone, amber, and bubblegum are still my go-to offerings at this time of year. Thinking about it, have Hogy’s been around long enough to be called “old school”?

Traditions are hard to break and there are still plenty of folks who will break out their wire line and green, white, chartreuse, or some combination like red-and-white parachutes or rubber skirted jigs, but drifting through the rips with any number of Hogy pre-rigged plastics, such as Pro Tails, SE Barbarians, or Harness Jigs, and vertical jigging is just plain more fun and no less effective than losing an arm to a 4/0 and a broomstick. If you are skilled at using your depth sounder or sonar, you can target where the fish are holding in the rip near deeper water and fish the white water more efficiently.

Even loading up a conventional outfit with leadcore line and drifting squid flies back into the rip line has been accounting for large numbers of bass for folks like Bob Lewis and his daughter, Heather, who had non-stop action at Succonesset Shoal last weekend.

While there were no really big bass entered in the Osterville Anglers’ Club tournament that they were fishing, Heather did manage a 30-inch striper that was a competitor for top honors. On the other hand, some of the boats opted for wire line jigging around Collier’s and they did well on big bluefish, up to the 13 and 14-pound range.

Overall, the bluefish bite for both boaters and shore anglers from Falmouth to Hyannis has been sporadic, although folks who opt for stinkpots can move around and hopefully locate a concentration. There have been brief spurts of activity around South Cape Beach, Popponesset, Cotuit, and Dowses for shore folks, but nothing consistent to speak of. Bob Lewis spoke of a typical situation for boaters at the moment as he found Oregon Beach quiet on his most recent trip there, but later on discovered a nice school of big blues off of Sampson Island.

Ben Clabault lamented that his most recent trips up inside Poppy and Cotuit produced only small schoolies on his topwater lures from Lonely Angler and Gibbs, and even folks bouncing jigs in the entrance channels to Waquoit, Popponesset, and Cotuit have had to work extra hard to land a bass that approached legal size.

There are, however, some small schools of bass up to the mid-30-inch class around the vast array of sheltered waters from Falmouth all the way down to Chatham. Bob has encountered some of these groupings and they have had lockjaw, as they would look at everything from flies to plastics to plugs, but not commit. I suspect that if one runs into this in the morning, then there is the chance that they have been feeding all night, perhaps on a worm hatch, and are simply digesting their dinner.

The one thing that is most apparent is that assuming you find them in the same spot once you have located them, as they have been coming-and-going like ghosts, sometimes replaced with their smaller brethren.

Even though the numerous schools of pogies that were reported in previous weeks seem to have made their way out of protected water and out into the sounds, there are still some bluefish being caught among the schools of bass.

Scup have also become a target of shore anglers, but if you want sea bass, then a boat is most definitely required. And according to most anglers who have been targeting BSB, you pretty much have to work not to find them. Jigging with Spro Jigs or other bucktails, either by themselves with a trailer or as part of a rig that features dressed hooks above the jig, is a great way to target larger fish, like the 18 to 24-inch ones that Christian Giardini’s buddies picked up in Nantucket Sound this week. Many people use squid for sea bass, but that will result in your being inundated with scup, which are much quicker to the bait than a big old purplehead.

According to Lee Boisvert, there really hasn’t been a ton of boat news from the Harwich area east, but folks jigging wire and livelining scup have been catching some bass around Bishop and Clerks. The shore crew has been consistently catching stripers up to and just beyond the 30-inch range using lures from the beach, especially the Storm 360GT Searchbait in pearl. Topwater has also been a good way to go for both bass and blues, with some large bluefish off of West Dennis Beach. The black sea bass bite has been very good around the rock piles around Hyannis and in deeper water in the sound, but Lee hasn’t heard any news yet from the wreck off of Harwich.

Frank Torbey shows off a nice sea bass caught in the Sound this week.
Frank Torbey shows off a nice sea bass caught in the Sound this week.