There are some reports that the numbers of bluefish out on Horseshoe Shoal this week are way down, making trolling in a searching pattern even more important if you want to locate fish. Although it is just a theory, I suspect that the bluefish bite in the sounds has been slower than normal due to the presence of large schools of squid out around Nantucket and in the waters south of the Vineyard. The squid were so thick at the former that draggers tried to take advantage, but enforcement folks forced them out. One of them, a boat out of Point Judith, ended up on the rocks in the Hole a couple of weeks ago, with a load of about 1,000 pounds of squid. Sounds like a little karma to me.
Even the schools of smaller blues, the three to five-pounders, haven’t been prevalent along the southside from Falmouth Hyannis; you could pretty much guarantee that you were going to find a few schools working if you went from Falmouth Harbor to Nobska, particularly in the morning, and Waquoit Bay has typically been an area you could count on finding them.
Jeff Clabault did say he heard from one group of anglers that they managed a few small blues off South Cape Beach earlier this week, so perhaps with the southwest winds we are going to see over the next few days that the fishing for choppers will pick.
Overall, though, it just seems that the bluefish bite around the upper Cape never got going this season, but we still have a ways to go.
One way of telling how slow the bluefish action is that folks who troll spots such as Hedge Fence for bonito haven’t been complaining about being covered up by all the small choppers there. With so many bones at the Hooter, Jim Young hit a number of typical funny fish haunts last Sunday and didn’t even connect with a bluefish for all his casting.
One area that is holding bluefish is the west side of Monomoy and outside Stage Harbor; there are large schools of smaller sand eels that are keeping the choppers happy. Typically, they can be raised under working terns if you are traveling from Saquatucket Harbor or Stage Harbor to Monomoy Point, but on the west flats of North Monomoy, there are some larger blues providing sight-fishing opportunities for boaters.
Shore anglers are picking up bass in the wee hours of the morning around Morris Island, but from Bass River to Falmouth, water quality and temperature have combined to put a damper on the schoolie fishing in the vast majority of backwaters. That makes fishing the entrances your best bet for finding any bass or blues, with early, early morning and night definitely the best time to fish. Bait, whether eels, clams, squid, or chunks of mackerel and pogies, has produced a greater number of legal sized bass that plugs or other artificials – and you also have a better chance of picking up some fluke or scup, the most common catch for shore anglers along the southside.
Nighttime shark fishing, especially for brown sharks, has become more and more popular from beaches that front Nantucket Sound, but it does take stout tackle and a strong sense of patience waiting for a visitor to take your fresh bluefish fillet or dead eel.