Most boaters who are looking for trolling and casting action have pretty much acknowledged that it is better to enjoy putting a bend in a rod with big bluefish than struggling to pick up even a single bass on the shoals and in the rips that traditionally hold stripers. That makes Horseshoe Shoal a popular destination as there are plenty of bluefish there, with many in the double-digit range. Some folks continue to jig for them, but it is far more fun to troll lighter outfits with leadcore or mono and squid imitations such as Hogy Perfect Squids. Casting topwater plugs around rip edges will also raise fish, with white a consistently productive color.
There are schools of smaller bluefish along the Nantucket Sound shoreline, but more often than not they are staying outside the range of shore anglers. Walking and casting a surface plug along any of the beaches from Falmouth to Chatham at dusk may result in a bluefish, but chunking baits such as mackerel or pogies is more likely to work. That said, Jeff Clabault spoke to an angler who specializes in catching brown sharks and asked him if he had encountered any bass or blues, and the answer was in the negative.
Schoolie bass continue to provide targets for flyrodders and light tackle anglers; the entrances to spots such as Waquoit Bay, Popponesset, Cotuit, Osterville, Bass River, and Stage Harbor are favored by many boaters and they continue to produce an occasional 30+-inch fish, especially on bait or swimming plugs. By all accounts, however, there are schoolies pretty much in any estuary, bay, salt pond, or salt rivers that are perfect targets for small soft plastics and fly anglers. Spots that feature marshes and dropoffs are good places to start as they typically harbor the small bait that schoolies prefer, such as grass shrimp, mummichogs, silversides, and sand eels.
The deeper water surrounding Wreck Shoal, L’Hommedieu, Eldridge Shoal, Collier’s Ledge, Horseshoe Shoal, and Succonesset continue to produce sea bass and fluke, but the reality is you are going to have to pick through a good number of sublegal fish to fill your legal bag limit.