Ben Clabault at Forestdale Bait & Tackle had a few more positive reports on bluefish this week, with anglers trolling Horseshoe Shoal catching mainly five to six-pound fish with enough 10+-pounders to make it interesting. Hootchies have always been a popular trolling lure around the shoal, but Yo-zuri Deep Diving Crystal Minnows and Fastrac Rebels are more often used by anglers today, perhaps because in some places where they target blues, such as Horseshoe, Hedge Fence, Succonesset, Middle Ground, and the Hooter, there is always the chance of hooking into a bonito or false albacore when they are mixed in.
A few bluefish continue to be caught from the shore between Falmouth and Chatham, with first light and again at dusk your best bet. This recent stretch of cooler water has also increased opportunities for a larger bass, such as the 34-inch striper that was caught off the Popponesset spit earlier this week, noted Ben Clabault.
Brown sharks continue to provide some heart pounding activity, with shore anglers too often undergunned when it comes to the tackle they use while boaters have the advantage of being able to follow the fish and typically are using stouter equipment since casting isn’t as important. Dead eels are considered a top shark bait, with fresh bluefish chunks or fillets another good option for sharks.
Many anglers, particularly light tackle and fly rod enthusiasts, have been enjoying continued schoolie action in the numerous protected waters along the Nantucket Sound shoreline. Bob Lewis told me that he has been seeing some good bass topwater activity in the early morning around Cotuit when he is heading off to fish Monomoy and I’m sure a similar scenario arises quite often when leaving Waquoit, Popponesset, Hyannis, Bass River, Saquatucket, and Stage Harbor, to name a few spots, which can be particularly frustrating when the faraway locale produces nothing, or perhaps even worse, fish of the size that you passed on in the wee hours of the morning.
Although scup are still the most dependable target for shore and boat anglers who prefer to bottom fish in and around protected waters, Ben said that there are more and more northern kingfish/whiting being caught such that they are more than an incidental catch.
Finally, anchoring up in an entrance channel and drifting live eels or cut bait in the dark can be effective, but remember that there can still be active boat traffic from dusk to dawn and you should be showing a white all-around anchor light at a height sufficient that it can be clearly seen. Make sure that you increase your odds of being seen and be prepared to weigh anchor and/or sound your audible device since some boaters can be completely unaware of their surroundings or, in the worst case scenario, might have been drinking and in no condition to operate a boat.