Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds Fishing Report – June 22, 2017

You would be hard pressed to pinpoint any of the shoals as the best to fish since they are all holding bass, mainly those chunky 26 to low-30-inch fish that were born in 2011.

Most boats working Halfway/L’Hommedieu continue to jig wire or vertical jig, while Middle Ground has been a caster’s delight. Seven-inch bubblegum Hogy’s have been my top choice, along with pink, tan, or white squid flies, from really small ones to medium size. When the rip is going, the fish have been throwing themselves all over the baby squid in the area, making for some incredible visuals. There are some bluefish mixed in, but that has mainly been around slack tide and caught on topwater plugs.

Jim Young at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth saw a video of folks catching bass on topwater plugs at Hedge Fence, which is traditionally a bluefish and fluke spot this time of year. Succonesset is also a good striper spot, with more of them than bluefish.

Jim also made a point of recommending that folks get out there with the water still on the cool side and plenty of squid around; a stretch of hotter weather can heat the shoals up pretty quickly, sending the bass east in search of cooler water.

Charlie Richmond fished Bishop and Clerks this morning with Ken Cirillo and they caught 20 bass, 12 of them legal up to 33-inches, throwing plugs on spinning gear. Even better, they were the only boat around. They fished from 5:30 to 7 AM, with small schoolies more prevalent starting about 6:30.

The sea bass bite continues to be excellent, although the average fish is definitely smaller. As they move off structure into the deeper water around the shoals, they can often be caught trolling swimming plugs or using Epoxy Jigs or some form of metal jig.

Fluke fishing is, in a word, poor. Even the commercial crew is struggling to find fish that would fit the 17-inch minimum recreational size.

Shore anglers continue to pick at bass from the beaches in Falmouth, noted Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle. Daiwa SP Minnows, paddletail plastics like the Hogy Pro Tail, and topwaters, especially in the morning, are all effective choices at this point in the season.

From South Cape Beach to Cotuit, there has been some bluefish activity for beach folks; the issue is trying to figure out where they are going to be from day-to-day, as there has been no consistency. Ben Clabault from Forestdale Bait & Tackle said most of these fish are in the six to eight-pound class, while up inside Popponesset and Cotuit, there is the occasional double-digit chopper caught.

The word from Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in Yarmouth is that the bluefish activity from West Dennis Beach to Stage Harbor in Chatham continues to provide the most consistent activity for shore fishermen, especially in the evening on surface plugs such as the Line Stretcher Surface Tension and Roberts’ Rangers.

It would be hard not to mention a bay, harbor, or river that doesn’t have schoolies in good numbers right now, but remember that these waters warm quickly, causing any sizeable bass to move into open water in search of more agreeable conditions. At the moment, poppers tossed around marsh banks and rocky structure are greeted with great enthusiasm by the smaller bass, while larger fish are typically targeted in the deeper channels with jigs of various types, especially bucktails and soft plastic paddletails.

Ben Clabault also knows that some boaters have turned to the tube-and-worm inside Cotuit and they are catching the occasional legal-sized bass. The Waquoit entrance channel in the very early morning before everyone wakes up or again at night is another good tubing destination.