Nantucket Updated Fishing Report

September 19, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

Like her sister island, the action on the Grey Lady sounds like it is better than most areas on the Cape.

Grace Canfield from the Nantucket Tackle Center told me that there have been some larger bass in the mix down around Smith’s Point, with some topwater activity in the morning, but the best fishing has been with plugs and plastics at night.

Around the Bonito Bar, the fishing remains consistent; Grace knows of one boat that fished south of Tuckernuck, which is in the general area, and they caught plenty of albies and some bonito earlier this week.

Great Point has been fishing really well with bonito, albies, and bluefish around, but the seals have been a real problem for shore anglers. It’s almost impossible to get a fish onto the sand without one of these mammals grabbing it.

Finally, the morning tides continue to hold some solid funny fish activity around the harbor, with both albies and bonito being caught. Grace did say it has slowed somewhat, but the early risers have been catching fish.

Avid fisherman and YouTube star, Jon Barzacchini, landed countless bonito, albie and bass from the shore on his first visit to the island.

September 12, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

It sounds like the Grey Lady might be the best spot for action this week when it comes to funny fish. Ryan Blaney from Nantucket Tackle Center said the Bonito Bar is filled with sand eels and bonito, with Epoxy Jigs still one of the biggest sellers on the island. There has also been an early morning bonito and bluefish bite around the harbor, with Ryan pointing out that smaller, sinking swimmers are one of this favorite lures when fishing this area.

It’s possible to catch all four species (bass, blues, bones, and albies) up at Great Point, but the seals are super aggressive right now, taking both fish and plugs.

As recently as last week, Madaket and Eel Point had good bluefish bites, especially in the evening. The warmer water has caused the stripers in the area to move into deeper water, but folks continue to toss topwater plugs in hopes of connecting with a bass.


September 5, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Information gathering was limited this week as everyone at Nantucket Tackle Center was either out fishing or they were so busy that nobody could answer the phone. In all seriousness, I know that many of the businesses on the island rely on summer help and their staffs shrink with school opens.

I do know that Bob Lewis spoke to fellow Osterville Anglers Club member Frank Torbey who was fishing around the island last weekend. Frank has been looking for a 10+-pound fluke and asked Bob if he would come down and open the club so he could weigh a big fish for the season long tournament. Alas, it only clicked the scale at 9.9-pounds, but Frank did say he fished the Bonito Bar and did very well. One interesting observation he offered was that as long as his lure was in the white water that was kicking up pretty good that day, he caught a bone; if it landed in front in the calmer water, it was bluefish city.

Jeff and Lynne Heyer at Cross Rip Outfitters had a recent post about the fishing on the west flats and it sounds like they were still finding good numbers of bass.

I can’t imagine that the solid beach fishing from Nobadeer and Cisco to Madaket has magically just stopped, with a topwater bite in the morning and some nighttime action on black soft plastics and swimming plugs.

I wish I could offer some insight on the shore fishing for albies and bonito up around Great Point, but I do know that anglers fishing from the jetties that mark the entrance to the harbor were enjoying some good fishing on funnies.


August 29, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I relied on Austin Conroy from the Nantucket Tackle Center for this week’s rating as he said the water has started to cool this week and the bass activity is starting to pick up, while funny fish action remains consistent.

In particular, Austin said schoolies up to 28-inches are being caught in the harbor, with small poppers and Finnish style swimmers popular choices to match the bait in those waters.

Down along the southside from Nobadeer to Madaket, folks are still catching bass at night using black soft plastic baits, with small bluefish in large numbers as well.

Andrew Lincoln got a taste of a bonito blitz on the fly this past week with George Grubb.

In fact, up around the Bonito Bar, which is fishing as it typically does this time of year with good numbers of bones and a few albies taking everything from Epoxy Jigs to small, brightly colored swimming plugs, the small blues are making for good business as folks quite often have to restock at the end of a funny fish excursion.

There are also some bonito being caught by beach and boat at Great Point, with some larger bluefish in the rips.

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been much in the word concerning the fluke bite lately, although Austin did suggest that McBlair should still be holding some quality fish.


August 22, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

While the Bonito Bar has been living up to its reputation, Austin Conroy at the Nantucket Tackle Center said he has been doing well fishing for bonito off the jetties that mark the entrance to Nantucket Harbor. Albie Crack has definitely been his top producing Epoxy Jig color among the medium size jigs he uses.

There are still some good-sized bluefish being caught by boats casting and trolling up off Great Point, with a few bonito mixed in.

The waters off of Sankaty and Sconset are filled with weed, making fishing virtually impossible, but there are still some bluefish being caught around the Old Man.

Avid angler Jack Hannum with a nice sized bluefish caught off of Great Point.

Shore fishing remains good at first light and again at dusk around Nobadeer and Cisco, with the stripers mainly on the small side and the bluefish averaging about six-pounds. Pencil poppers and Finnish style swimming plugs are popular among the shore angling crowd, along with soft plastics such as the Hogy Original series.

Austin added that out east, there hasn’t been much reason for boaters to venture out to the rips between the islands since the Bonito Bar has been fishing so well, with some blues and even some schoolie bass in the mix as well.


August 15, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

From what John Beattie at the Nantucket Tackle Center told me, the bassing from shore between Nobadeer and Madaket has been solid, with a morning bite on topwater plugs. John has become a big fan of the Hogy Charter Grade Squid, especially the sinking model. Small pencil poppers are another option.

Shore anglers have also been catching mainly blues, but some bass as well, around the Quidnet and Wauwinet on the east side of the island.

There are big bluefish in the rips around Great Point, where John caught a 17-pounder while trolling about four days ago. There are big blues at Sankaty as well and at the Old Man. Bob Lewis told me during an Osterville Anglers’ Club tournament on August 3, he cast topwater plugs at Sankaty over and over again, but couldn’t raise any of the blues they were marking on the screen, while skipper Charlie Richmond and Ken Cirillo jigged up some good fish on wire and parachutes.

The bass and bluefish action south of Tuckernuck has slowed a bit, but the fish are still there feeding on sand eels. Deep diving crankbaits are working well, but John said white parachute jigs with a red split tail strip often account for larger fish when fished on wire. Most of the bass are in the 24 to 26-inch class with plenty of five-pound bluefish in the mix.

The Bonito Bar is getting plenty of attention, with mainly small, more aggressive fish taking Epoxy Jigs and an assortment of funny fish metals and crankbaits in bright colors such as pink, chartreuse, and a combination of bright blue and chartreuse.

Both the Hogy Charter Grade Squid in floating and sinking models have proven to be effective fish catchers this season, but for shore anglers, the latter has the advantage of dealing with wave action more effectively as it sinks slowly, as well as being heavier (1.25 ounces as opposed to .5 ounces for the floating) and therefore casting farther.


August 8, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

The Bonito Bar between Smith Point and Madaket on the west side of the island didn’t get its name for no reason and Michael Blaney at the Nantucket Tackle Center reported that fishing there has really picked up. It isn’t at its peak just yet, he continued, but it’s pretty darn good, with plenty of boats anchored up off the rip tossing plugs and Epoxy Jigs. When it comes to plugs, bright colors such as pink, chartreuse, and a neon blue/green combination are popular and productive, while sand eel imitations are the way to go for folks casting jigs or flies since those baitfish are what makes the BB go.

There have been no bonito reported up around Great Point, but there are still monster bluefish being caught from beach and boat. Michael said that Great Point had been open to oversand travel, but it was closed again on an emergency basis after more baby plovers were found.

Sankaty is also holding some good numbers of bluefish, as is the Old Man, but bass fishing in the rips southeast of the island slower than normal, some boats are heading out to the shoals farther east of the island, like Rose and Crown, to find stripers.

Capt. Hal Herrick, of Nantucket Fishing, with one of their first bonitos of the season.

The flats around Tuckernuck are still holding mainly small bass despite the warmer water temperatures, with a mix of bass and blues in the rips between Nantucket and the Vineyard.

For shore anglers, walking the sand around Nobadeer, Cisco, and Smith Point and tossing a popper in the early morning or at dusk continues to produce some bass and even more bluefish, while nighttime plugging or eeling accounts for some larger late summer bass from these same waters.

While the fluke fishing typically was best east of Sankaty the last several years, Michael noted that many boats have moved their fishing more southeast towards the Old Man when targeting doormats. The black sea bass fishing remains solid thereabouts as well.

For years, pearl has been a go to plug color on Nantucket, perhaps as a result of the sand bottom that surrounds the island. White or bone also remains the best daytime soft plastic colors, with black or blurple favored on dark nights.


August 1, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

The word from John Beattie at the Nantucket Tackle Center is that bonito have shown in greater numbers around the Bonito Bar and south of Tuckernuck.

There are big bluefish, some up to 15 or 16-pounds, being caught up around Great Point, but there have been no reports of bones there yet.

Sankaty is holding some bluefish and bass, while the best striper fishing by boat has been at the Old Man, Rose and Crown, and other shoals southeast of the island. Jigging wire is a popular technique in these waters, but casting topwater plugs such as pencil poppers and soft plastics can be a visual treat, especially when the fish are feeding on squid, which are still in the rips.

Bob Lewis with a big fluke caught east of Nantucket.

The southside beaches are producing a few bass at night, with darker colored soft plastics and swimming plugs popular, with eels about the only bait you will see Nantucket shore anglers using.

Overall, however, the bluefish action has been better around Nobadeer, Cisco, and spots down towards Smith Point.

And, of course, the fluke fishing is still excellent east to southeast of the island, with some real doormats in the 8 to 12-pound class in the mix of summer flatties, which generally run on average between 21 and 24-inches.

The Bonito Bar is one of the most well known spots for light tackle and fly rod boneheads, but there is definitely a rhythm and protocol in regards to how you fish it. The fish move up and down the rip face and anchoring up is the way folks fish it. It can also be a dangerous piece of water, with the right conditions producing some nasty breakers and plenty of swell.


July 25, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

Austin Conroy at the Nantucket Tackle Center said there are big bluefish, choppers in the 12 to 16-pound class, being caught up at Great Point. Although this area is closed to oversand vehicle traffic, it can be reached by foot, while boaters have no such issue.

Flyrodders are doing well on stripers in the Cisco and Nobadeer areas, where they are imitating the sand fleas and crabs that get stirred up in the wave action.

Out at the Old Man and Bass Rip, there is a mix of bass and blues, noted Dave Stetson from Bill Fisher Tackle. The southside beaches have plenty of bluefish as well while any bonito taken in the area have come from the rips around Tuckernuck and Muskeget, with the Bonito Bar yet to have activity to report.

The island is known for some excellent fishing for sharks from the beach, with Elliot Sudal featured in a number of articles for his exploits as he wrestles brown, sandbar, and other species to the beach for photos before releasing them. Chunks of fresh bluefish and eels are two of the most popular baits for sharks, while Elliot has also been catching skates up around the harbor that measure six feet across and hundreds of pounds.


 

July 18, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5

No bonito to report yet on the island, but there are some big bluefish to be had and the fluke fishing remains great.

When it comes to relaying fishing information, they don’t come any better than Michael Blaney at The Nantucket Tackle Center. You can tell that he knows his stuff and has his finger on the pulse of the fishing scene on the island.

In fact, I would recommend signing up for the NTC fishing newsletter that they send out via email each Thursday; it contains observations from Michael, owner Capt. Matt Reinemo, John Beattie, and others.

Michael said that the bluefish have filled in around the island and are not concentrated just on the north side. They are being caught along the southside beaches, as well as Old Man Shoal. He added that he spoke to a boater who caught some bluefish in the 12 to 16-pound range up off of Great Point. Generally speaking, Michael explained, if the bluefish are in these spots, they are most likely around Sankaty as well.

While Michael tries to steer people to southside spots such as Nobadeer and Dionis if they are looking for bass from shore, the midday bite has been very slow. In fact, he emphasized that the fishing is definitely best at night, with good numbers of fish caught between say 10 PM and 2 AM. False dawn can also fish well, although the bite is typically much shorter than during the night.

Slimmer profile swimming plugs and soft plastics are good options from the beaches, but one angler told Michael that he caught some fish on a Sebile recently.

With the water warming inshore, the bass typically move into deeper water and areas that hold stronger currents and cooler water such as rips between Nantucket and the Vineyard, as well as south of the islands. The amount of squid in the rips has definitely been better than in the past several years, making an assortment of squid imitations, including plugs and soft plastics, very effective.

No bonito have been reported recently, but Michael said there are good numbers of sand eels around, which typically are what draws the bones in to the Bonito Bar and other funny fish hotspots on the island.

If you want to see the amber Hogy Charter Grade Slider in action, check out the video and photos posted by Capt. Jeff Heyer on the Hogy Facebook page. Jeff and wife Lynne of Cross Rip Outfitters are flats specialists, but they also know there way around the rips.


July 11, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

Great Point remains closed to fishing, but the southside beaches are still producing some quality stripers, both day and night.

Michael Blaney at Nantucket Tackle Center said the bass fishing in the Old Man and Rose and Crown areas is improving; instead of squid, he said during his last trip there he noticed that the fish were feeding on small baitfish that might have been juvenile sea herring.

There are some bluefish mixed in around the rips, but generally they have been more readily available from Madaket to Smith’s Point. There has also been a solid mix of bass and blues out around Tuckernuck.

No bonito have been reported, but there has been some talk about bluefin south of the island.

From shore, with Great Point closed, your best to find beach action is along the southside, including Nobadeer, the airport, and Dionis. Fishing from dusk to dawn is definitely key to catching bass from the beaches, with prime tides typically falling between midnight and just before first light. Swimming plugs and soft plastics are very effective, but some folks are tossing live eels.

The flats are fishing OK, with mainly smaller bass at this time of year, along with some bluefish mixed in.

Dave Stetson at Bill Fisher Tackle suggested that soft plastics are typically effective for bass along the south shore, but with the blues having shown up in greater numbers, that means plenty of soft plastic nubs.

Folks out fishing for bass or blues have caught a few bonito, but they have yet to move in to the Bonito Bar.

Out east, the fluke and black sea bass action remains very good, with scup around in increasing numbers as well.

While I was on the phone with Dave, he asked one of the local charterboat captains about tuna south of the island; the report was that there have been a few thereabouts, as well as some white marlin, but nothing is thick offshore.

If you elect to visit the waters east of Nantucket to get in on the big fluke action, remember that big baits attract doormats. We often put videos on the TV at the shop that I work at one day a week, with fluke films especially popular. I can tell you from what I have seen, the most successful boats are fishing big fluke belly or squid strips on heavy jigs with large soft plastic grub tails and an assortment of spinners and beads.


June 27, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

Perhaps the most important news at the moment is that Great Point is closed due to the presence of nesting plovers.

Austin Conroy at Nantucket Tackle Center said that there are bass pretty much all along the north and south shore of the islands. Nobadeer Valley and Cisco are two good areas for shore anglers along the southside for bass. The rips are filled with more bait, including squid and sand eels, making for some good action on both bass and blues; in fact, Capt., Matt Reinemo included in this week’s email report that Austin fished the Old Man on Monday and had fish on every cast.

Capt. Matt noted that he has been fishing Wasque and since the main problem hasn’t been the number of fish but size, they have been using lures that feature single hooks for safer and cleaner releases.

Photo via Nantucket Tackle.

Finally, Matt said that he managed to get some time on the flats and although he saw some larger bass, the fish, once again, were mainly in that 23 to 25-inch range. In cloudy conditions, blindcasting with spooks and soft plastics is the way to go, while when the sun is out and sight fishing is possible, crab flies and Clousers are typically productive.

Meanwhile, the word from Dave Stetson at Bill Fisher Tackle is that the rips both east and west of the island are picking up; the main body of fish consists of bass between 24 and 28-inches, with larger fish upwards of 30-inches mixed in. There are bluefish in the harbor, mainly on the smaller side, as well as along the north shore, but there are some smaller pods of bigger blues around as well.


June 20, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

The rips and shoals around Great Point have come alive recently, providing solid shots at bluefish and bass for shore and boat anglers.

It’s really obvious that John Beattie at The Nantucket Tackle Center has his finger on the pulse of fishing on the island given his insights and knowledge.

First off, he noted that the number of sand eels has definitely increased and the squid are showing in the rips as well. John also said there are still mackerel and herring around.

Boaters and shore anglers have been getting into increasing numbers of bass up at Great Point on plugs and plastics, while bluefish have showed up at Old Man Shoal and around the north side of the island as well. The blues are generally in the 3 to 4-pound range, but some up to 10-pounds have also been caught.

Bass fishing along the southside beaches is also quite good, with Pearl Red Head, Bone, and Candy Yo-zuri Mag Darters catching plenty of fish, along with pearl or white Finnish style swimmers. Bone Hogy’s are also a popular daylight lure, from Originals to Pro Tails in both Paddles and Eels.

John explained that there are good numbers of bass on the flats, but the difference this year is that they are smaller on average. Sand eels and crabs are the main forage items in these waters, but spin casters find pearl, bone, or white soft plastics effective at this time of year.

There are still bass up inside the harbor, but John did advise that this action is starting to slow.

Meanwhile, the fluke bite is heating up in the shoals to the east and south of the island, with excellent sea bass fishing closer in around the Whale’s Tail.

The flats around Tuckernuck provide some of the best sight fishing on the Cape and Islands. While this type of fishing is popular with fly rod anglers, providing a New England equivalent of fishing for bonefish, in the early parts of the season the fish are more willing to eat soft plastics and even topwater plugs such as spooks.


June 14, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Again, a half point off on the island because of a lack of big bluefish, although John Beattie at The Nantucket Tackle Center said that fish in the low 20-inch range are being caught, especially along the west side jetties.

The bass fishing on the southside remains good, with large numbers of fish up to the 28 to 30-inch size feeding on sand crabs, but they are willing to hit plugs, including poppers and the Yo-zuri Mag Darter, especially in white and pink.

The harbor is also still fishing well for bass, with water temperatures in the mid-60’s, while along the southside they are registering the low 60’s.

Squid have shown in the rips and the sand eel hatch has taken place as well.

The west flats are also filled with bass, John emphasized, with flyrodders doing well both on sand eel and crab patterns.

Nantucket is traditionally an artificial lure fishery; for years, Finnish style minnows in white or pearl during the day were the hot ticket, while black, dark green back, and blurple ruled at night. Over the several years, though, soft plastics have taken over a large part of the market, again with the same, traditional color orientation.


June 6, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5

It certainly is early, but a bonito was caught this week off of Eel Point this week. Can anyone say Bonito Bar and Hogy Epoxy Jigs?

The word from John Beattie at The Nantucket Tackle Center is that the bass fishing is improving along the south facing beaches, while the harbor is also productive at dawn and dusk. Finnish style swimmers in pearl or Wonderbread are consistent producers along the sand beaches, while poppers and stickbaits/spooks are popular up inside the harbor.

The mackerel are thinning out around the island, but a few bluefish have been caught, typically a sign that some squid are moving into the rips. But not many boaters are out fishing the shoals and rips, but that should change with each passing day in June.

On the flats, there are good numbers of smaller bass and sand eel patterns work just fine at this time of year, before the waters warm and they become more interested in crab flies.


May 30, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

John Beattie at The Nantucket Tackle Center said that he would rate the fishing as good based on the number of bass around, which are general under 28-inches with a few legal fish mixed in. A bluefish was caught at Dionis three days ago, while the bass fishing is best in the harbor and on the southside. There are also hickory shad on the southside and the mackerel bite remains solid, so John advised that imitating those baits would be the way to go. Typically, Nantucket anglers use plenty of plugs and soft plastics, with white during the day and black or blurple at night the theme they rely on. At the moment, the squid haven’t moved in and there hasn’t been any hatch of sand eels yet.

Spook style plugs are popular in the protected waters of the harbor; both first light and dusk are excellent times to employ the walk-the-dog or toss unweighted soft plastics from shore.