Hit-or-miss is the optimal word to use when describing what is going on in the sounds as far as bass and bluefish go.
Charlie Richmond’s description of his experience during last Saturday’s Pink Squid competition, pitting the Osterville Anglers’ Club against the Pink Squid Yacht Club from Edgartown, is pretty typical of what most boaters are reporting from the sounds. Although they marked fish at L’Hommedieu, they had lockjaw, so they went to Middle Ground where they did some vertical jigging with Hogy Pro Tail Paddles and picked up a few small, but legal, stripers. Horseshoe Shoal was empty and Bishop and Clerks produced mostly small bass, with two just legal ones in the mix, and it wasn’t until they reached Wasque that they found bass and blues in good numbers. There was nothing large, including some 8-10 pound bluefish, and some more barely legal bass.
The winning bass weighed 10.45-pounds and was topped by the largest bluefish (11.85), which came from Sankaty.
Jeff Clabault from Forestdale Bait & Tackle had a good report concerning Succonesset as an angler fished there earlier this week and managed 20 bass up to 33-inches. The odd thing is that he didn’t any bluefish, though.
Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis told me that Bishop and Clerks has picked up, with Yo-zuri Hydro Squirts and Hootchies productive lures with all the squid around. This is a popular trolling spot, but some folks do throw topwater plugs into the rocky structure with some success.
Black sea bass continue to provide a good portion of the action for both private and headboat captains; they are finishing up spawning, so there are fewer of the large males to be had, so you probably will have to work a bit harder to get your bag limit of five fish if you want larger ones. On the other hand, there are so many in the 12 to 16-inch range that they will most likely provide a large portion of what boaters catch this summer. Collier’s and the tire reef off Bass River have been productive areas for sea bass, but so far there has been no word about them showing at the new reef down Harwich way.
The scup bite remains strong and they have made their way into the bays and other backwaters from Falmouth to Hyannis, giving shore anglers an opportunity at catching them after it was only boaters who were filling coolers with them.
The lack of bluefish from the beaches between Falmouth and Cotuit has folks like Jeff Clabault generally concerned; whether it is the weather, a lack of bait, water temperatures, or some other unknown cause, South Cape Beach, Popponesset, and Oregon Beach have seen far too many days where they are a desert. The last time Jeff heard of bluefish in decent numbers was last Friday when his son, Ben, caught some in Cotuit. When Jeff visited South Cape earlier this week, he had no fish to show, while another angler at least caught a few small stripers.
Speaking of stripers, the schoolies that had been so prevalent in pretty much every backwater you could name from Falmouth to Osterville seem to have disappeared. I have little doubt that some folks have managed to get into some, but the fact that their numbers have apparently dwindled so fast is disappointing. As far as larger bass from shore goes, Jeff concluded that if the Wampanoag anglers that he knows haven’t been sharing stories of good catches, then something is amiss.
Andy Little said there are still some bluefish around Dowse’s over to Great Island and shorebound anglers using topwater plugs from the jetties have been catching bass as well. Around rocky structure, tossing metal lip swimmers is a good way to coax any larger stripers to pay attention.
Now, the word from Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in Yarmouth is there are good numbers of bluefish being caught from the shore anywhere between West Dennis Beach and Harding’s Beach in Chatham. Line Stretcher lures have been a popular choice for catching choppers, which have been ranging mainly between six and eight pounds, with some double-digit ones in the mix.
I suspect that the reason the blues have settled more to the east is that there is something for them to eat, and in this case they could have followed the schools of pogies that had been around some of the salt ponds in Falmouth, Waquoit Bay, Cotuit, and Osterville. I realize that the typical pattern is that bluefish are drawn into the beaches by squid at this time of year, but pogies provide plenty of good eating to a hungry blue.
Lee added that they still have good numbers of schoolies up inside Bass River, as well as the rivers in Dennis and Harwich, and they are taking everything from soft plastics to poppers and a wide assortment of flies.
Speaking of flies, with the full moon, lots of water, and warmer weather predicted for the weekend, this just might be a good time to keep an eye on your favorite clam flat or area that features dark, muddy bottom for signs of a worm hatch.