Paul Newmier from Blackbeard’s in Eastham said that other than people being bitten by sharks, the best action from the beaches has been on small bass with an occasional mackerel being caught. Most fish are being caught on sand eels, but a few non-tourist anglers have been catching some on soft plastics, weighted and unweighted, as well as swimmers such as Daiwa SP Minnows. Yo-zuri is also making the Hydro Minnow and Mag Minnow, both of which feature a long cast system similar to SP Minnow, allowing for longer casts that the old school Bomber and Red Fin, both of which suffered from light weight and air resistance from their plastic lip. Bomber makes a long cast version now, but there certainly hasn’t been much noise about them.
Capt. Ron Murphy of Stray Cat Charters in Hyannis told me that some boaters are jigging up the mackerel that are holding in the cooler waters around Chatham and Nauset, then livelining them with some success fairly close to shore. Ron added that there seems to be some schooling of fish in deeper water off of Chatham and Nauset, leading to some vertical jigging.
That said, Paul said that he hasn’t been able to give away a jig this year; even in the spring, when they are typically really a good option with fish feeding on sand eels, more boats were jigging and livelining mackerel.
As far as what local charterboats are doing to pick up bass for their clients, Paul advised that they are going well out into deeper water where leadhead/soft plastic combinations are an effective alternative to metal jigs.