On the Cape, we are blessed with some of the best fishing in the East Coast. From sea bass to bluefin tuna, we have it all. But there is no other species that brings out fishing fever more than atlantic bonito and false albacore in the late summer and fall. People travel far and wide chasing rumors, reports and secret tips. Sometimes they are easy to find. Others, not so much. In any event, here’s a guide to some of the haunts that have produced fish for me over the past 25 years that I have been chasing these funny fish. Good luck and tight lines!
1. Woods Hole: Often holds bonito and albies in various nooks and crannies but can get crowded fast. A great place for throwing soft plastics due to close quarter nature of the fishing. On the sound side, look in the corner known as Bonito Alley, on the West side of the entrance. On the Buzzard’s Bay side, check out the open water just in front of the Hole.
2. Nobska: Often you can make long drifts here, the albies run with the tide and cycle back.
3. Falmouth Outer Harbor: Albies often show in this area first. Bait holds in Falmouth Outer Harbor between Nobska and Falmouth. When fish are in this area, they can bounce between Nobska and Popponesset. I like a westbound tide for the Nobska side and vice versa for eastbound tide.
4. Waquoit: If fish are trending east, Waquoit is a good first place to take a peak, especially if fishing is slowing down at Nobska. Excellent early season area.
5. Popponessett: Also an excellent early season spot. Like Nobska, often large long drifts are possible here, which is good, because the area can get very crowded.
6. Gay Head: The alley between The Vineyard and Noman’s is a known area. Be ware of large schools of big bluefish in this area during this time of year. If searching this area, do a big loop looking for birds. Sometimes small bluefins pop up here.
7. Menemsha to Tashmoo: This area is popular for shore anglers, but good for boaters alike. Running the beach here from East to West is your play.
8. Vineyard Haven: Though less popular, worth having on your radar. Sometimes fish get balled up near the mooring fields.
9. Oak Bluffs: Cruise by the Steamship docks. Bait sometimes gets pushed in there. If nothings going on, push east toward State Beach and onto Cape Pogue.
10. Cape Pogue: This area often develops later in the season and holds fish into October.
11. Craigville: Usually the fish move further east all the way to Monomoy, but on their way over, the albies can stack up off Craigville beach.
12. Elizabeth Islands: The Elizabeth Islands are great for anglers keen to finding their “own fish”. Often Bonito an albies pop up along the way without any birds. Lackey’s Bay is one of the more popular spots along the islands, although Tarpaulin Cove, Quick’s and Robinson’s often hold fish too. Regarding the Holes, fish will hold on the outside corners and inside the passageways.
13. Woods Hole: If there’s something going on the Sound side and off Nobska, it’s definitely worth sniffing around the Buzzard’s Bay side of the Hole.
14. West Falmouth Beaches and Beyond: It’s an easy run from Quissett Harbor all the way to the West end of the Canal. A popular area throughout September, it’s often known for the best place to get a mix of Albies and Bonito. Often fish will get very tight to the beaches, but don’t forget to push out into deeper water where they can be easier to catch.