Dead and deader are the optimal words when it comes to bass fishing; pretty much everyone has given up and are concentrating on fluke and the sea bass that have been holding in deeper water. Nobska remains a good fluke location and any early morning trip that takes you by the lighthouse is worth a couple of casts with a piece of wood, both metal-lipped swimmers and topwater plugs such as poppers and spooks.
Shore anglers have been entertaining themselves with sand and brown sharks off of a number of southside beaches; eels and fresh chunk baits are best for this type of fishing, with sharks up to 200-pounds a possibility. This fishing is not for the faint of heart and requires heavy tackle and proper rigging, including wire leaders.
Bass, on the other hand, have been tough to come, especially fish with any real size to them. I heard of one 30-inch fish being caught off the Popponesset spit on a jighead/soft plastic combination and a fish in the mid 20-inch range on a popper; both of these fish were taken in lowlight conditions, emphasizing how important it is to fish from dusk to dawn, with that magic time just before the sun comes up especially productive.
There are schoolies around many of the bays, salt ponds, and rivers, but again, the key is to seek out those times when the water cools by even a degree or two. Swimming plugs such as Bombers, SP Minnows, and Red Fins are good choices, but unweighted soft plastics give you the advantage of being able to keep the lure suspended in the water column without a fast retrieve, creating an injured, disoriented appearance.
Bluefish are equally tough to come by from the beach, with the best action still reported around Horseshoe Shoal. There are schools of smaller fish around Succonesset and Wreck Shoals, as well as Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu, but these inshore waters aren’t typically as dependable at this time of year.
A number of folks have told me they saw “slashing fish” in front of Green Pond, Waquoit, New/Seabury/Popponesset, and Cotuit/Osterville, and since they didn’t hook up when they cast into the action, they assumed they might have been bonito. That very well may be, but at present, the only reliable reports have come from Hedge Fence where trolling remains the top technique.
The fluke bite remains good out in front of Falmouth and from Cotuit to Hyannis, with any larger fish falling to rigs tipped with squid, although baits such as sand eels, mummichogs, and snapper bluefish are excellent alternatives and some folks combine multiple baits to create a fluke sandwich. Remember that substituting a jig for a plain sinker, if you can get down with the weight leadhead you are using, is a good idea and presents another “bait” to the fish.