2014 Vineyard Derby Fishing Reports


10/18/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

With the Derby scheduled to end in less than four hours when I wrote this, the word on the street is that a potential new leading shore bonito is weighting to be checked in when the weigh station opens up. As Doug Asselin said once again, the bait around the island is incredibly thick and today the albies and bonito finally found the huge schools of silversides around Menemsha, where that big bonito was caught. On the other hand, boat bass weigh-ins have been nil, nada, the big zero for the last three days; a few shore fish have been caught, but nothing threatening the leaderboard. That said, Doug reported that he was still selling eels at the shop and there will be folks out there fishing their honey hole to the last – of course, saving enough time to make it to the weigh-in if they get lucky.

10/16/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

Despite the presence of large schools of bait around the Vineyard, the overall fishing remains slow. Doug Asselin reported that after finding nothing going around Tashmoo, he headed to Menemsha/Lobsterville where there huge schools of silversides, but he didn’t see a single swirl or other sign of larger fish. He spoke to folks who were there earlier and they told of plenty of peanut bunker and some sand eels around the jetties, but again no albies or bonito had shown by early afternoon. Doug also said that there are tons of squid in Edgartown and he saw one angler land an albie; later on, this individual told Doug he had caught two earlier before Doug arrived. Doug also emphasized that the lack of bass being weighed in, especially from the boats, doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying; he figures that over the last couple of weeks he has sold between a thousand to two thousand bunker (or pogies) to both boat and shore anglers. Even bluefish have been tough to come by, with a number of folks having a hard time coming up with a chopper that meets the 22-inch minimum to complete their grand slam.

10/15/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

With the end of the Derby in sight on Saturday at 10 PM, the odds are diminishing that a new leading shore or boat bass will be weighed in; in fact, on Tuesday there were no boat stripers weighed in and the shore fish seem to be getting smaller, rather than the other way around. A few small bass have been taken around the north shore, although it continues to be slower than previous years; live eels are always a top choice in this stretch of the island. With fewer anglers out there as week five rolls on and the effects of long days and nights catches up, many shore anglers looking for bass are chunking bait, a technique that requires less effort, but the hardcores are using plugs with some success around Squibnocket. The Hooter still has a mix of albies and bonito and some boaters are focusing more on Squibnocket in hopes of catching larger funny fish. From shore, the albie fishing has definitely quieted down from what it was a week ago, but there are still some bonito being caught around Menemsha and Lobsterville.

10/9/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

After a relatively quiet Derby so far, Edgartown became the place to be when it comes to shore albies, with a new leader weighed in yesterday, a fine 12.55-pounder. These fish are incredibly adept at finding where the bait is and Edgartown typically holds a good amount of squid at this time of year, a favorite albie snack, as well as silversides and sand eels. There was another shore bonito checked in, continuing an incredibly long string with at least one added to the board. The wind kept most boaters at home, with only one bass and a single bluefish weighed in, and there were no bones about it.

10/7/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

The number of shore bass caught during the Derby this year have definitely outnumbered the boat stripers; as an example, yesterday there were four shore fish and just one from a boat. In addition, the leading shore fish is just over a pound less than the boat leader, with no fish over 40-pounds weighed in at all in the contest. There is little doubt that anglers looking to top the shore category for bass would do well to fish the stretch from Squibnocket to Gay Head; this area has produced the vast majority of shore winners over the last several years. The rocky areas are best fished with plugs such as needlefish and swimmers, with topwater plugs also effective during the day; eels are also effective thereabouts. There are some sandy good stretches of sand where soaking bait is effective; most anglers think of fresh pogies or mackerel for this type of fishing, but fresh squid is Derby favorite.

10/4/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

The wind out of the northeast for the last several days had most bass anglers heading to spots where they could keep the wind behind them rather than spots they would necessarily like to fish under less stormy conditions. That didn’t deter Mini-Junior Xavier Clarke who earlier in the week went with his father went to South Beach and dunked bunker chunks, one of which caught Xavier a 16.05-pound bass that is the only one in this division so far. Albies continue to be caught in a number of shore locations, with Vineyard Haven providing consistent shots each day, but Edgartown has been surprisingly quiet this year. That said, the new leading shore albie came from Menemsha on 10/2 and another shore fish over 10-pounds was weighed in the same day and is in third place. While shore anglers have to pick their spot and wait for schools to come by, boaters obviously have many more options and those with larger boats are fishing the waters between the Vineyard and Nantucket where some of the biggest albies have been caught.

10/1/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

Despite the wind and rain today, the albies were active in Vineyard Haven, with a number taken from shore as well as by boat. The bonito boat action has been best around Paradise and the Hooter; most of the fish are on the small side, but there is still an occasional larger one caught. Trolling remains productive, but casters are also catching them with Epoxy Jigs and metal lures. Three of the largest bluefish in the shore bluefish category have been caught by Steve Morris and Doug Asselin of Team Dick’s on live eels recently, but the small area they have been fishing produced just one small bass for Steve today. That seems to be the shore fishing pattern this Derby, with fish active in very specific areas for brief periods of time or even a tide or two.

9/26/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

The most interesting story of the Derby continues to be the excellent bonito shore fishing; I spoke with Doug Asselin on Thursday and he ended up with the daily prize for a 6.09-pound bone, the first he has caught in 12 years. His first one was caught while jigging for squid in Edgartown off the ferry dock and he was glad that he had that fish out of the way this season. Menemsha and Lobsterville continue to be productive areas, but Doug said there was very good fishing in Edgartown Harbor around the lighthouse. The bones are feeding on everything from small sand eels, medium size silversides, and small squid. There are still albies mixed in with them.
On a disturbing note, folks are still weighing in small stripers just to get on the daily board; today there were two shore fish less than 12-pounds weighed, certainly a far cry from the days when folks wouldn’t even consider bringing in a fish of that size to the weigh station.

9/25/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

Both the shore bonito and bass were larger today than those taken from the boat; Menemsha continues to fish very well from shore for the bones and has had larger ones more often than the fish taken from the Hooter, which has been a top spot for boaters. Sand eels continue to be the main bait that the bonito are feeding on, making slender profile jigs and metals like the SI EPOXY JIG the way to go if you prefer casting to them. The forecast for the next two days includes strong winds out of the east/northeast, with another day of northeast on Saturday as the breezes begin to settle; that could push the larger concentrations of funny fish out into deeper water, with just small pods remaining. Stay tuned.

9/24/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

A new leader in the shore albie division was caught yesterday by Bernie Arruda; it tipped the scales at 10.76-pounds and was most likely mixed in with the bonito that have been keeping shore anglers busy around Menemsha. Steve Morris believes most of the larger shore bass are being caught up island around Squibnocket and Gay Head, with chunk baits such as pogies (or bunker) as well as live eels top producers; yesterday, there were two shore bass in the 26+-pound range weighed in.

9/22/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

Most folks would agree that this year’s bonito fishing in the Derby has been some of the best in recent memory; boat anglers who prefer trolling are catching up to 40 fish on lures such as Rebel Fastracs and Yo-zuri Crystal Minnows around the Hooter and there is good fishing  off of Squibnocket as well. Apparently, the bones are feeding on very small sand eels, no longer than two inches, that are thick south of the Vineyard. Shore anglers are also enjoying a banner year, with Menemsha the place to be; despite the challenges in catching funny fish from shore, these folks are weighing in fish every day. And the bass scene appears to be shaping up from shore and boat as an occasional larger fish, but overall most weigh-ins have been in the teens; the word is that most fish, particularly the larger ones, are being caught on bait at night.

9/21/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

With boat striped bass daily weigh-ins ranging from 13 to 15-pounds over the last couple of days, it’s pretty obvious that fishing around the Elizabeths has been slow since that is where most Derby anglers looking for bass have been concentrating. On the other hand, shore anglers have been doing better; although Derby anglers are tight-lipped when it comes to where they are fishing, there is a very good chance that many are fishing around the Katama breach and from Squibnocket to Gay Head. Given that the bonito and albie fishing has been very good along the southside, that means there is bait around and that is where the bass will be as well as the funny fish.

9/20/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

A 38.63-pound shore caught bass weighed in Friday morning topped both the previous best shore and boat stripers by 10+-pounds; it also is the largest shore caught bass weighed in during the Derby since 2008, noted Steve Morris. Steve went on to explain that many anglers don’t even begin to think bass until a good fish is weighed in, so this catch should signal an uptick in bass fishing. Steve wasn’t familiar with the angler, an islander named Creanga Cosmin, or where he likes to fish, but Steve believes that bait was involved; in fact, offerings such as fresh pogy or mackerel chunks quite often produce big shore caught bass and bluefish, although my assumption that the top shore bluefish was caught on bait was incorrect as Steve told me it was caught on a plug.

9/18/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

One of the more interesting stories of the Derby has been the great albie fishing in the Wasque rips; these fish have been taking Epoxy Jigs really well and fly anglers are also catching good numbers. Bonito shore catches are already ahead of last season, with most of the action down Menemsha way; if you don’t mind fishing in crowds, then you’ll enjoy the competition and social aspect of angling off the jetties that flank the entrance to the pond. One of the challenges that anglers who fish there face is dealing with a fast running fish from shore and yet using light enough line and/or leaders to get the bonito to eat; that’s why most of them use casting jigs.

There were at least four shore caught bonito on Tuesday; although they were small, generally in the three to four-pound range, the numbers are definitely better than last year. Menemsha typically produces many of the shore caught bonito and that most likely applies to this year’s Derby. Both shore and boat bass are in the low to mid 20-pound range; Janet Messineo had the top shore bass on Tuesday and given that she is a regular around Chappy, that might be a clue as to where some nice fish are being caught. The Katama cut has been a top producer of bass all season and it will get a great deal of attention during the Derby as well.

9/18/14 As reported by Capt.Jaime Boyle http://www.boylermaker.com/

Captain Jaime Boyle found these funny fish on the south side of the Vineyard. Jaime reported that the fish were highly finicky and had to switch gears and present some different offerings to seal the deal. He caught these bonito and albies on the 7″ Hogy Original Tinker Mackeral rigged with the 5/0 Hogy xStrong weighted swimbait hook.   Jaime said the heaviest flouro he could get away with was 20lb test, he prefers ANDE FLOURO as it is stiffer than average. When the wind pick up a little and needed a little more casting distance he switched to the 20 Gram Purple epoxy jig and reported the fish were all over it.



9/17/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

With four bonito weighed in during each of the first two dates of the Derby in both the all tackle and junior all tackle boat divisions, the odds are that these fish are being caught down around Squibnocket or perhaps even the Hooter, which are two of the best boat spots around the Vineyard for bones. Trolling is one of the most dependable ways of catching bonito, and with many Derby competitors looking to fill out their funny fish quotas during the first two weeks of the event, they don’t trying anything fancy, sticking with Yo-zuri Deep Diving Crystal Minnows and Rebel Fastracs. Silversides are one of the bonito’s favorite snacks and finding these small baitfish is one way of targeting bones, with a bumper crop of silversides reported between along State Beach and around Edgartown this season. For any anglers looking for bass from the boat, the Elizabeths seems to be a popular location, with chunk/live pogies the top choice for offerings,  with live eels a distant second.

9/16/14 As reported by Capt. Dave Peros www.daveperos.com

Considering that it took several weeks in last year’s Derby for a shore bonito to be weighed in, it was good news that Kerry Leonard weighed in a 6.63-pound bone on the very first day of the tournament. As Doug Asselin pointed out, everyone is pretty close-mouthed when it comes to details of their catches. The top shore bass (26.53) out did the best boat bass (20.76) weighed in on the first day, not a scenario one would expect with the big “advantage” that boaters supposedly hold over their shorebound brethren.