Generally speaking, shore anglers from Falmouth to Chatham have had to be satisfied with smaller bass both from the front beaches and in the numerous backwaters that dot this shoreline.
Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Sagamore reported that the Menauhant Beach has been producing most of the activity in Falmouth, perhaps because that is where the vast majority of people are trying their luck. An occasional small legal bass has been caught on pogy chunks, with anglers tossing plugs, plastics, or flies settling for schoolies.
The Waquoit Bay area is most often associated with schoolies at this time of year, and although Jeff Clabault at Forestdale Bait & Tackle on Route 130 told me he caught a 50 inside one of the marshy areas behind South Cape Beach, he meant that if he added up the sizes of the schoolies he caught, it would add up to about 50-inches. Spooks and small pencil poppers have been effective at getting the attention of the feisty fish in this area.
It’s the same story up inside Popponesset, Shoestring Bay, the Three Bays, and Dowses; small bass, the occasional legal fish on primarily bait such as pogies or squid, and some bluefish mixed in. Jeff spoke to a couple of anglers who managed two or three bluefish each earlier this week from Oregon Beach; he suspects these might have been the same schools of fish that boaters had been picking at in front of Sampson’s Island.
Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in Yarmouth recommended the beaches in Harwich as a place to seek a larger bass, something in the 28 to 34-inch range from the 2011 year class, with pogies and squid both effective baits. Morning and evening tides are your best bet when plugging, with poppers in the morning and swimmers in the dark the typical pattern. The beaches around the rivers where herring go in the spring to spawn are areas to pay special attention to.
When it comes to boaters seeking bluefish, Horseshoe Shoal is once again the main area where folks trolling swimmers such as Rapala Slivers, Yo-zuri DD Swimmers, and Rebel Fastracs have been able to find some. Trolling Hootchies on wire line is another common method used to target blues, with Yo-zuri Hydro Squirts a more contemporary lure that works well in areas where bluefish are feeding, particularly when the bait is squid.
Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Edgartown heard that there were some bluefish at Hedge Fence, while Middle Ground has been hit-or-miss, with the fish pushing sand eels, as squid are no longer around in any significant numbers. One of the greatest issues I have faced at MG during my last couple of trips is the incredible amount of weed in the water, making subsurface presentations difficult; I am a huge fan of rigging smaller soft plastics with light jigheads when the bass are feeding on small baits such as sand eels, both for easier, longer casting and better “holding” in the rips, but when the weed is thick, concentrating on unweighted, weedless presentations is a better way to go, with weighted swimbait hooks a good alternative to jigheads if you insist on adding weight.
Bishop and Clerks is still holding bass, albeit mainly smaller ones, but many boaters who were fishing there have now moved on to Monomoy – for good reason.
I fished Wasque on Tuesday with Barney Keezell and Dana Wilson and the fishing was nothing short of fantastic, with bass on top throughout the tide and even during slack water they were raising havoc with the bait in the area. It was a lot of fun watching fish from 24 to 36-inches blast Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows and other small spook style plugs, but in truth, Epoxy Jigs and Deadly Dicks produced almost instant hook-ups as the stripers were apparently targeting sand eels and other small baitfish, as well as squid in some of the rips.
Capt. Mike Hogan and Matt Rissell opted for fishing inshore as opposed to trying for tuna south of the Vineyard. Despite the winds on Wednesday; they tried Halfway and Hedge Fence with limited success, but when flyfishing guide Abbie Schuster advised that Wasque was fishable, that’s where they headed, reporting back that the fish was solid, but not lights out.
The word from numerous sources is that folks immediately heading for deeper water in search of fluke are making a mistake, with more fish in the shoals from Halfway to Hedge Fence, as well as off Nobska. Lee Boisvert had similar advice, with the water out in front of the rivers and inlets from Yarmouth to Harwich producing better numbers of fish, but you are going to have to pick through a large number of sublegals to even catch a handful of fluke that you can take home for dinner.