Vineyard & Nantucket Sound Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- October 6, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

There are definitely albies to be caught in the sounds, but as Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis pointed out, “The numbers of albies and whether they will eat or not pretty much changes from day to day,” including down her way from Cotuit to Craigville. A little foul weather like we had over last weekend and into the early stages of this week are the great equalizers when it comes to albies, with shore anglers getting as many shots as boat and kayak folks around the Osterville cut and along Craigville. Amy added that a young angler also caught a really nice jack from the sand, something that is pretty common among boaters, but not so much for shore folks. 

It was the same sentiment offered up by Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, which is right across from Falmouth’s only McDonald’s; as he put it, “There are albies being seen pretty much every day, but the big question is how prolific the action will be – and where you will find it.” A big key to finding happy fish is the weather; for example, on Wednesday, the calm, sunny conditions made for fussy funnies that were just rolling and slurping, but the day before, with a bit more wind and some cloudiness, the fish were much more cooperative. And days with early morning fog, like we had on Thursday, can also lead to better action before it burns off.

Nobska, Surf Drive, and Menauhant are shore locations in Falmouth where wind and bait can combine to put funny fish right at the feet of shore-and-rock people during daylight hours, as well as providing action with mainly smaller bass and bluefish. Larger stripers, on the other hand, are still typically being caught by folks fishing bait and plugs at night.

Those folks willing to walk the shoreline from the entrance to Waquoit down to Succonesset Point are hoping for a rare shot at an albie or bone in the early morning, with more and more bass and blues working schools of peanut bunker, silversides and sand eels. Topwater plugs are typically well designed enough to reach breaking fish, but casting Hogy Epoxy Jigs or Heavy Metal Jigs will allow you to work all levels of the water column and mimic small bait really well when the fish are finicky and totally focused on small stuff. If you like to walk-and-cast the beach at night, an unweighted soft plastic like an Original Hogy is a great choice since fish of all sizes are more likely to be in tight to shore under the cover of darkness. 

A particularly positive note about the bass fishing along the southside is that they are being far more active in pretty much all of the backwaters from Falmouth to Chatham. 

According to Jack C., there are schoolies up to slot sized fish in all of the Falmouth salty ponds as well as Waquoit Bay; dusk and dawn have seen the most consistent action, with small topwater plugs like spooks and poppers working well. He also knows of some flyrodders who picked up some larger fish from among the schoolies. 

Fish can certainly be had well up inside any salty pond, bay, harbor, or river, but Jack C. also emphasized that as the fall progresses, more and more fish will be around the inlets to these areas as well as the beaches adjacent to the outflows. And if a particularly large fish is your goal, drifting large soft plastics or plugs is effective while – God forbid I should mention them – live eels. And in Falmouth, the shoreline west of Falmouth Harbor to Nobska Point has a well-deserved reputation for producing big bass in the fall.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis said the along with blues from snapper to cocktail size, the Three Bays and the Centerville River/Dowses areas are filled with bass, again from small schoolies up to just above slot fish. 

She recommended fishing early mornings or dusk for the best results and emphasized that topwater plugs are working really well, something that Bob Lewis proved last weekend as he put Grace, one of the scientists from UMass Amherst doing catch-and-release research on bass, onto a 30-inch fish on a small, R.M Smith wooden popper.

One of the cool changes in shoreline character that you will find as you pass Point Gammon and move from Yarmouth to Chatham is the presence of rivers that empty right into Nantucket Sound while to the east most of rivers empty into a bay or other enclosed body of water. In both cases you will find bass in these waters; in fact, Mike O’Harra from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that all of the rivers down that way are seeing increased striper activity, including some solid surface feeding in the morning and again at dusk. There are also still schools of albies and small bluefish around, but a large percentage of the former appear to have moved out east off Stage Harbor and the rips around Monomoy.

Sharing news of their piscatorial success with tautog isn’t something a lot of people do when they come into shops looking for green crabs, but Amy W. has heard that some are being caught around Collier’s and the rocky shoreline that stretches around Point Gammon. She also acknowledged that a fair number of folks who keep their boats in the Cotuit/Osterville region head west and then up Buzzards Bay which has a well-deserved reputation for excellent tog catching.

But you don’t have to go that far as Jack C. said the action from off Nobska and inside Woods Hole is “borderline excellent” for both shore and boat fishermen; some consistent action on legal fish can be had from the jetties that dot the southside Falmouth shoreline in as little as ten-feet, while boaters can fish even more of the sticky structure that spreads out from the shoreline and that tog absolutely love. 

Mike O’Harra said that along with Mother Nanture’s tog habitat, the Tire Reef and the High School Reef that were created by humans have developed a solid reputation for good bottom fishing, including for tautog.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

I forget what the old saying is, something about “You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but you can satisfy some of them sometimes,” and that certainly seems to be the case when it comes to the connection between weather and quality of fishing. As Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs explained, “People didn’t like the wind that we had, but they liked the fishing we had; now, they’re complaining about the nice weather because the fishing from shore has shut down the last couple of days.”

With the improving sea state, a number of boats returned to their daily trips to Nantucket, but Steve said there are plenty of albies and even some bonito over around the Elizabeths, the sounds and along Chappy and down Menemsha way; the challenge has been getting them to eat in the sunny, calm conditions. The shore bone fishing is still steady up around Lobsterville, with a few being caught around Cape Poge, Oak Bluffs,, West Chop and Tashmoo/Middle Ground, but it has been a pick. It should be interesting to see what this wind and rain over the weekend will do as the Derby sets up for its final week of 2023.

The striper fishing has actually been good from shore, but only a handful of hardcores continue to target them during the Derby as they are focused on fish that can produce prizes; up island has been good for plug fishing, both with topwaters in the morning and again at dusk, with a switch over to subsurface presentations after dark.

Cooler weather will also produce even more action in the ponds for light tackle and fly rod folks, but if you locate a school of pogies or adult bunker, keep track of them as they can draw in some of the biggest stripers and bluefish of the season.

Speaking of bluefish, while the boat leaderboard changed completely on Wednesday, there was also a new top shore fish checked in by the Robert Bottary, who just happens to be the Derby fishing partner of Melissa Sliwkowski, owner of Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown along with her husband, Peter. The larger blues from the east side have been caught chunking, Peter told me, while boaters are finding some sizeable ones from Gay Head to Noman’s as Nantucket is surrounded by smaller choppers, with many boaters unable to get to the east side where the big fish had been hanging. Some nice bonito and albies continue to be caught from Squibnocket to Noman’s, both on the troll and casting, and Peter added that the bass fishing up island, especially around Gay Head, has been very good. Shore folks have also been catching some bigger bass chunking for bluefish around the breach at Norton Point, while plug anglers have been catching numbers of schoolies, both at dusk and dawn.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill has been going all out this week, with three charters each day from Monday through Wednesday, followed by a six hour trip yesterday. While earlier in the week the albies were acting like Nantucket fish in the rips and white water, by midweek with the calm and high sunshine, “We got to experience what you guys do when it comes to albie fishing,” Corey joked. They were finicky and fussy, at times just rolling and slurping and refusing to hit anything thrown in their direction. Great Point continues to be a real hotspot for albies, both from boat and beach, with the action around Coatue best for the sand people who can get there and still a good number of bonito around as well. The bass fishing continues to get even better with each passing week, including around the south beaches and Eel Point; although a few folks toss eels, Corey emphasized that Nantucket is all about fishing with artificial lures; while surface plugs can be effective at dawn and dusk, with swimmers and soft plastics tough to beat after dark, Corey mentioned that there has been a real renewed interest in fishing from the beaches with bucktails and they work really well, both day and night.

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, Tim Coggins said that the albie fishing continues to be very good up around Great Point and he managed to catch a few the other evening at Miacomet Rip; there are still a good number of bonito around, especially at Great Point, again, while the water around the west side of the island has been kind of stirred up, which can slow things at the Bonito Bar. Folks fishing Smith’s Point for bass have been doing well with bucktails, while Eel Point lives up to its name as a place to toss eels in the dark, along with one of Tim’s favorite options, the tandem rigged soft plastic. Tim summarized the season so far on the Grey Lady as “fantastic all season, with excellent bass fishing from the spring into the early summer on the west and south sides of the islands. The albies showed up early and have been very cooperative; they have also been larger than average while big bluefish continue to be an island specialty. November should see more bass move into the harbor with some of the largest stripers of the season a real possibility.”

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 29, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Albie fishing has been good this week, with the waters close to shore pretty fishable if the wind is out of the northeast; when it changed to due east, that’s another story. On Wednesday, I was thinking about running over to the Vineyard in my boat to visit Steve Amaral with Gary Engblom and Jim Young. I thought the better of it and once we cleared the Hole, I knew I had made the right choice; when we saw a 30+-footer taking blue water over the bow as we approached West Chop, I decided I was a genius. 

When it comes to the recent funny fish action, Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, said it best: “It’s been pretty much this color worked, that color didn’t; they were eating good, they wouldn’t eat anything.” Overall, it does seem that attractor colors such as Albie Crack, EChix, and Pink have been getting their share of love, but Silverside and the limited edition Blue Runner have also been hot at times. Two of my favorite colors are boring to most people: Olive or Green. But no matter what hue you are using, I still say it’s all about who is throwing it – meaning did they get it into the fish – and retrieving it. 

To me, albie fishing the way I see most people practice it is mindless; wait for fish to break, make a cast, and start reeling like a maniac. No change of retrieve speed, rod action, rod angle, direction of the cast in relation to the fish, or anything else; Just cast it and rip it. No thought that you might be reeling the lure out of the fish before a fish would even have a chance to see it. 

I once saw a young female angler who was consistently hooking up by casting, letting her jig drop, and then slowly vertically jigging it. Despite my suggestion to the folks on my boat that they give it a try, everyone just went back to their old habits – and caught nothing. 

And with fly anglers it’s even worse; if I hear another one say “I had my fly right in the fish and didn’t hook up,” I just might jump overboard. The simple reality is that a good amount of the time people aren’t anywhere near the fish, and then when they are, they’ve let go of the line and created a huge belly or several “squiggles” – sorry, but I don’t know what else to call them – and it takes a half dozen or more strips before them straighten the leader and line and, thereby, have contact with the fly. 

Then there’s the “Magic Fly” theory or some such nonsense; I’m willing to bet if you asked most any successful fly guide what flies they use, their selection would be pretty basic, including pretty much only ones that have worked for them over the years. That’s unlike the clown who posted something about a new pattern that was killing the fish which someone else said looked like a bug that is well-known and created years ago; now, the fly in the photo might not be the one he was talking about or he was hiding it on purpose, but I don’t think so. Sure, the fly can make a difference, but sorry, it’s more about presentation and 

Please understand: if what I am saying sounds cruel, I apologize, It’s just that albie fishing around these parts is super challenging, especially when there are a lot of boats around, the fish are up-and-down quickly, and there is really no structure to hold them. Add in tiny bait at times and having to adjust the direction your cast at the last moment – often with a strong backcast presentation – and it’s tough. 

What I have to remember most is how many times someone has fished for them with a flyrod; I always use the analogy of Andy Mill fishing for big tarpon on the flats as opposed to how I would perform, not having done it before. I can pretty much guarantee that I would royally screw up; in fact, I just my soil my shorts at the sight of a string of 100+-pounders cruising over white sand. 

Unfortunately, what many anglers – especially fly folks – aren’t honest about is what they control the most: their casting ability, including accuracy, control, distance, and consistency. 

Heck, there is no way you are going to say with any certainty where the bite is going to be today; you can certainly study the variables and make a good, educated guess, but fish do have tails and they do swim, so things can change from tide to tide, day to day, and even hour to hour. 

Just this week, Jack C. heard that there were a lot of fish on Thursday at Nobska, but they were being touchy and led more than a few to come into the shop to complain or opine as earlier mentioned. 

Evan, on the other hand, told me that the fishing was good in the AM off Waquoit, where one angler reported catching four in a couple of hours, while other folks were getting good shots along Surf Drive down to Nobska.

For many folks, the option they go with most is to run hither-and-yon and chase the fish, which given the ability of the average angler, is a recipe for disaster; if someone can’t even cast effectively on terra firma, how can you expect them to achieve any level of success on a boat that is moving unpredictably – especially when the captain races over at 40-knots and then immediately pulls back on the throttle -on its own in relation to a moving target with someone yelling at them “to cast to a certain o’clock” when they can’t even see the fish or have been using a digital clock or watch their entire life!

Add in a T-top which anyone can be really adept at hitting, as well and unfamiliarity with the rig they have been handed – well, it’s a tough game. 

One of the most interesting funny fish reports I got this week came courtesy of Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville; last Saturday, Amy headed out of the Osterville cut and caught an albie trolling an Epoxy Jig. Now, I realize casting is what most people think of when fishing for albies, but when you think about it, trolling for them is sort of like blindcasting when they aren’t showing. And over the years, Capt. Mike has done videos about trolling for bonito at the Hooter using Hogy Originals, so there’s something to what Amy did.

She also told me that folks had a good week catching albies and bones from shore in the Cotuit to Hyannis stretch, an impressive accomplishment in its own right. 

Down around the Yarmouth and Dennis way, the word from Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth is that folks are still running into schools of albies around the numerous rivers that characterize this shoreline. He also said the bass fishing inside the rivers really hasn’t picked up as much as he would have expected; that said, the water is still pretty warm and the bait really hasn’t flushed out in great numbers. When it does over the next several weeks, that should pick up activity along the beaches, particularly around the river entrances. 

Speaking of bass, Evan Eastman called the fish down his way “halfway decent, “ especially in the Menauhant and Great Pond areas; on Wednesday night, a local angler he spoke to had a good night catching bass up to 26-inches in the Bourne Pond area using live eels as well as plugs when he ran out of bait. Last week was better, apparently, with the same person catching a 40-inch striper from the beach; no doubt, things should start to really pick up the deeper we get into October. Some smaller bass have been caught from the Trunk River area, along with some bluefish mixed in.

Jack Collins also spoke of some good bass action around the inlets and salt ponds, both at night on eels and topwater plugs both at dawn and dusk. Picking the right tide helps, with outgoing water typically producing better action. 

I had an interesting talk with Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay, who this week opted giving the bass fishing on the southside a shot. In fact, he said it was the first time he has fished the beaches on the Cape a shot; normally, he fishes the mainland side of the Canal up to the south shore shoreline up to the Boston area, concentrating for the most part on rocky structure. He fished the Nobska area with no success, but did manage a 20-inch bass on Sunday night off Surf Drive. Overall, Connor joked that “I found out what don’t fish on the Cape,” but he knows of folks who do well thereabouts and he has picked up small fish during the summer months while fishing eels for sharks. 

Bob Lewis found some bass in super skinny water inside Cotuit, but the wind kept blowing him right in towards the shoreline and docks he was close to. He did try some shore fishing the next day and spoke to a kayak angler who had just landed a bluefish; unfortunately, the guy left his lure dangling in the water and another blue made off with his rod-and-reel. I have heard of the same thing happening to albie anglers who don’t secure their fly or lure, making for an expensive lesson.

Lee Boisvert did have a tautog report, as he sent someone to the tire reef and they limited out on tog, while Evan Eastman said he has been selling lots of crabs. In fact, in the last four or five days, he has sold about 40 quarts of them, with good reports from Woods Hole, off Lackey’s, and down towards Robinson’s. Amy Wrightson also spoke of good crab sales, but nobody has really told her how they did, which really isn’t surprising since successful bottom fishing isn’t necessarily something people brag about. That’s too bad, since consistently catching these toothsome critters requires a good amount of skill.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that this wind has really put a damper on boat fishing, with shore anglers doing OK, although they are complaining about the inconsistency. A few boats went out yesterday and caught some bluefish up to the 12+-pound class, but the big news was a new shore leader in the chopper category with a 13.99-pound fish. If the boats went out to Nantucket, they should have their head’s examined; instead, it makes more sense that they stayed closer to home around Wasque or even down off Noman’s, where Steve said “a rogue” larger fish has been caught. Edgartown had a few 10 to 11-pound albies caught yesterday and their have been some mixed in with the bonito down Menemsha way. Most of the bones have been small, but a 7.22-pound shore fish was weighed in yesterday. Although they aren’t in the Derby, folks have been catching mainly short bass down around Wasque while casting for blues.

Joel at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown said that Peter and Julien were out on Chappy fishing for bluefish when I called yesterday, a pretty good sign of where the bigger shore fish are. In fact, a number of 12 to 13-pound fish were caught, not as big as the spring ones, but still nice fish, with plenty of brown sharks feeding on them. Some folks are chunking, but most folks are tossing plugs. He added that the funny fish angling has been “alright considering the weather.” Edgartown had turned on the last couple of days with albies, but overall the little tunny action is better, but not great. There are good numbers of albies off Chappy, while the bonito bite has been solid around Lobsterville/Menemsha, with most running in the three to four-pound range. There has been a good bass bite on the north shore, with some larger fish caught on chunk pogies.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Over on the Grey Lady, Tim Coggins from the Nantucket Tackle Center said that the Great Point area “has been on fire with albies and a few bonito.” Shore anglers have been catching them on both sides of the beaches, although Tim said the inside has been better for the surf crowd. Generally, pink or green have been hot colors, with 7/8th ounce and up Epoxy Jigs the way to go from shore to reach the fish. The sand people have also been catching good numbers of bass along the southside beaches on plugs and Tim’s favorite, the double hook rigged soft plastic, with bucktails very effective day and night. Smith Point is fishing well on the incoming tide, while the Miacomet Rip has a mix of bass, blues, and even albies. The boat fishing around Tuckernuck and Muskeget is also improving, with bass, blues, and albies in the mix. There are also a lot of sharks up around Great Point, making getting fish in to shore in one piece a challenge; there was even a great white seen breaching well off the beach with plenty of seals around to munch on

Capt. Corey Gammill said that one of his trips yesterday landed 14 albies on the fly, a good indication of how good the fishing for them is. Great Point has been the hot spot for boat and shore anglers, with the former staying up inside with nobody really venturing out east, both because of the sea state and how good the fishing is on the sound side. There are also some bonito and albies being caught in the harbor, while Eel Point to the harbor jetties producing stripers both day and night on plugs, bucktails, and plastics. Corey hadn’t heard of much in the way of bones at the Bonito Bar, but he stopped there on one of his trips and they picked up both bass and bluefish. Most of the blues have been on the smaller side, although he suspects that the larger ones might still be on the east side, but nobody has been fishing there since it is still rough and churned up. Overall, Corey said that the fishing has been very good, a continuation of what has been a great year out on the island.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 22, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

I sent a message to my friend Bob Lewis this morning: don’t make the mistake of hooking up when you are fishing for albies around other boats. The reason: a bent rod is an invitation for boats to come on over.

That was the case yesterday when my friend, Gerry Fine, made a wise decision and said he was going to put his fly rod down and pick up a spinning outfit since it was virtually impossible to set up a good drift and get close enough to the fish without someone else cutting us off – or being waked by these two clowns in a big Grady White with triple Yamaha’s whose strategy was to put the hammer down when they saw breaking fish – and on multiple occasions the albies were right behind them.

Just a couple of casts later, using a Hogy Silverside Epoxy Jig, Gerry dropped a perfect cast into a boil and came tight and eventually brought the fish to the boat.

That’s the good part. The bad? When people saw that Gerry had a fish on, they were convinced that the funnies were only near us – despite schools breaking all over the place – and get close enough to drop a 50-foot cast with a fly outfit into my boat. In one case, a boat was coming at us so hard that I picked up a rod with a popper on it and cast it in their general direction, close enough that they got the message and pulled up short – 30-feet or so away.

Capt. Eric Kulin’s new go-to Albie Lure is the Hogy Surface Eraser! He has been finding great success on this lure the past few weeks.

We hung around a little longer, but with the number of boats ever increasing and threatening to reach the three dozen or so from the day before, along with a dozen kayaks and the potential for the three – or more – jet skiers from the day before to show up, I decided to get out of there. 

According to Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth, the fish have been very finicky this week, with the best bite he heard of coming from down around Waquoit Bay earlier in the week. One of the issues has been the size of the bait, which remains for the most part on the tiny size. The movement of the bait – in particular peanut bunker – from the backwaters into the sounds has picked up this week, but the wind and rain over the next several days should cause water temperatures to drop even more, pushing it out into open water. One good thing about peanut bunker – or baby pogies – is that they grow pretty fast and their tight schooling produces more intense, sustained feeds.

Jack Collins over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, the same village in town where you will find the local McDonald’s right across from the shop, offered up an interesting suggestion given the finicky conduct of the albies when they are on small bait and so many casts into them come up empty. He believes that when there is so much small bait, the fish will rip through it and then return to pick up the scraps they missed; when they are active, it is important to throw right into the maelstrom and leave your lure in it before starting a retrieve. And when the blow up quiets down, keep casting into where it was since there is a very good chance the albies are still there, cleaning up what they missed. Overall, Jack said that pink, bone, and Echix have been the most productive colors will so much micro bait around, but with more peanut bunker and silversides showing up, he believes that there is often a change from attractor colors to imitator hues such as olive and green. 

One especially encouraging situation in the Falmouth and Mashpee area is that shore anglers are getting legitimately solid shots and even catching funny fish. Thursday morning, Evan spoke to an angler who caught albies from shore around Menauhant and a kayaker who was off Trunk River said the fish were in so close that a shorebound fisher could reach them.

For those folks with far better balance than I – as well as a good pair of cleated wading boots – Nobska is another shore spot where the albies often trap bait, sometimes right at your feet.

Capt. Diogo of Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing reports of “epic” Albie fishing along the southside of the cape.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville, and her husband, Travis, took yesterday off to celebrate their 20th anniversary and, of course, they went fishing over around the Vineyard. That report will wait until that section, but on the way back, they did run into some schools of albies between Osterville and Craigville, but they had limited time to pursue them after a great day on the island. 

Overall, I have heard that the funny fish in this area have been really tough, with them being a bit more cooperative from Yarmouth to Harwich, especially off the entrances to the numerous rivers that empty into Nantucket Sound, noted Sarge from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth. Folks fishing from Great Island out to the tire reef a couple of miles off Bass River have also been running into albies and a few bonito, while the southside beaches have had some good bluefish action in the evening, with lots of snapper blues in the inlets. A regular of the shop reported catching schoolie bass on topwater plugs in Parker’s River and odds are that a combination of cooling water and tons of bait will only produce even more and better action over the next several weeks in Bass, Swan, Herring, and Red Rivers, as well as the multitude of bays, harbors, and coves in the area. 

Green crab sales are definitely increasing, a sign that the inshore tautog bite continues to pick up. Although this remains predominantly a boat fishery, if you can access any rocky, hard structure, odds are that you will find better tog fishing over the remainder of the season.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

If you haven’t heard, the big news in the Derby is that Bill Potter weighed in a 19.21-pound false albacore yesterday, which is close to Don MacGillivray’s 19.5-pound state and Derby record. Given the sporadic albie action and size of the fish around the Vineyard and over towards the Elizabeths where a lot of Derby boats fish, this fish definitely came from the waters around Nantucket where they have been enjoying great action on big Fat Alberts all season long. 

This morning’s Derby weigh-in saw only three fish weighed in, all from shore, including one bluefish and two bonito; this only confirmed what Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs told me this morning: “People are asking where the fish went today; I had one guy out in his boat and he couldn’t find anything.” Given the nature of little tunny, they could have turned on this afternoon, but I suspect not many people will be out targeting them from boats this weekend. 

Actually, I shouldn’t say that, since many Derby anglers are super hardcore and know that rain and wind can produce some epic feeds.

Beach caught Mahi! @n_kraut on IG was casting for Albies off the beaches of MV when this Mahi decided to crash the party!

Steve added that the Oak Bluffs pier has been really quiet and Edgartown hasn’t seen consistent action for shore anglers as well. Menemsha has been OK for albies, but generally people are catching mainly small bonito up island. 

Peter Sliwkowski from Larry’s in Edgartown said the bonito fishing has been good, but they have generally been on the small side, say 18 to 21-inches. Lobsterville has probably been the best shore spot for them, with a few caught in Vineyard Haven and off West Chop. East Beach was good yesterday for albies from shore and boat, with a large number of boats fishing Nantucket in search of larger fish, whether albies, bonito or bluefish.

“Bluefish have been a little slower than expected,” Peter pronounced, most likely due to the lack of pogies, which hopefully will blow in soon. Last year was an epic Derby for big bluefish and there is still plenty of time for things to pick up. 

Although not an eligible species, some hardcores continue to fish up island and it actually has been pretty good on plugs. The cut at Norton Point is also producing, with a 30-pound fish caught by someone chunking bait there for bluefish.

Outer Most Angling Charters had a great week of guiding fly anglers to multiple False Albacore!

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville fished the northside of the Vineyard yesterday with her husband, Travis, as part of their 20th anniversary celebration, and she was psyched that they trolled up some bonito. Initially, they were trolling Yo-zuri Deep Diver Crystal Minnows and had a couple of rods rigged for casting; when the plug failed to produce any action, Amy elected to stream an Epoxy Jig and a white soft plastic behind the boat and they caught a couple of bonito that they enjoyed as sashimi.

Also, I forgot to mention last week that Dan Robertson and crew fished midweek with Capt. Willy Hatch on his charterboat, Machaca; after battling some big bluefish off Menemsha, the bass turned on with the tide and they limited out dragging umbrella rigs on wire.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Over on the Grey Lady, Sam Brandt from the Nantucket Tackle Center offered up his final report of the season before heading to New Zealand for a semester abroad, and while he did say that last weekend’s storm didn’t produce any major damage on the island, it has remained windy this week with some good swell around. While boaters haven’t returned in the same numbers as before, shore anglers are enjoying some great action. Great Point has been “red hot”, with a lot of albies both inside and out, with fish up to 32.5-inches checked in for the Inshore Classic. Sam has been fishing a lot and said he has been catching fish every day on something different, including big and small casting jigs and plugs. Sam also had a cool report: Neil Krauter caught a 20+-inch mahi from the shore at Great Point.

Capt. Diogo of Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing tagged a bunch of Albies in part of the ASGA off the backside of ACK!

The waters are still roiled in many places, with a number of guides out of the Madaket area fishing Great Point, an indication of how good it is out there. The bonito are moving back in, although he hadn’t much from the Bonito Bar. The east side of the island has lots of big bluefish up to the high 30-inch class and there are also some large blues in the harbor harassing schools of pogies/bunker. There are also silversides and other small bait in the harbor, which is drawing some albies and bonito inside, although they are definitely finickier in these calmer waters. Smith’s Point has had bluefish during the day and larger bass on bucktails at night. Then again, Sam said the north shore from Eel Point to Jetties Beach for larger bass; a 43-inch fish was caught from this stretch this week, with soft plastics, swimming plugs, and live eels all working. 

Capt. Corey Gammill checked in to say that fishing has been very good over the last two days as “things are starting to come together again after the storm.” There are big swells on the south shore so not many boats have been headed that way, but there are albies there. Great Point has been a better and safer option at the moment, with lots of albies both inside and out, including some real Fat Alberts. Beach fishing has been very good at Great Point for albies and bluefish, while Eel Point has been a good spot to try for bass. Speaking of stripers, the bass fishing is also picking up in the western rips.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 15, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

The small fleet of boats off Nobska have not found any consistent action to speak of; friends of mine who watch them from the beaches in the area have noted a lot of watching, but not much casting. Apparently, blindcasting has definitely been the way to go.

Charlie Richmond zipped out on Thursday to take a look and said he could not see a boat from Osterville to Craigville nor any signs of fish or birds for that matter. 

According to Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville things have been very quiet this week from boat and shore on albies; Chelsea Giatrelis, who used to work for Amy, reported that it has been over a week since she caught an albie. Now, realize that Chelsea is a dedicated shore flyrodder who puts in serious time from Osterville to Craigville in search of funny fish during this time of year, as well as doing plenty of bass fishing the rest of the time. A dedicated fly tier as well, she supplies Amy’s shops with some really well done “bugs,” including awesome albie and bonito options.

Fly anglers are having no problem cashing in on the hot albie bite. (PC: Dante Borgese)

Given that Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, a village in Falmouth where you can find McDonald’s right across the street from the shop, said that shore fishing for albies and bonito has been a bust for spin anglers from some of the best shore locations on the southside in his area, the fact that Chelsea has caught a number of albies so far this season on the long wand is a super impressive feat.

One bit of good news from the Falmouth area came courtesy of Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street; he spoke to a local angler who found some steady surface activity up inside Menauhant on small bass and bluefish chewing on peanut bunker, with a Hogy Epoxy Jig in Silverside getting the job done. 

This gives me hope that this storm will drop water temperatures in all of the southside backwaters, stirring up blitzy action either up inside; at the entrances; or along the beaches. Everyone keeps talking about all of the small bait, but we need something to chew on them.

Amy did tell me that she and her middle son, Dylan, were fishing up inside Osterville where there was a ton of very nervous peanut bunker; she hoped that might found some bass, but they had a lot of fun with 3 to 4-pound bluefish.

Down at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth, Lee Boisvert said, logically, “this weather is certainly throwing things for a loop,” which is too bad given that there has been good action on bluefish, bonito, albies, and some Spanish mackerel from Parker’s River to Bass River; there are some schoolies along the shoreline and up inside the rivers as well. The funny fish and blues have been active all day, with the challenge being how to “match the hatch” Lee advised. He also added that small lures and 15-pound fluorocarbon leaders are what people are doing best on, with color leaning more to attractor than imitator; the one exception is that amber is the best match when the fish are on by anchovies. Of course, light leaders are a liability if there are blues mixed in, but 20-pound is generally considered the heaviest you can go if you want to get a grab from an albie or bonito. If you know you are fishing exclusively on Spanish, a short trace of coffee or other dull colored wire at the end of your leader is important since their teeth will slice even heavy mono. Forget shiny metal leaders as these toothy mackerel love anything bright or chrome and will attack the leader as well as a shiny metal lure.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs reported that “the Derby is good; registrations are in line with past years. But the fishing is not as good as last year.” There is a ton of bait around with bay anchovies, peanut bunker, sand eels, and silversides and “some guys have even said they are seeing tinker mackerel.” Boats trolling the Squibnocket area with deep diving swimmers in greens, pinks, and whites are catching bonito and false albacore as boat fishing is definitely better at the moment than shore. The top boat albie a nice 13.68-pound fish, while the shore leader is 11.64. On the bonito front, the boat leader checked in at 9.42-pounds, with the shore category is led by a 6.56-pounder. Some big blues have also been weighed in: 14.48 for the boats and 13.10 on the shore front. Overall, though, Steve acknowledged that “most guys are in Derby mode and that means reports are tough to come by. I heard of a couple fish coming from State Beach and there have been some at Edgartown and Menemsha, but nobody is really talking.

Eric Kulin of Snapshot Charters has been finding great success on the new “Blue Runner” colored Hogy Epoxy Jig.

I asked Julien Pepper at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown if he’s fishing and his response was simple: “Of course! It’s Derby time!” Shore anglers have been picking up some albies and bonito around West Chop, but Lobsterville and Menemsha have been getting lots of attention. Julien said there were about 50 people fishing the bowl at Lobsterville  It was kind of crazy, but most people were catching something, whether it was an albie or one of the 4 to 8-pound bluefish mixed in. From the boat, there are been some albies making noise between Middle Ground and the shore near Tashmoo, while the Hooter still has a mix of albies and bones.”

With bass still not in the Derby, nobody is really fishing for them and the few that refuse to get into the funny fish madness are saying it’s really slow. 

Both Steve and Julien acknowledged that a lot of the leading boat fish are coming from out Nantucket way, for good reason. Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle fished a tournament there last week that supports Cystic Fibrosis and he said the fishing was absolutely insane. But I’ll save his reports for the Grey Lady.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The island is expecting heavy seas this weekend from Hurricane Lee and most people are pulling their boats or at least moving them deeper into the harbors and adding additional dock lines and fenders. What fishing will be like after it passes is anyone’s guess, but this week there has been a really good albie and bonito bite from south of Muskeget to the Hooter on the Vineyard. The Old Man has been holding good numbers of albies, but they are holding deep and Tim has been using deep diving swimmers to get down to the fish. A 35-inch albie was caught out at Great Point where there have been busting fish for both shore and boat anglers; the Bonito Bar is producing some bigger bones, with Tim noting that what he likes to do is trolling with smaller deep diving swimmers to locate a concentration of fish before switching over to casting. If he’s looking for bass, Tim opts for the number 8 can east of the island and lipped swimmers; there are also good numbers of big bluefish out east, but they have been closer to shore, with the sand people getting shots at them. In fact, Tim said the beaching fishing has been really consistent and he mentioned the Point of Breakers and Miacomet Rip as spots where on a morning, incoming tide, there has been a good bite on Epoxy Jigs and shiny metal lures as the fish are feeding on sand eels.

Tammy King has been traversing the beaches of ACK and finding lots of funny fish just a cast off the beach!

Now, as I promised, here is what Christian Giardini had to say: “Not many bass were caught, but the number of bonito was insane. Most of them were small, say 18 to low 20-inch range, but some bigger ones were caught as well. Lots of big albies were caught; our smallest was 26-inches and a few were 30-inches plus. The Old Man was loaded and the channel to Wauwinet had good numbers as well. The east side of the island was filled with bluefish. There were so many albies and bonito and they were not shy about eating.”

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 8, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

This week, the message is again pretty simple: it’s all about the albies with a smattering of bonito and some Spanish mackerel.

Unfortunately, the conditions for chasing little tunny are the most challenging you can get at the moment: calm seas, high sunshine, and small bait.

It can be tough to “match the hatch” when albies are feeding on micro bay anchovies. Not anymore thanks to the new Hogy Chovy Jig.

That said, Bob Lewis reported that yesterday’s Cape Cod Flyrodders Albie Fest was a rousing success in terms of the number of participants if not the number of fish caught. 

That said, he fished with Capt. Warren Marshall, Pat Grenier, and Ted Patlen and each of them managed one albie on the fly; they had other shots, but as the morning went on, the fish got fussier. On a positive note, Ted managed what they labeled a New Jersey grand slam – since he hails from there – which consisted of an albie, bluefish, scup, and seabird of some type that I forgot to ask about. 

Overall, Bob said they had about 35 participants, which is well above the typical two dozen, most likely a reflection of folks’ respect for the late Bob Rifchin, a renowned fly tier and member of the Cape Cod Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the CCF who passed away this spring. He designed a number of patterns over the years and was well-known for sharing his knowledge with anyone who was interested in the long wand. 

One tip that Bob Lewis shared was that small pink flies have been working well and the crew on his boat opted for a number of flies with some pink in them, although they were, in fact, what is called a “tutti frutti” color combo of pink and chartreuse. 

There have been schools of albies reported from Nobska to Bass River this week, with Bob L. noting that they first found fish just east of Point Gammon and discovered more fish as they worked even farther east. 

I kept hearing that the fish were pretty fussy this week and when I asked Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth what the biggest challenge in targeting the fish around Bass River, he said, “The boaters who insist on running into the schools, putting them down.” Overall, the more boat traffic where you are, the spookier the fish become.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters had a few great trips targeting hardtails in the sound.


My problem on Tuesday wasn’t other boats, as I fished with Rich Gifford and his son, Bobby, and there were actually very few boats around. What we found were originally some pods of sipping around Osterville followed by the frustration of casting at a number of large schools of albies around Wianno that clearly weren’t interested in our casting jigs, including the smallest of Epoxy Jigs. We followed the dropping tide west and found a few schools off the entrance to Osterville and finally managed a single fish on a pink jig in the Cotuit/Popponesset area in really shallow conditions. Rich and Bobby are great to fish with and have a healthy understanding of the challenges of angling for funny fish, but as a guide, I can really hate false albacore when they just won’t eat.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville and her eldest son, Tucker, managed an albie trip with Ben Sussman before school interfered with Tucker’s non-stop fishing summer; they managed a few fish around Craigville, but also ran into a far too common scenario: a single boater who insists on ruining the fishing for everyone by racing to every school of fish that shows, breaking up the bait with his wake and getting a cast off, at which point he displays a blank stare – a clear indication of his stunted intelligence – and wonders where the fish went.

Amy said that over the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of Spanish mackerel mixed in from Hyannis to Cotuit, along with a very infrequent small bonito. She emphasized that there are plenty of small blues mixed in as well, making it essential to try and identify what you are casting into as well as carrying replacement lures in case you are mistaken and a chopper makes off with whatever lure or fly that was on your line. 

It’s always fun to catch up with Jim Young and talk fishing and his feelings about albies this season were pretty succinct: “I’m done with f _ _ _ _ _ _ things this year.” He recently left Waquoit Bay to find about 30 boats working one small school and moved towards New Seabury/Popponesset where there were fewer boats, but no more fish. 

That’s been the story from Falmouth Harbor to Nobska as well; there are fish around, but overall the amount of effort required to catch one despite numerous casts right into them is enough to drive someone to distraction. Add in some absolutely crazy boating performances and you might just yourself lamenting the lack of consistent bass action in the sounds after June over the last several years and the reality that chasing funny fish and avoiding other boats has replaced striper fishing for so many people in the fall.

Capt. Terrry Nugent of Riptide Charters was also able to deploy some tags in collaboration with the American Saltwater Guides Association.

I keep offering up sacrifices to the weather gods in hopes of an end to this heat and humidity with a good cold snap – and continued true fall weather than will push the bait out of the salt ponds, rivers, bays, and harbors and get the bass action going. A few dedicated shore anglers have been pitching eels around Nobska at night and topwater plugs around first light off the jetties that dot the shoreline from Falmouth to Harwich; this is definitely not a numbers game, but the water is starting to cool a bit despite the oppressive heat and humidity and the sound facing shoreline definitely holds more promise than the backwaters. The forecast for next week includes a number of overcast, rainy days with winds out of one of the easterly quadrant, which could jump start what semblance of a fall run that we have to be satisfied with. 

Capt. Mike asked a good question yesterday as we fished Monomoy and the rips just died: “Where do those fish go?” A couple of weeks ago, he told me of a Hogy customer who happened upon an incredible number of surface feeding bass up inside Popponesset. Nothing had really changed much in terms of weather or water, so where did those fish come from? Is it possible they have been up in the bay all summer and just waiting for the right conditions to go on the feed? Or did they move in on the tide and take advantage of increasing amounts of baitfish holding up inside? Or did they follow schools of bait moving down the shoreline that wind, tide, and moon phase coaxed up into this – or any other – body of protected water. 

Amy W. also had a good suggestion for introducing young anglers to the sport; she took her nephew fishing up in the Three Bays area and they had a blast catching snapper blues, which are typically abundant inside the protected waters that empty into Nantucket Sound. Snapper popper rigs are especially good choices as they have an exciting visual element and they catch lots of these pugnacious baby blues.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Over at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs, Steve Morris was very upbeat about the fishing on the island and the start of this year’s Derby on Sunday. One of the benefits of fishing the Vineyard is that it has numerous spots where shorebound anglers can get excellent shots at funny fish and land plenty of them as well. Steve said Tashmoo, Menemsha, West Chop, and even State Beach have been producing albies and even a few bonito; unlike boaters who can opt for lighter lures since a super long cast isn’t necessarily required, the sand-and-rock people often upsize to reach the fish that often seem to be just outside their casting range. Then again, the aforementioned spots feature lots of current and defined edges where little tunny and bonito will often charge through almost at the anglers’ feet. Boaters obviously can cover a lot more water and that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage as they fail to understand the impact of the tides in an area and don’t work an area effectively before racing off somewhere else. East Beach can be a good location for both shore and stinkpot fishermen, while the waters from Squibnocket to Gay Head are popular with charter captains who troll for these fish with both swimming plugs and even small jigs, often trolled at high speeds on leadcore line to get down to where fish are swimming even when there is no sign of them on top. Although bass are no longer an eligible species for the Derby, there is still an old school, dedicated group of shore anglers who believe stripers are the fish to catch and they are still catching larger bass up island at night on plugs. Dusk can also be a prime time for a topwater bite when the fish start to move in to casting range as they lose their customary wariness, which is only heightened during the summer as bright sun and warm water keep them holding in deeper water. One reality of targeting funny fish is that you are often going to have to pick through small bluefish, with areas such as Hedge Fence, Middle Ground, and L’Hommedieu holding all three species. It’s the same for shore anglers, who gather at locations where bait is flushed out from salt ponds, bays, and harbors, especially if we experience a cold snap that drops the water temperatures in these backwaters, convincing peanut bunker, juvenile river herring, silversides, and sand eels that it’s time to seek warmer climes.

Beach fishing off the islands has been great this past week, especially for the hardtails! (PC: n_kraut on IG)

Talking with Julien Pepper over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown is always interesting – and funny since he seems to take great delight in busting my chops. A theme that has kept popping up this summer is the lack of pogies in their usual haunts, but he heard that on Wednesday somebody found a school of big bass in the 40+-inch fish feeding on pogies. Julien suspects that these baitfish might have been holding up inside Lagoon Pond and were pushed out by a school of bass or changing water temperatures. Obviously this was a happenstance situation that produced a good bite, but overall far more people are thinking albies and bones. That said, one dedicated flyrodder who fishes the flats down Lobsterville way out of his flats skiff has been doing OK. Earlier in the week, Julien fished with Doug Asselin, who is Steve Morris’s right hand man at Dick’s, for the first time. As Julien said, these two typically strike up a conversation while waiting to pick up bait shipped over by ferry for their respective shops, but they were able to take advantage of matching days off. They caught some small bonito at the Hooter, opting to cast for them as opposed to resorting to trolling, a method often employed there as well as spots like Hedge Fence. They also found a few albies down around East Beach and Doug managed one to add to the bones he caught earlier, but it certainly wasn’t the kind of day that Julien and his girlfriend experienced last week when they caught close to double digit numbers of Fat Alberts.

Nantucket Fishing Report

If you want consistent action on albies and bonito, you can’t do much better than the Grey Lady. Capt. Corey Gammill said there was a really good bonito bite over the Labor Day weekend when the water conditions were rougher, but it had faded by earlier this week with a lot of flat calm water. The vast majority of bones west of the island have been on the small side; if you are only interested in targeting larger bonito, Corey suggested you fish the east side of the island as well as accept that you are most likely going to pick through a good number of small blues to get the job done. The Great Point area, both inside and out, continues to produce good numbers of albies for boat and shore anglers and the southside of the island has been good for albies as well. One of the realities about Nantucket’s funny fish angling is that they often hang in the rips around the islands, where they can be easier to coax into taking a lure. Corey likes shiny, metal casting jigs and even when he turns to plugs, he often goes with ones that feature a chrome finish. The east side of the island is also your best bet for larger bluefish, although on one of his trips his anglers caught a dozen big bluefish from the Miacomet Rip area this week, while the west side is covered in small blues. As opposed to Cape anglers who emphasize light tippets and leaders when fishing for hardtails,  Corey favors 40 to 50-pound fluorocarbon leaders when they are in the rips or deeper water, say 20 to 25-feet he has no problem catching them; even in other scenarios – unless you are fishing in skinny water under high sunshine – he doesn’t find them particularly leader shy.

Tammy King with a gator bluefish caught off the beaches of ACK.

Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center was hoping to get in some more fishing time after a busy holiday weekend at the shop; from Madaket to Smith Point there has been good albie action with casting jigs. Up at Great Point, there have been some bass mixed in with the albies, while the Bonito Bar is one area where you can be pretty sure that you will be dealing with small bluefish as well as mainly small bonito. From shore, Sam recommended fishing the north shore with eels or squid at night if you are looking to catch some bass; a few dedicated shore bass anglers continue to fish bucktails in the morning around Smith Point and the southside, but any attempts at using eels at night in these waters has resulted in a lot of chopped up snakes courtesy of blues – mainly small ones – in the area.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 1, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

First off, this past Tuesday, Ben Sussman, one of the staffers at the Sports Port had another epic trip, landing 14 albies in the Craigville area, including on Epoxy Jigs, white soft plastics, and a chartreuse/white Deceiver style fly of his own tying. According to Amy, her son Tucker was out there the same day with a friend and they managed six little tunny as well. There have also been a good number of Spanish mackerel caught this week.

In their cases, timing applies for a number of reasons, starting with weather conditions which were foggy and overcast, with a little bit of wind. If there is one thing you will find true in fishing for species that are known for being picky is that their character can change completely based on the weather. Albies are definitely one such fish; find them on a sunny, flat calm day and you just might end up deciding that they are just impossible as they pop up here and there, sipping bait like a trout on a bug on the surface; change things over to grey, windy weather with a good amount of chop and you just might try everything in your box to see if there is anything they won’t eat. 

It’s the same with albies when you find them in the rips; all of that white water can make them throw their legendary caution to the wind.

The second part of the timing equation for Ben and Tucker was perhaps even more critical: there were only four boats around. Nothing makes albie fishing worse for anglers and fish is a fleet of boats because there will definitely be some – and the number will vary – who believe that run-and-gun is the only way to catch them. And it doesn’t make any difference how far they are away from a school; Katy-bar-the-door, slam down the throttle and let them ponies run. Wake other boats: Who cares? Charge into a school of fish, breaking up the bait and sending the funnies elsewhere? Sounds OK to me; what about you? Bounce your lures off another boat: Is that a problem? Heck, I have had people throw over my boat at fish before. Cruise right past a boat close enough to cut their lines as they as casting at fish so you can get at another school down the way? What, you own the ocean or something?

I took the time on Wednesday to pay a visit to The Powderhorn in Hyannis to thank Andy Little, who runs the fishing department, for all of his help and to wish him the best of luck for whatever direction he takes in the angling word. The shop is closing for good tomorrow, but knowing Andy, he will land on his feet with his own shop where he can continue to dispense his wit and wisdom – as well as save me some miles when I need some basic fly tying material such as thread or hooks. 

Another part of timing when it comes to funny fish is: Do I stay or do I go? Some of the best albie and bonito fishermen I know put wind direction; tide/current direction, strength, and stage; the type and amount of bait in an area; and past experience with an area into their own personal computer – their brain – and typically will hold out in that spot, confident the fish will show.

Then there is the new generation of go fast center console contingent that you can see racing from one spot to another, often spending just a few minutes at any given location and taking just a few casts, if any at all. These are often the same characters who have to check out every contingent of boats that have been drifting, minding their own business in anticipation of fish showing again – or even for the first time that day. These same type of anglers also have no clue about how to set up a proper drift, often applying full force the swing the bow or even back down on fish, ruining everyone’s fun.

I spoke with Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth and he told of another example of timing. In his case, he went out earlier this week with his dad, Chuck, in pursuit of Mr. Albert, starting at Hedge Fence, where they marked fish but had nothing show on top. Then it was off to State Beach, where there was a blip or two, but nothing sustained to warrant their staying. From there, they cruised past Vineyard Haven and as they made the corner at West Chop, they saw a little life, but it died quickly. To his credit, Chuck fired off a blind cast with a 7/8th-ounce EChix Hogy Epoxy Jig and came tight to their only fish of the day, including visits to Nobska and Lackey’s. You know, good timing.

The word from Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, the town’s village that houses McDonald’s, is the albie fishing has been OK; there has been some decent early morning action from Nobska into Woods Hole, as well as tight to shore from Fay Beach to Falmouth Harbor. On some mornings, folks have reported running into albies just after they clear the jetties at the entrance to Falmouth Harbor. 

If you a shorebound angler, one of the keys to finding fish between Falmouth and Hyannis is to focus on where salt ponds, rivers, and harbors empty into Nantucket Sound, which often includes jetties and other hard structure. Don’t forget the few sand beaches that feature deeper edges or drop-offs where albies like to cruise, as opposed to those that gently slope and stay really shallow. No matter where you fish, concentrate on the dropping tide as it flushes out schools of small bait that funnies prefer. 

Boat and kayak anglers often hold in these areas as well, but remember that folks fishing on foot rather than from a deck or a seat are limited in where they can reasonably have a shot at any species of fish, so back off and give them the space they deserve. 

Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth really kept it simple when talking about the odds of a shorebound fisherperson getting into an albie or perhaps even a bonito off of any of the beaches out his way down to Harding’s Beach, as well as the entrances to Bass River, Parker’s River, Swan Pond River, Herring River, and Red River: “It would be dumb luck, I imagine.” Clearly, spots that have jetties will allow you to cast into deeper water where your odds will increase, but Lee emphasized that fishing from a boat or kayak is going to provide far more chances at getting into any schools in the area, which often stay well out of casting range of sand-and-rock people, even when bait is being flushed out at their feet. Make sure you pay attention to the direction of the currents where you are fishing since this will aid in targeting where the bait will go and the gamefish will be waiting. 

When it comes to albie fishing, one reality to keep in mind is they are often mixed in with small bluefish; Ben mentioned this in passing since they made a mess out of his collection of soft plastics. Fifteen pound fluorocarbon leader is typically what spin and fly anglers use, and even when they can up it to 20, this test is no match for even a tailor blue’s teeth. Losing the only hot color or size of Epoxy Jig or other casting jig should never be a situation you find yourself in; if you’re in a shop and you have been catching fish on a certain size, shape, color, or weight lure and you know you’re down to your last one, odds are that you will be bit by the timing bug, finding yourself in an epic blitz when you either snap it off or have a fish lop it off. 

One suggestion I can make if you are fishing around a mix of blues and funny fish is to always check your leader after every fish – and not just at the knot where the lure is tied on. Run your hand over the entire leader and if you feel any fray, retie or change out the leader entirely.

When it comes to top EJ colors, I have heard of folks doing well on EChix, Shrimp, Anchovy, and Silverside, but when you happen upon albies feeding on concentrations of bait that make what looks like a rust colored stain in the water, you know they are feeding on bay anchovies. These are really small at the moment, almost translucent, with the term “snot bait” used to describe them at times, so size can be even more important than color. 

There are more reports this week of small bass up inside spots like Waquoit Bay, Popponesset, the Three Bays, Bass River and others; Ben told me that his girlfriend caught a schoolie off her dock up inside Hyannis, which is another good sign that the water is cooling and the stripers are targeting the shoals of small baitfish that have yet to make their way into the sounds once things get really chilly for them. 

Christian recommended trying eels around Menauhant, but the challenge can be avoiding the small blues which tear them up and never get hooked. Evan said he spoke to a couple of younger shore anglers who faced this problem fishing from the jetties at Great Pond at night. After retrieving too many eels with lopped off tails, they switched to plastic swimmers and got even with the choppers.

Fluke fishing has improved over the last week or so, but I kind of feel badly for folks who fish for them around shoals like Hedge Fence, Succonesset, and Middle Ground, as well as along the north shore of the Vineyard and down the islands as they deal with crazed funny fish fanatics racing to-and-fro.

Should be a fun weekend.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The folks I spoke to on the island all had the same story: the albies are around, but there is no consistency or pattern to what they are doing at the moment.

Steve Morris took time from his ownership duties at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs and told me he heard of shore fish from West and East Chop, as well as Big Bridge and Menemsha, but there have been no great numbers nor any particular rhyme or reason for why or where they show up. There is a lot of very small bait around, including bay anchovies and silversides, making for really finicky fish at times. Boaters have found them along State Beach, but again, not in great numbers; smaller Epoxy Jigs and slender chrome metal jigs like the Deadly Dick have been good options. Steve added that with the absence of sustained surface activity, folks are turning to blindcasting areas where fish have showed and appear to be moving. The new Hogy Surface Eraser in an attractor color such as pink is a good option, but I really want to target some fish with the clear amber since this coloration is a proven fish producer since Bob Pond first used it in his A40 line of metal lip swimmers.

Over at Larry’s Bait in Edgartown, owner Peter Sliwkowski said that shore anglers working between Squibnocket and Gay Head have been into a good night bite on larger bass using darters and needlefish, including a mid-40-pound fish this week. I’ve never heard anybody explain it convincingly, but the clear amber color often fishes really well at dusk, with most of the sharpies switching over to darker tints such as black, dark olive, and blurple once the sun is well set. The shark bite remains steady off Chappy, with no shortage of small bluefish for bait there and all around the island for that matter. East Beach has also produced some albies, while Edgartown to Vineyard Haven has been the best stretch if you’re searching for bonito, which are on the small side. 

Some of the best and most consistent fishing on the Vineyard this season has been for big bluefish and Steve advised that they are still hanging around between Gay Head and Noman’s; a few charterboats target them by jigging wire, but they have also been on top and taking surface plugs. There are a lot of sharks just south of Noman’s, both makos and threshers, but the primary species caught from shore is the sandbar or brown shark, as it is most commonly known.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Sam Brandt from the Nantucket Tackle Center said that other than a little rain and swell, the impact of the remnants of Franklin haven’t been too bad. That was on Wednesday and it was expected to be a bit gnarlier on Thursday before it settles down for the weekend, just in time for the beginning of Inshore Classic that runs from September 3 to October 7. The albies have been in good numbers along the south shore and over to Great Point while the bonito are concentrated more up around the Bonito Bar and the jetties area. The bass action from shore at Smith Point has been steady, especially for folks using bucktails. White or chartreuse jigs anywhere from two to three ounces are popular as more people are getting into this technique due to a small group of shore anglers who are showing how effective it can be. As is the case pretty much where bucktails are used, tipping them with an accent colored pork rind or other trailer is standard practice. There are a lot small blues around the island, but down around the southeast corner, including Sankaty and ‘Sconset, you can find larger ones if you are patient and get down through the tailors. 

The word from Capt. Corey Gammill was that he got in his trips midweek, but anticipated taking Thursday off with the north wind and southerly swell making for tough conditions before getting back at it for the weekend. Great Point has had a bunch of albies both inside and out, while the Bonito Bar has a lot of small bones and there are some being caught along the southside, where there has been some really good action on albies as well. On his Wednesday afternoon trip, Corey got his anglers into some big blues on the east side of the island, which is always a lot of fun on topwater plugs. Around the west end, there are small blues and some larger sea bass out by Tuckernuck and Muskeget, but reports are not heavy on bass at the moment.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 25, 2023

New Salty Cape T.V Episode!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It’s pretty clear that albie fever has developed once again as an adjunct to tuna fever; yesterday, I hit the boat ramp at Falmouth Harbor at around 4:30 AM and there was hardly a spot left on one side of the parking lot and a few on the other. In one case, some clown had pulled in diagonally across two spots. Anyone who has trailered their boat to spots like North Carolina and Florida cannot believe how poorly designed many of the facilities in the northeast are and, frankly, the Cape just might lead the way. And the upper Cape ramps and lots top that list, including the one at FH. More and more people are trailering large boats and when a good  number of spots are filled with medium to large trailers and their attendant trucks or other large vehicles, the space up the middle of the lot is so tight that you can’t possibly swing into an empty space. Add in a trailer with guide posts that are splayed at ridiculous angles so you can’t get another trailer into the spot next to it without “locking horns” and you have another mess.

As far as the guide posts go, somebody I know who should know better said that you can’t avoid this since the boat is so wide and it bends them out. That’s BS of the first order; the problem is the leg of the right angler metal support isn’t long enough to allow it to be situated so the PVC guide post remains vertical. “What if the guide post is too heavy for the metal support?” you might ask. I have seen one trailer for a huge boat where the owner had a metal place welded on to keep the metal support solid. Personally, I have a shop bend me up two supports out of heavy gauge round aluminum pipe and use stainless U-bolts to attach them to the trailer, tossing the crap that comes with most trailers away.

OK, so other than that s- – – show, what else is new? 

Well, I ran into a guy at the FH ramp yesterday and he said he lives in Hyannis and drove all the way west to get away from the craziness out his way. Of course, when he got a load of the parking lot situation, he might not come back. 

We both returned to the ramp at the same time and he said he went down to Quick’s and over to Menemsha and found only small bluefish, which frankly is something that more people should take in stride if they are going to chase funny fish. Check out the Nantucket report for some thoughts on this from Capt. Corey Gammill which just might help you out. 

Now, the word I have been getting on the albie bite has been generally scattered, fussy albies, with far more boats that fish more times than not. A single fish or total skunk has been what most people are experiencing from shore or boat, but there are exceptions.

According to Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville, on Monday Ben Sussman had an epic day going eight for ten on albies fishing between Osterville and Waquoit. He was using both white soft plastics and olive/white Hogy Epoxy Jigs; as Amy explained, “Ben is just a fishy guy,” but he also puts in a lot of time into his fishing and scouting. Oh, and Ben managed a Spanish mackerel as well.

For her part, Amy went out three times this week with one of her outstanding staff, Morgan, who left this week for her first year of college. On Monday, Morgan hooked up on an Epoxy Jig, but lost the fish while on Tuesday Amy connected with her own little tunny on a pink casting lure, but the line got into the swim ladder and that was that. By Wednesday, it was skunksville, but Amy is confident that we are only just getting started when it comes to funny fish.

Along with small bluefish, Amy said there were also lots of black sea bass on the surface, mixed in with both funnies and choppers. And while it was slow, Morgan had fun dropping her Epoxy Jig down and catching scup every time, with at least one legal fish in the pick.

Unfortunately, that means we are just seeing the early stages of tuna rage; that said, perhaps when there are more fish around, the boats will spread out and leave each other alone. I have to say, given what I experienced along the Elizabeths yesterday, I don’t hold out any hope. Add in the fact that Amy said one of her customers got into it with a run-and-gunner who was running his boat dangerously and without regard for anyone else, with expletives exchanged and photos of each other taken, my albie enthusiasm has already been drained out of me.

Yesterday, Bob Lewis took Charlie Richmond and Ken Cirillo out in pursuit of albies and the word is they saw small groups of breaking fish and a few birds during their run from Osterville to Point Gammon – and a little beyond, but the entire way they saw just one bent rod. 

A couple of folks offered up the observation that they are catching most or even all of their fish by blindcasting; I suspect that when the fish are on really small bait, they can get very picky.

One option in this scenario is to opt for a soft plastic or plug that makes a lot of commotion; in that scenario, it seems like you are poking at a tuna’s inclination to chase and attack bait skipping on the surface in an attempt to escape. Hogy’s new Surface Eraser is designed to trigger that response, not only from funny fish, but other species as well; Capt. Mike put his new design to good use in an attractor color – pink – for his first albie of the season this week. Check out his Salty Cape video for plenty of instruction on how to use this lure to your best advantage.

Mike was fishing in the Nobska area, where Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said the action has been pretty good, as well as along the beach from the lighthouse down to Surf Drive. Evan fished there last Sunday and by 9 AM there were tons of boats chasing one pod of fish, at which point he opted for a run over to the Vineyard where he got hooked up. With the surface feeds so quick so far this season, he definitely recommends blindcasting an area where your find bait and have seen signs of fish feeding. 

In other words, exercise a little patience as opposed to falling prey to the tendency to run around because you can in a boat. I have seen on at least two occasions people I know with big center consoles and a ridiculous amount of ponies bolted to the transom or bracket racing from spot to spot, taking a few casts, not hooking up, and racing to ruin someone else’s fishing. It really is amazing to watch, but I am convinced it’s a new way of fishing; forget tides, winds, moons, currents, bait movement, understanding structure, reading the water. Just get a big, fast boat and run around like a fool until you find fish, run out of gas, or decide it’s time to race back to the dock. I can’t imagine someone like that even considering shore fishing because of its simplicity and, what I am sure is the case in their eyes, the limitations.

There are some signs that the bass are becoming more active in the sounds, not surprisingly smaller fish closer to shore where the amount of bait is starting to build.

Matthew Resnick from Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, said that a few folks have been enjoying some first light topwater action around the inlets in Falmouth and Mashpee using small topwater plugs.

Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that along with catching brown sharks from the southside beaches anywhere from Falmouth to Mashpee, he and some friends have also picked up three small bass in the 18 to 20-inches on their fresh dead eels. He has also been getting into the albie scene – that is until the commercial bluefin September season is opened up. He has been catching a few on Shrimp – or what he called “carrot” – Epoxy Jigs and white soft plastics, but green is another color he likes in the Epoxy lineup. 

And while the larger bluefish seem to have left Horseshoe Shoal, everyone says if you want small ones, you can find them pretty much everywhere, from up inside spots like the Three Bays and Waquoit, as well as off pretty much any inlet between Falmouth and Harwich, especially in the evening. Finally, remember that part of the game when you are fishing for funny fish around Hedge Fence, Middle Ground, Succonesset, Halfway, No Name, or any shoal or rip is that you are most likely going to encounter small, tailor blues. 

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The folks I spoke to on the Vineyard didn’t seem too enthused about the fishing, which is kind of a common them in many spots this week. 

Julien Pepper from Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown went to Poge Thursday morning after they found a few off the windmill the day before; of course, while he stuck with a green DD, his girlfriend went with a pink surface pencil and hooked up. Of course, when I asked him why he didn’t use what she was, he said, “I’m not throwing one of those pink lures unless I absolutely have to.” To his credit, Julien did say that those plugs are pretty effective.

Overall, yesterday was a weird day, Julien concluded, with the albies and bonito very spread out, with a few at Menemsha, some sightings around Middle Ground, one fish caught up in Vineyard Haven, and at times more boats than fish at State Beach. 

He hasn’t heard a word about anybody fishing out at the Hooter for bonito, but given all of the 20-inch bluefish stacked up at East Beach, you will probably find plenty of them out there. For larger bluefish, the stretch from Squibnocket to Gay Head on out to Noman’s remains your best bet. 

As is the case over on the Cape, once people start chasing albies and bonito, they pretty much give up thinking about bass – and that probably happened even earlier this year with all of the warm water and lack of big bait like pogies. But there are always a few hardcores who keep the shore scene alive, Julien said, with one such individual picking at bass up to 40+inches on live eels fishing the north shore; there are still some fish being caught around Squibnocket on plugs, including topwaters at dusk or first light, with swimmers, darters, and needlefish the night hours go to options for the plug crowd and big dark colored soft plastics favored by other night crawlers.

I had a good talk with Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs about the benefits of being a shore angler chasing funny fish because he admitted that he didn’t have much to say about the fishing. In fact, Doug acknowledged that yesterday was the toughest kind of day for him at the shop because he had to keep picking up the phone and hearing from people who wanted to know where the fish were. Of course, plenty of folks come in asking the same thing, but a live person is a whole lot better than a voice on a line. Doug has picked up a bonito and an albie fishing from the shore this week and on a good number of days the sand-and-rock people have outfished their runaround angling brethren in their boats. As Doug said, “If you find the bait and you’re confident you’re in a spot that has seen fish on this tide, then why leave? Blind cast or wait for fish to show, but stick with it. In a boat, you can leave because you can and you will never know that just after you left, the fish went crazy.”

On the sea bass side, it seems like the biggest issue is finding large ones, Julien concluded, even down around Noman’s. I don’t know much about their life cycle, but that’s another subject I need to get a handle on.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Even though the Canal has been good this week, there can be little argument the Grey Lady has it all going on when it comes to fishing for all four inshore gamefish species around these parts. 

Capt. Corey Gammill was on his way home from his third trip of the day and said that while the morning was good with three albies, three bonito, and several bluefish, the midday trip was phenomenal, with 15 albies caught on a four hour trip. Albies have been caught all around the island, but for his afternoon trip, Corey moved away from the Smith Point/Bonito Bar area and found football size schools of surface feeding albies in open, 50-foot deep water. Sand eels continue to be a prominent bait for both bonito and albies, but the little tunny in this case were gorging on four to six-inch squid and small sea herring. These were not picky fish, Corey explained, and they were crushing their small, clear amber colored pencil plugs and casting jigs. He added that these are big albies, with a friend of his catching one that was over 15-pounds this week.

The one thing that Corey likes to do is find his own fish; as he said, if someone calls him in on fish and he needs a fairly long way to get there, he knows it’s not worth it since if he knows it, then the word will have gotten out and the place will be covered up. Another good point he made was illustrated by a pair of recent charters on the same day. A customer who was fishing on one of his other boats made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with bluefish, even though Corey explained that the captain could get him into good numbers of bones, but you would also have to wade through some small bluefish. Well, the angler wasn’t interested in another option where there was a chance of catching a few albies or perhaps a bonito in waters that weren’t holding blues like the other spot. At the end of the day, he caught one albie while the folks on Corey’s boat caught 20 bonito and around 20 bluefish.

As with any location, there are certain areas of the island that get more attention because of their reputations, but Sam Brandt from the Nantucket Tackle Center said there truly are albies pretty much everywhere around the island – and good numbers of big ones. Someone caught a 14.5-pound little tunny along the north shore, where they were spread from the Jetties to Eel Point and Smith Point to Miacomet Rip as well as on both sides of Great Point. Shore anglers are getting great shots at the harbor entrance and on the sand out to Eel Point, the inside of Great Point, and even at Smith Point where the albies are mixed in with bonito and bluefish at point and at the Bonito Bar. Sam said there are still plenty of squid in the rips and the albie fishing in these white water lines is phenomenal on surface plugs, soft plastics, and flies. There are also silversides from the size of your pinky up to three or four inches, providing more to eat along with the ubiquitous sand eels. 

Bass fishing is really good from shore and boat, according to Sam, with folk fishing the southside beaches with bait, including eels, squid, and sand fleas/mole crabs, catching schoolies up to slot size fish at night. One of the keys is finding the pockets of cooler water, with Sam noting that the air temperatures are definitely cooler on the island right now than they were last year and it’s the same with the water. He was fishing inside Great Point this week and marked 69-degree water, adding that the mornings are definitely not shorts and T-shirt time. One thing about the bass fishing from shore around Nantucket is that they will have bigger fish later in the fall, with one of Sam’s friends catching his first fish over 40-inches last season in November. 

There really hasn’t been much news from the boats regarding bass, but the bluefish bite remains very good on the east side of the islands with larger fish, while small bluefish are pretty much everywhere.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 18, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Like last report, plenty of stuff to talk about and this week I am twisting my own arm so I don’t delve into asides.

There are definitely albies in the sounds in numerous places; we’re not talking about huge numbers, but people have definitely caught them from Nobska to Craigville and there have been reports of little tunny down off Bass River.

So, the rundown:

The first report of an albie that I could confirm from the southside came courtesy of Bob Lewis last Sunday; apparently, Bob Clay and Ken Cirillo found them off Osterville and hooked up with a couple.

Meanwhile, Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said that buddies of his caught double digit numbers of albies fishing from Hedge Fence to State Beach last Sunday, but when Evan went out the next day, this same stretch was dead. He hung around Squash Meadow and a few terns were picking small bait, but no fish were sighted. He went over towards Middle Ground and marked what he was sure were funny fish, but nothing showed on top.

Michael Beebe and I made the run over to the Vineyard on Monday to see if we could find the bonito – or perhaps the albies that had shown around Edgartown. Between the windmill house and the Gut, we had one small school of bones come up in five feet of water, which was useless. On the way back to Oak Bluffs, I saw three terns acting birdy and a school of funny fish erupted – for a couple of seconds and that was it. As Jack Pinard likes to say, “Your favorite fish to catch, Dave.”

Capt. Mike shared a report from a Hogy customer that he got three good fly casts into albies off Popponesset earlier this week and was just waiting for the line to tighten, but it was not to be.

Midweek, Bob Lewis picked up his first albie of the season on the fly; he and Capt. Warren Marshall started at Waquoit which looked dead, but he did see someone hook up. On the way back to Cotuit, they found fish off the New Seabury seawall and after getting his version of Capt. Scott Hamilton’s foam pilchard/peanut bunker popper mangled by a small bluefish, Bob grabbed his other rod with a clear intermediate line and a tutti fruitti flatwing and it was off to the races. He also sent me a cool video of him casting into fish and you can just hear the prayers, hoping for that line to come tight. 

Capt. Mike and Jack Pinard found the albies yesterday off Nobska and connected using the new Hogy Charter Eraser plug; they’ll be on the market soon and they do everything you want a funny fish plug to do: cast straight and far, skip along the surface or subsurface if you let them sink, and catch albies. They were good enough to gift me some of them and they come in killer funny fish colors, including pink, white, olive, and the one that always gets my eye in every plastic plug – clear amber. 

I still remember the first time I fished Montauk and Mike saw some birds acting funny, cast out am amber seven-inch Original Hogy and it got trashed by an albie. 

Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s reported that a few bonito have been trolled up around No Name rip as well as out by Hedge Fence, but overall the bones have been scarce.

A number of other folks reported cruising all the way from Falmouth to Point Gammon and seeing nothing but large schools of tailor blues off Hyannis and Succonesset, which do a great job lopping off Epoxy Jigs, Heavy Metal Jigs, or any other funny fish casting lure your prefer, as well as one of those perfect flies you tied up in anticipation of this season.

For larger bluefish, the word from Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis is to pay a visit to Horseshoe Shoal and troll Hoochies or deep diving swimmers until you locate a school and then switch over the plugs if you prefer casting. This is a large shoal and unless you’re familiar with its nuances that typically hold fish or, better yet, find birds working over breaking fish, then trolling to locate fish is worth the effort.

Down South Yarmouth way, the word from Mac at Riverview Bait & Tackle is that there are schools of small bluefish cruising all along the sound shoreline; the rivers are filled with small bait and all it will take is a nice cold snap to get it flushing out and bass, blues, and funnies to get after it. If you don’t mind fishing in the dark, Mac said there are always small bass in the rivers and backwaters, but they can be fussy when the water is too warm. Try slow waking a soft plastic or slow walking a smaller spook or twitch bait, especially around marshy, grassy shoreline that typically holds bait. 

Eugene Kang sent me a joke photo of him with a small bluefish that he caught off Bass River; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to open it on my flip phone which has no data plan on it! He was looking for albies, but other than small bluefish in the sound and then bass and blues off Monomoy, he saw no funny fish. 

Finally, the most interesting report this week came to me from Capt. Mike who got it from the same Hogy customer who found the albies off Popponesset; in this case, he was fishing up inside Popponesset when it erupted with small bass as far as the eye could see. It was a flyrodder’s dream scenario and I suspect that it has or will happen inside Waquoit or the Three Bays area soon enough. Time to break out the flats boat and trolling motor and do some scouting.

From shore, other than a few sharks from the beaches, the sand-and-rock people are struggling; if I were fishing tonight from the beach, I would be tossing eels down off Nobska or fishing one of the pond/bay openings. Jack Collins said a few hardcore folks have been picking at some better bass at night, but you have to be willing to put in your time and fish anything you cast very slowly, often using the current along to create the proper action.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

It’s mid-August and what would you expect but the island going crazy over albies and bonito?

Well, how about some pretty cool striper news, first from Julien Pepper at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown who made the mistake of trying to trick me into believing it wasn’t him who answered the phone. Good guy that he is, Julien tolerated my insipid questioning about funny fish and made it clear that the best news he had for me came courtesy of a shore angler who experienced a very good topwater bite at Squibnocket this evening. Starting in the late afternoon, he found bass up to 20-pounds that ate pink pencil poppers with abandon, while after dark a change to clear amber kept the action going. Julien also said the evening topwater action around Lobsterville is still happening.

Meanwhile, Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs experienced a great push of stripers in the eight to 12-pound range inside Vineyard Haven near what the locals call Eastville Beach; these weren’t you typical small schoolies that will flip and flop out of the water, but these larger fish were putting on a display of acrobatics that was just as good. Clearly, this east/northeast flow pushed in bait and some cooler water and you know stripers: they will use anything to their advantage.

Bonito and albie action has been scattered at best; in many cases, the shore bite has been as good if not better than what folks are doing on the boats – perhaps because the schools are small and there are plenty of idiots charging after and into them. One of Doug’s buddies managed an albie off the Oak Bluffs jetties and Julien said shorebound folks fishing from both East Chop and West Chop have picked up some albies. The one school that blew into Edgartown last week has not re-appeared and things have been quiet around Tashmoo and the rest of the northside of the island.

Lots of small bluefish all around the island, with an occasional push of larger ones on the incoming tide at Chappy, but Julien said that hasn’t been consistent. In fact, most of the action that way continues to be sharks. 

Speaking of sharks, there are a lot of makos and threshers south of Noman’s, with Julian telling of one angler who caught such a large thresher that he had to cut it in half to get it into his boat.

Between tuna trips, Julien has been keeping the fluke honest in his honey holes, while the larger sea bass are holding down towards Noman’s.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill is always upbeat about the fishing on the Grey Lady and from what he told me, he has good reason. The albies have shown in good numbers off the west side of the island and at the moment Corey said it has been more of an Epoxy Jig/casting jig bite as opposed to action on plugs. We talked about color when it comes to Epoxies and he keeps it simple, opting for pink or silver/clear; as with so much of fishing, it’s more about the accuracy of the cast and knowing how to work the jig correctly. There have also been albies caught off the jetties entering Nantucket Harbor; they will also run up into the mooring fields, which makes it interesting when you hook up. Up around Great Point, the Coatue area has seen some albies caught from both boat and beach. The bonito are starting to fill in as well, again around the west side of the island at the Bonito Bar; folks casting from Smith Point have been catching them as well. As seems to be the case so far this season, a good number of the bones have been on the small side, say between 18 and 20-inches, but a friend of Corey’s got a 27-incher this week, which is a nice fish. Plenty of small bluefish all around the island; if you want larger ones, then the east side of the island is the place to be, both around Great Point and off Sankaty. There are some bass being caught along the northside of the island out towards Eel Point, while fishing the southside beaches is definitely best served at night. From the boat, the eastern edges of Rose and Crown are holding good numbers of bass, but this is some tough water and not for the faint of heart.

As I talked about in my Cape Cod Bay report, a lot of bass anglers don’t pay enough attention to the prevalence of crustaceans that can be found in their bellies. That’s why I was so interested when Sam Brandt from the Nantucket Tackle Center said that people have been catching bass on the southside beaches using sand fleas, also called mole crabs. I know that fly anglers have created numerous mole crab patterns and they are very productive on the flats and in the shallows close to the beach, but I can’t recall anyone here on the Cape talking about gathering them up for bait. I know they do it in New Jersey, but I need to investigate this more, especially when it comes to the outer Cape beaches. Sam has managed to get into some albies already, mainly on the west side of the island; his favorite plug for these fish is a slim, clear amber plastic pencil that is marketed under the IslandX name; they come in both floating and sinking models, with Sam yet to try the former. It’s interesting how a plug can be successful in one variation, but not in another, so it will be interesting to hear what he reports back. Other than small bluefish pretty much all around the island, fishing for the larger ones has slowed a bit, with most of them on the east side of the island. Out around the Bonito Bar, the action is improving; on the bar, most folks cast, for bones while the few boats that troll best served by staying away from the picket line as picking up a bunch of lines on your fast trolled, deep diving swimmer is not a good way to make friends.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 11, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Lots of interesting stuff this week as these waters definitely have come alive, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet; here goes.

-Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s said that there are schools of tailor blues – two to four-pound fish – on all of the shoals. Find the birds – typically terns – and you will find the fish. Smaller spooks like the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow are an awesome option for these size fish, especially if you take the treble hooks off and replace just the tail one with a Siwash or inline single of sufficient size. That allows for cleaner, quicker releases since the plug body acts as a handle to hold onto while the you keep the fish in the water and use the Hogy Dehooker to remove the hook – and keep your fingers away from a blue’s teeth. 

If you are into larger bluefish, then opt for the 1 5/8 -ounce Hogy Pencil Popper; it provides an even larger plug body to deal with a big “yellow eyed devil” and that size floats; you’ll get more distance with the larger size and the smallest version is a casting machine as well, but they sink. This isn’t a problem if you opt for wire leaders since most times a blue can’t chop through metal, but I prefer heavy fluorocarbon and even 80-pound can be no match for their dentures, 

Sometimes, bluefish can belie their reputation of being willing to hit even an old shoe and act really finicky if they are keyed in on small bait; in those cases, Epoxy Jigs, Heavy Metal Jigs, and other brands of metal jigs are good choices. Again switch out trebles for an appropriate size Siwash or inline single. Since these lures are generally smaller, a short wire or heavy mono/fluoro leader in a good idea. 

In rare cases, I have had to switch out to small soft plastics; obviously, these get chewed up pretty quickly, but if I opt for ones with a shorter, stubbier baitfish shaped body as opposed to a long, thinner profile like a sand eel, I have caught a good number of bluefish on one before I have to replace it. 

-Jack also said that folks are still catching sharks from the beaches along the southside; he noted that it seems pretty common that what you are fishing for bait can determine what kind of shark you might catch. Bluefish or fresh dead eels are the most common baits used. And if you are absolutely set on catching a bass from the beach, then head to Nobska with some live eels and spend a lot of time casting in the dark.

-Speaking of sharks, Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay has managed a number of impressive fish over the last several seasons, but right now his focus is on catching a dusky. I spoke to a couple of people on Nantucket who said that catching this species over that way isn’t that unusual; in fact, with all the white shark mania, a seal attack attributed to one might be a dusky, which when they are large enough are more than capable of taking down a smaller seal. 

-Amy Wrightson over at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville said that she and her family have been trolling up similar sized bluefish from Craigville to Popponesset, along with a few small black sea bass, which frankly seem to be everywhere. That said, Amy spoke to a couple of people who jigged up a number of 20+-inch BSB at Collier’s, which I am surprised at since most folks who target these fish at this time of year talk about fishing deeper water as the key to their success. Collier’s certainly has plenty of rocky structure which sea bass like, but I don’t recall it being a spot with a lot of depth. Even though it has been sunny and kind of hot/humid this week, perhaps wind direction has drawn in some cooler water. Amy added that they caught scup both in the sounds and the Three Bays area, with the ones in the latter larger.

-Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said that Capt. Ron Signs continues to produce legal fluke for his charters, generally fishing in deep water up to 90-feet along the north shore of the Vineyard. The western stretches of Middle Ground have also had some good fluking, again in the deeper water off the shoal itself. In areas like that, I often think about whether super early or dusk/night fishing would produce better fluke action since shallow water in the summer typically means warmer conditions. 

-Last weekend, Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach took advantage of spending some family time on the Vineyard to check out some fluke fishing between West Chop and Middle Ground and managed far more legal fluke that he typically does up in Buzzards Bay; there weren’t any super large fish in the mix, but using squid, Morgan said they caught somewhere between eight and a dozen fish up to about 20-inches. 

-The word from Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that if anyone is looking for larger bluefish in Nantucket Sound, then Horseshoe Shoal remains your best bet, whether trolling or casting. He added that he spoke to someone who picked up a few false albacore off of Falmouth earlier this week on the fly; that’s the second report I heard about albies around the Nobska to Fay Beach stretch and given that they’re over on the Vineyard, there’s no reason to doubt that some are closer to the Cape.

– Heading east, Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said folks willing to fish from dusk to dawn are still catching schoolies in the rivers, with the stage of the tide and conditions during the day important factors on what kind of action you will find. Cloudy, overcast days with even a little rain can cool the water, as can wind direction and higher water is definitely an advantage. A few random schools of bluefish are still cruising the shoreline, but generally this is a boat fishery as they stay outside the longest cast a sand-and-rock person can produce. That’s why fishing from a jetty is popular since the thinking is that it gets your closer to deeper, productive water; in my experience, however, it always pays to spin a few casts along the jetty and parallel to the shoreline since at night bass will come into some surprisingly shallow water. This advice is offered up primarily with the fall soon upon us, but if bait is concentrated in a pocket or hole and there isn’t much to eat in deeper water, a bass or even a bluefish will slide in under the cover of darkness.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Yes, there are bonito and false albacore inshore on the Vineyard. One of the cooler stories came courtesy of Doug Asselin from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs; he was at the dock waiting for a bait delivery when a school of bones erupted right nearby. He grabbed his rod from his truck, got off a cast, and managed his first bonito of the season. His was about four pounds, but a couple of other guys who hooked up as well said there fish were much smaller. 

Apparently, the stretch from OB to Hedge Fence has been best for bonito, but there are still some being caught on the troll out by the Hooter. Michael Beebe fished with Capt. Jaime Boyle earlier this week in the State Beach area and caught his first bone on the fly this year; the schools aren’t large, but scoping out their movements and keeping your fly or lure in the water can pay big dividends as opposed to waiting for them to break.

In that case, you just might hit nirvana as you have happy fish all to yourself, but more likely you will be like Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville who was tormented by a guy and his son in a 13-foot Whaler who tore into the fish, putting them down or scattering the bait or both. It was amusing to hear Amy repeat her mother’s advice about taking “some cleansing breaths” in those situations, something Kate has advised on more than one occasion when I can feel my blood pressure rising. 

Julien Pepper at Larry’s in Edgartown stuck around the shop too long and therefore had to deal with my litany of questions, but he did inform me that some albies were caught in Edgartown earlier this week. One guy actually caught three from Memorial Wharf and a few other luck anglers managed one each. Fishing Edgartown Harbor is one of those spots that I have conflicting feelings about as someone who fishes out of a boat; it can have some really nice schools, but it’s also one of those few areas where shorebound folks have a good shot at a funny fish. It’s tough enough dealing with the Chappy ferry, but add in some boats and you can have a zoo. It kind of reminds me what my friend Davis Yetman says about another good island shore spot, the Gut: “Boats don’t belong there.”

Hopefully, we will soon be in awe of massive schools of breaking bones and albies, enough so that everyone can stay out of each other’s hair. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

Bass fishing is very quiet on the island, with pretty much everyone with a boat heading south in search of tuna; now that the funnies are here, those who won’t make the run will be focused on their smaller cousins. Any bass being caught are definitely still up island in the rocks and white water under the cover of darkness. Needlefish, darters, and swimmers get a lot of mentions, but I find it interesting that nobody mentions large soft plastics. Eels have always been a Vineyard mainstay among the hardcore surf folks and I suspect that rigged eels, with or without wobble lips, might still be in vogue in some locales. 

According to whom you talk to, the schools of big blues are still down off Menemsha and out to Noman’s or they’re gone, perhaps driven away by the unprecedented numbers of dolphins in the area; they have been as close in as Lobsterville where they were seen destroying a school of baitfish – which in this case could have been bluefish. 

Some blues are still being caught on Chappy, not in the size and numbers as a month ago, and in a few cases they are being chunked up and turned into sharks; this fishery has slowed a bit, but guys and gals committed to catching sharks, mainly sandbars with perhaps a dusky or tiger thrown in, are doing OK.

Fluke fishing is OK in both sounds, with hard bottom, heavy current, and deep holes the way to go for larger fish, with mainly throwbacks and the occasional just legal fish around the shoals such as Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, and Halfway. 

Meanwhile, the anticipated push of larger sea bass up into the sounds hasn’t taken place just yet, with even the bite down Noman’s way a bit slow, again perhaps because of the dolphins.

Nantucket Fishing Report

With an uptick in bonito numbers and the first albies of the season caught this week, Capt. Corey Gammill is very happy with the fishing on the Grey Lady – but he expects it to only get better. There are bluefish pretty much all around the island, with larger ones to the east, especially around Sankaty right up through the Great Point area. Along with more bonito being caught on the Bonito Bar, schools of smaller bluefish are thick on the west side, especially around Smith’s Point where sand eels are the main forage. The wind this week kicked up the white water around Tuckernuck and Muskeget, typically conditions that see increased bass activity, Corey pointed out, but most boaters are still concentrating on the rips to the east for their bass, along with fluke and larger sea bass. Chord of the Bay and the inside of Great Point continue to produce bonito for the sand people, but it was the Jetties area and another north shore location that produced the first albies.

Over at The Nantucket Tackle Center, Sam Brandt said there are still a good number of bass being caught from the beaches, especially with all of this wind kicking up the surf a bit. Folks on the southside have been mainly fishing bait at night, although shallow running swimmers and soft plastics have been working in areas where sand eels have been concentrated. On the northside, Sam recommended fishing Eel Point, again at night, with squid a good option if you prefer to soak bait and topwater plugs at both dusk and dawn. Shark fishing remains steady and a couple of tiger sharks were caught recently, a species that is not commonly seen in these waters. The Bonito Bar is starting to percolate a bit more, with smaller swimmers like the Yo-zuri Crystal Minnows a favorite casting option, along with your typical casting jigs and soft plastics. Overall, Nantucket is unique in that it is one place where casting plugs and plastics for funny fish might be preferred over the usual hardware and it has proven to be super productive; the clear amber Island X Hell Fire 180 is super productive, Sam advised, with he and others experiencing double digit fish days with it. They also love their soft plastics out there, with amber, pink, and white/pearl colors you have to carry.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 4, 2023

Tagging False Albacore From Last Fall

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

You know it’s getting that time of year when folks start mentioning that they have heard from people driving along the southside of Falmouth about birds and breaking fish.

That was the case when I spoke to Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth; three different people told me they saw fish working in three different places that looked like funny fish of some sort. Surf Drive, Falmouth Heights, and Green Pond is where this action was seen, but instead of my usual naysaying, I’ll just go with this line: “I’ll wait until someone comes up with a photo of a bonito, albie, or even a Spanish mackerel from inshore waters.”

Joe Barresi at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, across from McDonald’s in Teaticket, has heard of some bones over on the Vineyard and he wasn’t talking about the Hooter. The staff at the shop believes we could be in for an early albie season, but I would much prefer to enjoy at least a couple of weeks of better bonito fishing than the last few years before their bigger, bullying cousins show up. 

As far as bass from boat or shore goes in the sounds, the sentiment is you had better head east until you hit Monomoy.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville has seen some boaters trolling the shallows from Craigville to Cotuit and suspects that they are looking for smaller bluefish that often congregate close to shore this time of year, as well as off Popponesset to Waquoit and down Falmouth way. A high dropping tide is helps funnel bait out of any of the entrance channels, increasing the odds that blues will be seeking an easy meal. And pass on the idea that bluefish don’t feed as much in the dark, so get up early and be on the water before dawn – and don’t forget to toss a soft plastic towards the jetties that line many of these channels since schoolies line up along the rocks, similarly waiting for bait to be swept their way.t 

Similarly, even though the shore fishing has been quiet with the moon this week, explained Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, if you want to get a real pull on your tackle, then consider beach shark fishing, whether from sand beaches between Falmouth and Harwich or even from one of the many jetties in the area, which will get your bait out into slightly deeper water. Of course, most serious sharkers will tell you that some awfully big fish come pretty darn close to shore.

I poked into Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth earlier this week after completing some business to replace my boat trailer plate. It was good to catch up with Lee Boisvert, owner of that fine establishment, and his staff, including Mac and Sarge. There are some small bluefish being caught from the beaches and jetties, with the dusk the best time, while Lee is quick to point out to folks new to the area who ask about catching a striper up in the many rivers from Bass to those in Harwich that working hard manmade structures such as docks under the cover of darkness is a wise approach. Marshy areas harbor small baitfish and even shrimp, with bass often giving away their presence with popping noises as they inhale their prey. Light tackle folks tossing unweighted soft plastics and flyrodders who can work their sliders, gliders, Gurglers, and poppers with floating lines do well in these scenarios as they work with even the subtlest of currents, something you can also do with small, waking plugs.

For larger bluefish, Horseshoe Shoal keeps popping up, both for folks trolling swimmers and Hoochies, or the few pluggers who sometimes do a little trolling to locate fish and then switch over to topwater plugs.

On perhaps the most positive note from this area, there were some good fluke fishing reports, starting with a customer who told Evan Eastman that he picked up about a dozen summer flatties at Middle Ground, including his legal limit, with a top fish of 20-inches. 

Amy Wrightson said that there are fluke to be caught around Succonesset, but you’re going to have to wade through plenty of throwbacks to pick up an occasional dinner fish; bigger baits, deeper edges and even the waters between the shoal areas themselves, and keeping that jig and rig moving are often keys to successful fluke trips.

The one thing that I did find interesting is that the scup fishing in the sounds is pretty slow, with plenty of small sea bass and no lack of sea robins; Amy Wrightson said that shore spots such as Dowses and even boat areas have been quieter this year. That coincides with what Morgan Hopwood told me about his fluke trips this week as they caught no scup, just sublegal BSB – some really, really tiny – and them wonderful, enchanting sea robins.  

Of course, as Lee Boisvert concluded, there do seem to be more northern kingfish around, a species that seems to be enjoying our inshore, sandy waters more than ever before.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

I don’t know what to tell you about the Hooter; Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth spoke to one boater who caught some larger ones trolling there, but on Monday the report from Capt. Mike spoke of just one other boat there and no fish to speak of, not even those small bluefish that often raise havoc with the five-inch or so long billed deep diving swimmers that are so popular out there, like the Hogy Charter Grade Swimmer in the five-inch size. Go figure.

Now, when Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs tells me that he was on the ferry earlier this week heading out from that port when he saw what he is absolutely sure were bonito or albies working bait, I have my confirmation that the funny fish are starting to show inshore. Given the time of year and the prevalent bait, including sand eels and silversides, that bones prefer, Steve suspects they were that species and definitely not schools of small bluefish that many, many folks mistake for smaller members of the mackerel and tuna family. 

Steve said that business has been non-stop in the shop and he has no complaints; one reason for so much business has to be the continued presence of big bluefish around the island. At the moment, there are huge schools of finning, tailing fish around Noman’s as well as between Gay Head and Squibnocket. Evan and Chuck Eastman went out there earlier this week to check out if the choppers were still around and they had no problem catching them on the Hogy 1.25 Epoxy Jig in the silverside coloration. 

The word from Joel at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown is that there is still a good bluefish bite out on Chappy; his buddy caught two 13-pounders there on Wednesday, with last two hours of the rising tide producing the best action. 

If you want a shot at catching a bass larger than a schoolie, then definitely head up island, according to Steve and spend a lot of time in the dark tossing plugs like needlefish, darters, and swimmers. Some folks still toss eels or soft plastics, but hard body baits are an island tradition.

Joel’s advice if you are new to the boulder field game up island is to use a bone Daiwa SP Minnow and “reel it real slow” – and he didn’t have to add what most experience folks say, which is “then reel it slower.”

The topwater bite around dusk at Lobsterville, Dogfish Bar, and the cliffs continues; no huge bass have been caught there, but enough fish up to the mid-30-inch range have been caught on pencil poppers, spooks, and other topwater offerings to make things interesting. 

There are still schoolies in the ponds, although not in the numbers that folks typically associate with these areas. It’s also interesting to hear how few schools of pogies there have been in and around Lagoon Pond, Sengekontacket, and other backwaters; it will be interesting to see how things shape up between now and the start of the Derby. Last year, there was spectacular action on big blues chowing on pogies during this event and I know plenty of people who would like to see a repeat. No doubt we have the bluefish and they are certainly finding plenty to eat around the island, but it’s pretty amazing how fat fish can get when menhaden are on the menu.

Steve said the fluke fishing remains about the same, but the real news in the bottom fishing world is “the overabundance of sea robins” as he called it at Middle Ground, Lucas and especially Hedge Fence.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill is such an upbeat person and I reflected later on our responses to the question each of us asked the other: “How would you rate the season so far?”

Of course, I came up with a C+/B- rating, obviously forgetting the great action on the shoals in the sounds this spring and early summer, as well as the treat of huge bluefish on top from the southside of the Cape out to the southside of the Vineyard.

Corey’s response, on the other hand, was so refreshing: “We have really been blessed with a great season out here. The bass fishing was really good west of the island earlier in the season and it’s still solid now that it’s towards the east and colder water.”

Unlike some island boats that move towards Monomoy at this time of year, Corey avoids those crowds and picks up plenty of bass on the fly and on spin tackle to the east and south, using an assortment of squid imitations in the white water, from flies to pencil poppers and soft plastics. Wire line jigging is popular among some charterboats down around Sankaty and the Old Man, as well as rips more to the east, but Corey said if the fish are holding deeper, you can still call them up with plugs at times and there is always the option of dropping down a jighead/soft plastic combination or hard body jig and doing some vertical jigging.

 Bluefish is really good off the east side of the island, both for shore and boat anglers, while Smith Point is now open and there is a mix of bass and blues there. Anyone who fishes for bass in the height of the summer will tell you that it’s a night game, with bluefish more commonly showing during daylight hours, especially during rising water. 

Corey also reported that there are smaller bluefish out around Tuckernuck and Muskeget, but the bonito bite around the west side of the island hasn’t really taken off, including at the Bonito Bar.

Instead, the best spot to try for bones has been the Coatue/Great Point area, explained Austin Conroy at the Nantucket Tackle Center; they are scattered, but people have caught them from both boat and the beach. 

Austin echoed what Corey said about the east side of the island, with good numbers of bass and a lot of bluefish being caught out by the 6 can off of Great Point, as well as down off Sankaty; a lot of this action is one wire line and jigs, especially for the stripers, but early mornings and dusk have been both species mixed on the surface and in the white water, making them perfect targets for topwater plugs. 

Although Corey said that the Quidnet area can be a challenge to shore fish due to weedy conditions, Austin continues to catch bass there on SP Minnows (he likes the blue mackerel coloration) and all black, pink, and white soft plastics at night.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 28, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

So, let’s start with two catches, one I believe and the other I just don’t by; as an aside, it’s not the tackle shop individual I question, but the angler who reported the catch.

First, let’s begin with the believable news. Pretty much any serious shore angler who works the sand beaches along Nantucket Sound has heard of the increasing popularity of fish for big sharks, mainly sandbars (most commonly called browns), but also dusky’s and if memory serves me right – which it doesn’t do as often – other species have been caught as well. Over the last several winters, both a porbeagle and several thresher sharks have turned up frozen on Cape beaches, and while they may have drifted in from a long distance away, I suspect that both of these species swim closer to shore than people realize. If you want to check out a cool YouTube video, there is one from two years ago when a sizeable thresher was sighted swimming close to a popular beach in the middle of the day in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

There are a number of beaches where shark anglers gather, with Menauhant Beach in Falmouth and South Cape Beach in Mashpee popular around the upper Cape, while in the mid-Cape area, Craigville Beach garners plenty of attention, while Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth suggested Seagull Beach and West Dennis Beach down his way. 

Oh, and Lee told the story of a young angler who was shark fishing off a jetty in his area when it flipped around and bit him in the leg, requiring 14-stitches to close up the damage. These species of sharks should not in any way be confused with dogfish or what some people – including yours truly when I was younger – call sand sharks. 

The other matter to take into consideration is the tackle required to land one of these sharks; your average surf outfit just won’t cut it; you need a long, extra powerful rod equipped with a big, offshore style spinning reel that can hold plenty of heavy braid. Forget the mono or fluoro leaders; some serious sharkers even eschew single strand wire, opting for cable that is crimped to the hook and swivel on opposite ends. 

If you can catch a bluefish and chunk it up right on the beach, you have a primo bait, but the word I got this week is that blues have been tough to fish from the sand or rocks, so the most dependable solution is fresh, dead eels. Bring them live to the beach and then dispatch them immediately prior to fishing them. 

Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, knows of a few people who opt to take their bait out into deeper water via a kayak and then keeping the bail open on their reel until they get back to the beach, where they can spike the rod.

I can’t tell you if this is what the angler who caught an estimated 250-pound sandbar shark from a Falmouth beach did, but Jack saw a photo of this fish and it was super impressive – and verified.

Now, even in the heat of summer, there are some nice stripers caught from the southside beaches by folks who spend a lot of time under the cover of darkness. Sometimes, a seam of cold water or appearance of a school of bait draws some quality fish in to areas such as Nobska Point, which is where Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said live eels have been working pretty well. Of course, Nobska has the benefit of strong currents close to a rocky shore where there is a lot of life and food for bass, including choggies, small black sea bass, scup and crabs/lobsters. In fact, now that I think of it, fishing there is as close as you can get to fishing an environment from shore that is similar to the Elizabeths.

So a big bass being caught there? You betcha. But a 50-inch big bass, with no photographic evidence or witnesses to verify the catch? I say, “No bueno” to this story, but appreciate the predicament that Evan must have found himself in since nobody wants to question someone’s veracity face-to-face, especially a customer. 

Which reminds me of a funny story involving Jim Young, former manager of Eastman’s. Several years ago, Jim was fishing in Woods Hole with Bill Nealon when a guy managed to hook his lure on a rock. Billy managed to maneuver his boat close enough for Jim to work it free, at which point he recognized that it was one he had just sold to this guy. Obviously, Jim tossed the lure back and went on fishing. Later that day – or it might have been the next – this same guy comes into the shop and says that the lure was defective since it was damaged, something that obviously took place when he hit the rock with it. At that point, Jim said that isn’t what happened; the guy challenged Jim with “Are you calling me a liar?”; and Jim laid the lumber with “Yeah, I’m calling you a bleepin’ liar since I was the guy who got the lure off the rock for you.”

So other than sharks and some bass from the rocks, what is happening along the southside beaches and inside the backwaters? Well, not much to tell you the truth, other than some small scup and northern kingfish, which Lee Boisvert said were a species they didn’t see until a few years back and now have become more prevalent. 

There are lots of small sea bass in shallow water, as well as the occasional little fluke, but unfortunately the shorebound angler doesn’t have access to the deeper, faster moving water that can often create conditions that are larger specimen of these species prefer. 

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville has spoken to a few folks who have fished the deeper water around Succonesset and caught some legal fluke, while Capt. Mike Netto managed to get his boat in the water last weekend and headed right for his favorite deep water at L’Hommedieu  and caught himself some dinner, with a legal fluke and a legal sea bass. 

Jack Collins recommended the waters around the No Name rip down Nobska way as a spot to try for keeper fluke, as well as the deeper water off Lucas Shoal and along the north shore of the Vineyard, including Cedar Tree Neck. There are also some larger sea bass mixed in, although folks looking for numbers of this fish have been making the longer run to Noman’s, although I ran into Capt. Ron Signs at the Falmouth Harbor boat ramp and he advised that the BSB fishing in Robinson’s has been quite good. 

If you are looking for bass from your boat, pretty much everyone suggested you head east all the way to Monomoy, but Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis noted that there are some big bluefish still being caught on the troll out on Horseshoe Shoal.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

As with pretty much any spot in our area, the Vineyard has definitely been impacted by warmer – some would say hot – water, but there are some bright spots to report this week. 

First off, Bob Lewis provided the first mention of bonito from those parts; he was with the family in Edgartown last Sunday and saw some boats coming in with small bones. Now, Bob did give any sense of size other than small, but someone else suggested they were about one to two pounds, which is really tiny, and left me picturing large Atlantic horse mackerel. 

On Tuesday, Chuck and Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth made their first run to the Hooter and trolled up eight bones; they were fast trolling smaller, deep diving swimmers in both pink and red/white. Although they weren’t Hogy’s new Charter Grade Swimmer, the 5-inch/1.3-ounce sounds like the ticket, especially in pink given the Eastman’s reports, but I suspect that Capt. Mike will be out there this coming week giving all of the colors a run through.

Over at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs, Doug Asselin reported that a couple of bonito were trolled up at Wasque, but the angler let them go because he thought there was a size limit. They were about 21-inches long, but even at that size, they would have made good eating, either as sashimi/sushi or on the grill. 

There was also a bonito caught in the Hedge Fence area by someone bottom fishing for sea bass, so we can only hope that their numbers increase inshore in a big way.

As far as bass goes, things are slow overall, with slot fish being caught up island from Squibnocket to Gay Head at night on Super Strike darters and needlefish, while Peter Sliwkowski at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown said there has been a good topwater bite in the Lobsterville/Dogfish bar area from dusk until dawn. There are plenty of schoolies in the mix, but a good number of solid bass up to the mid-30-inch range as well 

Bluefishing around the east side of the island has slowed a bit for shore anglers, making it tougher for shark anglers to get fresh bait; the few waves of fish that are coming through are on the smaller side, as opposed to the monster choppers of a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of sharking, it remains OK, but not absolutely lights out as it was earlier. 

If you want big blues, then take this to heart: I ran into Capt. Terry Nugent at the boat ramp in Falmouth Harbor on Tuesday as he was preparing for another tuna run and he told me there was a ton of life between Gay Head and Squibby. He didn’t know what they were, but he suspected they might be frigate mackerel or some other small, fast moving fish, perfect for lighter fly rod. Well, later that day I received a text from Terry that he sent to Capt. Mike to forward to me since he didn’t have my phone number. There were acres of big bluefish and sea bass in the same stretch of water he spoke of that morning.

In fact, Evan Eastman told me that they made the run in that direction after finishing their bonito trolling and they ran into those same acres of big blues busting everything in sight, with birds as far as you could see. All of his fish came on the 1.25-ounce Silverside Hogy Epoxy Jig, including his personal best at 37.5-inches that he estimated was 20-pounds or so. 

Fluke fishing is a matter of concentrating on deeper water, especially along the north side of the island, while folks seeking larger sea bass would be wise to keep in mind the report above. Then again, I don’t know how you would get through the bluefish to target the BSB, but I heard that there are good numbers over to Noman’s, along with some bass in the deep water on the backside of the island.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The east side of the island is covered in bluefish: that was the word from Capt. Corey Gammill. There is a. mix of sizes, with larger ones concentrated down around Sankaty, and they are finning and swirling on top, making for great surface action with plugs featuring single Siwash tail hooks like the Hogy Pencil. Corey had a good fly trip over to Rose and Crown earlier in the week, with a dozen nice bass on squid flies; the eastern edges have generally been holding fish, but it can be hit or miss. He did add, however, that there are some bass still in the white water tight to Muskeget and Tuckernuck, with the flats also fishing moderately well as the fish out by M and T often move into shallower water to feed on the abundance of crabs and sand eels. A smattering of bonito are being caught both inside Great Point around Coatue as well as at the Bonito Bar, but Corey explained that the numbers are such that he would recommend a trip for them to his clients. The south shore down around Quidnet has some good evening fly fishing action, especially on crab patterns, while spin anglers can get into the action with small poppers and soft plastics, as well as bucktail jigs bounced on the bottom. Corey is anticipating that this blow coming in will stir things up, which should be good for the fishing.

Tim Coggins from the Nantucket Tackle Center was good enough to talk with me yesterday and he echoed Corey’s comment about the east side of the island: bluefishing is outstanding, from boat and shore. Bass fishing has slowed, with boats mainly heading east or more up towards Monomoy. The Great Point area is holding more bonito than the Bar, but it will be interesting to see if the change in the weather will push them in in greater numbers. Beach fishing along the southside is OK; there are bass in the deeper holes and pockets of white water, but it is definitely a dusk to dawn affair, with swimmers and soft plastics good places to start, with tossing pencil poppers at first light a way to seek out the bass and blues that are still cruising the shallows looking for one last meal before heading into the cover of deeper water. Tim also did a fluke trip in the waters south of Old Man Shoal and they picked up their limits on fish up to a solid 24-inches.

One other cool thing on the island: there were flying fish sighted in the harbor this week.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 21, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when the name of a certain place keeps popping up when calling local shops and this week it has been Horseshoe Shoal.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville has been trolling up a good number of these big bluefish on swimming plugs. To give you an idea of the size of these fish, on one trip she and her eldest son, Tucker, kept a 10-pounder for the smoker, which Amy said was the smallest they caught. 

When speaking of spots like Middle Ground, No Name, Halfway/L’Hommedieu, Hedge Fence, and Succonesset, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth sounded discouraged as he noted that “there is virtually nothing in the rips when it comes to bass or blues.” For the most part, people have been targeting fluke on the shoals, but even that fishery has been challenging when it comes to catching flatties that meet or exceed the legal minimum, with the size and number of sea robins being reported in these areas a clear source of frustration. 

Evan did say that Capt. Ron Signs, who has developed a solid feel for the deep water fishery in Vineyard Sound close to the north shore of Martha’s island, has been finding enough sizeable fluke to keep his customers happy, along with a pick of legal sea bass. The one thing to keep in mind when switching over from fishing in shallower water to depths up to 70-feet or so in this sound is that there is typically a lot more current, requiring jigs that weigh a minimum of four ounces all the way up to eight or more. 

I proudly claim that I might be “the worst fluke fisherman around,” but I suspect that the folks who do manage to catch fluke in Nantucket Sound focus on deeper water, something that Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in that town’s village of Teaticket – across from McDonald’s – often calls seeking “holes” with gravel, broken bottom and more current. It would only make sense that studying and identifying this type of structure might be more important than some of the fancy fluke rigs that are produced by companies and often feature an assortment of bells and whistles – in this case, spinner blades, brightly colored tubes, and the like. 

If you are seeking larger sea bass, along with sizeable fluke, then you might also want to consider burning a bit more fuel and heading down towards the cooler, deeper water from Menemsha to Noman’s, which really doesn’t qualify as “fishing the sounds,” but that’s often the reality of summertime fishing.

Along with the larger bluefish at Horseshoe, there are reports of smaller ones, similar to the one offered by Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth concerning the action straight out of Parker’s River. Lee’s news coincides with a definite shift in fishiness more to the east, both in the sounds and over towards Monomoy. The manmade “reefs” off Yarmouth and Harwich are still producing sea bass and scup, but overall the sizes of both species are well below the legal limit.

Scup have always been the species that I could count on, from when I was a kid fishing around Popponesset right up to the present moment, so I was concerned when Amy Wrightson told me that fishing for these great little bottom fish around Dowses isn’t as good this year. One thought I had was that with all of the big bluefish that have appeared in Nantucket Sound this year, they might have scattered the scup, keeping them from settling into their usual haunts. 

As an example of how tough the beach and backwater fishing for stripers is, the only news I got from shops between Falmouth and Barnstable came from Evan Eastman concerning a guy catching a 25-inch bass on an SP Minnow on Wednesday in the Falmouth Heights area. It’s not much better as your travel east, with a smattering of schoolies in the rivers from Yarmouth to Harwich, bass fishing from the open beaches for this species is really slow.

On a positive note, sharking from the beaches continues to provide action for folks looking for something sizeable to put more than a tap-tap-tap on their line. It’s a matter of who you talk to when it comes to whether it is just as good as last year or it has tailed off, but the one thing that is certain is that more people are participating in this nighttime activity, resulting in more sales of heavy outfits needed to handle sharks up to 200-pounds, as well as sales of eels, which a good sharker knows should be purchased live and only dispatched once it is ready to be used for bait. Even sharks can be fussy about their dinner and opting to pick up gnarly snakes that have been floating around dead an eel tank for far too long is not a good way to go. I have heard that some folks use oily chunk baits such a pogies, but if you can manage to catch a bluefish and then cut it up on the spot, your odds of coaxing a sandbar – aka brown – or dusky go way up.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Julien Pepper thought he had escaped my call to Larry’s in Edgartown, but he made the mistake of picking up the phone before he left for the day and had to suffer the indignity of answering my inane questions. Now, Julien is known for his prowess at targeting big bass from the beach and boat around the island, but what I have come to appreciate his interest in learning and trying new fisheries. As Capt. Mike likes to say, “It’s all about dialing something in” and Julien’s mission for the last couple of years has been becoming a better fluke fisherman. I refuse to offer up any details about where he is enjoying great success, with at least one six to eight pound fish per trip and no issue getting his limit. I can say he is fishing shoal areas in 30 to 50-feet of water, which sounds like the kind of scenario that many consistently successful fluke anglers frequent – and, no, he isn’t going to east of Nantucket1 When I asked him for his top three suggestions, he started with keeping your rig simple: for the most part, he uses a light bucktail jig on a dropper loop above a bank sinker between four and six-ounces for weight. In some cases, he uses a jig with a silicone skirt and he has played around with all kinds of jig designs. He second rule was to always keep jigging; never let that rod stop moving and keep playing around with the action to find the one that works best – and it might change based on sea conditions, current speed, and other factors. Finally, while squid strips, Gulp!, and even fluke belly are often used to tip a fluke jig, Julien opts for durability as well as action. In his case, he uses four to six-inch cobia belly strips! As he explained, for the last several years he has fished a cobia tournament down in the mid-Atlantic with someone he has guided during the Derby and he discovered that he could vacuum seal this part of the fish that is typically discarded and freeze it, making for one tough strip – to the point where one can last an entire trip. Now, I don’t expect any kind of run on cobia strips such that any bait and tackle shop in going to stock them, but Julien’s outside-the-box thinking is what separates the great fisherman from the good one.

When it comes to bass fishing from the surf right now, Julien said there isn’t much happening. The plug only, catch-and-release only, invitation only event he came up with has ended, with a 48-inch fish taking first place, but as he noted, that fist was caught early on. 

On the other hand, there has been a decent bite up island around Dogfish Bar and Lobsterville, with bass up to 36-inches caught on topwater lures like the Jumpin’ Minnow from evening into the night. This area is typically associated with fly fishing – at least in some people’s minds – but Julien emphasized that someone he knows who does a lot of fly fishing told him that he switched over to spinning tackle since the fish were holding well outside where he could reach with the long wand. 

The recremercials are struggling, with a few schools of pogies on island helping to provide bait, but they haven’t resulted in any big numbers of fish that can be sold. 

The word from Aiden Olsen at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that Wasque and East Beach have really gone dead when it comes to shore fishing for bluefish and the striper action is tough as well for the sand-and-rock people; boaters are still picking up some big blues in the rips, but bass have been few and far between for them as well – except for those willing to make the run to the backside of Noman’s, where both topwater plugging and trolling have been productive. Fortunately, shark fishing remains OK, which is good for folks who are looking for a big tug from the beach. 

Overall, fluke fishing in the sounds is hard, with most of the larger sea bass being caught in deeper from Gay Head over to Noman’s.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill said “I have been straight out despite the funky weather and the fishing has been good, not necessarily great.” A lot of boats are heading east to Rose-and-Crown and Bass Rip, as well as Monomoy, but when it comes to making the run to Chatham, the combination of heavy fog and tons of boats – many operating in a totally irresponsible way – keep Corey away. The last four or five days, the swell to the west of the island has produced ideal conditions – meaning white water – around Muskeget and Tuckernuck. There is a run of mackerel out there, along with some squid and a ton of sand eels, with the latter pretty much everywhere around the island; combined with the white water and overcast conditions, all of this bait has produced a good topwater bite for both blues and bass; when it’s sunny, Corey will shift to casting some kind of a subsurface presentation – typically a bucktail or soft plastic/jighead combination – and his charters just keep on catching. 

On the east side of the island, there are other good options besides traveling to the outer shoals; Great Point on the harbor side has had some bonito and Sankaty has a ton of blues. Old Man Shoals has a mix of bass and blues, while the fluke fishing has picked up and there are some good sized sea bass being caught in deeper water.

Fishing from the beaches has been OK, although they are still in the throes of the July transition which brings in more heat and humidity. Great Point has some bluefish from the beaches, with certain stretches still closed. On the northside out to Eel Point, there are plenty of one to two-pound cocktail bluefish, while on the southside, folks willing to fish from dusk to dawn are catching some bass and blues; swimmers such as SP Minnows, Yo-zuri’s, and Bombers remain good choices, with some folks making the switch to tossing live eels. 

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, manager Tim Coggins noted that “after a long stretch of crappy weather, we’re starting to see some cooler water move in.” The east side of the island is better for shore anglers, including Madequecham and Quidnet, where there are good numbers of bluefish. Plugging at night is your best for bass, with Tim opting to fish a lot of bucktails and rigged plastics. Some bluefish have moved into the Bonito Bar to feed on the masses of sand eels, which hopefully will draw the bonito in. For the moment, the only bones that have been caught have been inside the harbor. Rose and Crown and McBlair’s are fishing consistently for fluke, while the deep water off the east side of the island is a good bet for bigger black sea bass.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 14, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

I think I can summarize the situation in the sounds by paraphrasing Dickens and tapping out a “Tale of Two Trips.”

First off, I go with the first stages of Evan Eastman’s trip on Wednesday. The owner of Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth tried some fluking after leaving Falmouth Harbor; he got a few small fish at L’Hommedieu before heading to the deep water at the west end of Middle Ground, where he was surprised to find the current running so strongly that he had a hard time holding bottom with an 8-ounce jig. From there it was off to Lucas, where again it was small fluke. I didn’t ask him about sea robins or small sea bass, but pretty much everyone I spoke to said that these have been the prevalent catch along with the small summer flounder. Evan went on to say that he has not heard of any bass on the shoals and other than some really small bluefish marked by terns as they feed on sand eels and other small baitfish, it is really quiet.

Now on to Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville and her trips this week with her older son, Tucker. First off, let me just say that Amy is a whole lot smarter than me; you see she went to Horseshoe Shoal and trolled up some bluefish using a Bomber and what she called “one of those squid flies,” which might have been one of Capt. Ron Murphy’s famous creations. As for me, despite the fact that the only boat trips I experienced as a kid, other than an annual trip on a headboat, was fishing with one of my uncles at Horseshoe; they were great and we . . . trolled. In those days, the bluefish were larger – something I confirmed with Charlie Richmond – and we typically used wire line finished off with jigs or Hoochies. 

But I cast for everything now and so even when I am looking for eating size blues, I resort to tossing plugs, especially topwater stuff. By the way, that reminds me: remember that Evan got his bluefish on an Epoxy Jig, even though they were on top. This is coming from someone, by the way, who has no problem sacrificing a couple of bags of soft plastics – non-Hogy soft plastics – to bluefish if they are fussy and only taking small lures, usually on top or at least in the upper part of the water column. 

After catching some blues and bleeding out a small one – about 10-pounds – for dinner, Amy and Tucker fished Succonesset and caught some small sea bass and a fluke before finishing off with some scup over by Osterville. Oh, and while fishing for BSB, they hooked up a couple of squid, including one large enough to have Amy thinking about bait, but alas it managed its escape.

So what’s the moral of the story here; well, there afre a number of things to consider. First off, sometimes trolling beats casting, especially if you are looking for random fish in a large body of water. Capt. Mike would call this having a “Plan B” in mind and he put out a great video this week when he went out south of the Vineyard hoping to do some jig-and-pop fishing for bluefin at the Dump. What he and first mate Jack Pinard got was a flat calm day with fish around, but they were scattered. So, they broke out a bag of Hogy bird bars that Mike always carries with him, as well as trolling outfits, even if the plan is to fish another way. Suffice it to say, they set out the spread and got hooked up, catching about a half dozen tuna before calling it a morning. 

Now, I’m not saying that trolling was a “Plan B” for Amy in her case, but what she clearly in mind was a goal: catch some bluefish with Tucker. And she put her Plan A in place by selecting the best option. Remember what I said about smart? 

Secondly, if you are going to fish with kids – even ones on the verge of high school, like Tucker – put finding consistent action at the top of your list – and add a little dose of variety in there as well. Amy and her eldest son had a blast and as Capt. Mike likes to say, “Whoever has the most fun fishing, wins!” Amen to that!

To confirm something I said earlier about a lot of sublegal fluke in the sounds, Sarge from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth reported that they are still catching sea bass and scup on the Tire and high school reefs, but they are small; if you are determined to catch something legal, you are going to do a lot of culling. There are some schools of small bluefish around, with the best advice Sarge had to offer was look for birds if you want to find them. 

Bass fishing from shore anywhere in the sounds is just plain tough; we’re talking bait at night, whether chunk pogies, mackerel, or squid; if you have a favorite rocky stretch that serves up some white water and a bit more current, then pitching eels is another option.

Joe Barresi from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of town across from McDonald’s is a dedicated shore shark angler, but he said this year hasn’t been as good as past ones. Of course, one of the issues just might be that while Joe and his buddies pretty much had the beaches to themselves since they kept this exciting fishery to themselves, this year there have been “like 20 rods at each beach we like to fish where before we didn’t see anyone,” he lamented. 

Although most folks are hoping to catch sandbar sharks, most commonly called brown sharks around these parts, Joe said there are some big dogfish being caught, up to five-feet long. Many folks use cut bait when fishing for sharks, with dogfish preferring mackerel as opposed to pogies, Joe noted. 

One method of fishing for sharks that Evan Eastman said he knows some folks employ is to use a kayak to paddle their bait well away from shore before returning to shore and spiking their rod, hoping for that one big fish to pick up their fresh dead eel.

I don’t know where the name dogfish came from for this member of the shark family, but I have seen the disdain that many anglers show for them, in many cases snapping their backs before returning them to the water to suffer an agonizing death. 

In stark contrast to this kind of heinous approach to dogfish, I once more look to the enlightened Ms. Wrightson, who informed me that Tucker goes out on his buddy’s boat and they often catch a dogfish or two – and “they are so stoked because it’s a shark.” Thanks, as always, Amy and Tucker.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs dejectedly reported that the fishing around the island as really slowed, other than some “still pretty god” bluefishing around Chappy and up island. These are great big bluefish, for the most part, and great fun on topwater plugs and light tackle, but the reality is that far too many just want bass and display great disdain for blues, arguing that they are too easy to catch. 

All I know is that I have a number of trips this year where anglers aboard the Katie G decided they were having way too much fun with big choppers competing for the lure right up to the boat – and in some cases, if you let it sit dead in the water, a fish would come charging out of the depths like Bruce in Jaws to wallop it. I was mentioning to Capt. Mike about how much fun and how productive the Hogy Surface Pencils have been and I learned something very important: only the 1 5/8-ounce size floats. On a number of occasions this year, with so many big fish competing for the plug, it has been cut off, either with a fish attached to it or all by its lonesome. Almost every time, the plug has floated to the surface and we managed to retrieve it; a couple of times, as it was floating along, a bunch of fish batted it around as if they were playing volleyball. Seeing that, of course, had me watching as I plucked it out of the water, similar to the way anglers are taking precautions when landing bass where white sharks are known to roam – in many cases opting for a net these days rather than leaning overboard with a lip gripping device or the old human “claw.”

One of the good things about the bluefish around Chappy is that they provide great, easy-to-get fresh bait for sharking from the beach, noted Joel at Larry’s in Edgartown; no need to get some fresh dead eels or pogies. There are also schools of finning, tailing monster blues up island, Joel added, but even around the Squibnocket to Gay Head stretch, bass have been tough to find, especially anything of size. Those folks finding bass are definitely not tourist fishing, opting for darters, needlefish, and swimmers at night if they opt for the artificial route. Fresh dead pogies – if you can get them – are worth a shot in that same stretch, from boat or shore, as are live eels. Occasional schools of finning bass have been reported off of Gay Head and Menemsha, but these are often feeding on krill, making them really tough to catch. Think small and then go smaller, perhaps using a plug/fly combination.

Doug added to my concern when he noted that unlike years past, the schools of smaller bass that hung around the salt ponds all summer long and provided great action for flyrodders and light tackle folks have been noticeably absent for the most part. He added that it certainly isn’t a result of a lack of bait, which is thick in most spots; it might be water temperature or quality, I suppose, but you’d have to show me some reason not to believe it’s a result of a long string of poor striper re-production.

Last weekend’s Fluke for Luke was pretty consistent, Joel said, with most of the boats in the even focusing in Vineyard Sound in deeper water, most likely closer to the Elizabeths than not.

The top fluke weighed 11-pounds and a 7-pound fish was also weighed in, Doug noted; whether these fish came from out Nantucket way or were just great incidental catches is unknown, but there have been more legal fluke coming down Menemsha weigh, with pretty much anyone seeking larger sea bass fishing in deep water between Cuttyhunk and Gay Head out to Noman’s.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, Sam Brandt called the fishing from the beaches around the island pretty hit-or-miss now that summer heat and humidity is settling in. The bluefish bite at Great Point has been decent, both on topwater plugs and metal lures, with some big fish mixed in. Southside, you are again going to be catching mainly bluefish on long distance casting plugs, such as the Hogy Pencil Popper, especially in the 3-ounce size, as well as the classic Spofford Ballistic Missile, which is part of the Spofford line-up that NTC now owns.   It’s a matter of dusk to dawn fishing with swimming plugs, plastics or eels if you are determined to catch bass anywhere from shore on the island, with the east side of the island closer to cooler water that keeps bass around. East of the island, bottom fishing is good for black sea bass and fluke, although the word I got is the numbers of doormats, which the Nantucket Shoals are known for, is down, perhaps a result of increased recreational and charterboat pressure, as well as more draggers targeting these areas as well. East of the island is where you want to go if you are looking for bass, both in terms of sizes and numbers, with Sam referencing Rose and Crown, Bass Rip, and the Vortex as spots where both jigging and surface action can be found. Sandbar and dusky sharks are being caught from the beaches along the east side, but areas around the Coskata-Coatue Reservation have been closed due to increased white shark activity. 

Perhaps the best news overall from Nantucket is that six or seven bonito were caught in the last week, from both boat and shore. A few were caught inside Great Point as well as around the harbor, but as of midweek, despite the presence of shoals of sand eels at the Bonito Bar, it isn’t happening there. Whatever temperatures on the west side are in the mid-70’s, which is ideal for bones, but it also hasn’t shut down the flats, where bass are still being sighted and caught.

Sam also advised that folks should consider the unsettled, potentially dangerous weather predicted for this weekend into early next week. Thunderstorms aren’t anything to fool with, especially when they can pack sudden downpours, limiting visibility, and strong wind events.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 7, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

I know it took longer than it seems, but it feels like only a week to ten days ago, when I worked my way through the sounds, the water temperatures were from around 63 to 65 degrees and now we’re looking at mid-70’s consistently. Of course, what that means is the bass fishing has slowed way off, especially the surface action on the shoals; instead, what you are going to find is more bluefish than bass, pretty much everywhere you go.

If you don’t mind jigging wire, then you might be able to pull a few slot fish from the deep water around West Chop or Halfway Shoal, but you’re going to have to work at it and odds are that whether you fish the shoals between Falmouth, Mashpee, or even Cotuit and the Vineyard, you are going to encounter far more bluefish. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love bluefish and far too many people forget the days when jigging wire for big blues kept a lot of charterboats in business. 

When it comes to eating bluefish, you want to go for the smaller ones, say between three and five-pounds, like the ones that Amy Wrightson, proprietress of the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville, as catching yesterday with her son Sam while trolling swimmers in the Wreck/Eldridge Shoal area. Like any good bluefish fisherperson knows, Sam took the time to bleed and ice his catch, which is crucial to maintaining the quality of any catch, but especially an oilier, soft fleshed fish like Pomatomus Saltatrix. 

As a kid, I always looked forward to the one trip a year when my Uncle Byron took me out to Horseshoe Shoal to troll for blue using wire line and Hootchies; nowadays, it’s far more common to drag deep diving swimmers such as the new Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plug on braid, allowing for lighter outfits that are less fatiguing and a whole lot more fun. Last time I spoke with Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, he mentioned that the blues have settled onto Horseshoe, with some larger fish in the mix. 

Along with the blues that Amy and Sam caught, they also picked up sea bass, scup, and a fluke, making for a pretty exciting trip. Frankly, that’s the kind of mixed bag adventure that we should savor as anglers in the summer, especially when fishing with youngsters. Some of my favorite trips have been watching kids catch sea robins amongst the scup and black sea bass; these are just the coolest fish, with wings and legs, as well as prehistoric, almost alien like eyes. Even better is that they bark.

Of course, it helps if you have something to take home for dinner; scup are great on light tackle, and although they do have their share of bones, you can fillet the larger ones and the meat flips off the bones with a fork if you cook them whole. 

Black sea bass season has been all over the place this year, with no consistency as to how good or bad it has been, but I do know that if you want to catch quality fish, then you need to seek deeper water. I spoke to Jim Young yesterday and he had just come in from a trip with Kyle “The Great Ragu” Rigazio and Kyle’s oldest son down towards Squibnocket and Menemsha. Jim picked up two nice four plus pound sea bass fishing in about 60 to 70-feet of water, as well as a number of smaller, albeit legal, ones. The reality is that there isn’t much to eat on a 16.5-inch BSB, which is the legal minimum, especially if you like to fillet this species. In fact, if you do keep fish of this size, you’re almost better off gutting and scaling them to cook them whole.

Down to the east in Nantucket Sound, Sarge at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that the Tire Reef is holding a nice mix of sea bass and scup; again, you’re going to pick through smaller fish to get your limit of legal fish, but the action is steady and fun.

When it comes to bottom fishing in the summer, fluke are what is on many people’s minds and these fish can be had in many different types of water. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said that he has gotten some good reports from folks fishing the deeper end of Middle Ground, as well as Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu. It’s a little bit more of a ride, but Lucas Shoals is another area where recreational anglers target summer flatties, including the deeper edges. 

Shoal areas are clearly popular, but Christian Giardini, who was manning the phone at his shop, Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the Teaticket section of town across from McDonald’s, emphasized that you if you do some scouting around, you will find holes in the sounds that feature gravelly, coarser sand bottoms with more current that larger fluke prefer. Remember that these are aggressive gamefish, with impressive dentures that attack an assortment of bait, including some pretty sizeable critters like snapper bluefish and small pogies. As opposed to picking through small fish to come up with even a few fluke that meet the 16-5-inch minimum, folks who have discovered these holes often tell of plenty of fish in the upper teens and some trips even produce an impressive quantity of fish over 20-inches. 

Then again, the goal of any fluke angler is to pick up a true doormat, like the 7+-pounder that was caught this week on one of the shoals down towards Cotuit; Amy Wrightson saw a photo of this fish and confirmed that it was as impressive to see as it sounds.

Finally, for all of the fluke experts out there, take this lesson to heart, courtesy of Jim Young; while he and Kyle were using all manner of “killer” fluke rigs and baits, Kyle’s son wanted to try a small premade rig. His dad finally gave in and that rig produced four fluke – while the adults managed zippo, the big skunk . . . well, you get the idea. 

Not to be forgotten are the sand-and-rock people; if you’re one of them and you want to have even a reasonable shot at catching a bass of any size, then you need to think night and preferable eels. The waters up inside all along the southside are warm enough to steam your catch, so target open beachfronts and inlets with a good amount of current, which can produce water that is a few degrees cooler. 

Sarge explained that the odds of catching a bluefish are better right now especially at dawn and again at dusk, with topwater plugs preferred, especially ones designed for distance casting so you can reach the fish that are often holding on the edges of where the sand drops off into slightly deeper water. 

But if you want to get a really good tug on the lines, then give sharking at night a try; Menauhant, South Cape Beach, Craigville, West Dennis Beach, Hardings Beach – well, you get the idea: a lot of places are areas where you can target sandbar sharks, most commonly known as brown sharks. These can get well over 100-pounds and you need heavy equipment, including big hooks crimped to heavy wire leaders since these sharks have big teeth and a nasty disposition. At times, a dusky or small porbeagle has been caught from one of the southside beaches. This is bait fishing, with fresh dead eels a popular option; if you ask kindly, a local tackle shop might be willing to put aside for you any dead eels they find in their tank. But make sure they are fresh dead; even a shark will turn up its nose at a bloated, nasty snake. Another great option is to catch a bluefish and chunk it up on the spot; all of that blood and oil make for a perfect chum line, vectoring Junior Jaws to your line.

Oh, and Amy Wrightson reported that folks have been catching big dogfish from the beaches; you might look down your nose at a shark with no teeth, but shark is a shark to a kid and don’t you forget it.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The pattern on the Vineyard is pretty much what you would expect, said Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs, as warmer water has made bass fishing tougher around much of the island. If you put in the time, there are some larger bass up island, but this isn’t a numbers game and the most successful shore anglers spend plenty of time under the cover of darkness throwing plugs such as needlefish, darters, and swimmers. Some folks switch over to chunking at night and casting eels around the rocky stretches from Squibnocket to Gay Head is popular this time of year as well. It certainly helps to be casting into white water this time of year, mainly because water temperatures will typically be cooler thereabouts and bait often gets trapped and disoriented, a great combination for a hungry bass. Understanding how the wind impact surf conditions and bait movement is key to becoming one of the island regulars who remain committed to plugging. Steve added that there are good numbers of big bluefish pretty much from Cape Poge and down East Beach to Wasque, as well as up island; Jim Young fished Squibby yesterday and there were so many big bluefish finning and slurping that they couldn’t get their pogy chunks beneath them to see if any bass were holding on the bottom. Most of the fluke have been on the small side, but from Menemsha out to Noman’s, there are some big sea bass hanging in deep water.

Joel at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown noted that sharking out around Chappy is “phenomenal” and he advised that it can be as simple as catch a bluefish and chunk it up right there. These are big fish and if spending all kinds of night hours searching for a big bass to pull some line off your reel and put a big time bend in your rod isn’t in on your agenda, then tangling with a big sandbar shark– aka more commonly as a brown shark – will give you all you can handle. And bluefishing from the sand around Chappy is really good; you will catch plenty of monster choppers tossing plugs set up with a single Siwash tail hook, which is what the Hogy Charter Grade Surface Plug is all about. It’s been a long time since this many big blues have invaded the east side of the island; not much research has been done into the life cycle of bluefish and I just can’t shake the feeling that this run is evidence that bluefish – especially the big ones – are pelagic in nature. I remember a funny story about Dr. Alan Cordts, a well known hard core angler from Falmouth, screaming at his crew to reel in their expensive Mold Craft squid bars they were trolling for tuna when they got covered up by wolf packs of huge bluefish, Apparently, Alan’s suturing skills were put to the test as he wielded needle and thread to stitch up the damage to his baits.

Overall, the fluke have been on the small side, but tomorrow’s Fluke for Luke event should provide a good idea of what is out there in the sounds, with most folks reporting they have to weed through a lot of small fish to catch anything of legal size.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The shift is on around the Grey Lady when it comes to bass fishing, noted Austin Conroy at the Nantucket Tackle Center, with most boaters concentrating on cooler water to the east of the island, including Quidnet and shoals such as Rose and Crown and even over at Monomoy. There are more and more bluefish out towards Muskeget and Tuckernuck, with most attempts to get through them to see if any bass are holding deeper in the water column proving to be futile. Most of the fish are feeding on squid right now, with the sand eel population starting to build, but not yet at the level commonly associated with the bonito bite around the west side of the island. There is a good amount of squid in the harbor, which kids are jigging up and selling to local shops, along with mainly schoolies around. The fluke bite east of the island hasn’t really taken off yet, but the deep water off Siasconset providing some larger sea bass.

Capt. Corey Gammill once again took some time to chat between trips on Thursday and said the fishing scene on Nantucket “is evolving at the moment,” with the west side slowing down, except when there is a big swell that stirs up the bait and cools the water down, even a little bit. Great Point has good fishing for bass and blues, mainly for boaters has the beach closure situation is still fluid as we speak. There are a bunch of bass and blues around Quidnet and Siasconset, and if you can get down through all of the bluefish, there are sea bass underneath. The north shore is holding some blues for the shore folks, while your best bet for bass from the sand is along the south shore. When the fish are feeding on squid, Corey is all about amber, but if sand eels are on the menu, then he will shift to swimmers or soft plastics in olive or white.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 30, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Interesting that in view of a conversation I had with a local tackle shop owner yesterday about the draggers working the sounds right at the same time that inshore fluke season appears to be kicking off – something that has been going on for years, by the way – I received this notice from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries:

DMF is proposing an in-season adjustment to increase the commercial summer flounder trip limits during the remainder of the 2023 summertime period (April 23–August 31). For commercial fishers using nets, the proposal will increase the trip limit from 500 pounds to 600 pounds, and for hook and line fishers, it will increase the trip limit from 300 pounds to 400 pounds. 

I will admit that there are mixed reports of recreational success on the fluke front at the moment, but overall the reality is that with the commercial fluke size limit at 14-inches for all methods of harvest and the general scientific consensus that the average summer flounder reaches sexual maturity at 2 years and weighs 1 to 3 pounds, typically 15 to 20 inches in length, how can anyone say that this commercial size limit and this recent proposal from the DMF not negatively impact the recreational community? 

It only makes sense that a commercial angler would prefer to catch fish larger than 14-inches because they are paid more money for larger fish, but poundage is poundage and if someone has to keep just legal fish to make their poundage, common sense they are going to do so. In the long run, killing so many fish at a size where they cannot contribute to future spawning success can’t be a good thing, for either recreational or commercial fishermen.

So, if you are a recreational fish, what is the word this week on catching your five fish bag limit of 16.5-inch or larger fluke. Well, Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s said targeting deeper water, stronger currents, and gravelly bottom helps, with areas like the north shore of the Vineyard; the deeper edges of Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, and Lucas Shoal; and even the waters off of Nobska worth checking out. Many people make the mistake of associating fluke – or summer flounder – with their smaller, more docile cousins, the winter flounder; the former are definitely aggressive game fish, with an impressive array of teeth that allows them to intercept or ambush larger prey. Lying in wait, perfectly camouflaged with the bottom they are lying in, a fluke darts out in the blink of an eye to grab its meal; many folks primarily use some form of natural bait, including squid, sand eels, silversides, pogy fillets, snapper bluefish, and mummichogs/killifish/chubs or artificial, scented soft plastic baits, but the key to targeting the largest fish is to combine bait with some type of jig, either fished by itself or in combination with a rig that features using the jig for weight with a number of teasers above it. 

In some of these areas deeper, hard bottom areas, folks have been picking up impressive numbers of 22 to 23-inch summer flatties, but I will say this: if you find a spot that is holding fish like that, keep it to yourself. It might even be worth losing a “friend” or two if you refuse to reveal where you are fishing since when it comes to fluke fishing, more boats in an area typically attracts an even larger crowd and I suspect that the draggers keep an eye out for where the recreational folks are hanging out. 

In spots with heavy current and deep water, I know of folks who use eight ounces or more of lead, with some opting for the cheaper option of a sinker while others use bucktail or metal jigs. 

If you watch a productive fluke angler, you will notice that their rod tip is always in motion, some using a slight tapping action and others long, slow sweeps, with an infinite combination of the two. A sharpie told me a long time ago that you should always fish a “dead stick” on your boat, putting one rod in a holder and letting the motion of the boat provide the action, with many of the biggest doormats coming on this stick. 

You can also catch fluke with no bait at all, as a recent Salty Cape video showed Capt. Mike and Jack Pinard catching legal fluke at Lucas using a variety of Hogy Jigs. 

According to Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth, the bass fishing on the shoals is starting to slow, with less in the way of topwater fish pushing squid; instead, it is often more productive to switch over to weighted soft plastics that match sand eels or other forage. You can either swing them into the rip like you would a plug or simply set up a series of drifts, bouncing from the uptide side of the rip and then drifting through the white water and finishing off with in the calmer water downtide. Adjusting the weight of your jighead in relation to the depth of the water is important and while natural sand eel colorations work fine, sometimes switching over to all white or even pink can make your lure stand out. 

And don’t forget an assortment of Hogy Epoxy, Heavy Minnow, Sand Eel, and Dancing Sand Eel Diamond Jigs in different weights for presentation in both shallower and deeper water. Summertime typically means deeper presentations in search of cooler water in the sounds. 

Along with vertical jigging presentations, a number of boats are turning to wire line jigging, joining many of the charterboats in the sounds who know that snapping wire with parachutes remains a tradition because it works, especially when the fish are hot and grumpy. 

Evan said that a couple of the folks who work in the shop have moved over towards Succonesset and Eldridge Shoals as the rips closer to Falmouth have slowed; one of them is a flyrodder who is doing well with sand eel patterns while the other has turned to the Hogy Pop-and-Fly set up, allowing him to keep up with his long wand buddy.

A number of folks like Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville have spoken of more blues in the three to five-pound range ranging fair close to shore Popponesset to Craigville; she fished with Tucker on Thursday and they caught blues trolling off Osterville as well as scup using squid.

The general thinking for shore anglers along the shoreline of Nantucket Sound is if you want bass, then a switch over to night fishing with Finnish style swimmers or soft plastics is in order, while a number of the hardcore anglers have switched over to pitching eels or fishing chunk baits, concentrating on rocky structure with some white, cooler water or deeper holes – in some cases only a couple of feet more than the surrounding area. 

Over at Menauhant in Falmouth, a friend of Jack Collins picked a brown shark this week and that activity will become more and more productive and popular over the next several weeks; it’s not as easy as one would think and requires appropriately heavy tackle, but if you want to experience perhaps the biggest pull you can get from any beach on Cape Cod, that’s the way to go. And an interesting bit of trivia: Bob Lewis fished recently with a fisheries biologist who specializes in sharks and she informed him that there is no species called a “brown shark.” What folks are catching are sandbar sharks, which I assume are brown in color. What I do know is one should not confuse these scary critters with what we called “sand sharks” as kids.

Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis did say that there is a closing window of opportunity for southside shore anglers with the heat and humidity replacing the colder easterly winds of a week ago, but there are still spots with a combination of deeper, cooler water between Cotuit and Yarmouth where guys are catching a few bigger bass on plugs and plastics. 

Mac over at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth has heard of more bluefish action from the mid-Cape beaches, especially at dusk, with mainly smaller bass in the rivers from Bass to Herring River.

And it was refreshing to hear from Jake Mandirola at North Chatham Outfitters that Harding’s Beach is not closed at night, as opposed to pretty much all of the southside beaches from Falmouth to Harwich that are gated and locked at around 10 PM. Jack added that there are still a good number of bass being caught out that way, especially around the entrance to Stage Harbor, which is very popular with flyrodders. Obviously, you don’t want to be trying to cast out a plug or spike a rod with a chunk of bait among the beachgoers in the middle of the day, but apparently it’s not an issue after dark right through dawn. Just do all of us a favor: please carry out what you carry in, including bait containers, line, lure packages, and any other stuff. Also, if you have any bait left over, find a place along the beach where you can toss it into the water away from people and don’t just dump it on the sand or even a trash barrel where it can bake in the sun. 

Oh, and I almost forgot: to conclude where I started with fluke, the fish of the week from the sounds was weighed in at Riverview and was 24-inches long and over seven-pounds. A doormat like that isn’t very common these days in the sounds and it was caught about two miles off of the mouth of Bass River by a couple of guys from New Jersey. The bait you ask? Fluke belly. Now I’ve known for decades that this is a great fluke bait, but I have no idea of whether it is legal or not, since I’m not sure why you would cut up the belly of a legal fluke for bait, so that leaves short fish. Anyway, they also caught a couple of jumbo sea bass at the Tire Reef, in contrast to the general consensus that the BSB are starting to thin out.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs spoke of a great bite on huge bluefish all along East Beach and down around Wasque Point and in the rips; the bass bite has slowed there, but on the start of the colder tide, there have been some slot sized fish pushing squid. But it’s the masses of sand eels that are driving most of the action in these parts, with the bluefish tossing up huge balls of these baitfish along with some smaller squid. I fished there on Monday and the folks with me were more than happy to toss Hogy Pencils at these finning monsters; we literally couldn’t keep the fish off them. I was especially glad that I was using the floating model since on more than a few occasions a plug was cut off not by the fish that was hooked, but by one of his buddies who was trying to get at the plug or a wolf back that starting flipping out and frayed the leader. In every case, we got the plug back, but I have to say with that many big bluefish around, I did think about what might happen to my hand when I went for the plug – especially after watching a pod of fish play volleyball with a free floating lure on a couple of occasions.

The ponds are still holding small bass and the shoals such as Hedge Fence and Middle Ground are OK at best, Steve said, with boaters doing OK trolling deep divers and jigs from Squibnocket to Gay Head; on the change of the tide, especially early mornings, they have been some decent schools of bass from schoolies to slot fish feeding on small bait like sand eels and silversides. You would probably find more people fishing the north shore of the island, but with the advent of “Covid people” who came to the island and bought up so much waterfront property, the tradition of allowing fishermen to – respectfully – pass through their property to access the beach is pretty much dead. In addition, as Steve pointed out, fishermen can be their own worst enemy as shore spots such as Makonikey have become off limits to anglers leaving their trash on the beaches and making noise at all hours of the night. 

As for stripers from shore, the action is definitely “way better up island,” noted Joel at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, and there are also some big bluefish mixed in. Given that much of this fishing is done by hardcore anglers who often fish wood plugs, including darters and needlefish, there can be some choice words thrown around when the choppers lop off a beloved Beachmaster, Gibbs, or Afterhours. That’s why plastic plugs from Super Strike – for the traditionalist – or Yo-zuri and Daiwa are popular since you don’t have to take out a second mortgage if you lose a wooden creation – assuming you can get one. 

For the few folks who fish bass commercially – or “recremercially” as I call it for the folks with the half million dollar center consoles – livelining is most productive in the sounds, with live scup one option, while some folks make the long run up to upper Buzzards Bay to net their bait; Ken Shwartz told me that he has noticed more boats up his way in Mattapoisett netting pogies and some of them could be Vineyarders, although I know people from all over vector in on those bait concentrations when the word gets out.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Some of the best beach fishing right now is on the north side of the island from Dionis to Eel Point, with more blues than bass, explained Tim Coggins from the Nantucket Tackle Center. It’s an early AM bite for bass with Finnish style swimmers and plastics, with pink or white popular colors over the light sand beaches in the area. The rips around Tuckernuck have lots of bass, but more blues are settling in. Obviously, nobody wants to feed soft plastics to bluefish, but they are mixed in with the bass and Tim said that is what is working better right now, with so many sand eels around. At times, the fish have been pushing squid, making surface plugs in pink, white, or amber, but overall Tim has been tossing soft plastics on jigheads into the rips. He has found one ounce to be about the right weight as you can start reeling and keep the lure up in the strike zone rather than bouncing it along the bottom, although he did say you have to vary the weight of the jig based on the current and depth of the water. There are plenty of bluefish at Great Point, both from shore and boat, while he recommended sand eel patterns if you are going to be fly fishing the flats west of the island towards Tuckernuck. Tim mentioned Doyle’s Dazzler as a classic Nantucket creation for bass and that brought back memories from a long time ago when this white Clouser variation tied with a huge amount of gold Flashabou was all the rage on the Grey Lady.

It was another long day for Capt. Corey Gammill, but he was good enough to leave a message for me and noted that the water temperatures are starting to rise out around the rips to the west of the island, bringing in more bluefish and thinning out the bass a bit. The fish are feeding mainly on sand eels, with some small squid around as well. Corey is a big fan of white soft plastics in the rips, but with so many bluefish around, he also opts for white surface plugs. The southside of the island is all munged up and water temperatures are on the rise in the harbors, making it definitely a dusk-to-dawn bite for any bass, which is the case from the beaches all around the island. Great Point is producing good numbers of bluefish and some bigger bass for boaters, again with sand eels the main forage with a sprinkling of squid; again, slim profile pencil poppers and soft plastics are working well, with pink, white, or amber options based on what the fish are feeding on, as well as time of day. Warmer water to the west also means folks are heading east towards rips that traditionally hold colder water at this time of year, as well as running north and east in the direction of Monomoy.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 23, 2023


In this video, Capt. Mike joins Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters for a day of fluke fishing out in Nantucket Sound. This video was filmed in early June and the Fluke fishing was still heating up, but the crew still managed to have a successful day on the water. From locating fish to proper gear and technique, Capt. Mike walks through everything you need to know for your next trip to the fluke grounds!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Everything I saw this week – whether at  Nobska, Middle Ground, or Hedge Fence – or from others who fished Succonesset, Eldridge, or L’Hommedieu – is that there are still bass and blues on the shoals, but the squid they are feeding on is much smaller and at times they are keyed in on sand eels, making them much more finicky, and that was certainly the case at MG with flyrodder Paul Valint and his grandson, Luke, on Wednesday along with Paul’s friend Steve. I had hoped to get either to Monomoy or at least back to Wasque, where two days before Paul and Steve enjoyed non-stop action on huge bluefish and bass up to the mid-30-inch class on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and Hogy Surface Pencils, as well as an assortment of squid flies, but it was clear that it was not going to happen once we cleared the entrance to Falmouth Harbor and made it halfway across the sound. So off to the north shore of the Vineyard it was and there were plenty of fish erupting in the white water, but even more so in the flat water out front; it was also no problem seeing the squid they were feeding on. The issue was that no matter what we tried on the spinning outfits, the bass were having no part of it; ultimately, the only fish we caught came on a two-inch white/pink bunny squid that Paul dropped upcurrent of some breaking fish and one of them absolutely inhaled it. He was using a sinking fly line and that might have made for a better presentation in the current and slop, but I did rig up some small, white soft plastics on jigheads, but I never solved the problem. In retrospect, I left knowing that I have to take the time to remove all the hooks from some of my beat up Charter Grade Poppers and re-rig them with a short shot of fluorocarbon off the tail hook hanger and attach the same pattern that my flyrodder(s) are having success with. What I was really chagrined about is that Hogy’s Jack Pinard narrated a recent Salty Cape video of a Vineyard Sound excursion that he and Capt. Mike made in which the good captain “cracked the code” on some surface feeding stripers down Gay Head way by opting for the “Pop and Fly” technique which, as Jack put it, “a great technique for anglers who are limited to spinning tackle but still want to use a subtle presentation with a fly.” This might have made the difference for Luke and Steve with poppers and squid flies, although you can modify it for a subsurface presentation using an Epoxy Jig or casting metal with an 18-inch or so shot of fluorocarbon leader attached to the fly; I know that Capt. Warren Marshall of Outcast Charters has used this set up when fishing for albies that will only take flies – but he has nobody on board who fly fishes. 

Overall, the rips in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds are still holding bass feeding on squid, but Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth said that folks fishing the deeper edges of the shoals have been catching the largest fish; again, with the heavier, white water conditions and strong winds this week, jigging wire with heavier leadheads can make a more direct condition at the level where the fish are feeding, resulting in more hook-ups. On the other hand, poppers and other surface plugs tending to bob-and-weave on the surface, making it tough to maintain a solid connection if and when a fish jumps the lure; in that case, I hate to admit that braided line might make a difference since I am a mono guy, but along with keeping your rod tip low to the water to avoid a belly in the line from the wind, a key to consistent angling success is adjusting to the conditions you are handed. 

Similarly, switching over to a weighted presentation when casting is another option; on numerous occasions this season, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street n Falmouth said he has done well on the shoals fishing Hogy Epoxy Jigs even when the bass are apparently feeding on squid. Given that the squid are there because of the sae risnd eels and other small baitfish, perhaps the EJ isn’t mimicking the squid, but this other bait; I do well on the shoals when the current is approaching slack on sand eel flies and small, sand eel colored soft plastics – weighted or unweighted – and Hogy has numerous Epoxy Jig colorations that would match these slender baitfish super well and you can swim this type of jig in the upper parts of the water column as well as drop it down deep. 

If you are working a rip and noticing far more terns than gulls or larger sea birds – like the shearwaters that hung around the rips close to Monomoy Island last year – odds are that the bass and blues are on small baitfish or really small squid. I can’t say for sure, but I need to check out whether terns will feed on tiny baby squid – and some of the stuff I have seen this week looked to be about the size of my thumbnail; if they do, then I need to modify my assertion that when fishing a shoal and you only see terns or other similarly small birds, then it’s sand eels you absolutely have to imitate.

Bob Lewis was a busy man again this week helping Olivia Dinkelacker with her catch-and-release research and on Tuesday, prior to making a run to Wasque, they stopped at Eldridge to catch the late stages of the tide and picked up a number of bass on squid flies and plugs. There are more bluefish showing in all of the shoals and at times reports are coming in about surface feeding sea bass that are so thick that boaters can’t catching anything else. 

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville heard there has been a mix of stripers and sea bass feeding on squid and sand eels at Succonesset, with the numbers of bluefish on the rise there as well, and boaters are still finding bluefish close to shore from just outside Waquoit and along South Cape Beach to Osterville.

With the return of some winds out of a south/southwesterly direction, hopefully the bait will get pushed in closer to shore, as well as settle the water and allow it to clean up a bit, and the sand-and-rock people will be able to enjoy at least a few more weeks of bluefish action before the water warms too much and the crowds make it impossible – and unsafe – to fish from the southside beaches during the day. Many towns are also closing off beaches at night, adding to the access nightmares that folks who prefer to fish by foot face.

Jack Collins acknowledged that shore fishing for bass on the southside is starting to slow, but Trunk River, Great Pond, and Menauhant areas of Falmouth still have some smaller bass at night. And night is the optimal word right now, as the shore bite becomes more nocturnal from now through whatever form a “fall run” takes this year. Of course, when spots are set aside for anglers, such as the ones in Popponesset at the end of Wading Place Road, they are restricted by listed hours that virtually eliminate fishing at night. 

I asked Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis about the restrictions on hours down his way and he said it’s the same old story at Seaview Ave., Dowses, and Craigville: no night hours and closed gates, never mind parking for residents only. It’s too bad because as Andy said, the fishing is great right now with bass and blues in the bays and estuaries and it would be great if the Cape was more open to encouraging angling during the less “touristy” times of year; instead, the new breed of folks who bought their piece of the Cape want to keep those dirty, stinky fishermen off the beaches, using plovers and other smokescreens to achieve their purposes. Of course, they would argue, if you want to fish, just buy a boat, remaining clueless about the costs of maintaining one; the challenges of using boat ramps; and the ridiculous fees for a slip and the years long waiting lists for a mooring. 

But there is always a silver lining out there and fortunately Amy Wrightson provided one this week in the form of kayak fishing in the multitude of backwaters the Cape features. Of course, you will have to deal with finding a place to park to launch, which just gave me an idea for a new business, but we’ll leave that for another day. In Amy’s case, she was fishing the Three Bays area with a fellow kayaker at night and they caught a number of bass on live eels. One of the fish was 29-inches and took the hook dee’s p, so Amy and her family enjoyed a nice, fresh striped bass dinner. She added that another fish also was gut hooked, which is surprising given the documented effectiveness of circles in hooking fish in the corner of the mouth. Amy explained that she as using a 7/0 size and that might be an explanation when combined with the size of the eels they were using, but I have heard that not all circle hooks are the same. Some manufacturers make what they say is a circle hook, but because it is an offset design, it basically eliminates the protection afforded by a true circle. Some hook makers designate their honest-to-goodness circle hooks with labels such as “Tournament,” but there is also the reality that no hook is guaranteed to hook a fish where you want it to. 

Andy Little added that along with all of the bass that are still around in quiet water, there are also good numbers of three to five-pound bluefish in Cotuit and Osterville. 

Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that there are more bluefish being caught from the beaches between Yarmouth and Harwich, which isn’t an issue for most shore folks since some of the best action can be had at dusk when the bathing crowd has left and the gates at many locations aren’t locked somewhere around 10 PM. Bass River has a few locations where you can fish for stripers after dark and it’s the same in Harwich and Chatham, but the best advice I can give you is if you do manage to access one of these locations, keep it to yourself; I can’t tell you how many times someone has lost a spot because he shared it with a friend who promised on the Bible to get it safe. Frankly, I would rather lose a friend than one of my secret locations – and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m kidding.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

It’s always good to hear that the local tackle shops are busy since they are the lifeblood of the fishing community on the Cape and islands; the internet may offer up all kinds of specials and deals, but the reality is that if you need a guide put on your rod, line on your reel, or even a lesson on how to tie a certain knot, odds are that you’re not going to get that from a big box store. That’s why I don’t have any problem returning a call to a shop because they are too busy to talk with customers in the store because I know they are going to provide the kind of information I need, as was the case with Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs. Even if things are tough, as they have been the previous five days or so with winds out of the east, you can still get an idea of where you can fish or where the water is clean enough and bait holding to give you a good chance. Apparently, there are still decent numbers of schoolies in the ponds and inlets; most of these are out of the wind, making them a god send for flyrodders for whom the wind is not a friend. There are mainly small fish down Lobsterville way and inside Menemsha feeding on sand eels, silversides, and other smaller baitfish, but there are also some slot fish mixed in. One change that Doug laments is the lack of convenient access to the north shore of the island; eel sales are way down, a clear sign that folks who fished this shoreline are now being shut out by a new breed of shoreline homeowners. Even in spots where you can park, it is such a long walk to the water that many folks aren’t up to the trudge.There is still some squid around in Edgartown, Vineyard Harbor, and Menemsha, but it is generally on the smaller side. Doug heard of a couple of fluke caught by accident from the fish pier in Oak Bluffs by anglers targeting scup. Along State Beach, there have been regular reports of four to five-pound bluefish pushing small squid and sand eels, while the large, finning blues are raising havoc for beach and boat folks along State Beach, but especially at Wasque. In the rips out there, the bass fishing is really good, but be prepared for moments when what was all bass morphs into a mix with blues and then ends up all bluefish. 

The word from Julien Pepper at Larry’s in Edgartown is the fishing is pretty good for bass from shore; he is running an invitation only, plug only catch-and-release shore tournament with 20 participants and the leading fish is a 45-inch, 48-pound cow. These guys put in a lot of time targeting big stripers, with many trips only yielding one or two fish, but they are big. The person who caught the leading fish won’t say what he is using, but Julien suspects it was taken on a darter. In many locations, the plastic Super Strike darter is all anybody uses when it comes to this plug design, but Julien knows that some of the hardcores have collections of wooden Afterhours and Beachmaster darters that they protect with their lives. Julien has been out on his boat this week with the start of recremercial striper season and in amongst all of the slot fish on the shoals and even down off Gay Head, there are enough big fish in the deep holes and other structure in Vineyard Sound that folks fishing live bait can make a buck. He is generally fishing live scup with only a few isolated schools of pogies around, certainly not enough to cast a net on; for folks who just need to fish pogies, they are running all the way to upper Buzzards Bay from Dartmouth to Wareham to get their livies and chum baits. The bluefish bite has been hot over Wasque way, with a 16-pounder weighed in this week; if there is one fish around these parts that folks overestimate the weight of it is bluefish, probably because they fight so hard. Although there have been moments where the fish have been puking up squid, at other times they are finning and slurping sand eels, which Julien said have been up to four-inches as opposed to the really small ones you often see this time of year. At night, bucktails, MagDarters, and swimmers have produced a few 40-inch bass over at Chappy.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The word from Austin Conroy at Nantucket Tackle Center is there are a lot of fish concentrated on the west side of the island; Eel Point has had a good bass bite with fish feeding on silversides, while the south shore from Cisco to Smith’s Point has been fishing really well. Smith’s Point is closed to oversand travel due to the plovers, but folks who got there earlier this week enjoyed a really good bluefish blitz from early afternoon to dusk. Over at Cisco, bass to 35+-inches are being caught in the early morning – 1 to 2 AM early – recently, with blurple Finnish style plugs such as the SP Minnow very effective in the dark, while a change over to ballistic style plugs is needed for targeting daytime bluefish that are holding well off the beach. South of the channel between Muskeget and Tuckernuck, there are plenty of bass and blues, while over at Great Point it has generally been a trolling game for bluefish with smaller, high speed, long billed swimmers such as the Yo-zuri Crystal Minnow.

Capt. Corey Gammill has been flat out with trips for both bass and blues, with the latter big and in good numbers; frankly, anyone who doesn’t like bluefish doesn’t know what they are missing since they are so aggressive and just don’t stop. The traditional bluefish plug was typically bright orange in color, mainly because they were feeding on squid and provided a clear target for the fish and the angler, but Corey quite often uses smaller white or bone spook style plugs or pencil poppers, especially when he isn’t sure what bait the fish are on. Overall, clear or translucent colored lures are his go to, both when the fish are on squid or he is blind casting.The bass are stacked on the shoals between Nantucket and the Vineyard, but at times schools of big bluefish take over the rips. The fluke fishing east of the island is improving, but the bass fishing in the harbors is starting to slow as the water warms and the fish get lazier. Slowly working a waking plug such as a spook or surface swimmer or even a shallow running, slim profile soft plastic in the dark will improve your odds at this point in the season.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 16, 2023

Open Water Trolling for Big Striped Bass!

The Salty Cape crew joined Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters. The crew steams out from Sandwich Marina into Cape Cod Bay in hopes of finding big Striped Bass in open water. The goal was to put the new Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plugs to the test in an open water trolling scenario for big Striped Bass. The name of the game was utilizing the RayMarine radar to locate flocks of birds diving on bait with the big Striped Bass holding beneath. If you like big Striped Bass then you’re in for a treat with this video. Enjoy!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It’s mid-June and the fishing on the shoals is just incredible; it doesn’t seem to matter what tide or time of day you are fishing, as long as the water is moving, there are bass and blues to be caught everywhere. Middle Ground, No Name, Hedge Fence, L’Hommedieu, Succonesset, Eldredge, Wreck, they’re all holding fish consistently. 

The one thing I would advise regarding the shoals at the moment is to be prepared for a surprise regarding what you might find at any given location from day-to-day or even tide-to-tide. Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville said that some folks she spoke to had a good trip earlier this week at MG on both bass and blues on topwater baits, but another group said it was tough to find any stripers with blues just everywhere.Capt Diogo of Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing has been finding great success on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers in Amber. 

Another example came from my nephew Frank who took his four-year-old son Wes out for his first “big” early morning trip on Frank’s friend Tyler’s boat last weekend. One piece of advice I have always offered parents of young kids when they introduce them to fishing is to make sure you have consistent action; you might enjoy trolling for tuna and appreciate the beauty and life around you even if you aren’t catching fish, to a youngster it could feel like mindless boredom. So Frank took Wes sea bass fishing and from the first moment them dropped a jig down around Wreck Shoal, it was fish city, including enough fish up to 18-inches or so to make things interesting. 

The next day, however, when Frank went out on his boat with his good friend from high school, Matt, they were covered up by big bluefish in the same general area, with a few stripers and sea bass in the mix as well.

I don’t know why you wouldn’t simply enjoy casting plugs and bone, pink, or amber soft plastics like the Hogy Originals at fish pushing squid when the current is going before shifting over to some type of sand eel imitation and keep picking at fish during slack water, but it’s clear that the traditional wire line jigging is working. Whether it is consistently picking up larger bass is hard to say, but the old saw remains the same: the larger fish are on the bottom. In fact, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth had a great evening trip earlier this week at Nobska catching close to 30 bass up to the high 30-inch class on the amber Hogy Charter Grade Popper and also mentioned that jigging most likely would have worked given all the fish he saw stacked up. 

According to Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s, some folks are still using live bait – mainly at night – and catching some bigger fish throughout the sounds; as he emphasized, while it is often convenient to focus on the sandy structure that makes up the shoals, there is a good amount of hard bottom structure, especially in Vineyard Sound, that make perfect habitat for bigger, smarter fish.

That’s even the case as you move farther east in Nantucket Sound; Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis often spoke of the benefits of jigging wire around Bishop and Clerks, although it doesn’t seem to get as much attention as in past years. Some folks still toss plugs into the rocks there and if there is a big bass there I can’t imagine that it would pass up a live scup or pogy. 

Overall, the scup and sea bass fishing remains pretty steady around Collier’s and the artificial reefs down Yarmouth and Harwich way and there do seem to be some larger fish showing up; Christian reported that a 5.5-pound fish won last weekend’s Falmouth Rod and Gun Club BSB tournament and a number of fish in the 20-inch range were also caught. 

On the other hand, there hasn’t been much chatter about fluke; I know they were being caught, but the pattern does seem to be find them in deeper water at the moment, with some holes between Falmouth and the Vineyard worth checking out.

For the sand-and-rock people, there are good reports of a mix of bass and blues from Falmouth to Mashpee; a friend of Evan’s who fishes Popponesset regularly noted that he has put his soft plastics away more often since the choppers are more prevalent and you know how they make short work of these productive items. That said, Evan advised that his buddy is still catching plenty of fish on hard body plugs, including topwaters.

Amy acknowledged that the shore bluefish action around Oregon has become more scattered, with more news about consistent action at Horseshoe Shoal and Eldredge for the stinkpot crew. Combine a good high evening tide, however, and the action can turn on anywhere along the southside beaches; for example, Mac at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth had an inexperienced angler come in the other day and set him up for an evening trip to West Dennis Beach. This individual returned the next day and said pretty much everyone caught the blues on topwater plugs.

Mac added that the bass fishing is still good inside the rivers and along the beachfront from Yarmouth to Harding’s Beach in Chatham. In fact, if you are new to the fly rod game from shore, the next couple of weeks could mark your best- – or most likely – chance at catching something larger with the water still cool and the summer crowds still a bit away.

Capt. Chris Blake of Unreel Sportfishing has had no problem putting his clients on quality striped bass these past few weeks.

When I mentioned the water temperatures, Amy W. said it felt pretty warm up inside the Three Bays area of Cotuit and Osterville earlier this week when she played hooky from work and went kayak fishing with an out-of-town friend. One of the challenges for a tackle shop owner is keeping your sanity and taking some time to fish yourself is critical, so kudo’s to Amy – and it certainly didn’t hurt that they found plenty of fish. They were blindcasting soft plastics for the most part because they didn’t find any surface action, but they sure knew there were fish when they went over them and became surrounded by swirls. Overall, Amy said they caught numerous bass that were just shy of the 28-inch recreational minimum, as well as some three to five-pound bluefish.

While Charlie Richmond was preparing for his annual Father’s Day weekend trip to Cuttyhunk and waiting to talk to a painter (?), he was good enough to take the time to speak of Bob Lewis’s victory in last weekend’s Osterville Anglers’ Club  OAC 1000. This event combines the weight of one slot sized striper and a bluefish of any size to determine a winner; according to Charlie, Bob’s bass came in the early AM from the Three Bays and later on he caught a big bluefish to put him on top. The winner apparently receives a cash prize in the vicinity of the number associated with the tournament, but the best part is that Bob bested the field using his fly rod.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Julien Pepper from Larry’s in Edgartown drew the short straw and had to talk to me, but he did his best to humor me. Apparently, there has been a great bluefish bite from shore and boat around Chappy, particularly down Wasque way. Some nice bass have been caught as well, particularly by folks using Billy’s Bucktails, an old school style deer hair jig that does just fine among all the soft plastic paddles out there. I don’t know if he originated it or not, but when Capt. Mike started Hogy with his Original line of big soft plastics, he used to joke that bluefish were his best business partner. I do know that if you want to hear some good old fashioned cursing, hang around a group of anglers who are tossing paddletails at bass when a school of blues happens by and ravages their lures. I’m not saying that bucktail is going to withstand a blitz of blues, but even when a good amount of hair is lopped off, you typically still have enough left to create its seductive action; lose a plastic paddle and well, it’s main attraction is gone. 

Up island there has been a decent pick of bass in the low to mid-20-pound class, but Julien also spoke of moments when it was one 16-inch schoolie after another, which he called a really good sign for the future. He also offered up another piece of old school nostalgia when he advised that he really favors the 1 ¾-ounce white Gibbs’ needlefish because it close to a floating plug that you can wake just right. Obviously, poppers and spooks are prime topwater options, but whereas they attract through commotion and noise, fishing a needle is all about subtlety and feel to get that wake or slightly subsurface action just right. 

Julien was obviously happy to finally get his boat in the water yesterday, but I didn’t ask him he was going to try for some sea bass, which so far has just been OK around the wrecks. I guess it’s a matter of sticking close to home to avoid spending gas money, but so many folks miss out on great, less pressured fishing, like there is for sea bass and fluke along the southside of the Vineyard. If I am going to be honest, there is certainly a good reason to fish off of Oak Bluffs and some of the sticky structure along the northside of the island because they have traditionally held the largest aggregation of big, spawning sea bass – but not this year. I can assure you that more great fishing areas where located by folks who put in their time and studied charts and put their time in on the water as opposed to someone haphazardly coming upon a load of fish. Doing something yourself and putting in some work is still worthwhile and rewarding.

Over at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs, you could feel the excitement rise in owner Steve Morris’s voice when he spoke of his first offshore trip of the year from last week. But he started with word of some really nice bluefish all around the island; Chappy is known for its cruising bluefish along East Beach as well as the famous rip at Wasque, but there have been tailing blues down around Menemsha and Gay Head, as well as some topwater bass action at Squibnocket. Fluke fishing is so-so, but it also doesn’t seem like a ton of people are targeting them at the moment. Middle Ground is a popular early season location, especially towards the west end, and you will see folks drifting Hedge Fence as well, but Steve is a big proponent of bigger water for bigger fluke, including heavier current and deeper water; in many cases, that means stouter tackle to handle jigs up to eight ounces or more. Although I haven’t seen the number of boats returning to Falmouth Harbor after a night of squid jigging out on the Vineyard, Steve confirmed that there are still decent numbers of Loligo around Edgartown and State Beach, but they are on the small side.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The word from Tim Coggins at Nantucket Tackle Center is that warmer water along the southside beaches is starting to slow things, especially during the daylight hours – obviously – but there is still a decent night bite on mainly bluefish, with some bass mixed in. One of the challenges recently has been finding any pockets of clean water, which Tim said have generally been shaping up between Cisco and Nobadeer. Bucktails and soft plastic jigs are effective for close in work on bass, along with Finnish style, shallower running swimmers, but as more blues settle in, Tim likes to switch over to topwater plugs that combine durability, long casting distance, and, in most cases, a single hook that makes release easier and less dangerous, especially if you add in crushing the barb. Great Point is heating up, with bluefish and bass being caught on swimmers and topwater lures such as pencil poppers and ballistic style creations. The rips out towards Tuckernuck and Muskeget are filled with bass and blues feeding on squid, making for the classic scenario of swinging flies, soft plastics, and a variety of popper styles and watching multiple fish compete for your offering. Tim is headed for a weekend of night fishing out on Tuckernuck, which is a private island, but wherever you are fishing on Nantucket with a goal of catching a bigger bass in the dark, he suggested using larger black soft plastics as an alternative to eels if you want to go the artificial route as opposed to dealing with Mr. Wiggly.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 9, 2023

Help us conserve striped bass!

We joined The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to take part in their Striped Bass Citizen Science Study. Check out the video above to receive a breakdown of the study and how you can help! Want to become a DMF Citizen Scientist? Sign up HERE.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

As Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s put it, “The bass fishing remains just insane” in the sounds.

Middle Ground remains very good, although Capt. Mike fished there on Tuesday and found it very weedy on the falling tide; unlike most of the boats that were piled up on the eastern stretches of the shoal, Mike hung out more towards West Chop and had plenty of fish to himself. As usual, amber was the hot popper color. 

The No Name rip off of Falmouth is still producing some bigger bass, but Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth explained that the larger fish are being caught by wire line jigging, which is the case in the deeper water around West Chop. There are still good numbers of slot+ fish on plugs and plastics, but the average fish does seem smaller as the days pass. The fish are certainly bright which could mean that a new body of bass is moving in; in fact, I haven’t caught a single what I call “a sand bass” all week, those fish that have changed colors to a lighter almost tannish after being on the shoals for a while. 

Halfway Shoal to Hedge Fence is pretty close to its peak right now for the pig-and-jig crew, but there has also been word of some big bluefish in these areas. On Thursday, as we were making our way from the Hole over to Middle Ground and then from the latter back to Falmouth Harbor, we ran into random schools of nice sized bluefish in open water; they were being marked by a flock of some ten or so seagulls that were waiting for the choppers to push up what looked like sand eels or some other small baitfish to the surface. These fish weren’t very interested in traditional orange surface bluefish plugs; they did knock around small bone spooks, but I suspect that had we taken the time to switch over to Hogy Epoxy Jigs of the proper weight for 70 to 80-feet of water and dropped them down and given them some varied jigging action, we would have hooked up. I also could have sacrificed some jighead/soft plastic combinations, but we had more interest in surface plugs on the shoals. 

Bob Lewis hooked with Capt. Warren Marshall and Bob Clay along with UMass Amherst Ph.D. candidate Olivia Dinkelacker for some more catch-and-release research around Eldredge Shoal, but Warren said they found themselves covered up in big sea bass from top to bottom. I know Wreck Shoal has been holding plenty of quality BSB, according to one of the mates on the Patriot Boats out of Falmouth, but he added that the scup had recently scattered, perhaps because they were pushed out by the more aggressive species.

“The UMASS team is on the Cape for a very important Striped Bass release mortality study…we have collected data on almost 100 fish on my boat”-Bob Lewis

Succonesset Shoal has been holding bass and blues, noted Charlie Richmond, but from shore the bluefish action around Oregon Beach has slowed according to Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville. I have seen more bluefish finning this week, including around a good number of schools of pogies between Osterville and Falmouth, and given all the choppers I saw in western stretches of Nantucket Sound and last season’s epic fishery around Eldredge and Succonesset, there might be a repeat on the way over the next week or so. 

Down around West Dennis, shore anglers are actually getting into just as many bluefish around high tide as boaters, said Mac at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth. There are also some bass being caught from the sand and jetties along the southside beaches, especially now that we are seeing more wind out of the south/southwest. The water temperatures I have been marking in the sound were in the 59 degree range earlier in the week, but they have jumped into the low 60’s later in the week, which should pick up the action even more, but they are still not anywhere too warm to chase the fish east as happens once the heat of summer kicks in. 

The cooler water is also key to some still solid fishing for bass in the backwaters all along the southside, including the Three Bays area, said Amy Wrightson. Evan Eastman added that he has heard that Great Pond and Waquoit are fishing well in the morning and again around dusk. 

Not much in the way of fluke yet other than some incidental catches of legal fish off of Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, Halfway/L’Hommedieu, and No Name, often by folks jigging deep for bass. Christian Giardini did hear of a 14.5-pound fluke down around Menemsha, but he couldn’t say if it was a targeted fish or one caught by someone seeking another species.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said the tough, cold weather over the weekend that continued in to the beginning of the week really slowed things down, with not many people getting out in the boats. From shore, there are still plenty of smaller bass in all of the ponds and harbors around the island and there has been some sporadic bluefish activity around Chappy. The sea bassing on the wrecks off of Oak Bluffs has been tough this year, with more effort required to pick up even a single legal fish, never mind a limit. In fact, some folks have been reporting better action towards Hedge Fence. A few more boats are jigging the deeper water off of West Chop and the late word is that things have perked up at Middle Ground on both topwater plugs and plastics; I have done well on both Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and his seven-inch Hogy Originals in amber. I imagine I should experiment more, especially on the plastics, trying my other two favorites – bubblegum and bone – but when you being paid to help people catch fish, there really isn’t much time for that kind of thing. I guess that means I will have to spend more time fishing myself.

Over at Larry’s in Edgartown, Julian Pepper has heard of a smattering of bigger bass on pencil poppers in the AM around Squibnocket, but the few 30-pound fish that have been caught are nighttime fish on darters and needlefish. With all of my talk about amber plugs, Julian said one of his favorite is the clear amber Super Strike darter at night. Like many things in fishing, there is no definitive answer as to why something works, but Julian suspects it has something to do with the way any light at night refracts through it. There is also a big, 3-ounce wooden needlefish this is mainly dark blue with some pinkish cheeks and silver belly that he likes, but a traditional olive over white is one option he typically reaches for first. There are increasing numbers of bluefish on the east side of the island, including down towards Wasque with some bass as well; some of the regulars have been fishing the point and then moving west towards the new cut since Norton Point is closed. The squid fishing is also slowing way down along State Beach and Edgartown.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Sam Brandt from the Nantucket Tackle Center advised that the surf along the southside has made for tough fishing this week; folks who have had any success have been looking long and hard for any open pockets of water, where there is less weedy and sandy roiled water. Along the north shore, your odds are improved, with bluefish being caught on surface plugs and a solid pick of bass on soft plastics. Madaket continues to fish well in the morning and evening on small surface plugs and an assortment of soft plastics, both weighted and unweighted; color doesn’t seem to matter as long as it is white. The rips around Muskeget and Tuckernuck are filled with bass, mostly just below slot to just above, with the challenge finding one that fits in the 28 to less than 31-inch slot. Bluefish continue to show on the shoals in increasing numbers; black sea bass fishing is good on the wrecks off the northside of the island, but the water is still way too cold for a fluke bite on the shoals east of the island. 

I managed to catch up with Capt. Corey Gammill while he was still out on his boat at 7 PM on Thursday fishing west of the island for bass and blues; from what I could hear in the background, they were having a lot of fun and success catching bass and blues on pencil poppers on the shoals off Muskeget and Tuckernuck; when targeting fish in open water, Corey recommended smaller bone or white spooks as well as soft plastics. The Old Man has a mix of bass and blues, both not much is happening around Great Point. Corey has made a few trips over towards Wasque and found mostly bluefish, with some bass mixed in. From shore, there is a lot of mung along the south beaches, meaning the north shore is your best bet, especially on bluefish. The main harbor has slowed, but Madaket still has good numbers of bass on plugs and plastics.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 2, 2023

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

The fish might be as large as they are in Cape Cod Bay, but for sheer numbers of aggressive, beautiful bass, it would be hard to beat the shoals right now. There is no need to single out any location since everyone I spoke to this week experienced great fishing wherever they were. Add in the fact that even places like Middle Ground had very few boats working starting on Monday and who could ask for more? It was possible to fish a rip through slack water, grab a snack, and then almost be guaranteed that once the current got going, the action would start all over again.

Of course, there is a caveat that must be proffered here and that is one current direction is usually better than another, either because of the strength of the current, the bait supply on a given tide, and the amount of weed. Sometimes I wish I had taken photos of conditions in spots over the years to compare them, but I honestly don’t remember so many of the shoals being as filled with weeds as they are this year. In fact, the amount of weed is so great that on a number of occasions we have had a fish close to the boat with gunk on the lure, leader, knot, and line to the degree that it caused slack in the line that caused the barbless hook to simply fall out. And yes, that did happen most often with the larger fish we caught. 

It does seem to me that the average size of the bass on the shoals has dropped over the last week, but there are still enough over slot bass in the mix to keep things interested.

My good friend, Bob Lewis, who is perhaps the most generous angler and person I know, took out two parties that had won trips with him in raffles for organizations such as Trout Unlimited, the Osterville Anglers’ Club, and the Cape Cod Flyrodders. On both occasions, these folks enjoyed the best of both spin and fly fishing shoals close to Bob’s home port in Cotuit. I too often succumb to the desire to try a new spot even if a tried-and-true location has been hot, but I had to agree with Bob when he said that he was perfectly happy to find plenty of fish within five miles or so of his dock. 

Bob has developed his own version of a squid Gurgler that he originally was introduced to by its creator, Anthony Cole. Now, I have made plenty of noise over the years about the stuffiness of flyrodders who simply strip line off the reel and let their fly drift back into the rip, where they simply jig it similar to the way folks jig wire and jigs, and say they got a nice fish on a fly rod, as if this is some big achievement. Well, on one of Bob’s trips, he ultimately turned to this technique after doing some casting and they caught some really nice fish. More importantly, Bob joked that he was perfectly fine with “mooching with a fly rod” and I agree with him wholeheartedly: there is nothing wrong with this practice and I suspect that I might even have to resort to this when I can’t stand and cast in a boat, especially one that is rocking and rolling in the rips. 

But just as another friend, kayaker Mark Tenerowicz likes to say when I give him a hard time of trolling out of his Hobie, “C’mon Dave; I’m not trolling. I’m just casting with my feet!”

Charlie Richmond happened upon Bob at the marine on Wednesday and they made the trip out to the shoals together, but unlike Bob who knew the tide as just after the turn and would get going soon – along with the fishing – Charlie headed towards Succonesset and picked up a half dozen or so bass on plugs. Charlie did visit Eldredge and Horseshoe Shoals, but didn’t raise a fish, but he did acknowledge that it was pretty close to slack water. He hasn’t heard of many people bothering with Bishop and Clerks or even Collier’s for stripers as Charlie said these two areas haven’t been as good the last couple of years, with more folks fishing for sea bass thereabouts.

Speaking of sea bass, Charlie “marked a ton of fish on the bottom” running from Succonesset to Osterville, most likely a mix of sea bass and perhaps even some jumbo scup. I can’t say exactly where they were, but Charlie noted that there were five headboats working a patch of water about three miles southeast of Succonesset, which sounds a lot like Wreck Shoal. 

There are plenty of sea bass off of Hyannis, as well as the artificial reefs off Yarmouth and Harwich, noted Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth, along with good numbers of larger scup. 

I can tell you that there were plenty of happy faces on the anglers departing from the Patriot Party Boat fleet in Falmouth and I am confident that folks fishing from the headboats from Hyannis to Harwich are equally happy. 

There obviously is nothing wrong with boat reports, but I especially appreciate good news for shore anglers, having grown up as a sand-and-jetty person myself. Well, Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville told of big bluefish and nice bass coming from the Oregon Beach area. Topwater plugs and lots of white soft plastics have been the ticket, with an early morning or evening high tide drawing the fish in tight to the beaches. As for the Three Bays Amy said there are still schoolies around, but it has slowed a bit.

Relevant Links

It’s kind of interesting to note how seals seem to congregate around Dowses in Osterville, perhaps because so many people fish from shore there and it’s common knowledge among fishermen that these bipeds are smart enough to know where an easy meal is – and that is often on the end of a fishing line. Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis heard that areas where scup are typically readily available from shore have become very quiet when the seals take up residence there. 

Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s had heard of bluefish from Menauhant Beach and from Waquoit to Popponesset, but this week it has been quieter. Then again, there is so much weed in the water that is tough to keep a lure clean and forget about bait fishing as your line and rig will pick up a couple of pounds of sea salad if a fish doesn’t immediately hit it and you leave it soaking. 

Down his way to the east, Lee Boisvert said the bluefish hasn’t been great, with your best bet in the morning and again in the evening at some of the larger beaches in the area such as West Dennis Beach, Glendon’s Beach, the mouth of Herring River, and Swan River. There are also good numbers of smaller bass around from the beaches and jetties, as well as up inside the rivers and harbors.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs was that this week the story on the island has been “so far, so good.” There have been some big bluefish – 12 to 14-pounds big – caught between Squibnocket and Gay Head by folks trolling deep diving plugs, but they have also been on top. There have been some nicer bass caught in this area as well by boaters and beach anglers, with the latter doing well on surface plugs such as pencil poppers in the AM and darters, needlefish, and swimmers at night. A buddy of Steve’s fished the Wasque/East Beach area for about a week before and after Memorial Day and reported that it was dead; he only saw a couple of fish caught. Steve is not happy with the new management plan offered up by the Trustees of the Reservation, stating that “they have decided to give birds preference over people, including fishermen” and limiting oversand access means fewer opportunities for the sand-and-rock people to get a shot at bass and blues. No news on sharks yet, either.

Over at Larry’s in Edgartown, owner Peter Sliwkowski reported that there are some bigger bass being caught around Squibby, the Menemsha channel, and Gay Head; along with the classic darters and needlefish, some of the hardcore shore crew are using eels. The last couple of days have seen a return of bluefish in a big way around Leland’s and r along East Beach and Wasque. These fish are in the eight to ten-pound range and great on topwater plugs. Boaters are also finding a mix of bass and blues around Wasque, as well as plenty of smaller stripers in the salt ponds and generally a drop in the size of the bass at Hedge Fence and Middle Ground. 

The black sea bass situation is apparently more of a cull scenario this season; if you put your time in on the wrecks and along the north shore of the island, you can happen on a concentration of larger fish, but whether the larger spawning males moved in and did the business earlier due to the warmer than usual water or they are hanging in deeper water, it has been a tougher than expected start to the season.

On the other hand, there are plenty of big scup around and there is still some decent squidding along State Beach and into Edgartown Harbor. This morning (Thursday) I spoke to one of the squid jigging crew that can be found pulling their boats at Falmouth Harbor after a long night’s work and he said last night was tougher; he only had four buckets and most of the squid were on the small size, which is what I have been seeing on the shoals. He also made an interesting observation about the type of squid he was catching. I know about the two main species we get around here, the Loligo Peallie and the Ilex; this gentleman emphasized that the Loligo – or white squid – are what they as opposed to the Ilex, which are smaller and red in color, as well as having what he called a “stickiness” to their flesh which isn’t as appealing.

It seems as if the fluke fishing is just starting to heat up. Despite a slow pick, Capt. Mike was able to catch his limit of flat fish. 

No word on fluke either, but it doesn’t seem many people are fishing for them. A few have been caught by folks jigging close to the sand bottom for bass, but even the few commercial folks I know haven’t been spending any significant time on the water.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill called the fishing around the Grey Lady “very good,” with the bluefish moving in, especially around the north shore from Dionis to Eel Point for shore anglers. Boaters have been finding good numbers of blues in open water, especially around slack high water. Around the west end, the choppers are mixed in with the bass, with both species starting to settle into the rips off the west end of the island near Tuckernuck and Muskeget. Old Man Shoal was better this week than last weekend, but Great Point has yet to get started. The south shore has been a little more of a pick this week, with the AM and middle of the day giving up some smaller fish on topwater plugs as opposed to jigs, while at night swimming plugs and soft plastics have been an excellent choice. Up inside Madaket Harbor, the bass fishing has been very good; smaller poppers and soft plastics have been the way to go.

Over at Nantucket Tackle Center, Sam Brandt said it was good to get out yesterday, with the wind dying off and “it was like glass today. It looked like you could skip a stone forever.” The rips to the west of the island are seeing more and more bass and bluefish feeding on squid, with soft plastics perhaps more effective due to their single hook and slightly subsurface presentation, but you can’t beat surface plugs, Sam advised. The beaches along the southside are a bit more hit-or-miss; bucktails are still OK, but surface plugs such as pencil poppers are also raising both bass and blues. In the harbors, a mix of small poppers, spooks, and plastics are better choices than swimming plugs due to the shallower water close to shore where the fish are often found. From Eel Point to Dionis on the north shore, there has been a push of big blues this week, perfect targets for single tail hook rigged plugs. Finnish style plastic swimmers are also an island favorite along the south shore sand beaches, especially in white, pearl or bone. For years all I ever heard of was “pearl Bombers,” but Sam advised that Daiwa SP minnows in white/bone/chartreuse over white are good choices, while he favors the Yo-zuri Hydro LC (Long Cast) Minnow in white. 

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- May 26, 2023

Check out the latest Salty Cape T.V episode! In this video, Capt Mike steams out to Nobska Point aboard his 28′ Contender to do some rip fishing for striped bass. Capt. Mike goes deep into the proper approach for rip fishing for striped bass at Nobska Point, such as boat positioning and the art of fishing “the swing” of the rips. From a deep dive on his fishing outfit, to the proper retrieve of the swimbaits, no stone is left unturned. You’ll also see some awesome striped bass action too. Enjoy!”

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

When I caught up with Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth on Wednesday morning, he was “working” in his boat at Hedge Fence. He had picked up a number of bass at Middle Ground earlier on the Hogy Charter Grade Popper in amber, emphasizing that on each drift, if he failed to raise a fish in the prime water, he simply opened that bail on his reel and let it drift back, where a bass was almost certain to inhale it. 

It’s been weedy at MG on both tides, but removing or even cutting down to one treble makes it easier to keep a plug clean and when fishing soft plastics you can bury the point of the hook in the bait, making them virtually weedless.

Evan did say that the last few trips he has made to MG has turned up increasingly smaller fish and it was the same at Hedge Fence. On the other hand, late last week he fished the rips between Nobska and Falmouth Harbor and caught fish up to the mid-30-inch class using the Hogy Epoxy Jig. While squid are quite often what the fish are chasing on the shoals at this time of the year, there are also sand eels around and towards the quieter times of the tide, including slack, the fish are often cruising through shoals of these slender baitfish, making them much more receptive to Hogy Epoxy Jigs and smaller soft plastics ripped on swimbait hooks or light, small jigheads. 

While jigging wire was once the king on the shoals, Evan pointed out that far fewer private boats are snapping the stainless. Many of the charter boats continue to employ it and it is very effective – if exhausting – with white or chartreuse parachute jigs most popular. I was at Succonesset on Monday and watched a couple of charterboats dragging wire, but the tide seemed to have died and at least one of them headed east towards some well-known sea bass locations.

Emergency Action

Division of Marine Fisheries has announced that starting Friday, May 26, the new slot limit of 28 to less than 31-inches will be implemented in Massachusetts, as well as all other Coastal States. The ASMFC’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board took this action to alter the slot limit based on a large increase in recreational catch mortality in 2022 in comparison to the 2021 figures, mainly because a large percentage of the 2015 year class – which represents at the moment the best hope for a recovery of the stock by 2029, the date established by the bass board – entered the slot and suffered extensive mortality. Only time will tell if the new slot reduces the pressure on the 2015’s, but as with plenty of things in life, only time will tell. 

Charlie Richmond was out both on Monday and midweek at Succonesset, and while the nastiness during the former trip convinced him to call it a morning after picking up a couple of fish on plugs, his latest venture was much more productive both in terms of number of fish and the sea conditions. Like many folks, Charlie often puts to sea by himself, but as he emphasized, even in a rugged boat like his Regulator 26, when you’re by yourself in rough stuff, one wrong move can mean disaster, so there will always be better days to get out.

On Wednesday, Bob Lewis had a full boat as he fished this same general area with two of his daughters, Lindsay and Caroline, along with Caroline’s boyfriend and Olivia Dinkelacker, a Ph.D. candidate doing catch-and-release research as part of her doctoral thesis. The rips were filled with bass from 17 to mid-30-inch class that gladly ate squid Gurglers and plugs, while a big bluefish annihilated a special deer hair spook style fly that Bob had carefully crafted over the winter – and that was after instructing Caroline’s beau to keep it away from any choppers!

There are still plenty of bass up inside pretty much any backwater from Falmouth to Chatham, including some news of smaller schoolies. Now, my friends will tell you that my concern about small stripers is a matter of my not being able to catch anything else, but in truth, I keep things simple and if we don’t have schoolies in good numbers, odds are not good for the future. 

Amy Wrightson, who will always steer you right at her Sports Port locations in Hyannis and Osterville, and her eldest son, Tucker, continue to catch schoolies up to small slot bass on topwater plugs in the Three Bays area and Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth emphasized that there are bass being caught in Bass River and other protected waters, as well as from the front beaches and jetties between Hyannis and Chatham.

On a less than positive note, it appears that the seal population continues to grow along the southside beaches; Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis noted that there have been a lot of those big gray seals off of Dowses and other folks are stating that they have been both around the beaches fronting the sounds and up inside the rivers, bays, and harbors. Generally speaking, these huge “horseheads,” as I like to call them (although I acknowledge that I might have stolen that moniker from others) rarely made an appearance in the inshore areas of the sounds, but competition for food has made the schools of pogies in these areas much more attractive to them.

Equally distressing was a report sent to me by Frank Manville about his friend’s experience this week up inside Falmouth’s Great Pond. I imagine most serious striped bass anglers are aware of the fish kill up inside this salt pond recently, as reported by the local media. Well, on Wednesday, Dan Noyes was fishing this area and noticed some birds sitting on the water and “ I got the kayak and went out there and there were hundreds of bass cruising on the surface sipping these worms.  The worms were smaller than the only fly I had.  The fish had no interest in my fly.  I was fishing with an intermediate line.  Switched to a Clouser and a Deceiver with no luck.  Totally ignored my fly.  I noticed if I casted to them they would look but then reject my fly.  I did catch a few trolling because I think one fish saw another one look at my fly and that one grabbed it, mostly schoolies.  Lots of dead bass on the shores.”

Now, not being able to catch fish that are swirling and slurping during a worm hatch can be very frustrating, but the dead bass Dan mentions at the end should be very concerning. I know about the suggestion that these fish died because they inhaled too many worms and suffocated as well as that water quality wasn’t necessarily to blame. 

But, as Dr. Andy Danylchuk, who along with his wife, Sascha, is supervising the kind of catch-and-release research that Olivia Dinkelacker is undertaking, told Bob Lewis, fish are all about energy. In particular, after feeding heavily, they need time and the right conditions to digest. Apparently, that’s why you might have run into bass or blues cruising shallow, warmer water like Ken Cirillo did recently off of Cotuit. In most cases, these fish show no interest in what you are casting, with only an occasional slash at a lure. I hate to anthropomorphize fish, but sometimes it seems like they are doing so out of anger. 

Well in the case of the bass in Great Pond, they might have been feeding heavily on worms, but when it came to digesting them, the poor water quality – generally a lack of dissolved oxygen – stressed them and caused their demise. 

Hey, I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong, but the idea that these fish suffocated on worms seems a bit farfetched. But tune in because I’m fairly certain that someone who takes the time to read my blather will take me to task. 

As mentioned earlier, the black sea bass season is in full swing; I would do far better to compile a list of where you can’t catch them and what to use. A general sense I am getting is that the fish have been smaller on average so far, with fewer of the big, lit up males at the moment and the need to cull through more sublegal fish to get a limit. Bob Lewis emphasized that at the 16.5-inch legal limit, a BSB really doesn’t have that much meat on it, so like many folks he doesn’t even both keeping fish until they reach the high teen’s and hopes for even larger. I’m not a big pursuer of sea bass, but a few folks told me that they think the season opened later and that means the larger fish have spawned and gone, but Bob confirmed that opening day occurred at pretty much the same time this year as it has in the past.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is gearing up for a big holiday weekend and some very good fishing awaits those who visit the island. The shoals are holding good numbers of bass feeding on squid and sand eels; obviously spots like Middle Ground and Hedge Fence are popular since they are so close to home, but the boaters who are willing to burn a bit more fuel have been picking up a solid mix of bass and blues around Wasque. Of course, with another cut through Norton Point occurring this winter and continuing to widen with each passing day, the full impact of the movement of sand in this dynamic situation has just begun to be felt. 

The word Steve offered is that the rip isn’t shaping up as it has in the past, which is definitely not good news for shore folks. Boaters will also see an increase in really shallow conditions, including the potential for the appearance of a new “island,” so keep your eyes open to what is happening around you.

The salt ponds are holding good numbers of smaller bass, but a worm hatch or the appearance of a school of pogies has in the past drawn in some surprisingly large stripers for folks lucky to be there.

Over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, Julian Pepper made the mistake of answering the phone when I called. I’m sure he has now placed my number on his “no answer” list for the rest of the season. But seriously Julian reported that along with a good number of schoolies and slot fish, a few of the hardcore shore folks are picking up some better bass, especially at night around structure from Squibnocket to Gay Head and along the north shore. This is prime plugging time, with needlefish and darters hard to beat around the rocks, although casting pencil poppers at first light and again at dusk can produce as well. The bluefish bite hasn’t really gone off in a big way around the east side of the island, but it should get going soon. I have noticed a number of small, ink spattered squid jigging boats coming into Falmouth Harbor an hour or so after first light and Julian said there are still enough squid around for folks looking to pick up a bucket or two.

The black sea bass fishing on the wrecks is in full force and the tautog action is still happening, although the bag limit changes to one fish on June 1 as the fish move into deeper water and there is a need to protect what is left after the

Nantucket Fishing Report

Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center advised that that the fish haven’t really filled in on the shoals, with the Bonito Bar giving up a few bass. Most folks are concentrating on the harbors, with good topwater action in the morning and evening on plugs like the Hogy Charter Grade Popper and an assortment of spooks, as well as soft plastics; Sam emphasized that the numbers of bass up to the high end of the slot has been impressive. Along the southside beaches, there is typically a decent topwater bite in the morning using pencil poppers, but overall bucktail jigs claim many of the largest fish especially when worked in close. A 40+-inch fish was taken from a south shore location this week, the first really big fish from the beach this season. A couple of blues have been caught around the west side of the island, but so far the Great Point area has been quiet. The west side flats have also been holding fish, with sight fishing off of paddleboards something that more folks are engaging in.

As Capt. Corey Gammill reported from the helm of his Regulator, there is plenty of good open water fishing on 30+-inch bass, especially using topwater lures. The pattern is definitely still a migratory one, thus the emphasis on “open water” as opposed to the rips and shoals, although Corey did say some fish have been caught around the Old Man. His buddy caught a 40+-inch striper from a south shore beach this week, signaling the arrival of larger fish into the area just in time for Memorial Day weekend. The harbors are just loaded with bass, giving shore anglers a good number of spots to get in on the action, along with boaters willing to be quiet and respectful of those around them.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- May 18, 2023

Check out the latest Hogy Lures video. In this video, Capt. Mike joins Capt. Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters aboard his beautiful 33′ Conch. There’s been a consistent topwater striper bite at the West End of the Cape Cod Canal, with lots of fish in the 40″+ range. This gave us a perfect opportunity to fish the new Charter Grade XL DogWalkers paired with the Hogy Hybrid Spinning Rod!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

The early to midweek winds kept a lot of boaters home, but those that did get out and sneak in some time were rewarded with continued great fishing on impressively sized bass.

@rockpylefishing on IG reported a solid late morning topwater bite on poppers.

Charlie Richmond has had no problem finding bass up inside the Three Bays area of Cotuit and Osterville, but on Tuesday he decided to give Succonesset a shot despite the wind forecast. Sure enough, he found the larger bass he was looking for using pencil poppers, but when you’re fishing a rip by yourself and it’s really going, as you drift from the smooth water into the slop . . . well, you get the picture. So Charlie called in a day and had confirmed that this set of shoals would be worth another trip in less “sporty” conditions – or at least with someone else to run the boat!

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth has done well with his shrimp colored Hogy Epoxy Jig at the rips from L’Hommedieu to Nobska. I believe Capt. Mike did an instructional shoot his week on how to fish a rip with the new Hogy Protail Thumper Paddle; in fact, if I recall correctly, they caught some nice bass despite heavy wind and tide conditions. I know that as much as I love my topwater fishing, learning how to get down to where the fish are holding and enticing them to eat is always a good idea since those techniques can always come in handy. 

Middle Ground continues to fish well; Hogy Charter Grade Poppers in a variety of colors are hard to beat, but if the conditions are too rough to keep good contact with the plug, resulting in no hook-ups, then I typically switch over to a seven or 10-inch Original Hogy, either rigged unweighted or on a weighted swimbait hook if things are really gnarly and the wind is blowing a big bow in the line. It’s always a good idea to keep a variety of swimbait hooks in different weights to handle the wave action and currents you encounter. 

I have also had good luck rigging the Hogy Originals on jigheads when faced with a maelstrom filled with hungry stripers, but I need more weight to make an effective presentation. 

After picking up some bass on the fly on Thursday, Gerry Fine agreed to experiment with the new Hogy XL Dogwalker. As I do with all of my plugs that have multiple trebles, I removed the tail hook and replaced it with a custom flag that I make myself. As for color, Capt. Mike had provided a selection of pink, white, and clear amber – and you can guess which one I reached for first. Whenever bass are feeding on squid, I always elect to go with magic that Bob Pond created so many years ago, both in his metal lip 40 and its cousin The Reverse.

The Hogy XL Dog Walker has been the plug of choice for many anglers targeting larger fish. {PC: Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters} 

While I have always adhered to the notion that spooks are best in calmer conditions where they can be best walked, in this case the current and wave action often pulled the plug under and then it would pop back up – where it typically was attacked by several nice bass. On one occasion, Gerry masterfully swung the XL Dogwalker down the edge of the edge of the white water, similar to the way a fly rodder drifts a dry fly, and it was inhaled when it hit a point of shallow water. 

Worm hatches continue to entertain, and in one story shared in the news, the worms were so thick and the bass so gluttonous that a number of them choked and died up inside Falmouth’s Great Pond.  

Some larger bass have also been caught up inside Waquoit Bay; big surface plugs, both spooks and poppers, are working and the same scenario exists inside Popponesset Bay, although the entrance is garnering almost all of the attention from shore anglers. 

Amy Wrightson and her son Tucker fished up inside Cotuit last weekend and found plenty of willing bass; many were your original schoolies, but a few larger stripers were hooked and landed on the Hogy Charter Grade Popper in the Albie Crack color, as well as on blue back/silver sides and belly Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper.

Capt. Cullen has also been using the Hogy Protail Thumper to great success.

I watched a front end loader, bulldozer, and dump truck spreading sand along what is left of the beachfront near the New Seabury condominiums and I couldn’t help but wonder what impact this continuing practice has had on beach fishing from South Cape Beach to Popponesset and beyond. So I was glad to hear from Capt. Warren Marshall that his oldest son David and his wonder dog Ollie have been catching bass from the sands thereabouts. 

Amy W. acknowledged that Dowses has had some good bass action, but when it comes to bluefish, they are definitely more concentrated around Oregon Beach. From Yarmouth to Harwich, the bass fishing is very good from the beaches that exist on either side of the numerous inlets in this area, explained Sarge at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth, and there have been a few bluefish around as well. The Tire Reef is holding some tautog and a lot of people are itching to get at the sea bass tomorrow, while scup fishing gets better and better all the way from Falmouth to Harwich. 

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

If there is one thing I respect about Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that he keeps the customers who frequent the shop in mind when electing which locations to fish. As he explained, there are plenty of stripers inside the great ponds from Edgartown to Tisbury, but you have to own the appropriate vehicle to handle the often rutted mile or two that leads to where you can fish. And there are always directions to be had. Even Tashmoo can be a challenge to fish in terms of access.

@chiptheripp8 on IG has been finding great success fishing the Hogy Charter Grade Poppers in the rips.

On the other hand, Doug fishes spots like Big and Little Bridge, Lagoon Pond in Vineyard Haven, Sengekontacket Pond, and other spots with easy access and public parking. As he said, “People can drive right by where I am fishing and see what I am up to.”

At the moment, there are plenty of bass in all of the backwaters on the island; a variety of soft plastics and plugs are working well, while flyrodders are having a blast imitating sand eels and other small baitfish. There aren’t that many boaters out on the water yet and Doug lamented the fact that with so many boats and so much money on the island, combined with the pressure on local marinas and mechanics, some of the locals can’t get their boats prepped for the season. The few boaters that have been out have said the bass fishing is very good around Hedge Fence, where a combination of squid and sand eels are keeping the bass happy.

Doug did hear of a single bluefish caught off of East Beach, but as of midweek there hasn’t been any big push. Of course, wind is supposed to come around southwest again, Chappy and Wasque could turn on. In fact, Joel over at Larry’s in Edgartown said that both shore and boat anglers are reporting some bluefish in the rips, along with a good number of bass. Folks are also pre-fishing the wrecks and other black sea bass spots in preparation for tomorrow. Joel added that while many folks elect to use more exotic offerings, he finds the classic white bucktail jig a great choice for this time of year.

Squidding hasn’t been anything to write home about; Edgartown Harbor and State Beach have been OK, although Doug said the weed from all of the dragging has been tough.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Dave Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center said that the southside of the islands continues to produce plenty of bass, although some sections were weeded up due to all of the wind. Winds out of the south/southwest push bait in and the bass will follow. It’s hard to beat a white bucktail, Dave added, as the fish are in the wash and even the lightest weight lure will catch fish. 

Small poppers are really effective up inside the harbor and Madaket picked them up this week as well. No signs of bluefish yet, but there are squid boats south of the island so if the squid is around, the blues can’t be far behind.

Small soft plastics are perfect for enticing finicky fish. {PC: Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing}

The word from Capt. Corey Gammill is that while fishing started out with a bang along the southside and folks were finding schools of fish, now things are spreading out a bit. Madaket has actually been better than the main harbor at times, both on poppers like the Hogy Charter Grade Popper and soft plastics. 

One day the rips have fish and the next there is nothing, so things have yet to settle down, but that should change soon, Corey explained.

Relevant Links

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- May 11, 2023

Welcome back to our annual Cape Cod Fishing Reports! We greatly appreciate all of our readers and wish everyone a “fishy” 2023 season! {PC: Matt Rissell}

It seems odd to even register any concern about the present fishing here on the Cape, but I kind of agree with Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore who opined, “This is definitely not normal.” Of course, what Bruce was referring to was fish to the upper 40-pound class being caught in the Canal already, while the south-side shoals are filled with quality bass and the bluefish bite started to turn on last week. Buzzards Bay is no slouch either, with big bass around and a solid tautog bite. Meanwhile, Cape Cod Bay is producing plenty of stripers as well for the shore crew for the most part – mainly because there aren’t a lot of boats in the water.

As I far too often do, I can’t just focus on the quality of the fishing and have been wondering where all these big fish are coming from. Was it a cold, wet winter in the Chesapeake, which typically results in an early spawning season and thereby an earlier departure from the bay for parts north? Or are these Hudson fish; from what I have gathered, that river system has enjoyed some solid spawning classes over the last decade that has resulted in excellent fishing in the bays and backwaters of New Jersey and New York.

With the new coast wide slot limit of 28 to 31-inches, there are going to be even more size-able fish that are going to have to be released and how that is handled – pun intended – is critically important to how successful any rebuilding program from the ASMFC is going to be.

Then again, I can already hear the voices of the charter fleets up and down the east coast proclaiming, “See there are plenty of fish; they didn’t need to change the slot. It’s going to put me out of business. My customers want to take fish home.” And on and on. Hey, it must be tough seeing all these big bass around and not being able to kill them. I guess they’ll have to settle with photos of a dock load of dead slot fish like they did last season as opposed to the real ego boost of stacking cows.

Meanwhile, I am also wondering where the schoolies, you know the little guys, are. It would be interesting to ask a bunch of anglers what length(s) constitutes a schoolie; I suspect over the years it has changed. Then again, my friends would say that I worry about small bass because that’s all I catch – if I catch anything. Talk about an Ouch!

Well, on to the reports. Be safe, courteous, and conservation minded out there and here’s to hoping that 2023 is a great season for you.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

I cringe every time I mention Middle Ground because at times it seems like so many folks believe that it is the only shoal where you can find fish at this time of year. Capt. Mike heard from one of his Pro Staffers that it was “red hot” earlier this week.

That was confirmed by Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth who fished there after work on Monday. Now, unlike many folks who fish topwater plugs or soft plastics on shoals like MG when the fish are typically feeding on squid right now, Evan is a huge fan of the 1.25-ounce Hogy Epoxy Jig in the shrimp color and he especially likes them rigged with the in line single as opposed to a treble, which results in cleaner hook-ups and releases.

Fishing with father, Chuck, their largest bass was 40+-inches, but they also had numerous mid-30-inch and slot size fish, with only two that Evan said would quality as old school schoolies. 

Meanwhile, my good friend Bob Lewis has been hitting this early season hard along with his nephew Austin Sands. Last Sunday, they were fishing a worm event up inside Cotuit and had a big bluefish explode on a worm fly; that eventually gave Bob the idea of moving out onto some nearby flats to see if there any bluefish around. Sure enough, there were, and along with Bob and Austin catching them on the fly, their guest, Olivia Dinkelacker caught her second fish ever on a spinning rod and popper. Olivia is a PhD candidate in marine biology from Germany studying under Dr. Andy Danylchuk at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She’s on the Cape doing catch-and-release research as part of her doctoral thesis.

Olivia Dinkelacker, a PhD candidate in marine biology from Germany studying under Dr. Andy Danylchuk at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with the second fish she has caught in her life. Olivia is on the Cape doing research on striped bass catch-and-release mortality.

Bob said the backwater action has been really good, including the worm activity, as evidenced by a photo of a nice bass that Austin caught.

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis has heard from a number of shorebound folks who have caught stripers that are much larger on average for this time of year. Being the honest person she is, Amy did acknowledge that her one wading trip down Osterville way produced no fish, but the tide and time of day wasn’t in her favor as even with so many fish around, a slight bump up in water temperature caused by sunshine that warms up the bottom will typically get the fish going.

It also didn’t help that we had the full moon earlier this week, which Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said can impact the fishing negatively as it stirs things up due to increased tides and currents. He said folks have been picking up bluefish from the sound facing beaches between Popponesset and Osterville, with bass available there as well as up inside the numerous salt ponds, rivers, and bays. 

The word from Mac Fields at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth was similar to Andy’s; while I have always been a proponent of looking for the first bass of the season up inside your local backwaters, with Bass River always a good bet given its name, Mac emphasized that some really nice bass have been caught from West Dennis Beach, for example, as well as Parker’s River Beach and Red River Beach, to name just a couple. They also weighed in a 5.5-pound tautog caught around the rocky structure around Yarmouth.

Austin Sands, Bob Lewis’s nephew with a nice bass caught on a cinder worm fly.

Speaking of tautog, Amy Wrightson said that green crab sales have been steady, with folks talking of a good bite off of Hyannis, both from boat and shore. As the season progresses, the tog move into protected water to spawn, making for improved opportunities for the shorebound crew; think jetties and rocky shoreline, for sure. 

Unfortunately, the word I received is that the squid season has pretty much passed its peak, if not run its course completely. It seems that the stormy weather we had about a week ago, if I can remember correctly, stirred things up. Now, don’t let that completely discourage you; while commercial draggers need big numbers of Loligo to call it “good fishing,” a recreational angler might still be able to pick up a five gallon bucket or two and be completely happy.

There’s definitely still opportunities to get out on the squid grounds. It may just be difficult to stray away from the great bass bite! {PC: Capt. Rpb Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters}

If you don’t manage to get your own “local” squid – which is just the best with all the ink and juices – Amy has secured her own supply, which is often the case with other shops. That said, you had better get to the Sports Port since the locals known the full benefits of local squid.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris over at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said that saltwater scene is definitely on the upswing around the island. While folks were catching holdovers throughout the winter in the salt ponds, newly arriving fish are now mixed in there and on some of the open beaches as well. Doug Asselin, Steve’s right hand man in the shop, caught a number of schoolies this morning as well as one 28-inch fish, in one of the ponds, most likely on a small topwater or a soft plastic knowing him. Edgartown is holding some squid and a local charterboat out of Menemsha caught some mackerel and a codfish yesterday, Steve said. So far, there have been no reports of bluefish, but if we have them on the Cape, odds are they are lurking somewhere close to the Vineyard, planning their first assault at Wasque or some other spot on the east side of the island.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center once echoed what I have been hearing everywhere: lots of bass and some surprisingly large fish for this time out on the island. As he explained, typically, after the first striper is caught, in most cases a true schoolie, it takes a number of days before any significantly larger bass show up. This year, the first fish was caught last Wednesday and the very next day a number of legal sized bass were caught, with the largest so far around 32-inches. The entire south-side from Nobadeer to Smith’s Point is holding fish, with paddletails like the Hogy Protail Paddle as well as traditional bucktails are good choices. There has also been some topwater action with pencil poppers. Up inside the harbor, paddles are again very effective, but Sam did single out the Hogy Charter Grade Popper in the 4-inch size as a really effective option at the moment. There are also bass on the west side flats, with a buddy of Sam’s picking up a slot fish while fishing from a paddleboard!

Relevant Links

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 30, 2022

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It should be quite a scene on Friday with the winds and seas scheduled to build right through the weekend, meaning plenty of boats will be out trying to take advantage of a fishable day and get into albies. The bass fishing is improving in Nantucket Sound, but all anybody seems to be thinking about is funny fish.

This false albacore caught by @rockpylefishing fell for the Hogy Epoxy Jig.

Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle told me that one of his regulars picked up some slot sized bass chunking pogies at night down around Menauhant earlier this week and the salt ponds and Waquoit Bay have seen increased action, mainly on schoolies in the early morning and again at dusk on a variety of artificials, including smaller lipped swimming plugs, soft plastics, and topwater plugs like the Hogy Dog Walker and Hogy Charter Grade Popper – and don’t be misled by the name of the latter as it can be retrieved slowly and made to swim or walk-the-dog. 

Hitting the water consistently is key to catching any time of the season, but it is especially true in the fall as spots like Popponesset, the Three Bays, East Bay, Lewis Bay, and Bass River to Parker’s River, as well as Swan River, Herring River, and Red River will typically see impressive shows of feeding bass, which are either dropping out of protected water or stopping to feed close to the entrances on the abundant bait that should continue to drop out over the next several weeks. This action can be sporadic and short lived, so the best way of being there when it does is to keep being there, day-after-day. To paraphrase a saying that appeared on a number of T-shirts that local tackle shops sold or perhaps still sell, “You can sleep when the fish have gone and migrated south.”

Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville said that the sand people fishing around Craigiville Beach had a good week, with several fish caught from the beach, while folks I spoke to who decided to bypass the crowds of boats and kayaks that have made this area their home base for funny fish this season and headed east instead, did say they saw people hooking up on the spin. Amy added that there are also some five to six-pound bluefish mixed in, which is good for lure makers since they make short work of the light leaders used for albies and bonito, in the process causing increases in soft plastic and casting jig sales. Ken Cirillo said the albies weren’t cooperative on his one boat trip this week, but he did see flyrodders who work the Osterville area manage to catch a few; there is nothing quite so cool as being elevated up on the rocks and have these green speedsters race right along at your feet, all lit up and spraying bait as they go. 

On the bass front in the mid-Cape, Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that the few folks who aren’t chasing funny fish have been enjoying some good night time fishing from the jetties and beaches on plugs and soft plastics, with larger ones that imitate eels especially effective. Up inside the Three Bays, one of Amy Wrightston’s regulars has been catching plenty of schoolies and even some slot fish on smaller, white soft plastic paddletails and the good thing is that he has pretty much had things to himself as everyone else is racing for the sounds.

Beautiful false albacore caught aboard Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth explained that the albie action has been continually shifting between Waquoit and Nobska, with one area hot one day and the next not so much. Hogy Epoxy Jigs continue to be his number one seller, with the 5/8-ounce size generally the top seller, although the 7/8-ounce is a good selection in the windier weather we have had this week. As for color, Evan acknowledged that people come in asking for the wide range of Hogy options, a good sign that when someone catches a fish, that hue then becomes “the one.” 

Although not as many people use them, the Hogy Heavy Minnow Jig in Olive and Silverside has been working well this season for me, allowing for longer casts to finicky fish that just seem to pop up for a second and then disappear – but remember that blind casts in an area where the fish were last seen often produce the only fish of the day.

Mac Fields from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said the fall scene is building up around the rivers down his way, with more bass active inside as they take advantage of all of the small bait that is hanging around the mouths and dropping out with the colder weather this week. This area holds some great jetty fishing as well, giving shore anglers opportunities at funny fish, while down at Harding’s Beach, especially towards the mouth of Stage Harbor, there have been bass, blues, and albies – and even a few bonito – running the edges of the sand close enough to get casts into them. Then again, a kayak or boat will have you in the game much longer during the falling tide as the fish continue to follow the bait out, accompanied by birds working up a storm – which is perhaps at once the most exciting and saddest scene for shore anglers as they can only watch the melee move out of casting range.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

 The Derby is in full swing and according to Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs the albie fishing remains solid from both boat and shore, with plenty of small bait around the island to keep the fish happy. The issue, however, is that the best fishing for the little tunny is that the hotspot changes almost daily, especially for the shore crew. Menemsha had a good bite from the jetties the other day, including a good number of bonito, while on another it was State Beach and Tashmoo that saw the best action. Although boat anglers have been finding good numbers of fish, they have been fussy at times, with a lot of the Vineyard boats spotted around the Elizabeths. When it comes to bass, Doug said it wouldn’t be worth talking about the best location since they have been caught all around the island this week, especially schoolies in the ponds and for boaters all along the shoreline structure. He added that there are some nice fish to be had as well and he had a good story to illustrate that; a father and son came in looking to fish bait in hopes of catching a striper. Doug gave them some squid and suggested they try East Chop; they came in again with big smiles and a photo of a bass that looked to be about 20-pounds. Doug added that a friend of his who fishes Menemsha Pond regularly encountered some big bass, but no matter what he tried, he couldn’t get them to eat. 

Over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, I was able to coax Julian Pepper into talking to me once last time this season with the promise of some Beachmaster plugs; he said that a good number of boaters continue to fish towards Nantucket where the largest albies, bonito, and bluefish are. That said, there are still plenty of fish around, with a good bluefish bite at Chappy, but it was a brief event; Julian did say that with all of the bait around East Beach, it shouldn’t be the last time they show there in force. The bass fishing remains good, especially out towards Gay Head, with surface plugs effective in the morning and evening before most folks switch over to needlefish and swimmers, as well as eels, at night. The bonito made a good showing this week down around Lobsterville and Menemsha, but most of them were on the small side, while the albie fishing has been getting the most attention from both shore and boat anglers. Hogy Epoxy Jigs are still very popular among the funny fish fanatics, but ripping surface plastics along the surface when the fish are concentrated on small bait will often draw a reaction strike.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Tim Coggins at Nantucket Tackle Center finally was able to report that bass, albies, and bonito made their way into the Harbor this week, following the masses of small bait and even adult pogies that has produced some great fishing. He has done well at night using lipped plastic swimmers, with a black version producing lots of bass. The albie bite remains strong around the island, with some really nice fish caught from both boat and shore, especially around the east side of the island. Big bluefish have been mixed in with the albies up around Great Point; in fact, Tim said there are big choppers up and down the east side of the island, with Sankaty  especially productive for the boaters. Along the southside, the water has been pretty roiled up, making bass fishing a matter of finding clean water. Tim is confident that there is still plenty of good fishing remaining this season, with a very real possibility of albies right through October, and the bass fishing should only get better, especially around the west side of the island. 

Capt. Corey Gammill reported that the Madaket area has been very good for bass, both on flies and plugs; pink has been a very productive color for artificials, including Hogy Epoxy Jigs. Up at Great Point, Corey explained that shore anglers are doing well on both bluefish and albies; it doesn’t take a tournament caster to catch fish from the sand up that way, although he did say that someone who can cast farther will generally catch more fish. EJ’s and slimmer profile metal jigs are great choices as they help achieve maximum distance and imitate small baits, especially sand eels which are a major food source for everything that swims around the island. Cisco and Smith’s Point are two areas that Corey mentioned when it comes to a good shore bite for bass; early AM plugging with topwater plugs is effective, but thinner profile metal casting jigs are an island tradition. Finding the white water is always key when it comes to finding bass around the island; of course, boaters have multiple options when it comes to rips, but shore anglers should consider wind direction and stage of the tide when deciding where to look for bass. Bluefish action is great on the east side of the island, with some really big fish in the mix; topwater plugs are almost synonymous with casting for blues and Corey said that an island creation has become his favorite, especially in pink or amber. At times, the blues are holding in deeper water, which makes wire line jigging an option, although Corey is not a steel fan and prefers to cast metals and other jigs if he has to get down to the fish. Water temperatures are still very much in the preferred range of all of the four big species that people want to catch on Nantucket; combined with just an incredible amount of bait, absent any kind of major storm, Corey thinks the season is going to just keep churning. He did say, however, that he is a little tired of all of the swell, with Ian potentially increasing the size of the seas.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 23, 2022

The Fall Run is Underway!

It’s a magical time on Cape Cod right now. The fall run is in full swing, and the options for anglers are endless. Jump into an older video highlighting the excitement of the fall run here on Cape Cod!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Nothing better than firsthand reports and Amy Wrightson from The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville had a great one concerning albies: “Another week gone by and somehow we managed to get another fishing report in there as well. (If I don’t pat myself on the back, who will?). This week was another EPIC albie week! We have reports of albies from Chatham to the Elizabeth Islands, so find some shoreline somewhere in there and you’ll at least have a chance of hooking into those speedy hardtails!” Amy and her kayak fishing partner Tony got into the action around Craigville and both managed albies, with white or bone the hot color, whether it was a soft plastic or a Hogy Epoxy Jig. There’s some cool video of Amy and her fish, including her losing her rod overboard. As she said, it’s probably time to invest in a rod holder. Amy added that she has had reports of some bigger bass inside East Bay, with nothing under 30-inches according to one angler, and plenty of scup and snapper blues around Dowses.

Riptide Charters reported great albie fishing this week!

I realize it might be my failure to hook up with albies talking, but I still find it kind of amazing that folks will pass by bass feeding up inside the Three Bays and Popponesset just to get frustrated. I guess that’s why I was happy to hear that shore anglers have managed to get into albies and bass both from the outside of the spit and even inside while horses asses running big horsepower race elsewhere. My nephew Frank went out the same area after work on Monday and managed two albies on white Hogy Epoxy Jigs, a really cool item since it reminded me that these fish don’t just feed in the AM – and there is usually less pressure. 

Speaking of pressure, on Tuesday I had the pleasure of fishing with Klemens Engelberg, a dedicated fly angler who can throw with the best of them. He managed one albie on a tutti frutti creation of his own, hooked up on the fringes after the school was apparently disappearing, a good reminder again about blind casting and covering water. We hooked up once more, but I have to believe my loop knot failed despite no evidence of a pig tail since he was using 25-pound fluorocarbon tippet and even a good sized false albacore would have a tough time breaking that. Then again, perhaps he hooked up with a bluefish or even a Spanish mackerel, which are often mixed in with the funny fish. Overall, however, despite having some good shots, the presence of a couple of run and gunners who charged after school of breaking fish, including those that we were waiting patiently for, well outside the general fray, reminded me why I hate fly fishing for albies around the Cape since spin anglers have no problem racing up to the fish, getting a cast off, and hooking up while we their wake pushes the bait and fish outside the range of our casts – and as if it isn’t tough enough casting a fly from a boat, try when it’s bouncing around after getting hit from wake coming from three directions.  

My friends Bob Lewis and Capt. Warren Marshall fished the Craigville area midweek and they had to leave before things really got going late morning as it did for Klemens and I the day before – although his one catch came much earlier, now that I think of it. Warren reported that the spin anglers did well, with multiple people hooked up while the fish were sipping and up-and-down, not an ideal situation for a fly angler. They headed back to Osterville and ran into Ken Cirillo and Charlie Richmond, who were working some albies outside the cut; fortunately, I got reports from both and I will offer them both up for your enjoyment.

First Ken, who was the captain: “We were in very skinny water and the albies were going up and down the beach schooling bait and then charging through it slicing it up, it was great to see in such shallow water (3′ to 5′). The second albie was definitely the most incredible fight in a long time. Using one of my light tackle setups, the fish were working bait in the corner and my cast laid perfectly in the middle of the fish and as soon as it hit, it was smacked and then the fish took off into the beach, thinking that it was going to run aground but then it turned and ran me around the boat a couple of times. In such shallow water, seeing the fish go around the boat was really cool, just wish it had been filmed as it would have been great. The one that got away was also very unique, the fish took the lure, ran back to the boat, then back out, then back in, back out, back in and then it spit the hook out. The albie must have used this technique before! Feeding albies behave like blue fish, hitting the lure, tossing it, hitting it again and moving on, very different than what it was like several weeks ago.”

albie study
Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing doing some albie tagging with members of the ASGA and New England Aquarium.

Now, Charlie: “Wednesdays AM Ken & I had a good morning off Osterville chasing Albies; all alone, along the beach, just drifting, landed several nice fish; towards the end of our trip, (2) disgruntled flyrodders who had been fishing off Craigville, with 100 other crazy albie chasers, joined us, but am not aware if success came their way-names unavailable; hoping this cold front and wind do not end the albie season.”

The word from Matt Garland at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth is that the albie action has been good this week, with fish caught from Great Point to Nobska and on into Woods Hole and down along the Elizabeths. He is a big fan of Hogy Epoxy Jigs and recognizes that they not only work for funny fish, but other species as well, like the bass and bluefish that are moving back into the rips such as Middle Ground and off Nobska, as well as the salt ponds. When it comes to funnies, Matt likes the silverside and EChix color in 5/8 and 7/8 ounce sizes, based on wind and wave conditions, while for bass he likes the shrimp and EChix in 1.25-ounce. 

Sarge Bloom at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that they have been getting good reports of albies feeding from Parker’s River to Lewis Bay and off Great Island, while there have been some nice schools of bluefish working on small bait up inside Bass River. 

And Capt. Caroline Scotti from North Chatham Outfitters and the charterboat Lil’ Jax answered in the affirmative when I asked about albies outside Stage Harbor and the Harwich rivers, but she added that they have been really finicky for the most part, as seems to be the case in the sounds.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs confirmed that the albies went crazy yesterday morning, with cooperative fish around State Beach, inside Vineyard Haven, and East Chop, but Steve added that he suspected that they were active in numerous other spots as the rougher conditions with plenty of bait are a great combination. We had a good chat about the Derby and shore fishing for albies and bonito, with the opportunity to catch one of these fish from the sand or jetties is why so many people come to the island.

Big beach bonito caught by n_kraut on Instagram.

Back in the day when the Derby first pulled bass as an eligible species, there were plenty of people who cried that it would be the death of this legendary event, but instead, it grew. And it’s the same right now, with plenty of people telling Steve, who is a member of the Derby committee, that they can catch bass at home from shore, but they don’t have a shot at funny fish. In fact, I would argue that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are the two top locations on the east coast for catching a shore albie or bonito, although even the boat action for the latter has been off this season. As far as bass goes, Steve said that they have been selling plenty of eels for shore anglers who must really be enjoying the lack of pressure along the beaches with so many people chasing funny fish. 

I finally managed to catch – or should I say “trap” – Julian Pepper on the phone at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown as he tried to pass it off to one of his co-workers, but when I told him I was planning on selling off a large number of Beachmaster plugs, he tolerated my questions. He took a trip out towards Nantucket earlier this week, which is where he said many of the Derby boats have been headed in search of big bluefish and a more consistent albie or bonito bite. Although it might not make sense to a lot of people, one method of targeting big blues around Gay Head and some north shore locations is to fish live bait, particularly scup or pogies. It’s the same with big bones, where spike mackerel, silversides, and even small baby squid have accounted for some Derby winners; of course, the big challenge is coming up with these baits, but the hardcores sometimes put as much – or more – time into getting critters to liveline. Bluefishing in general has been slow from the beaches, but there are still some quality bass coming from the shoreline between Squibnocket and Gay Head. Eels are tough to beat, but Julian is part of the plug crew on the island who live to catch fish like the mid-40-inch fish that was caught this week. Darters and needlefish are island favorites, but Julian reminded me that tossing poppers at dusk is a great technique, with one well-known maker’s 2 3/8-ounce model plastic popper (which actually started out in wood) really effective as a swimmer as well. Sounds like I should try swimming a Charter Grade at night.

Nantucket Fishing Report

With the winds pretty much guaranteed to kick things up for the next several days on the islands, Capt. Corey Gammill told me he was going to head off island for a few days. Before he left, however, he sent me a voice message emphasizing how great the fishing had been prior to the effects of Fiona hit the island. The albie fishing up around Great Point for both shore and boat folks has been “phenomenal” while he has heard of between six and ten bass 40+-inches caught on plugs from the southside beaches, where there is obviously plenty of white water. Although bass fishing with topwater plugs and swimmers is popular on Nantucket, when the surf really gets roiled up, a switch to bucktail jigs or soft plastic paddletails is often a good move, along with casting metals like Hopkins or Kastmasters. With big bluefish still around, I would be inclined to toss a big ballistic style casting plug in hopes of locating some big choppers, perhaps down Miacomet way or along the southside beaches. That said, remember that Nantucket is famous for its rip currents even in the best of conditions and wading is not recommended when the surf is booming and the currents are racing at top speed.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 16, 2022

Finicky Albies

Reports of finicky albies on Cape Cod have been abundant this year. In this video, Capt. Mike shares a deadly technique to fool these finicky fish!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

As Amy Wrightson from The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville so aptly put it, “ There are albies all along the southside and people are catching them and other people are just getting frustrated trying to catch them.” The hot color, including among Hogy Epoxy Jig users, has switched from day-to-day, including bone, silver, pink, and olive – and then back to bone. Size has also made a difference, with larger ones working better in rough water and wind.

epoxy jig
The Hogy Epoxy Jig in “Rain Bait” is a perfect imitater of silversides.


If you have a larger boat and don’t mind burning fuel, you can run around until you find fish or you can also take advantage of a network and get the latest intel from other folks. But in a lot of cases, you just might end up zigging instead of zagging, ending up in the opposite direction from the fishing was best. That was the case for me on one trip this week when I headed east out of Falmouth Harbor and eventually made it all the way to Craigville, with hardly any real shots to speak of. Bob Lewis had a good day off of Point Gammon with some spin anglers on his boat, but I knew when the tide changed and the wind increased, we were going to get a tough ride home without making it any longer – and I was proven right. 

On the way home, we saw a few schools of albies off Popponesset, but given the really nice baitballs of peanut bunker we came across, I would have thought the place would have gone off big time. Of course, there is always the chance that things erupted just after we left. Capt. Mike experienced the “just didn’t go far enough” issue that same day as he went as far as Hyannis only to find out that the fish were going crazy off of Bass River – something that my good friend, Capt. Warren Marshall told me about. Apparently, his brother and a friend like to go down and sit at the mouth of the river and there were albies everywhere, with shore anglers getting good shots along with the boat gang.

When it comes to albies in the sounds, seeing is one thing; getting them to eat is another, as Mac Fields at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth explained. Even in the rough weather earlier this week, folks were reporting that the funnies “chewed reluctantly,” Mac said, which is such a good turn of a phrase when it comes to albie attitudes.

Nice albie caught aboard Riptide Charters.

Capt. Carolina Scotti, who runs the charterboat Lil’ Jax when she isn’t working at North Chatham Outfitters, said the albie bite has been mixed from Bass River to Harding’s Beach, but there are a good number of bluefish mixed in, so if you are in the habit of only carrying one of each lure and discover the hot item, only to have it lopped off by a chopper – well, you learned the hard way why sharpies carry boxes filled with an inventory of colors and sizes of their favorite lures.

Down around Falmouth, Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle had a very good trip Tuesday, catching fish between Nobska and Green Pond on silverside Hogy Epoxy Jigs, but despite the rougher conditions the next day, which I am convinced has the fish feeding more aggressively, the action wasn’t quite as good. His dad, Chuck, caught a big Spanish mackerel on Wednesday fishing in the lee of Nobska, however. 

Mark Tenerowicz also told me his wife heard from one of her patients that a fleet had gathered off Nobska this morning, either a good sign that there were a lot of fish or that things were quiet elsewhere and everyone decided to hang out hoping for a shot at the one single school that had showed earlier.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

With striped bass still out of the Derby, in many ways this legendary event has become a funny fish tournament with bluefish thrown in for good measure. Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said there are plenty of albies around in all of the usual spots – and some days they chew and others they turn their noses up at everything. Earlier this week, the jetty crew at Menemsha had a good morning and a number of fish have been caught from the northside; the shore leading albie was caught earlier this week, a nice 11.43-pound fish, while an impressive 16.52-pounder tops the boat category. As impressive as that boat albie is, it still pales in comparison to the Vineyard’s own Don MacGillivray’s 19.31-pound state record.

A nice boat caught albie by @wycegoesfishing on Instagram.

Steve said the bonito fishing was good this week as well, with the top boat fish 10.08 and a 5.8 shore fish; apparently, the boat angler found a nice pick of fish, but as one would expect during the Derby, it’s anybody’s guess where he was. Prior to the Derby, folks were regularly picking up bones trolling smaller, deep diving swimmers from Squibnocket to Noman’s, but the word is that this fish was caught casting. Then again, it’s pretty well known that some of the largest bonito are caught by folks livelining spike mackerel or even big silversides, of which there are plenty around the island, along with peanut bunker and sand eels, as well as some bay anchovies. 

Obviously, not many people are fishing for bass, but there are still a few hardcores who have told Steve that the couple of years they have experienced outstanding shore bass fishing; at the moment, one of them has reported catching some 20-pound fish along the southside on plugs.

Over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, Joel said that there are plenty of albies around, but some boats are making the long run to Nantucket where the fish have been more cooperative for the most part. David Kadison, a very familiar face on the Derby leaderboard, has already thrown down the gauntlet in the boat bluefish category with an 18.06-pound fish. Where that fish was caught is, again, anyone’s guess, but there have been some big bluefish down around Gay Head and in the waters between the Vineyard and Nantucket. The 12.18-pound leading shore blue opens up plenty of options as well, Joel noted, with Chappy, including Wasque Point, known for producing big blues, including at night on bait. 

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill once again took the time to call me and fill us in on the outstanding albie fishing on the island, as well as share his thoughts on what makes them chew so much better out there. He had been fishing up around Great Point where catching upwards of a dozen fish in a four hour trip on the boat isn’t unusual and shore anglers are also catching a decent number as well. The Bonito Bar has slowed for bonito, but there are still plenty of albies there, although like at Great Point, there are blues mixed in. What I found especially interesting is that Corey has been fishing plugs almost exclusively for the last two years when targeting albies, including a clear amber version as well as a pink one by the same manufacturer; in fact, he pointed out that those two colors have accounted for a large percentage of the bass and blues he catches during his trips. The Old Man is another area where there is a mix of albies and blues, while Corey had a good bass trip out by Tuckernuck earlier this week, with well over a dozen fish on plugs. The Miacomet area is still holding some bluefish for the shore crew, but the best action along the southside has been moving up and down the shoreline, with folks following the tides and winds to locate the best spots. Some boats continue to go east for their bass or up towards Monomoy, but over the next several weeks, plenty of stripers will be making their migration past Nantucket and should be stopping to feed on the abundance of bait there.

A beautiful sunrise accompanied by a beautiful albie caught aboard Riptide Charters.

One of the things that I drew from my talk with Corey is that the albies in the rips out his way is that they are almost like a different species of fish, aggressively taking plugs as they race up and down the white water as opposed to popping up for fleeting shots as they do in the sounds, which clearly doesn’t have the strong currents and structure close to shore where most folks fish for funnies. We do have salt pond, river, and harbor outlets that produce faster moving water that albies – and bonito as well – like and the Elizabeths also have some strong tidal flows, but if you watch albies feed off of Craigville or Bass River, for example, you will notice that they spend much of their time racing to corral bait and then erupt in a feeding frenzy of limiting duration, only to pop up elsewhere. With a rip or clearly defined edge, it’s the water that is doing the work of gathering up the bait, allowing the predator fish to concentrate on feeding. If you have fished for albies in rough water, you might have noticed that they often just ripple the surface or even cruise along, again perhaps because they don’t have to expend as much energy “working” smaller schools of bait. 

Tim Coggins at Nantucket Tackle Center said that shore anglers continue to pick at bass all along the southside beaches; he recommended topwater plugs for the early morning hours, including pencil poppers and spooks, while you can use the same options at dusk before switching over to swimmers after dark. One of Tim’s favorite plugs is a jointed black Bomber and he emphasized that dark coloration is typically the way to go at night when it comes to lure selection, with white or pearl an island favorite at dusk and on moonlit nights. Although the blow last weekend and into the early part of this week didn’t blow the fish into the harbor as Tim thought they might, he did fish the Jetties Beach area and picked up about two dozen schoolies on lures so they are around. So far, though, the harbor has been disappointing the last several months, say after the spring run. Folks are catching albies along the east side of the island, with some big bluefish mixed in, but the bonito bite has been pretty scattered; most bones have been caught trolling around the Bonito Bar or as incidental catches amongst the albies and blues. 

Last weekend, Capt. Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle ran a boat in a tournament to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research and they took top honors in bonito and albies; in fact, with four guys casting, they managed 27 albies fishing one of the rips around the island for about four hours. There were eight bonito caught in the event, with four of them coming in the boat Christian skippered; as he said, like the albies, these fish were caught on small, bone colored plugs, perhaps another indication of how funny fish feed differently in moving white water. Christian also spoke to another captain who ran up north of Monomoy point and found some good bass action.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 9, 2022

Filmed Recently!

In this video, Capt. Mike walks through everything you need to know when fishing for false albacore.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Before we get into funny fish, let’s talk some improving bass news. Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth said that a friend of his fished Bourne’s Pond out of his kayak earlier this week for an early morning trip and picked up several nice bass, most of them approaching the lower end of the slot limit. He caught fish both on the fly and spin, with a shrimp colored Hogy Epoxy Jig working when the fish were on top. A shore angler was fishing under the bridge at the same time and picked up a low 30-inch class fish. 

I heard of some decent topwater schoolie action up inside Great Pond and Green Pond, especially around false dawn, and word is that Popponesset is picking up as well, both early AM and again at dusk. Be advised that at times these fish can be super picky with all of the bait to feed on. In that case, going with something larger, like a Hogy seven-inch Original, will get their attention and if the depth of the water you are fishing allows for a subsurface presentation without hanging up all the time, the smaller Hogy Pro Tail or Hogy Slow Tail will work as there are typically plenty of fish below the fray that you can target. A super slow walk-the-dog retrieve will also work, whether with a spook or even a small Hogy Charter Grade Popper

Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville said the snapper bluefish bite is also in full swing; the problem is, the ever popular snapper popper rig has been tough to find. In that case, try making your own with a Hogy Charter Grade Popper (they float like the foam float on the pre-made rig) that you have removed the hooks from. Attach a 24-inch or so piece of leader material to the tail of the plug and a fly at the end of the leader and you have your own snapper popper rig. Besides being really good to eat pan fried, snappers also make excellent baits for big fluke. Remember that the bag limit for bluefish is now three fish per angler per day, unless you are fishing on a charter and it is then five fish. Massachusetts also has no size limit on choppers. Along with all of the albie and bonito craziness, Amy added that there have been some Spanish mackerel caught recently around Craigville and Osterville; from what I know, the vast majority of this species is caught by folks trolling deep diving small swimmers, as they do with bonito around the Hooter, but frankly from what I saw this week, I would challenge anyone to try and drag a lure behind their boat amongst all of the kayaks and boats in some areas.

terry albie
Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters skipping Hogy Epoxy Jigs for some nice size albies!

So, speaking of which, here is some of the news I heard this week about albie fishing, but be advised: These fish swim and swim very fast, making them a here today, gone tomorrow target.

Evan caught three albies casting 7/8-ounce Hogy Epoxy Jigs in silverside between Green and Great Pond on Wednesday; given all the chop and wind, despite the fact that the bait he saw (which he believed were silversides) were closer in size to the 5/8-ounce model, he went with the larger jig because it cast better and allowed for a better presentation. Nobska had fish, albeit small, up-and-down schools, earlier this week and there weren’t many boats around, but expect the number of anglers to increase exponentially with a good weekend ahead.

Jim Young told me that he has been really disappointed so far; he has been out around Green Pond, Waquoit and as far down as Popponesset, with only one brief encounter, just confirming our belief that this season is a matter of zigging it and getting it right and zagging and finding an empty ocean. 

I fished the Craigville area twice this week, with Tim Negronida picking up three albies casting a 5/8-ounce olive Hogy Epoxy Jig, with the skippy cast method blowing up two of them in an area where they had stopped breaking, but the bait was still there and funny water indicated the fish were still in the area. The next day, Michael Beebe put an idea into action that  I had talked with Bob Lewis about concerning all of these small, precise flies we have been throwing when guys casting larger jigs and plastics have been doing better. Michael had a larger peanut bunker fly tied on a 4/0 hook that he had spun up a few years ago in his pursuit of bluefin and sure enough, when he got into the fish, he was on. I had high hopes that we were going to have a good day, but despite what seemed like good shots, the fish eventually settled down, perhaps as a result of so many boats and an absolute armada of kayaks in the area.

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing deploying tags as apart of a study going on by the ASGA.

There have been some schools of albies around Hyannis and Point Gammon, but again, it doesn’t seem any two days are the same; Mac Fields at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said there have been scattered schools of albies off of Bass River and the jetties and river entrances in Harwich, but the bass have yet to school up in numbers up inside just yet. He did say that folks focus on the jetties in this area if they are fishing from shore, unlike spots like Craigville which is basically a long stretch of sand beach. 

Finally, I get to my favorite albie story of the week. The Cape Cod Flyrodders held their Albie Fest yesterday and due to boat issues, Bob Lewis joined the crew that fishes for albies from shore in the Cotuit to Craigville area. For a number of years, Bob has been taking out Dave Palmer, another flyrodder, out to try and catch his first albie on the whippy stick with no success. Well, Dave not only hooked two yesterday from a jetty, but landed one of them. Another club member, Josh Wrigley, was fishing there as well and hooked up, but the fish came unbuttoned. Bob spoke to a couple of guys who regularly fish from shore for albies and he said that it was really kind of interesting to talk with them, as they represent a dedicated, really hardcore element of the fly rod community. Also, in a rebuttal to my big fly theory, Dave caught his fish on a small tan over white epoxy fly and Josh was using a pink over white epoxy. Oh, and Bob said that the club folks who fished from boats that day around Bass River as well as Monomoy/Stage Harbor might have hooked a few more fish, but didn’t land more than Dave. After all, a shore caught albie is worth way more than any caught from a boat.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

 The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that the albies are spread around the island in all of the usual spots, with Edgartown Light added to Cape Poge, State Beach, Tashmoo, and Menemsha as areas where folks have reported getting good shots at them. The flip side is they have been very finicky, requiring a lot of patience and a lot of casts to be rewarded with a hook up. Steve believes getting a fish to pay attention to an artificial with all of the bait around, including peanut bunker, sand eels, and silversides, is a real challenge, similar to what happens when a worm spawn gets going in the spring and there are too many worms to get a bass to look at a worm fly. 

The Hooter has been really quiet on bonito, but folks are trolling some up around Squibnocket, although they have apparently really been on the small side. Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth spoke to one customer who had a good day trolling up bones around Squibby using a wonderbread color deep diving swimmer.

Nice albie caught by @chiptheripp8 on Instagram.

Jim Young was fishing last weekend with Kyle Rigazio around Squibnocket and over towards Noman’s and he saw someone troll up an albie and there were occasional signs of funny fish around them, but they were generally just slurping, almost like bass. It was a beautiful, sunny clear day and that kind of behavior isn’t atypical in those conditions, as opposed to the frenzy folks associate with funnies. Kyle has been chumming and chunking this area for bass all season and generally has managed a couple of slot sized bass on pogies, which was the case on this most recent trip when Jim managed a 34-inch bass.

According to Steve, there are plenty of schoolies in all of the ponds and harbors, with early morning and again at dusk always good times to target them; that said, the thick schools of bait have at times had fish absolutely turning their noses up at anything that wasn’t the real thing. Ripping a surface plug or even a soft plastic is worth trying as a last resort in hopes of drawing a reaction strike. Steve admitted that he was surprised that bluefish have been a bit scarce, especially from shore along East Beach down to Wasque, where even the boats have reported a bit of a slowdown, with some making the run out towards Nantucket in hopes of finding both blues and even bass. 

Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown explained that not many folks are targeting bass around the island at the moment as albie fever has gripped the island. The shore bite has been really tough, with folks manning the rocks around East Chop, Tashmoo, and Menemsha getting fleeting shots at albies and nothing in the way of bonito to speak of. Cape Poge seems to be one area where there has been some better action, with some boats making the run all the way over towards Nantucket, sometimes finding fish in one of the rips before making it there, but overall getting the best action on both bones and albies when they reach the Grey Lady. 

Of course, there are still the hardcore shore bass anglers that keep up the tradition of looking for cows around the island and Sam said there have been some 30+-inch bass caught around the rocks at night, generally on needlefish and swimming plugs, although live eels are tough to beat. Squibnocket and Gay Head contain all of the elements for big bass, including boulder fields, white water, and baitfish as well as crabs and other crustaceans, and that’s why they keep popping up in a conversation about where to go. The northside of the island also holds plenty of good structure as well and productive bass water, but access remains the greatest challenge there. Sam heard of a few schools of small bluefish around Chappy, but overall folks have been singing more of the blues than catching them recently along the sand beaches on the east side of the island. 

Ken Cirillo provided a good report about both the Vineyard and Nantucket, with both albies and bonito in the mix: Went out five days straight, Cape Poge was most productive followed by the Bonito Bar. At Cape Poge on Monday I got two albies (25″) and Morgan (my daughter) got a bonito. I found soft plastics the best, and Morgan got hers on that bunker fly that Warren makes. We discussed on Fran and Bob Clay’s boat and they both did well at the Bonito Bar (long ride but not bad in their 32 Yellowfin).”

Nantucket Fishing Report

The fishing remains good on the island, according to Tim Coggins at the Nantucket Tackle Center. Topwater plugs, especially pencil poppers, have been producing stripers along the southside, including Cisco, Point of Breakers, and Fishermen’s Beach. Boats, on the other hand, have been traveling to shoals and rips well east of the island if bass are their target. Bluefish are pretty much all around the island, with Miacomet remaining a consistently productive area and the Old Man still worth checking out if you prefer to troll wire-and-parachutes. The rips around Great Point have probably been most consistent for albies, with shore anglers managing to get into them at times as well, with heavier Hogy Epoxy Jigs and Hogy Heavy Metal Jigs popular, along with a variety of other sand eel and small baitfish casting metals and jigs. Smith’s Point and the Bonito Bar have actually been producing more albies than bonito, perhaps because the former are larger and more aggressive. Looking at the upcoming weather, Tim is interested to see if all of the north wind predicted pushes the bass and albies out of the sound into Nantucket Harbor. When I asked him about tuna or billfish south of the island, Tim said that there are a couple of big tuna tournaments this weekend and the word he has gotten is that almost all of the boats are headed east.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- September 2, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt Mike is joined by Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters as they target deepwater bluefin tuna on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It would be fruitless to offer up any specific locations when it comes to where the albies are at any given moment as in all sincerity they have shown in every known location along the southside over the last couple of weeks, with the one generality being that they have been awfully finicky according to most folks. 

Don’t ask me why, but since I had some time to myself, I elected to check out Osterville and Craigville yesterday in the flats boat, hoping that the wind forecast would be off in terms of strength and direction, allowing me to tuck up out of the breeze. Suffice it to say that when I approached the Osterville cut, it was stacked and any sane person would have probably turned around, but I pushed through and my Mitzi Skiff proved to be a worthy submarine. Now some folks will tell you that a flats boat is just fine to fish out of in Cape waters outside of the flats and they may be right, but mine is a 17-foot, 500-pound hull that planes dead flat and there is no way to really get the bow up and have it stay that way. I suspect that the guys fishing on the jetties got a kick out of my getting one roller to roll right over the bow casting deck and do a nice job of soaking me. At that point, I was more determined to make it east and frankly it was no issue once I cleared the mess created by opposing wind and tide, but I can’t emphasize how different a boat made to pole in four to six-inches of water is compared to tin boats that folks like my friend Paul Moriarty use with great success in all conditions, even when it gets snotty. Any way, I made it Dowses and there was a big gaggle of birds working over what I presumed was small bluefish or perhaps even the blue runners that are known to gather there in the fall, so I made it to Craigville and soon encountered some nice schools of albies blasting through baitballs of bay anchovies and peanut bunker. Now, be advised that I was trying to fly fish solo and this is a challenge in the best of conditions, but the rollers and wind had me drifting right over my line, causing me to miss some really nice shots. What I was reminded of, however, is that while some folks only cast to breaking fish, it was clear that these fish would have made great targets for blind casting, as I could see them swirling all around me even when they weren’t busting bait.

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing found good albie feeds earlier this week.

My friend Bob Lewis was out off of Hyannis yesterday as well, fly rod in hand, and he said it was tough to get set up on the schools of fish they kept popping up around him. In retrospect, carrying a spinning rod would have been a good idea, not because this would have guaranteed hook-ups, but it would have at least let me get a proper presentation in time. 

Now, I realize that this will come across as being a Debbie Downer, but I personally believe that while albie season has started, it definitely is not happening in a big way. Sure, some folks have had great days and there is plenty of bait around to keep them happy – and hopefully swimming around the sounds for the next couple of months. But I believe we need a little cold snap to get the albies really revved up. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth has become an albie obsessive and he told me that there have been some good bites between Falmouth Harbor and Great Pond, as well as around Waquoit; he also ran into some decent schools down Popponesset way. He has been using silver or silverside Hogy Epoxy Jigs, preferring the 5/8-ounce in calm conditions and the 7/8th version when it is snotty. He added that with the schools on the small side and way too many boats on them, he has made a concerted effort to skip the shit shows and find his own fish, which is a really good idea given what has transpired so far. One angler who keeps his boat in Falmouth Harbor told me on Friday that he should have taken my advice and skipped fishing on Saturday’s as he had folks wrap their lines and lures around his rods that he had stored vertically on his console. Another said he is done fishing for albies on weekends – period. 

Given the report of massive numbers of albies down Monomoy way last week, Matt Cody from North Chatham Outfitters on Monday decided to pay a visit there and he found the same thing I did that day: no signs whatsoever of funny fish on the east side. But while I elected to stay with my friend Gerry Fine and catch some really nice bass in the rips, Matt went back around the point and headed west, eventually finding some solid false albacore action around Bass River; he and his buddy managed a half dozen, including a couple on silver Hogy Epoxy Jigs and a pair on white soft plastics.

Flukwe can still be caught off various jetties on the Cape.
{@rockpylefishing on Instagram}

On my way back in to Stage Harbor, the wind had kicked up and the tide was dumping, creating some really nice chop and there were fish and birds going wild; I immediately got albie fever, convincing myself that this was the largest funny fish blitz I had ever encountered on Cape Cod. Unfortunately – and I only say this because we were looking for another species and I would never demean a chopper – but the vast body of fish proved to be bluefish. That said, Matt showed up at the same time I was there and his friend managed to pull out a bonito, so perhaps there were more funnies around like I originally thought. Gerry and I never hooked up on the fly as the wind and the speed with which the fish were moving made it extremely difficult to get set up properly, but getting to see that kind of all out feeding, with terns and laughing gulls shrieking and bait spraying everywhere, is something I won’t soon forget.

Shore folks are getting some good shots at albies as well and remember that they only get limited opportunities as opposed to somebody in a boat, so give them a break and stay well outside their casting zone. On the other hand, Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville had a cool story of a guy who hooked an albie while fishing from a southside jetty and then had a brown shark follow it in, at which point the shark hung around looking for another opportunity to catch a quick meal. He took a video of this action and it reminded me of how my friends Capt Warren Marshall and Bob Lewis described bringing in nothing but the heads of albies they caught in North Carolina and Florida, respectively, thanks to all of the sharks in the area. Speaking of sharks, Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that a good number of the folks who partake of beach fishing for browns, sand bar sharks and any other species that takes an interest in their bait have left for the season.

Whether from boat or shore, the bass fishing in the sounds is nothing to write home about, with some schoolies at night up inside the various backwaters that dot the southside, although Evan Eastman told me about one angler who managed a low 30-inch class fishing around one of the bridges that span the salt ponds in Falmouth. Even the boat crew has, for the most part, given up on fishing for bass in the sounds, with most folks who enjoy the trolling game heading east to Monomoy or, if they want to stay closer to home, to Horseshoe Shoal which is still holding some bluefish. 

The good folks at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said there is the occasional small bluefish taken from West Dennis Beach and a few schoolies up inside Bass River and the rivers down Harwich way, but bottom fishing for scup and northern kingfish remains the most consistent fishery at the moment until the snapper bluefish action gets going.

Capt. Mike’s Report

Team Hogy patrolled from Falmouth to Gammon Point this morning from 6AM to 10AM. We found albies in all the usual places: Woods hole, Falmouth Harbor, Waquoit, Poppenessett, Cotuit, Osterville and Hyannis BUT! The one commonality was that the feeds were short lived and being poised for fast casts when the opportunity avails itself.

Capt. Mike landing an albie on the 1/2oz Hogy Heavy Minnow.

Some observations:

  • We had the best action off Gammon Point. There were albies scattered throughout the cove. The fleet was VERY WELL BEHAVED, largely avoiding run and gun behavior which is highly disruptive to the fishing as each charge makes albies spookier and more spread out. The albies here were keyed in on teeny silver sides and we had the best action on the 1/2oz Heavy Minnow in Silver side color. We eventually lost the one unit we had and switched to the 3/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig lure which worked out great but we had less casting range. We were wishing for more 1/2oz HMs…. The small compact body of the 1/2oz Heavy Minnow helps cast the lure an extra 10-12’ over the 3/8oz EPO.

    heavy minnow
    1/2oz Hogy Heavy Minnow in Silverside.
epoxy jig
3/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig in Silverside.

We noticed orange bait balls near Osterville with no fish on them. I believe those orange baitballs were schools of teeny bay anchovies. We did not see any albies on them, but if we did, we would have cast the 1/2oz Heavy Minnow in shrimp – the same size as the silverside version above. The EPO15 or EPO20 in shrimp is a known producer when small chovies are around.

heavy minnow
1/2oz Hogy Heavy Minnow in Shrimp.
epoxy jig
3/8oz Hogy Epoxy Jig in Shrimp.

We found big pods of peanut bunker all alone between Cotuit and Succonessett. We drifted with them for about 15 minutes hoping the albies would show up and BLAST THEM. The plan worked. We still had our EPO15 Silversides on but hooked up. The ideal lure would have been the Hogy Peanut Bunker Jig. A few boats showed up and we took off.

bait ball
Bait balls are worth sticking around to find albies.

By this point (9:45Amish) the tide was slackish and we didn’t see much on our run in other than a couple of onsies and twosies.We headed in but to our surprise, two pods of albies blasted off the heights as we pulled. Sadly, we didn’t make it in time.

I heard there was a massive fleet off Woods Hole. I heard the boating conditions were very challenging with boats crowding each other which bums me out a little because crowding in on each other is no fun and counterproductive. We saw plenty of albies in our travels with only a handful or no boats on them which is a shame. Hopefully the fishing was fantastic off the Hole so everyone got some! I just heard the boat report. Here’s a few tips on albie etiquette:

Albie Etiquette: 10 Tips for Staying Sane During a Blitz #360

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that most of the traditional false albacore hotspots – other than Edgartown which he hasn’t heard much about – have been holding schools of albies, but they have been tough to get on the hook. There is a ton of bait around, including silversides, sand eels, and some peanut bunker and that might be the problem – how do you get a fish to eat an artificial when there is so much of the real thing around. The shore bass fishing has been good, with plenty of schoolies up inside the ponds and harbors, while the hardcores continue to pick up slot-and-over bass at night around the rocky structure from Squibnocket to Gay Head. One reality that Steve emphasized about getting information from folks right now is that the Derby is on the horizon, making people even more tight-lipped than usual. The charterboats are trolling up some bass and blues on wire and jigs, as well as deep diving swimmers, between Gay Head and Noman’s, but the bonito bite has been really slow overall, with a few trolled up around Squibby and some out at the Hooter, but folks who are catching them consistently are putting up with a lot of bluefish and really putting in their time. The inshore, casting bite on bones has been virtually non-existent so far, which is kind of surprising given all the bait, including their favorites: the silverside and sand eel. Bluefishing has slowed down recently, with some reports of decent fish around Wasque Point, although the boats are doing much better on blues in this area.

Sam Bell managed to get out on the boat last weekend and said they did well on albies in the water between the Vineyard and Nantucket both on Hogy Epoxy Jigs and soft plastics; anyone who has fished for little tunny in strong moving water or rough water conditions will tell you they are like another fish compared to the ones that you encounter in calmer, clearer water with very little sweep or current. On the other hand, both shore and boat anglers who are sticking closer to the island have been frustrated by how finicky the little tunny are, and when combined with a very quiet bonito fishery so far, folks are searching all over the island for dependable action with little to show for it. A few folks are still working the rocks and white water at night for bass, but far more attention is being paid to the funny fish. 

I spoke with Michael Beebe after his trip with Capt. Jaime Boyle on Monday and they hit a good number of the rips between the Vineyard and Nantucket with no results until they checked out one and found active, happy fish; Michael managed two on the fly, a white sand eel looking pattern that Jaime ties himself. Michael said it was so interesting to go from spot to spot, many of which looked so promising, before finding one that “worked”; as a thinking angler, he kept wondering what it was about that one spot that made it productive. I suspect that bait played a factor, but after having fooled around in rips for years, there are just certain stages of the tide where one comes alive, even for just a brief time, and you have to keep putting in the time to catch those magic moments, something Jaime is renowned for.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

I am a little worried about writing this since it will have folks on the Cape pulling their hair out after another tough week of chasing albies, but Capt. Corey Gammill told me that his fly and spin charters have been racking up big numbers of albies, both at Great Point and the Bonito Bar. In fact, he had just come off a trip where his group managed 10 on the fly and his average trip has been a half dozen or more. Shore anglers are also catching albies up at Great Point, while the Miacomet rip area is producing a mix of bass, blues, and albies for both shore and boat folks. The rips around Tuckernuck and Muskeget continue to produce bass and blues, but the bass in the waters to the east of the island tend to be larger. The key to finding stripers along the southside beaches is to find the white water, Corey advised, with casting pencil poppers and other topwater plugs a really productive and fun way to catch bass and blues; even if the fish aren’t showing, these lures just have a way of bringing them up. Corey added that the amount of sand eels is incredible and even though he hasn’t seen any yet, he suspects that some of the feeds he has seen are driven by the arrival of really small squid. 

For Tim Coggins at The Nantucket Tackle Center, fall is his favorite time of year since the crowds start to dwindle a bit and there are all four of the most popular inshore species to be had around the island. He said that he prefer to troll the Bonito Bar and has been doing well with brightly colored deep diving swimmers, a lure type that works well on bluefish as well. He said there are bluefish all around the island, with Great Point and Miacomet two areas that both shore and boat anglers find good numbers of bluefish, along with false albacore and even some bonito. Bass fishing is definitely an early morning/nighttime activity for shore folks, with surface plugs around first light and plastic lipped swimmers and soft plastics good choices for the dark. Although they might not be the sexiest choice, with all of the sand eels around, thinner profile casting jigs work really well and versions such as the Hogy Epoxy Jig can be worked at all levels of the water column, from skipping it across the surface to bouncing it right on the bottom. For the shore angler, the Hogy Heavy Minnow Jig is an excellent choice when you need to get extra distance, but keep that all important swimming action.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 26, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt. Mike is joined by renowned angler Eric Harrison as they target bluefin tuna on Hogy Sand Eel Jigs.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

It has been an up-and-down week in Nantucket Sound when it comes to albie action, but the one really positive development is the ever increasing amount of bait pouring out of the numerous backwaters that empty into the sound, as noted by Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle. After my business was over on Wednesday, I shot down towards Menauhant and Waquoit and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of bait I saw, both bay anchovies and peanut bunker. In fact, it was the ability to pinpoint a couple of bait balls of bay anchovies that paid off for Michael Beebe in the slop off of Osterville on Monday; we hung with the small rusty brown stains and were rewarded when two of them exploded with that classic albie attack. In both cases, Michael calmly got his tutti frutti Clouser into the mix and came tight almost immediately; it was fun seeing backing and even better being able to watch both fish jet away since I kept up my kneeling and removed the hook without even lifting the fish out of the water.

Albie action is picking up. Here’s one caught by Chris Topher.

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth was off of Waquoit Bay that same day and he said the action was outstanding; anyone who has ever fished for albies knows that they are a totally different fish when there is a good chop going, especially when combined with overcast skies. They caught fish on Hogy Epoxy Jigs and soft plastics, but it was especially cool to hear that these fish were so hot that they crashed poppers as well. 

The next day, I was joined by Gerry Fine and Capt. Warren Marshall; it was still plenty overcast and no lack of torrential rain, but the wind had died making for some frustrating fishing between Falmouth Harbor and Waquoit. We got our shots and changed flies frequently, even dropping to 12-pound fluorocarbon tippets, but all we ended up with were wet heads and big slices of humble pie.

To his credit, Evan – who was also out there with his dad, Chuck, but with the advantage of a nice dry cabin – said this variability and unpredictability of albie fishing is what he likes about it; one day you’re a hero with happy fish on every cast and the next they’re still popping – and extending the proverbial middle fin(ger). 

Amy Wrightson from The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville managed to steal some time away from her shops on Wednesday and reported that there were some good schools of albies around Osterville and Craigville; she didn’t manage to hook up, but Amy is such a generous of spirit person that she acknowledged it was pretty cool watching a couple of other folks hook and land fish, including a nearby flyrodder. Generally speaking, whether you are using flies or soft plastics, white or pearl is a popular color, but Amy noted that Ben Sussman, who is part of her summer crew, is a big fan of amber imitations. I have seen a number of plastics in this hue work their magic on bonito and albies even when the food is micro sized, making the imitations we were throwing apparently way too big, but the funnies just crushed them. 

The word from Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis is there has been a good bite off of Great Island, as well around Point Gammon and the shoreline to the east. I can tell you from personal experience that if you are a flyrodder, be prepared to get frustrated if you elect to fish among the kind of fleet that Warren and I unwisely joined last Sunday off of Hyannis. There were some really nice schools, but every time we got set up and had the drift just right, at least one boat filled with spin casters sped over and began to release a fusillade of lures, while at the same time drifting in such a way that they cut off any angle we had on the fish and in at least two cases kept moving towards us where I had to maneuver to avoid getting rammed. Now, I understand the fever that funny fish engender, but if there are multiple anglers on board, I don’t understand why folks can’t take turns at the helm – if they know how to run a boat, that is – or the person who is captaining to give up his or her fishing time to set up their guests or clients, as opposed to grabbing a rod and racing to the bow to get off a cast. 

OK, take a breath, Dave. It was fun seeing Bob Lewis setting up his daughter Caroline and his other guests as they managed seven fish that day on Hogy Epoxy Jigs and plastics – and Bob even got in the act with a fish on a Crease Fly! Now that I think about it, maybe it’s more a matter of Capt. Marshall and I simply spitting the bit when it comes to funny fish flailing. One piece of advice I can offer is to get your albie fishing in during the week; the fishing should only get better over the coming weeks and the crowds will swell, as will the attitudes. An even better idea might be to avoid the temptation to visit a spot where you know a fleet is going to form, even if the reports are saying the fish are virtually jumping in the boat. Sometimes, a little intel and reconnaissance can have you into your own happy albie spot, with nobody else around.

@RockPyleFishing on Instagram, had some solid albie action earlier this week.

While Amy said there are snapper blues up inside the bays, harbors, and rivers along the southside, Andy spoke to a number of folks who have been picking up some nice bluefish at Horseshoe Shoal, mainly on the troll. 

Shore anglers continue to pick up the occasional bluefish from South Cape Beach and Dowses, while the “O Dark Thirty” hardcores are starting to see an uptick in striper activity around Cotuit and Craigville, as well as off West Dennis Beach. Andy said that the water temperatures are starting to trend downward, even up inside the Three Bays where the schoolie bite is a bit more consistent, especially if you can get out of bed before brunch. 

Evan spoke to a hardened shore angler this week who reported catching some decent sized schoolies on swimming plugs and plastics at night in the Popponesset area; the entrance channels there and in locations such as Great Pond, Waquoit, Cotuit Bay, West Bay, and Dowses to the west and Bass River, the Harwich rivers and harbors, and Stage Harbor to the east feature deeper, cooler water which, when combined with all of the bait starting to pour out at the moment, should get the bass bite going on both smaller and even a few surprisingly larger fish. 

Scup fishing remains OK in the sounds, while sea bass of size require looking for hard bottom in deeper water. Meanwhile, the fluke bite has definitely slowed.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Like plenty of the dedicated shore anglers on the Vineyard, Doug Asselin from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs has been hitting the jetties every morning in search of his first albie of the season. At the moment, there are scattered schools providing sporadic action around State Beach, East and West Chop, and Menemsha; the good news concerns the abundance of bait in pretty much all of the popular inshore locations, which should get things really fired up when the albies show up in force. Boaters are finding a few albies here and there, but things have yet to really go off. As far as the bonito bite goes, it has been a tough season for the boat crew and an even tougher go of it for the shore crowd; folks trolling deep diving swimmers have picked up a few fish down Squibnocket way, as well as out at the Hooter. Doug advised that folks who are trolling should expect plenty of bluefish bites as well, which can lead to increased lure expenditures as it is most common to use lighter fluorocarbon leaders when targeting funny fish. Doug is a fan of the Yo-zuri X Rap deep diver series as it has models that will get down as deep as 40-feet, while the ever popular Yo-zuri DD Crystal Minnow is limited to say between 8 to 13-feet. There is no lack of schoolies in the multitude of bays, harbors, and salt ponds around the island, but this is definitely an early morning bite, followed by dusk as a secondary option. While brown sharks provide most of the action from shore, followed by sand bar, dusky, and even the occasional small thresher, Doug told me that at least three hammerheads were confirmed in various beach locations on the island.

fly rod bass
Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing getting it done on the fly!

Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown was back on duty after enjoying some vacation time up in New Hampshire and he has heard of 40+-inch, mid-20-pound class bass being caught at night on dark hued swimming plugs from Squibnocket to Gay Head; the challenge, however, is getting the fish to the shore before a brown shark leaves just the head. The Lobsterville Beach area is holding mostly schoolies and the occasional slot fish; think sand eel imitations in this area. The bluefish action has slowed around Chappy for the sand people, but there are some really big choppers being caught by boat at Wasque. Folks targeting sharks continue to do well, with all that is required is a chunk of fresh bait and some heavy equipment.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill was good enough to take a moment between trips to fill me in on things out on the Grey Lady, starting with lots of blues around the east side of the island, especially in the Old Man Shoal area. Around the west side, the Bonito Bar is getting better, with a mix of albies, bones, and blues. The false albacore action hasn’t been off the charts just yet, with most trips producing between one and three fish. Great Point is your best bet for albies from boat or shore, with the Bonito Bar next up. Folks are still getting bass in the evening on sand eel imitation jigs fished right in the wash in the evening, especially around Tom Nevers; the shore bluefish bite is OK at Great Point, but Miacomet continues to produce more and larger blues. Plug fishing for stripers is also a good bet in the rips to the west of the island, including Miacomet, Tuckernuck, and Muskeget. 

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, Colin Lynch explained that Finnish style swimming plugs from Yo-zuri and Bomber in darker colors have been working on bass at night around Nobadeer and Dionis, with a 35-inch striper caught this week at the latter. There remains a good bluefish shore bite around the Sewer Pipe, which Colin said is between the airport and Miacomet. Albie fishing is improving, with plenty of small bait in the form of sand eels and peanut bunker to keep the funny fish busy; no one area has had a monopoly on the little tunny, with Great Point, Miacomet, and Smith’s Point areas where some have been caught. Bonito action as the Bonito Bar remains a slow pick, almost exclusively on the troll, with no fish reported from the Harbor just yet.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 19, 2022

Check out the all new CLEAR Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Bob Lewis was on his way to work Thursday morning when he received a call from Chris Gill that there were albies working hard off of Osterville, Craigville, and Wianno. Of course, as any good funny fish angler would do, Bob put off the office for a bit and turned around, heading for the marina. When he made it out of the Osterville cut, there were some nice schools of fish working small bait, including along the jetty where a friend of his said he had gotten a number of good shots from shore. Anyone who has ever fished albies with a fly rod – especially when doing it solo – understands the challenges of setting up a drift, especially when the wind is howling as it was yesterday, only to have an idiot with a spinning rod racing around, cutting you off. Sure enough, there was only one other boat where Bob was, but it happened to be a knucklehead who has been given an appropriate moniker given his penchant for racing towards every school of breaking fish. Sure enough, just as Bob had set upwind and was drifting towards a school, this clown raced across his bow, ruining any chance he had of making a cast.

albie fishing
Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters had an epic day albie fishing earlier this week.

Unlike others – including yours truly at times – Bob keeps his temper in check and elected to move towards Craigville, where there was a mix of albies and bluefish; ultimately, after switching from a intermediate line and first a tutti fruitti unweighted streamer and then a Clouser in the same color scheme, Bob hooked up with a Crease Fly on a floating line. It was so cool listening to Bob describe the take as the little tunny screamed across the water in pursuit of the surface fly that mimicked a peanut bunker perfectly. 

Over at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth, Matt Garland confirmed what I had been hearing about massive schools of albies between Menemsha and Noman’s; his buddy was returning from going offshore for tuna and billfish south of the Vineyard earlier this week and told Matt that the false albacore were breaking everywhere. I can’t imagine that they all moved inshore at once, but clearly a portion of them have. 

Matt said that on Wednesday evening, a couple was enjoying dinner on their boat off of Falmouth Heights when they were suddenly surrounded by a large school of breaking fish that certainly sounded like albies, and given other reports of funny fish around Waquoit and even in Woods Hole, odds are that these uninvited guests were false albacore. 

Andy Little at the Powderhorn in Hyannis reported that some nice schools of albies were racing around the waters near Horseshoe Shoal earlier this week, a clear indication that fish are starting to move inshore all along the southside, mainly because of all of the small bait that is starting to pour out of the backwaters from Falmouth to Chatham.

More albies aboard Riptide Charters.

The word from Ben Sussman at the Sports Port in Hyannis is there are some small schoolie bass being caught inside the Three Bays and small bluefish from Waquoit to Craigville while Frank Mainville said that during his recent AM walks along the Popponesset Spit he has scene fish pushing bait against the shoreline, a scene reminiscent of the early stages of what used to be called the fall run. Capt. Corey Gammill out on Nantucket had an interesting suggestion that with the warmer than usual spring water temperatures, the eggs of species such as menhaden that drift into the southside backwaters might be hatching and developing earlier, resulting in what appears to be an earlier fall run. 

According to Mac at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth, they haven’t seen any albies yet, but with all of the small bait in the rivers and harbors down that way, the funnies should show up soon, especially now that they have been seen in force from Falmouth to Hyannis. 

Beach fishing is generally really slow, according to Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle; the last report he had of bass or bluefish from shore was over a week ago from South Cape Beach, where a couple of blues were caught on bait. 

Fluke Fishing Report

Fluke fishing in the sounds has been OK, with fish reported moving in closer to the entrances to Waquoit and Popponesset, with plenty of scup around as well. My buddy Capt. Warren Marshall went out towards Succonesset earlier this week and managed to pick up some legal sized sea bass amongst all of the really small ones; bigger baits and deeper edges proved to be the key to finding fish for dinner.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The good news from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that the albies have shown up in force along State Beach, as well as some good catches off East Chop, which means they are probably up inside Vineyard Haven as well. Some schools of little tunny have been encountered down around Menemsha, while the Hooter is primarily seeing far more bluefish than bonito. Squibnocket has had an OK bonito bite on the troll, but from there to Gay Head it has been mainly about bluefish. In fact, Steve said the bluefish action has been really good around the island, with Chappy and Wasque Point the best bets for shorebound folks while boaters are picking them up in the shoals between the Vineyard and her sister island, Nantucket. If you want to get up early, you can enjoy consistent action on small bass inside all of the salt ponds around the island; this is definitely a false dawn activity, with a variety of smaller lures working, including peanut bunker and sand eel soft plastic imitations; small casting jigs such as Hogy Epoxy Jigs and the classic island metal, the Deadly Dick; and small spooks and swimmers.

A recent albie sent in by @13igvu on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown said that a friend of his picked up a 31-inch, 14-pound albie from a boat and there have been big schools of them in all of the usual haunts on the east side of the island. The hardcore shore folks are still managing bass up to the 20-pound class at night using needlefish and live eels around the rocks between Squibnocket and Gay Head, but the rest of the island has been pretty quiet when it comes to stripers of size. The bluefish action is great along the southside of the island, while shoals such as Hedge Fence and Middle Ground have been pretty quiet, with a few fluke around as well as a smattering of small bluefish.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill was anticipating good things on Friday once the wind settled; prior to the two day blow, the albie fishing was picking up, with the first of the season caught from shore at Great Point and a few picked up by the sand people down around Miacomet, which has also seen excellent bluefish action. In fact, Corey said there have been blues all along the southside for boat and shore anglers. Corey has picked up albies by boat at the Bonito Bar, Miacomet, and other spots around the west side of the island; he said it hasn’t been off-the-charts just yet, but he has managed at least one amongst all of the bluefish in these areas. The concentrations of sand eels around the island are just incredible, Corey noted, with the bonito most consistent around Smith’s Point, which is known for its plethora of these thin profiled baitfish. So far, white soft plastics and narrow profile casting tins and Hogy Epoxy Jigs have been working well on all four species this year, with a pick of smaller bass on the shoals and white water off of Tuckernuck and Muskeget.

Albies aren’t the only funny fish around. Bonito have been worth targeting too! This one was caught aboard Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing.

Colin Lynch was manning the phone at the Nantucket Tackle Center and explained that there has been a decent early morning bass bite between the 40th Pole and Eel Point. The Miacomet Rip has a mix of albies and bluefish, as is the case with Great Point. The southside is experiencing really good bluefish action; topwater plugs such as pencil poppers are very popular on Nantucket when it comes to casting for choppers, with sand eel imitation jigs a good choice when the fish are holding outside the distance that can be achieved with a plug. Deadly Dicks have always been an island favorite, but Hogy Epoxy Jigs and Hogy Heavy Metal Jigs are garnering more converts as well. Colin said the Bonito Bar has slowed a bit, but a return to winds out of the southwest should help the action pick up there as well.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 12, 2022

Take a look into Capt. Mike’s inshore fishing tackle, featuring the Hogy Mesh Crate Storage System.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Given what I hear, there must be a lot of forlorn faces among the anglers who count on the sounds to produce most of their fishing successes as this area is locked into a heavy case of the summer doldrums. 

In fact, it was so bad for me on Tuesday that my buddy, Capt. Warren Marshall, and I got excited seeing some scattered groupings of terns, hoping against hope that we might be the first anglers to happen upon some funny fish in the sounds this year. That said we knew in our hearts that they were most likely small bluefish and after hooking one and having it spit the hook on a popper, we finished our cruise back to Falmouth Harbor. Despite my prodding, Warren made the wise decision not to grab his fly rod and put one of his precious funny fish flies – the Blue Slammer that he created himself – in front of a mini-chopper which would have made short work of his 12-pound tippet. 

Bob Lewis said that last Saturday, one his way back from Monomoy, they found peanut bunker flying out of the water around the entrance to Osterville as they tried to escape the jaws of what Bob assumed were small bluefish, although they never hooked up for a definitive ID. On Sunday, he went back and the birds were right where he left them, but again they just weren’t interested. There have been similar reports around the entrance to Waquoit and Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said there have been terns working over small bait down around Craigville, typically a spot that produces Spanish mackerel and even king mackerel, usually on the troll with small deep diving Finnish style swimmers that work well at high speeds.

shark tagging
Shark tagging aboard Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing

On Tuesday, Evan Eastman and his dad Chuck cruised over to Horseshoe Shoal after hearing reports from one person of false albacore he caught there recently, but all they came up with was a half dozen sea bass while trolling. This area has been producing bluefish all summer long – something it has been known for over the years – but the word is that it has been tough to find decent sized choppers consistently over the last week, even at areas such as Succonesset, Hedge Fence, and Middle Ground that are known to have blues even in the doggiest days of summer. 

As for bass, either from boat or shore, the news is not positive; if there are any fish around, they are holding with their bellies on the bottom. That means scratching deep with wire and jigs, or as in the case of folks who know Vineyard Sound well, fishing live bait deep in the holes heading down towards Gay Head and off of Cuttyhunk, especially at night. 

According to Matt Cardarelli at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth, the best action from the southside beaches from Falmouth to Harwich has been on sharks, mainly browns but with a few others like sandbar and even an occasional more exotic variety thrown in. This is generally night fish with heavy gear, so don’t go unprepared.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

When both of the shops I speak to regularly on the island say the fishing is pretty bad, then that’s saying something. 

Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said that the bluefishing has slowed down quite a bit lately, with a few around Chappy for the shore folks, but it is very inconsistent. As for catching bass from the beach, things are very slow and it’s tough when a tourist comes in and says that want to catch a striper from shore and “you really can’t give him any real hope that it can be done right now.” On the other hand, sharking remains good around East Beach. The boat crew is doing better on blues around Wasque and Squibnocket, but it has been mainly a trolling bite on parachute jigs and deep diving swimmers used with wire line; surface feeds aren’t that common, with your best bet early mornings. The Hooter has had a few bonito, but the inshore bite has been non-existent, with a lot of people looking but nobody is reporting any signs of slashing fish, other than a few small blues in the harbors. 

Over at Larry’s in Edgartown, Joel said that the hardcore surf guys and gals are scratching up a decent bass here and there between Squibnocket and Gay Head fishing needlefish and eels, but the north shore is very quiet. The key to catching any bass has been to get deep, with a few legal fish being caught by boat anglers on live bait and chunks the closer you get to Menemsha and Devil’s Bridge, as well as Squibby, but again you have to use rigs that will get them deep. The sharking is good, however, around the east facing beaches, making up for what Joel called “really slow when it comes to bluefish” along East Beach and even Wasque Point. The bonito have yet to show, never mind albies, and the last two guys he spoke to who fished around the Claw and the Dump came up empty on tuna. 

During his stay on the Vineyard, Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach said there was a lot of small bait around Oak Bluffs, while Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait & Tackle told me that on their way back in from offshore yesterday, they saw funny fish off of State Beach. He couldn’t say if they were bonito or albies, but if they were the former, they were big.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The word from Capt. Corey Gammill is that if you want to fish bass by boat or shore, you have to find the white water since it is a bit colder and holds more bait. The east facing beaches have produced some smaller bass, but Great Point is closed to oversand travel, pretty much eliminating one of the better spots for shore angler. On the other hand, boaters have managed a few bonito and even a handful of albies off of Great Point and there are some bluefish in the mix as well. Some bonito are being caught around Madaket as well, but Corey said that the Bonito Bar, which had been productive, albeit on mainly small bones, has quieted since the wind started to really stir things up starting last weekend. Old Man is still producing bluefish and the shoals between Muskeget and Tuckernuck continue to produce mainly bluefish and the odd bass here and there, but again, the key is finding a rip that is really working up good. 

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, Austin Conroy pointed to Dionis as one spot that is still turning up some bass from shore, with topwater plugs working in the early morning with a change over to weighted soft plastics and swimmers a key to success from dusk to dawn. The southside has been quiet on bluefish, but Sankaty is still producing some nice choppers for boaters, while making the run well east to the Vortex is your best bet if you want to get into some larger bass. The bonito bite has slowed this week, but they were being caught in more spots around the island before that. Trolling has definitely been the way to go at the moment, with no fish turning up inside the harbor just yet.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- August 5, 2022

Filmed Last Week

Despite being in the “Dog Days” of summer, Capt. Mike found some hot and heavy topwater bluefish action at Hedgefence.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

This is bluefish time, but from what I gather, even they have been hit-or-miss at the moment. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth said there have been some small blues around Middle Ground and Hedge Fence, but even this hasn’t been the topwater bite that folks associate with choppers; instead, you want to concentrate on the deep water on either side of the shoals with jigs on wire or deep diving swimmers. It’s the same story around Horseshoe Shoal according to Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis; bluefish can handle water that is too warm for bass, but even they seek cooler conditions when it reaches the mid-70 range as it is in Nantucket Sound. 

On a positive note, Gary Blazis at The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville found random schools of small bluefish on top between Succonesset Shoal and Horseshoe yesterday; they were spitting up peanut bunker, perhaps a sign of good things to come for the funny fish fandom. Speaking of bones, there have been no reports of slashing fish from any spots along the southside that typically harbor the first funny fish on the year. That said, any news of concentrations of small bait and water temperatures as they are right now have in the past combined to produce a sudden appearance of Spanish and small king mackerel off of Craigville Beach and Osterville, as well as bonito in what Mike Issner used to call the Magic Triangle: Middle Ground to Hedge Fence to Succonesset. 

If you want to catch bass of size, go deep – period. Sam Bell over at Larry’s in Edgartown said that one commercial bass sharpie managed his limit this week fishing in Vineyard Sound, but he knows the humps and holes like the back of his hand and he was – dare I say it – yo-yoing pogies – and we will go with the story that he was using a legal rigging technique where the weight and skewer weren’t inside the baitfish. You know, just like all of the charterboats and recreationals up in Plymouth are transferring their pogies from a snatch hook to circle as opposed to just dropping them down as only commercials are legally allowed to do.

Fluke Fishing Report:

Plenty of sublegal fluke around Lucas Shoal and other spots in Vineyard Sound closer to the Cape and it’s the same in Nantucket Sound. Evan Eastman said the ratio of legal to throwbacks has been has been well in the favor of the latter around Hedge Fence and Succonesset, often leading to frustration since in some spots they are an inch or so shy. That said, Evan added that the deep water at the far western end of Middle Ground is still holding some decent fish amongst the shorts. Given the numbers of small fish, you would think this would be good news for commercial flukers who are allowed to take fish as small as 14-inches as opposed to 16-5-inch recreational minimum, but the few I have spoken with said this season hasn’t been as good as last year. Jim Young fished with Kyle Rigazio last Friday and they managed five legal fluke, but they were fishing down towards Menemsha in deeper water where there are lots of lobster pots and other gear that keeps the dragger, while Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth explained that a good number of boats down his way that are looking for fluke – and sea bass – to take home for the dinner table are heading east towards Monomoy. Speaking of sea bass, there are plenty of small ones in the upper reaches of Vineyard Sound and throughout Nantucket Sound, mixed in with a mixed bag of scup sizes; if you need bigger BSB, then fishing the deeper water in V-Sound off of Gay Head out to Noman’s is your best.

From shore, nobody I spoke to had good news on bass and only the occasional bluefish is being caught on bait around Menauhant, South Cape Beach, and Dowses, but for the most part the sand-and-rock people are dealing with scup and northern kingfish. On the other hand, the beach sharking is excellent. While typically a dusk-to-dawn activity, Gary Blazis reported that one dedicated shark angler has been doing really well around Kalmus Beach during the day; at one point, he had three rods set up in sand spikes when they all went down. They were brown sharks on the lines, but there was also a thresher taken in the same area recently. 

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said there is still some good action on bluefish around Chappy for the sand people as well from the boats at Wasque and along the southside from Squibnocket over to Gay Head. Bass have been tough to come by, with deep presentations key, including the old wire-and-parachute/pork rind combination, although some charterboats employ deep diving swimmers with success, especially around Squibby. Steve added that folks have been out high speed trolling deep diving Yo-zuri Crystal Minnows in hopes of finding bonito south and east of the island, but so far, it has been pretty quiet. And there has been word of bonito busting bait from any of the known island locales. Speaking of Squibnocket, Jim Young fished there last Friday with Kyle Rigazio and he managed a nice, fat 33-inch bass on a pogy chunk and he added that Kyle has been managing a pick of fish there on most of his trips. 

The news from Sam Bell at Larry’s Bait & Tackle in Edgartown is that bass fishing has definitely slowed from the beaches, with a few fish up to the 20-pound class being caught between Squibnocket and Gay Head on needlefish plugs and live eels. The beach shark fishing remains really good around East Beach, while there are still good numbers of schoolies up inside the harbors and ponds, but you have to fish at night and match the hatch to get them to eat since they are on small bait. Of course, the presence of so many sand eels, silversides, and other diminutive baitfish as people anticipating the arrival of bonito, but so far there has been no inshore action, with only a few caught on the troll at the Hooter among plenty of bluefish, resulting in increased lure sales since you troll for bones with lighter fluorocarbon leaders that are no match for a chopper’s dentures. 

Nantucket Fishing Report

While everyone else around the Cape and Vineyard can only wait and hope for the first funny fish arrivals, Austin Conroy at Nantucket Tackle Center said there are bonito on both sides of the island, including around Great Point and off of Smith’s Point at the Bonito Bar. Trolling is definitely the way to go, with Austin saying the trips he has made to the Bar have produced around a half dozen on Yo-zuri Deep Diving Crystal Minnows. There are bluefish at Great Point as well, while shore anglers are catching blues and a few small bass at Quidnet on metal jigs, especially longer, thinner profiles that match sand eels. As the bonito fill in, Austin pointed out that they typically move into the harbor, producing hot action around the Jetties and Brant Point. As far as bass go, it’s been a tough go close to the island, with one boat making the trip out to the Vortex, a confluence of shoals that is about 17 miles east of Great Point, where they found a good number of decent bass in the 30+-inch range casting plugs and plastics. 

Capt. Corey Gammill was good enough to take a moment to check in between his trips on Thursday and said there are still bass around, but the key is finding white water, whether from the beach or boat. Sand eel imitations are working well on everything from bass to blues to bonito, with the latter being caught at Smith’s Point and Great Point. There are also still some bluefish along the southside and the flats are still producing bass, but you have to bring your A game in terms of casting and presentation. Corey confirmed that they caught their first albie on August 1 from an undisclosed location, which is crazy early, and he hopes this is a sign of a great season to come with Fat Albert.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 29, 2022

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

When all I can gather in the way of encouraging news is beach shark fishing and scattered reports of bluefish, I know we are in the depths of the summer doldrums for the casting and trolling crews. 

Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that some of his shop’s crew have taken to dunking dead eels around Menauhant and Bristol Beaches, but they have been struggling with keeping fish buttoned up; no problem with getting what are most likely brown sharks to take their baits, but keeping one on the line is another matter. They have tried all kinds of rigging, including Christian giving them a lesson in bridling, but so far all they managed is frustration, something he is confident they will change soon. Christian did say that when he was driving into work earlier this week, he saw someone hooked up inside one of the salt ponds; I was surprised to hear that this was about 7:30 AM since I assume that with this heat wave, once the sun is up the fish are down and out for the day along the southside shoreline. Shows what I know, doesn’t it? 

Overall, however, Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle said that beach fishing in the Falmouth and Mashpee areas has slowed way down. If you were to go – and a good part of the enjoyment inherent in fishing is just being out there – he recommended chunk baits as the way to go and the darker hours as the best time to employ them; mackerel and squid are most popular, but if you can get your hands on some fresh or recently frozen pogies, then you might have an ace in the hole. South Cape Beach and Popponesset were two areas mentioned when it comes to chunking for blues. A great deal of the southside is known for being sandy, shallow, and rather featureless, but as Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis pointed out, there are areas with deeper drop-offs and holes, as well as entrance channels and sections of rocky structure where bass can be found at night. Obviously, this is not the time for ripping poppers across the surface, with slow bouncing soft plastics like the Hogy Original 10-inch one way to go, along with crawling wooden metal lip swimmers or one of the many Finnish-style swimmers another. Live eels are tough to beat, too – there, I had to say it!

Andy has typically mentioned Craigville Beach as a popular beach sharking location, but he added that a nice fish was caught at Kalmus Beach this week as well. The really cool thing about beach fishing is hooking into that one surprise catch – and it only takes one, as Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis noted. For example, a couple of kids who come into her shop were fishing Dowses recently and catching scup and northern kingfish, which along with sea robins are your typical height-of-summer catches, especially during the daytime and when using squid. But one of them managed to hook into something much larger, which ultimately turned out to be a 22-inch fluke, a great catch whether from boat or beach.

Sharking is the big story as we continue east, with Mike O’Harra hearing of browns and the occasional sandbar from West Dennis Beach, as well as beaches down Harwich and Chatham way; Mike emphasized that these can be really big fish – well over 100-pounds – and require stout tackle and hooks rigged on heavy wire – typically cable – leaders. One mistake folks make is assuming that sharks will eat anything and, in fact, prefer smelly, even rotten bait. Nothing could be further from the truth, advised Amy Wrightson. If you are going to use chunks of bluefish or pogy (menhaden or bunker, for those of you who hail from regions elsewhere), then get the freshest you can since they provide the best scent trail that only the juices from the best bait can produce. And if you opt to go with what is the number one bait mentioned by beach sharkers – the dead eel – then don’t ask for the ones that have died in the tank and developed a serious case of rigor mortis. Any serious bass angler who uses rigged eels or skins his or her own eels would never use them and nor should you. On the other hand, if a shop freezes eels that die – and conscientious ones like Amy’s look to make sure the eyes are still clear before opting to bag them up and put them in the deep freeze – they will work just fine. And, I suppose, there are sharkers who prefer to “whack” their own snakes before feeding them to Bruce’s smaller, but no less impressive, cousins.

As far as boaters go, it certainly looks like this is bluefish time, with a side of fluke and perhaps even some scup. Horseshoe Shoal is one area mentioned by multiple shops if you are looking to get into some blues, which have been smaller lately, with the bigger double-digit critters apparently having moved out towards Monomoy and Nantucket. Although bluefish are known to tolerate warmer water than striped bass, even they will often be found in the deeper water areas of the shoals, with jigging wire often out producing trolling swimmers right up on the shallower areas. Nobody really had encouraging news about bigger bass in the sounds, whether it was jigging wire on the shoals or the holes and humps that characterize Vineyard Sound the closer you get to Menemsha and Gay Head. 

I spoke to a couple of commercial flukers and they said the fishing has been OK, with one noting that it hasn’t been as good as last year and the other emphasizing that he is catching a few more selects (two to three-pound fish) and even the occasional jumbo (four-pounds and up). The deeper water around the north shore of the Vineyard has often been mentioned as an area that holds larger fluke, but strong currents in this area make heavier jigs and sinkers a necessity. Evan Eastman said that the far western end of Middle Ground is still fishing well, while both Lucas Shoal and Hedge Fence have been just OK, with lots and lots of throwbacks. Oh, and Evan added that MG holding some bluefish and small bass, especially in the early morning and evening if that time of day coincides with incoming water. 

Although I would not pass up a nice fried scup dinner, they do drive tube-and-wormers crazy since they are bait stealers of the highest order. On the other hand, there are still some larger ones around, making folks who prefer groundfishing happy as the sea bass bite has slowed. Evan did say that he has spoken to one commercial sea basser who has been doing really well, but he has refused to give up his spot – as it should be. Again, deeper water at this time of year is often mentioned as a key to finding larger BSB, with humps often holding a convention of these fish.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

If there is one major thing I respect about Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that he tells it the way it is and he said the fishing around the island has been “horrible” lately due to all of this warm water. A few bass are being caught around Squibnocket and between Gay Head and Noman’s, but you have to work awfully hard for even a small fish or two, never mind anything of size. Steve added that there are bass in the ponds and harbors, but they are tough to catch. The one saving grace is that there is plenty of bait around and when this weather breaks things could get good. For the shore folks, the good news is that Chappy is now open to over sand travel, so hopefully there will be some good reports concerning bluefish from the shore, with boaters still picking up blues around Wasque and the shoals east towards Nantucket. 

Over at Larry’s in Edgartown, Sam Bell acknowledged that bass fishing has slowed around the island for both boat and shore anglers. The hardcore shore folks have been picking at some fish, including the occasional over slot striper, around Gay Head, Squibnocket, and some of the rocky structure spots on the north shore. This is strictly a night time activity, with eels preferred by some, while needlefish remain a top choice for folks who prefer to go the artificial route.  I know of one guy from the Cape who had been making the run to chunk pogies off Squibnocket, but that has died down and overall the Vineyard crowd isn’t having much better luck than folks from the Cape are having in the sounds. If there is one saving grace, there are still bluefish around Wasque, but they are now on the smaller side as opposed to the really big stuff from a couple of weeks ago. 

Evan Eastman tried the Hooter for bonito on Tuesday, but the swell made it tough to keep their fast troll swimming plugs working correctly; they did manage one bluefish and on the way back found a number of boats working over bluefish off of Cape Poge.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The folks at Nantucket Tackle Center provided the news that plenty of folks have been waiting for: bonito showed up in good numbers at the Bonito Bar. Spencer said he fished there yesterday and they caught seven bones, including the largest one he has ever seen. They trolled long billed swimming plugs that swim correctly even at higher trolling speeds until they hooked up and then they changed over to plugs of the same family, but more suited to casting with their shorter lips. There were also some bluefish mixed, but they required trolling deeper in the water column. Great Point has also seen a few bonito caught by the boat crew, but be advised that you might have to work you way through some bluefish to connect with a bone. Along the north shore, there are some blues around the 40th pole, but the south facing beaches are way too warm for any kind of consistent fishing. Some bass continue to be caught on wire off of Sankaty, but more boats are heading for shoals way to the east such as Great Round and McBlair’s.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 22, 2022

Latest Video

In our latest video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads offshore targeting bluefin tuna on spinning gear using a combination of the Hogy Harness Jigs and Hogy Charter Grade Sliders.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

After trying his tube-and-worm, Capt. Mike opted to go for what I have labeled a “smorgasbord trip,” trying out different spots and techniques in the sounds: “We punted on trolling the tubes and shot across to Lucas Shoal. We dropped some Sand Eel jigs paired with biki rigs and he 15-inch fluke bite was red hot, but since they need to be 16.5-inches to keep, we moved on.
We checked out Middle Ground and there were a handful of larger blues in the rip. We caught a few on Hogy Surface Pencils
But we still curious to find out what else was going on so we zipped over to Hedge Fence to find a full on blitz of blues crashing on juvenile squid. It was amazing. Bluefish where chasing squid around just like you would expect stripers to do in the spring. We made a short instructional bluefish video and kept a bunch for a fillet demonstration with our new knives back at the dock. My favorite fried bluefish recipe was on the menu at the Hogan household that night.”

One of many 15″ fluke caught by Capt. Mike Hogan.

Clearly, from what I gathered this week, bluefish are definitely on the menu, whether you want to catch or eat them. Ken Cirillo was grounded for last Saturday’s Rotary fishing tournament – something about his wife’s birthday and son and spouse being in town and not wanting to end up in the penalty box with his daughter, who really loves to fish – but he did file a report about Bruce Cunningham: “Bruce did fish on Horseshoe and caught a decent number of blues, mostly in the mid-eight-pound range trolling Hootchies and Rebel like lures. He said it was pretty good for most of the time they were fishing.”

Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis added that at times folks have run into some bigger blues in the 10 to 12-pound range; in those scenarios, there might not be as many fish, but bluefish of that size are a lot of fun. While trolling is fun, you can also employ this technique to locate the fish and then switch over to surface plugs like the Hogy Pencil Popper or Hogy Squid Plug and enjoy watching them display their pugnacious character. Both of these plugs feature single tail hooks that are perfect for blues which chase their prey, looking to lop off their motors – their tails – and also assist in landing and releasing these toothsome critters, especially if crush the barbs down. The body of the plug also keeps your hands away from a bluefish’s dentures, although I do have to admit that the pencil is longer and gives you just that much more separation from their jaws.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth said that Middle Ground has been holding some smaller bass, mainly on the colder, incoming tide but they are running on the smaller size and there are far more bluefish in the mix. He added that if you are determined to stick close to home and yet want to try for something larger, then jigging wire is the way to go around the rip around Nobska or L’Hommedieu/Halfway, or perhaps even vertical jigging in the deep water around the far western end of MG. Debbie and Chuck Eastman have been doing well recently fluke fishing, with Evan’s mom picking up a fish in what looked to be the five to six-pound range, again in the deep water around Middle Ground. Overall, they picked a half dozen legal fish, all released and awaiting the next boat that wants them for table fare. Given the number of fluke rigs he has been selling lately, Evan said the bite must be improving on legal fish must be improving, with Lucas Shoal also  producing more fish, but you are going to have to pick through plenty of shorts. 

The black sea bass bite is definitely slower, with folks encountering more small fish, with the exception of Kyle Rigazio who likes to fish the deeper water off the north shore of the Vineyard; this requires heavier jigs or sinkers due a combination of depth and current speed. As Evan pointed out, we’re not talking about two-ounce jigs, but more in the range of eight-ounces and even ten at times when the moon tides are running harder. Overall, the live bait bite in Vineyard Sound has slowed; a few fish are being picked over by the regulars who know the humps and holes, but even they are finding it tough at times to keep their precious baits away from the increasing numbers of big bluefish. 

As far as shore fishing goes around the beaches that front on Nantucket Sound, things are tough as this hot, steamy weather has turned local waters into a sauna. Andy Little at The Powderhorn advised that even the bluefish shore bite has died off around Oregon Beach and South Cape Beach, with your best bet for finding any sizeable bass is to fish at night using live eels or metal lip swimmers, especially around rocky structure that features deeper, stronger currents with water that is even just a couple of degrees colder. As Amy W. admitted, boats definitely have the advantage when it comes to bass and blues, with very little to reports from shore on these species; in fact, it’s been pretty much scup and northern kingfish from the beaches, with a lone sublegal fluke from Dowses getting more attention than it deserves. Of course, if you do want a challenge in the midst of the midsummer doldrums along the shoreline, then it’s all about sharks; Amy said that folks have been picking up mainly brown sharks off of Craigville and South Cape Beach. Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay also spoke highly of South Cape Beach, but he has also been getting some nice fish around Woods Hole at night. He has been catching mainly brown sharks, which can get up to 200-pounds, but there is also the occasional sand tiger in the mix and they get much bigger. 

Mouth shot of a brown shark caught by @wycegoesfishing on Instagram.

Down around the mid-Cape, the word from Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth is that sharks are also providing the best opportunity get a real tussle on your hands, with most folks limited to scup and kingfish from the beaches. West Dennis Beach is a good option for sharks close to his shop, but Lee added that the beaches more towards Harwich and Chatham also have some decent sharking. 

Capt. Charlie Richmond sent me a report about a great bluefish trip last Saturday out off of Nantucket, but I had to ask him if he saw any bass action up inside the Three Bays area of Cotuit/Osterville since I knew he leaves the dock early, but he responded by saying that there was nothing going on at 4:30 AM when he left Prince Cove and I can’t imagine that this sauna is doing anything for the backwater fishing anywhere along the southside. That is, with the possible exception of the Chatham area, where I have seen flyrodders and light tackle folks in the wee hours of the morning picking at some small bass outside of Stage Harbor and around Morris Island, Although I have been marking water temperatures up in the low to mid-70 range up inside where I launch, there is the chance that this area is feeling some influence from water coming in through the cuts to the barrier beach to the east, which is typically much colder this time of year. It’s important to note that these folks are fishing before first light.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs reported that there are still good numbers of bluefish around Chappy for the sand people, with boaters still finding some bass at Wasque amidst all of the blues. There are bass being caught on the troll from Gay Head out to Noman’s, with the key on larger fish being – you guessed it! – getting deep. Jim Young told me that Kyle Rigazio has been picking up some slot sized bass fishing pogy chunks down around Squibnocket, an area known primarily for trolling activity among the charterboats that run out of Menemsha and use smaller jigs on wire as well as Hootchies. The shore action for larger bass is definitely better at night among the rocks between Gay Head and Squibby, with a few fish coming from the north shore. The salt ponds continue to hold smaller bass, but they are really warming up, making night fishing a must. 

Pink & White Hogy Surface Pencils are a perfect “hatch matcher” for all the squid in the sounds.

Although Phil Stanton is a dedicated Woods Hole and Elizabeths guy, he switched it up last Sunday and fished the Devil’s Bridge area in 85 to 105-feet. He and his two guests were vertical jigging; one of the guys aboard was from Florida and used a flutter jig, while Phil and the other angler used traditional diamond jigs. As Phil explained, “I am a numbers guy and I keep a detailed log of what we catch and on this day, in three hours we caught 41 sea bass, six of them big, legal fish; 12 sea robins; 15 cunners or what we used to call sea perch; a ten-pound bluefish that took the jig on the drop about 30-feet down; and a 20-pound bass right on the bottom in 102-feet of water.”At this point in the season, a lot of folks are thinking about bonito, and as Steve said, “Everybody is asking and everybody is talking about them, but nobody is catching.”

For some reason, many people associate mid-July with the start of bonito season, but my experience has shown that late July into early August is a more reliable time. I guess it’s all of this warm weather and water that has people fixated on hardtails. Over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, Julian Pepper has heard rumors of a few bonito caught on the troll at the Hooter, but this area is still filled with bluefish and while that may be good for tackle shops since most of the time folks are trolling smaller, high speed swimming plugs on light leaders, it can get expensive replacing these lures. Boaters are catching plenty of bluefish around Wasque, but the bass bite for the stinkpotters has been tough.

On the other hand, shore anglers are enjoying a variety of action, staring with big bluefish around Chappy and Wasque Point, including a confirmed 15-pounder. Some bass are being caught at night around Lobsterville by flyrodders and light tackle anglers, but generally the best bet for sizeable shore bass is from Gay Head to Lobsterville, again at night on plugs and eels. There are also plenty of brown and the occasional sandbar shark caught from East Beach, both on dead eels and bluefish chunks. The fluke bite has slowed a bit this week along the northside, with any sizeable sea bass being caught more out towards Noman’s.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Capt. Corey Gammill from Bill Fisher Tackle was good enough to take a moment from his busy charter schedule and give me a call, with the biggest news being the huge number of bluefish around the island. He said the boat fishing is definitely better right now, although folks are still catching some bluefish, especially around Great Point down to Wauwinet and a variety of southside locations. There is nothing better when targeting bluefish than tossing surface plugs, something that Corey considers his bread-and-butter. He especially likes pencil poppers and typically uses attractor colors such as pink and orange; in fact, the other day he was using orange as well as white versions of the same plug and while they were both catching, the former was outfishing the latter big time. These are big bluefish, with no small ones in the picture. Boat fishing for bass is definitely better on the east side of the island down around Sankaty in the deeper, cooler water, but there are still some small bass in the shoals off Muskeget and Tuckernuck, and a few being caught inshore around Eel Point. Of course, boaters are commenting about all of the small bait piling up around Eel Point and the Bonito Bar, with everyone hoping for a stronger, more consistent bonito season after three years of disappointing returns. 

Over at the Nantucket Tackle Center, Tim Coggins said that this kind of weather dampens inshore fishing, with shore anglers concentrating on holes and other deeper water. Great Point has been perhaps the best shore spot this week, with mainly bluefish and a report of a bonito caught from the sand in this area this week as well as a few schoolies. There have also been bluefish caught from shore around Madequecham and Nobadeer, with shore bass fishing strictly a nighttime activity. Even boaters have been struggling at bit to find bass close to home in areas such as Sankaty, with the waters around Rose and Crown and over at Monomoy better bets for casting action. 

Of course, jigging wire for blues is a tradition around Nantucket and Capt. Charlie Richmond filed this report from his trip to the waters east of the island during last Saturday’s Rotary tournament: “Yesterday we had an epic bluefish trip; 50/60 bluefish on the east side, all over 10 lbs/ largest, 11.5–probably old news for you; just like the old days-take care.” Since I am not a wire line guy, I asked Charlie for some details about his set up and he obliged, including a joke about the realities of fishing for blues: “wire/lead core–4/5 oz red & pink jigs–solid six hours of doubling up-today is ‘Fix & Repair Day!’” Finally, Charlie said, “We fished in the area of the light, mostly in 20 to 30 feet of water. We took a shot out around the Old Man and Bass Rip looking for bass to no avail; the water was very warm for that area-68-69 degrees.”

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 15th, 2022

Latest Video

The schoolie size bluefin tuna bite off of Cape Cod has been one of the best we’ve seen in years! Here’s a look into our latest video, trolling for bluefin tuna just east of Chatham!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

After unsuccessfully targeting bigger bass on eels last
Sunday along the Elizabeths, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport &
Tackle in Falmouth switched over to dusk fishing at Middle Ground and
he was rewarded with non-stop action drifting Hogy Epoxy Jigs from the
smooth water into the rip. While his fishing partner was using a shrimp
variety, when Evan had his lopped off by a bluefish, he switched over to
Electric Chicken and get on catching. While much of the action at MG
and other local shoals at this point in the season is a result of big
numbers of baby squid as opposed to their mommas and poppas, sand
eels are also a huge source of food for bass and blues at Hedge Fence,
L’Hommedieu or Halfway, Succonesset, and the like. I like to use small
soft plastics, either rigged unweighted or on jigheads – weight adjusted

for depth and current speed – the aforementioned Epoxy Jigs are a
great sand eel imitation that can be fished really effectively in shallower
It’s great to see so many bass still hanging in the shoals between
Falmouth and Barnstable at this point in the season, but the word from
Morgan Dennison at The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville is that
the action is turning more and more to bluefish along the southside.
Morgan also emphasized that the average size of the choppers is also
dropping; early in the season, double digit fish weren’t that uncommon,
while now a big fish on the shoals is around six pounds or so. If you are
targeting big bluefish, I can tell you where to find them, but you will
have to check out the Monomoy and Nantucket reports.
Morgan did say that the sand people are still picking at bluefish from
South Cape Beach to Osterville, with the evening bite best, followed by
first light. A willingness to fish low light – dusk to dawn – is a key in the
summer when targeting bass from the southside beaches and
backwaters. Around Cotuit, fluke are being caught from shore, albeit
mostly sublegals, but they are a nice surprise among all of the scup, sea
robins, and kingfish.

Big daytime bass, captured by Eric Kulin.

As Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait & Tackle pointed out, the warmer
water in the salt ponds in Falmouth – and up around Buzzards Bay spots
in town as well – has made for some super picky fish. He was fishing
Great Pond recently and although they were a good number of bass
slurping bait, it was tough to get them turned on to what he was
tossing. If it had been earlier in the season, I would suspect a worm
spawn, but similar to when fish get hyper focused on worms or even a
crab hatch, if they are feeding on larger concentrations of silversides or
sand eels, it can be tough to get them to take an artificial. In those
cases, switching over to something that stands out as opposed to trying
to imitate the real thing.
Evan Eastman said that while shore anglers have been picking at some
bass along Surf Drive a night tossing eels, from Bristol Beach to

Menauhant, the emphasis has been on chunk baits for bass, as well as
shark fishing.
From Craigville to Chatham, the shark fishing is garnering more and
more attention from folks looking to test their tackle from the beach,
added Matt Cardarelli at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth.
Sand tigers and brown sharks are the species usually encountered and
they will pull like no striper you have ever caught. Dead eels are a top
bait, but fresh bluefish chunks are another great option; too many
people assume that sharks will take any old hunk of smelly, rotten bait,
but they prefer their meals fresh – and that means bloody, as well.
Wish I had better news from Bishop and Clerks and other pieces of
inshore structure from Barnstable to Harwich when it comes to bass,
but the reality is that boaters leaving from ports in these areas are
either headed east for bass down Monomoy way or south to Horseshoe
Shoal, among others, for bluefish.

Fluke Fishing Report

And the word on fluke remains depressing in Nantucket Sound, with
folks culling through a lot of small ones to get enough for dinner. Jim
Young recommended fishing deeper water that often features stronger
currents, requiring heavier jigs or sinkers to get down to where the big
summer flatties reside. The far west end of Middle Ground; the deep
edges of Halfway Shoal; the drop offs around Lucas Shoal; and the
northside of the Vineyard are spots to check out if you prefer to stay
close to home, as opposed to running to Monomoy or Nantucket.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

According to Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in
Oak Bluffs, the fishing remains quite good around the island. Shore
anglers who like to rock hop the north shore have been doing well at
night on slot sized fish, both on needlefish plugs and live eels, while the
ponds are still holding schoolies, but mainly at night or early in the
morning when the water is a bit cooler. Chappy is the place to be for
big bluefish from shore, with the sand people getting into big sharks as
well. Last weekend’s big fluke was won with an 8+-pound fish that was
caught along the northside of the island and there were good numbers
of three to four-pound fish caught in this area as well. Wasque is still
holding bass and blues and a few boats have been out trolling around
the Hooter, looking for the first bonito.
Over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, Sam Bell said there haven’t really
been any super big fish caught from the beaches, but the regulars are
doing fine on slot fish in the Gay Head and Squibnocket areas, mainly
on darker color needlefish and live eels at night. The live bait bite in the
sounds has pretty much died, with some boats picking at bass around
Squibby on the troll, while Wasque is producing more blues in the rips,
with some smaller bass in the mix. I fished there last weekend with
Michael Green and it seems that the concentrations of squid have
thinned out; we had fish blowing up on our poppers, but you had to

really move about to find the action, which died out pretty quickly in
many spots just as we thought it was going to get good.
Sea bass has slowed, with more folks moving to the waters between
Gay Head and Noman’s.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Spencer Beakey at the Nantucket Tackle Center said the
bluefish action along the southside beaches, especially on the tide
changes, has been really good; the Miacomet Rip is traditionally a good
bluefish spot and the stretch between. Nobadeer and Cisco has also
been fishing well. The bass bite is moving more off the beaches as the
water warms, with any fish coming in the dark. Great Point has good
numbers of bluefish and plenty of sharks, while the boat crew has
moved east into deeper water off Sankaty in search of bass, as well as
over to Monomoy. The fluke and sea bass bites remain very good and
folks are definitely keeping an eye out for slashing fish.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 8th, 2022

Coming Soon…

Here’s a sneak peek into Capt. Mike’s latest offshore tuna trip. Stay tuned for the full length version!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

My good friend Bob Lewis provided a perfect example of
thinking outside the box to turn a frustrating trip to Middle Ground on
Thursday into a successful one.
Now, as way of explanation, Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle
in Falmouth told me that MG and Hedge Fence have both produced
solid fishing for him, although the bass have definitely been on the
small size. Evan is a big fan of fishing these areas after work, typically in
lower light conditions and when there is less fishing pressure. He also
uses Hogy Epoxy Jigs – the shrimp colored ones – in the flat water in
front of the rip as opposed to going crazy chasing birds and breaking
fish as seems to be the choice of so many folks.
On a side note, Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs told
me that he believes the daytime boat activity at MG is definitely
spooking the fish and really what do you expect when someone runs
the boat through the rip at full speed or even better yet decides to troll
in the white water.

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing breaking on the fly rod on some slot-sized bass.

This is especially problematic on calmer, sunnier days and when the rips
aren’t set up as well do the moon phase and lack of wind; earlier this
week, when Henry Hogan and his friend Jack fished MG with me, we
had no problem getting the bass and even a few blues to take Hogy
Charter Grade Poppers, but with the wind already starting to puff and
the current pulling well, the rip was really going.
Anyway, back to Bob. What he encountered yesterday was those
sunnier, calmer conditions; when we talked, he noted that the rip was
going OK and there were definitely fish there, but he couldn’t get them
really interested in topwater plugs as they wouldn’t even swirl on them
nor were they taking his big squid flies that he likes to drop back into
the white water on lead core outfits. I always carry a couple of
ultralight outfits with super small jigheads adorned with Hogy Sand Eels
to target fish during the slower periods of the current, including slack
water, but when Bob said the rip was going pretty well, I suspected that
he needed to go small.

And I mean baby squid small, but since he didn’t have any soft plastics
in the three to four-inch range, he did the next best thing: he took
scissors and did his best Vidal Sassoon imitation on his light pink 10-
inch squid flies, trimming them down to around three-inches. As he
said, “We had a great morning” once they did.
I know it sounds blasphemous, but if all I was carrying were Hogy
Originals in 7 or 10-inch sizes and I needed to go small and unweighted,
I would consider breaking out the scissors, although I don’t know how
good I would be at sculpting a split tail like so many small soft plastics
feature or even get the right taper on an eel style tail.
Topwater fishing with unweighted soft plastics and plugs is fun, but
Evan reminded me that most of the larger bass coming from the shoals
are coming on wire line as the fish seek cooler water.
Succonesset is turning into more of a bluefish location, with Ken Cirillo
picking up some decent sized fish there on his last trip, but no bass to
speak of, while Horseshoe Shoal is once again popular with the trolling
crew who find Hoochies a good option.
Meanwhile Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis pointed to a real
slowdown in the early morning topwater plug bite, with trolling the
deeper water around this area the way to go.
Andy also emphasized that there are stripers, mainly schoolies, up
inside the salt ponds, bays, and harbors from Falmouth to Hyannis, but
you have to get up and be on the water before first light to take part.
Small topwater plugs and soft plastics are effective and flyrodders can
have a blast with poppers and Gurglers.
There are plenty of scup and even some northern kingfish for both
shore and boat anglers, explained Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in
Hyannis, but overall the fluke bite locally in the sounds has been
disappointing. You are going to have to pick through way too many
shorts to even get one legal fish.

Chip Rich caught this healthy slot-sized fish earlier this week!

Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle on the Vineyard did say that some folks have
been out scouting for larger fluke in preparation for this week’s big
fluke tournament on the island, with an 8-pounder weighed in from

Vineyard Sound, with the waters out around Muskeget Channel also of
interest. We’re talking deep water up to 100-feet, meaning heavier jigs
and bigger baits.
It’s definitely time for shore anglers seeking bigger bass to forget the
daylight hours and switch over to eels; larger, darker soft plastics; or
even waking style metal lip plugs at night.
On the other hand, there are still bluefish being caught from South
Cape Beach and Oregon Beach, and while spots such as Menauhant and
Craigville are popular for the beach shark crew who want to tangle with
the strongest fish you are going to find along our south facing beaches,
the good folks at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said this
activity is also popular down their way, including at West Dennis Beach.
This is definitely a night activity requiring stout tackle, wire or cable
rigged hooks, and either big, dead eels or bloody/oily bluefish or pogy

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The word from Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle
in Oak Bluffs said that the fishing in the rips has been very hit-or-miss,
with mainly bass in the 20 to 26-inch range and some larger bluefish
mixed in. Middle Ground is a parking lot on the weekends and Hedge
Fence can be tough as you have a mix of folks casting and trolling for
bass and blues, along with some boats drifting for fluke and sea bass.
It’s cookie cutter bass at Wasque, but you can pick through smaller
stripers to get a few in the slot, as Laurie and Fred Thwaites, along with
their good friend Sandy Reid, did on the Fourth. Poppers and pink
Hogy Originals on the spin and a variety of squid patters on the fly did the trick.
Doug said that Chappy has had some bluefish, especially around
Wasque Point, for the shore anglers, but it’s often a matter of spending
all day there for a half hour of action.
There are also some concentrations of bass – and some bigger ones, at
that – around Second Bridge and they have been there for a good
while, slurping small bait typically in the early morning, but getting
them to eat on your terms is almost impossible, Doug said. Every once
in a while, they put on the feed bag and you can only hope that you are
there when they do.
Sam Bell over at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown said that the fishing for
larger bass from the beaches has been the best it has been for several
years; he picked up a 45-inch fish on a needlefish fishing the rocks on
the north side of the island this week. The bait dunking in Vineyard
Sound has slowed, but Sam spoke of a sand eel bite down Gay
Head/Devil’s Bridge way. Small, surface presentations have been

producing some nice bass, especially in the early morning. And some
double digit bluefish continue to be caught on Chappy.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center said things
have slowed a bit, with more boats concentrating on fish east of
Sankaty. There is a mix of bass and blues around the Bonito Bar. Shore
anglers are enjoying a good topwater bite along the north shore and at
Great Point, while slow rolling soft plastics at night along the south
facing beaches is effective – but don’t expect there to be a bite for
several days in one spot. As Sam explained, “The only thing that has
been consistent about where the fish are is the inconsistency.” As
seems to be the case in many locations, they are only catching big
bluefish on the island, with no small ones to speak of.
Capt. Corey Gammill at Bill Fisher Tackle said the action is so good in
the rips that he is running three trips a day. Squid imitations are the
way to go, with the Hogy Charter Grade Poppers really working well,
especially the amber version. There is a mix of bass and big bluefish
around Old Man Shoals, while a push of bigger bass has moved into the
cooler, deeper water east of the island and the southside is filling in
with blues. Unfortunately, there is a fleet of squid boats working off the
southside of the island and who knows what that will mean since the
fish just love their calamari. Corey also reported that a bonito was
caught from the beach at Coatue.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- July 1st, 2022

Mixed Bag Fishing

With so any different fishing options in the sounds this time of year, you may find it hard to choose! Here’s a look back to some mixed bag fishing in the sounds with Capt. Mike Hogan.


Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Big bluefish and smaller bass appear to be the mix on the
shoals at the moment, especially if you insist on using surface
presentations. Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle in Falmouth
told me that on his last two trips to Middle Ground earlier this week he
encountered the most incredible bluefish action he can remember.
There were some small bass mixed in, but it was tough to target them
since bluefish are so much more aggressive. What should be noted
about Evan’s experience is that he typically fishes MG and Hedge Fence
in the evening after work and he works sections of the rip where there
are far fewer boats.

Often forgotten about, the scup fishing this time of year is tremendous!















And unlike many folks who work these shoals with topwater plugs, Evan
continues to do well with the 1.25-ounce Hogy Epoxy Jig in the shrimp
color fishing the calmer water in front of the rip. Evan is convinced this

color imitates squid, but it also has a great sand eel or other small
baitfish profile.
On Thursday as Gerry Fine and I were heading in from points unknown,
where we enjoyed great fly rod action, we stopped at Hedge Fence to
toss – what else – the Hogy Charter Grade Popper in amber and blew
up a trio of small bass with no visible signs of fish. It was a matter of
targeting likely looking water where fish might be holding and swinging
the plug through it, with the fish just blasting it right as it hit the water.
From what I gather from folks like Evan and Jack Ryan at Falmouth Bait
& Tackle, it’s the same scenario at all the shoals off of Falmouth and
Mashpee, so it is possible to avoid the crowds and find your own little
piece of either heaven using either a topwater or subsurface
presentation with your favorite Hogy lures.
Folks targeting a consistent bite on larger bass on the shoals are
typically jigging wire this time of year as seek cooler water, but if you
prefer to cast your jigs, it’s tough to beat the versatility of the Hogy
Epoxy Jig. Evan said that among all the blues and smaller bass he was
into at MG, he managed to drop his HEJ below the fray and hooked up
with a big bass that managed to pull the hook.
Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said the early morning plug
bite around Bishops and Clerks continues, with a switch over to trolling
the deeper edges once the sun gets high in the sky a good way to go.
Most boats leaving from Hyannis to Harwich ports are heading to
Monomoy, but the bluefish bite is steady at Horseshoe if you prefer
some easy trolling or casting and burning less gas.
The biggest news on the shore scene is that folks are starting to target
brown sharks. Jack Ryan and his friends were doing that at Menauhant
earlier this week and while they didn’t catch any sharks, they did
managed to pick up what they estimated to be a 20+-pound bass on the
dead eel they were using to target Bruce.

An influx of bluefin have made a showing south of MV. Not a bad idea to take a trip offshore.












Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that
folks are employing both dead eels and chunk baits in hopes of hooking
up with what is no doubt the toughest fish you are going to catch from

any Cape beach. Remember this requires big tackle and heavy cable
leaders, so seek out some help if you are going to try it.
Oh, and brown – or as some folks call them, sandbar sharks – are
protected and must be released.
As for bass fishing from shore, although it was a deal eel, there is no
doubt that live eels at night or well before sunrise is the way to go all
along the southside beaches, while Andy Little said that folks are still
catching bluefish around Oregon Beach and points to the east.
You will find plenty of warmer water in the backwaters and while that
makes for good scup, sea robin, and kingfish action, explained Amy
Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis, it definitely slows the striper
fishing. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there; it just means that you
aren’t likely to encounter them when the sun is at high noon. I know
plenty of folks who tell me that when they are heading out at false
dawn for a run to Monomoy, they often encounter schools of happy
The black sea bass bite has definitely slowed, with the sharpies like
Adam Bancroft from Patriot Party Boats working deeper water off the
north shore of the Vineyard as well as some deep holes off the
Elizabeths. In fact, Adam took The Boat Guy crew and their families out
last Sunday and they picked up some really nice BSB, including a 21-
inch pool winner, while Dad Bancroft managed the only fluke, a solid

Capt. Mike Hogan had a great fluke trip out on the Nantucket Shoals.















Capt. Mike Hogan and the rest of the Salty Cape Crew had a succesfull ground fishing trip buzzing around through the Nantucket Shoals. Capt. Mike reported lots of 18-20″ fluke despite tough conditions. The Hogy Sand eel jig paired with the Hogy Jig + Biki rig was getting bit almost every drop.

Speaking of fluke, the fishing is abysmal in the sounds. It’s not a matter
of numbers, but size. Everyone is talking about how many fish they
have to through to get even a single legal fish. No doubt, your best bet
is fish deep and use larger baits, whether you like natural fluke
sandwiches such as a combination of squid, sand eels, and perhaps
even a bluefish strip fillet or jigs tipped with big Gulp! Swimming
Mullets or Grubs.
I spoke to a commercial fluker at the Falmouth Harbor boat ramp the
other morning and he said they are catching fish that recreational

anglers can’t keep, with very few “selects” that would qualify as
recreational fish.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle
in Oak Bluffs is that the fishing remains pretty darn good on the
Vineyard. The sand-and-rock people are catching some quality bass on
needlefish and darters between Gay Head and Squibnocket at night,
while the north shore is enjoying some live eel action. Wasque is fishing
really well for the boat crowd; even though it takes a lot more gas, I
have been making the run to point south of the Vineyard and I can tell
you that although the bass are starting to run on the smaller size, there
are a ton of them and very few boats. The Hogy Charter Grade popper
in amber and albie crack has been producing epic activity, including in
the rips and in the flat water between them. There are some big
bluefish as well and it was kind of cool getting my opinion handed to
me when my friend Barney Keezell snapped on a black Super Strike
needlefish around high noon as the bluefish were chowing on sand eels
towards slack water and subsequently hooked up.
Steve did say that the live bait bite in Vineyard Sound has been better
than it had been the last few years, with the recremercial crew working
the humps and holes with live bait, including pogies, scup, and eels. He
did say they aren’t the huge fish they are catching up in Cape Cod Bay,
but there decent numbers of 35-and-up inch fish to make selling fish

Ian Devlin putting his clients on some fly rod bass.













There are still schoolies in the ponds, but you have to either get up
early or visit in the dusk/night as the water is starting to really warm.
Meanwhile, Peter Slikowski at Larry’s in Edgartown noted that
flyrodders have been doing well using sand eel patterns at night around
Lobsterville and Dogfish Bar; they’re picking up mainly schoolies, but
there is also a solid pick of slot sized fish. Bluefishing is very good down
around Chappy and people are picking up decent numbers of fluke

along the north shore from Cedar Tree Neck to the Brickyard, but they
are mostly on the small side.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Over on the Grey Lady, Sam Brandt at the Nantucket
Tackle Center reported good topwater bluefish action from beach and
boat around the 40 th Pole. Great Point is starting to produce sand bar
sharks on baits such a dead eels and chunk baits, the bloodier and oilier
the better. A mix of bass and blues is keeping boat anglers busy on the
shoals south of Tuckernuck and Muskeget on everything from topwater
plugs to soft plastics, as well as wire line jigging parachute jigs. The
black sea bass and fluke bite southeast of the of the island remains
steady, although there has been some scuttlebutt that the number of
really big fish is down from previous years.

John Burns with a double header fluke on the Hogy Jig + Biki rig.














Along the southside beaches, there has been some action at dusk using
pencil poppers, but it might be a good idea to pass on soft plastics since
there are more bluefish than bass on most days. Low-and-slow at night
with Finnish style minnows has been producing some larger bass
among the legions of schoolies; dark colors are best, whether black,
blurple, and or even dark green.
The flats around Tuckernuck are still fishing really well as the bass
haven’t gotten finicky due to warmer water, less forage, and more
fishing pressure.

Capt. Dave’s Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report- June 24th, 2022

Jigging for Black Seabass

In this video Capt. Mike Hogan shows us one of his favorite ways for targeting BSB here on Cape Cod, using the Hogy Squinnow Jig paired with a Hogy Teaser Assist Hook


Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Fishing Report

Barry Woods texted to say that Middle Ground is the gift that keeps
on giving as he comes to the end of his stay in Falmouth, although my experience
has been that the rips are holding mainly smaller bass as we start to transition
into summer and resident bass. Believe me; there is no issue with catching fish on
top with plugs and plastics, or swinging squid flies and poppers, but we got pretty
spoiled earlier this season with a preponderance of slot sized bass.
Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle noted that he is still getting reports
of larger bass, but the key is fishing deep, whether it’s jigging wire in the deep
holes off MG or around Halfway Shoal or even dropping live eels like one of his
employees did earlier this week around Hedge Fence when he marked some big
bass in the area. Unfortunately, despite hooking up a number of times, the use of
circle hooks proved to be a challenge as he struggled to get the basic technique of
just reeling as opposed to trying to set the hook.
While the bass and bluefish bite from the Falmouth shores has slowed according
to Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, with most activity occurring at
night on eels or cut bait, he did say that bluefishing has been good from South
Cape Beach and spots to the east, with enough bass in the mix taking plugs and
eels to keep things interesting. Remember that as summer approaches, there is a
definite change over from being able to catch fish in the daytime on surface lures
to fishing in the two D’s: Deep and Dark.

Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters showing his client with a 12lb doormat!

Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that folks using plugs and eels from
Cotuit to Craigville are still picking at some larger bass in the dark, targeting rocks
and other hard structure, while the schoolie bite remains consistent up inside the
Three Bays. Boater continue to find fish on plugs and jigs around Bishop’s as well.
What I can tell you is that there are monster bluefish in the rips and I can’t tell
you for the life of me where they are coming from, given all the dire news about
the species that lead to a new management plan and bag reductions. After a trip

on Monday to the Succonesset area to get some blues for the smoker for Frank C.
and his wife Sheila, I hosted Andy Bancroft and his wife Jess, along with their kids
Dylan and Lucy, for a trip to the same area the next day and we had a ball on the
orange Hogy Pencil Popper (floating model). There were stripers mixed in,
especially during the stronger stages of the tide, and what I really came to
appreciate was the length of these plugs that definitely keep your fingers away
from the impressive jaws of big blues. At one point, we were using a similar
design surface plug from another maker and It was definitely noticeable how
much closer – and perilous – it was even though it also was rigged with a single,
big Siwash hook as well.
What I enjoyed the most about these trips was how much everyone enjoyed
seeing the fish in the rips; the visuals were just incredible. It was apparent that
the heaviest feeding was on baby squid, with the adult population definitely
thinning out. On the way back in with the Bancroft’s, we were mesmerized by
bluefish just lazing on the surface almost all the way back to Falmouth, perhaps
just digesting their meals as the tide slacked.
Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that the bass and
bluefish action from the beaches and in the rivers down his way remains steady,
albeit with the aforementioned need to fish early or late as opposed to right in
the middle of the day. Plug fishing is still productive, but some folks are definitely
transitioning over to bait.

Riptide Charters finding big schools of daytime bass.

Christian Giardini said that folks are picking at fluke, but the throwback to take
home ratio is definitely tilted to the former; the draggers have been out pretty
much every day which can’t be good for recreational anglers looking for summer
flatties. You definitely want to consider checking out deeper holes down off the
Elizabeths, but if you prefer to make nice quiet drifts over your favorite shoal,
don’t be surprised if you get bit – and perhaps even by a bigger fish – as you
transition into deeper water.


The word from Matt Cody at North Chatham Outfitters is that there
has been a slight change to the bite around the shoals. Whereas the fish were
definitely spread all over the area earlier, this week folks started to notice more
consistent fishing in the waters to the north and east of the point as opposed to
those to the south and west. This definitely could be a function of warming water
temperatures or bait availability; the concentrations of squid weren’t as heavy
Matt said, with some pogies in the mix and a move towards sand eel munching as
well. What this means is that while squid flies, plugs, and plastics remain popular,

remain flexible and match the hatch when the fish aren’t busting in the rips
because they are typically still there, but not showing. Hogy Sand Eel and Epoxy
Jigs have saved many a day for me out east when the bass aren’t busting, while I
would never visit Monomoy without Hogy Pro Tail Eels or jig-heads tipped with
Hogy seven-inch Originals or Hogy Sand Eels.
There are also big bluefish around Monomoy and for the life of me I will never
understand the disdain for these fish; I can tell you that I have exhausted folks
after hooking-and-landing a few of these fish in the rips. They are simply
awesome, especially on surface plugs like the Hogy Pencil Popper or Hogy Squid Plug
and they are great bass plugs as well, so you aren’t limiting your chances of
catching stripers that are in the rips as well.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs reported plenty
of bluefish on Chappy, with fish reported up to 12-pounds. There are also good
numbers of bass in a variety of sizes, with reports of bigger fish from Tom Shoal to
Wasque on surface squid plugs, with Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters doing
well with the Hogy Squid plug. Steve said there are still small bass around the
inlets and in the ponds, and while the fishing might not be as crazy in areas such
as Middle Ground and Hedge Fence, it’s still very good. The diehard shore anglers
are moving around, with some good bass being caught around the rocky north
shore. While he was fishing the rocks on the northside last week, this week Sam made the
move to the southside sand beaches and managed up to a dozen bass in the 30 to
35-inch range each trip, with a couple over 36-inch in the mix. He prefers to rig his
own paddle tail shads on 1.5 to 2-ounce jigheads, but said that the Hogy Pro Tail
Paddles and Slow Tails would work just fine – as long as they are white, the only
color he uses. Sam said that a 13-pound bluefish was caught earlier this week

down around Chappy with a 15-pounder eyeballed as well, while there have been
some quick bluefish blitzes on sand eels around Lobsterville/Menemsha.

Fluke Fishing Report

As for fluke, some are being caught, but no real size to speak of.
The word from Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown is that the striper action
from boat and shore is pretty good. The selling crew has been picking at some
nice fish using live bait in Vineyard Sound, making sure to get them deep.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Austin Conroy at Nantucket Tackle Center said there was definitely a
change on the island; whereas last week the best fishing from shore was along the
southside, this week the north shore was hotter, especially around Eel Point, the
40th Pole, and Dionis. The fish were feeding heavily in these areas on squid, with
one report of big squid flying out of the water down around Eel Point. His favorite
plug colors are orange and red head/white body – or traditional squid imitations.
Up inside the harbor, flyrodders are doing well on bass around Pocomo Point and
the creeks, as well as near the yacht basin; silverside and squid patters are good
choices, although Austin advised that you need to carry crab imitations as well –
and you should never go near the Tuckernuck flats without some. The rips around
Miacomet, Muskeget, and Tuckernuck are also fishing well, with good numbers of
bass in all size classes, while the bluefish action is heating up as well.

Capt. Dave’s 6/17/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Filmed Last Monday!

In this video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads out to the rips off of Monomoy targeting striped bass. Hogy Poppers in translucent pink and amber color were the ticket to success in imitating the squid these bass were feeding on!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

The most interesting piece of information I gathered this
week came courtesy of Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown.
With commercial bass season slated to open Monday, for the first time
in a number of years, folks familiar with the structure in Vineyard
Sound have been catching big fish well over the 35-inch sellable limit.
Pogies, eels, and scup have all been effective.
As far as the shoals go, everyone I spoke to said that the fishing has
been off the charts, although Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport &
Tackle in Falmouth said that over the last week or so he has noticed a
change from pretty much every bass being in the slot range to more
sublegal fish around Middle Ground and Hedge Fence.
Last Saturday, Middle Ground was absolutely stupid, with big bluefish
filling the rip around slack water and into the early stages of the tide
before the bass moved in in full force and the fishing remained fairly
consistent. I did notice less big squid as this week progressed, with
more what are clearly young-of-the-year squid flying out the water,
requiring the use of smaller plugs, plastics, and flies. Last weekend, big
gaudy squid flies worked well, but as of Thursday we had switched over
to smaller tan, light pink, and even white flies, as well as small Gurglers
that it was hard to imagine a bass could pick out.

Pink Hogy Poppers are a perfect squid imitation.

When it comes to plug fishing a rip, it’s tempting to keep using the
same option since it has worked before, but at times we watched as

fish just followed a plug that had been drawing serious competition and
acrobatics, as well as impressive takes, just a day or even a tide before.
Change color, change size, and above all else change your retrieve,
sometimes just letting your lure ride the edge of the rip as it swings in
the current, as opposed to retrieving it right back to the boat.
Bob Lewis managed to get in some fishing time on his own and “had a
good morning at Eldridge on Sunday…one blue and mostly bass on the
splayed squid Gurgler in both orange and pink
We also had a good trip plugging the rocks at Bishops on Ken Cirillo’s
boat on Saturday…bass up to 32-33′ all on top…also we were
surrounded by hundreds of bass at one stage in the tide, but they
wouldn’t eat…finning around like redfish” I talked with Bob about this
situation and we reminded by what Bruce Miller said about fish
needing time to digest, especially around slack tide; when Ii asked
whether he thought the fish might be feeding on krill or some sort of
hatch, he told me there were no signs of the fish feeding.”
Bob concluded his report by noting that Colin, his daughter Caroline’s
boyfriend, did well on Tuesday evening at Succonesset with both bass
and blues, fishing a topwater bite with a spook style plug.
Overall, the bluefishing is very good from Mashpee to Osterville,
reported Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis and you don’t
have to travel very far to get into them. In fact, shore anglers are
picking up a good number of fish from Oregon Beach to Dowses, while
West Dennis Beach to Harwich has been good for shore casters
targeting blues.
That said, Jack Pinard was out with Capt. Mike on Monday for their
weekly video shoot and emailed “On our way back to Falmouth Capt.
Mike made the decision to make a quick stop at Horseshoe to try and
get some blues on the Hogy Surface Pencil. Our videographer, Matt
Rissel, launched the drone and with an aerial view spotted a wolf pack
of blues cruising the rips. We swung plugs right to where they were
cruising and instantly got attacked by multiple fish fighting over the
plug, landing a couple before making our way home.”

According to Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, the night bite
for larger bass remains steady along the southside shoreline from
Osterville to Craigville; big wooden metal lip swimmers, large darker
colored soft plastics, and eels have been the ticket.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t still some quality fish up
inside the backwaters, with Amy W. telling of a 33-inch bass caught by
12-year old Jack D. at night on an artificial lure up inside the Three Bays
Overall, the water remains a bit cooler than usual in the protected bays
and harbors, making for some good schoolie action, while Amy added
that among all of the scup being caught by shore anglers, there are also
good numbers of northern kingfish in the mix.
Finally, the sea bass bite is solid, if not spectacular; Capt. Warren
Marshall took out members of his family on Monday and after
everyone picked up some stripers at Middle Ground, they hit
Succonesset and managed five nice sea bass in the 20-inch range, along
with a good number of throwbacks.
And on his last trip Jim Young picked up four nice sea bass and two 18-
inch fluke at Halfway Shoal, a spot that is favored by the charter crew
out of Falmouth for wire line jigging, although the topwater bite there
has been good as well.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Sam Bell at Larry’s Tackle Shop in Edgartown told
me that the beach fishing has picked up over the last week or so; in

fact, he has been picking up some nice bass fishing at night along the
shoreline fronting Vineyard Sound. He had one recent trip where he
managed fish of 40, 38, and 36-inches, while his buddy fishing nearby
had a 42. Sam is a big fan of needlefish lures, including Super Strike and
custom wood versions that can sometimes be tough to get. He favors
sand eel colorations such as Block Island green and natural.
Down around Wasque, there are plenty of big blues and Capt. Mike has
heard from at least one Hogy Pro Staffer that the rips are filled with big
bass chasing squid. Given my experiences with the Hogy Charter Grade
poppers, I wouldn’t go there without a wide selection of the Hogy
Charter Grade poppers in translucent amber and pink, along with some
Hogy Pencils in bright squid colors as well. I can’t tell you how many
times I have had fish keyed in on one color and then it goes quiet, only
to have the action resume with a change in hue. I don’t know what it is,
but as my friend Bob Lewis has said on more than one occasion, “ Don’t
think; just fish.”

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters found some gator blues earlier this week!

Shore anglers are doing well at Wasque using surface plugs for bluefish,
but there are typically bass in the white water close to shore, making
plugs the fish well in strong currents such as darters a good choice,
although you would be hard pressed to find something more effective
than a jighead/soft plastic combination or internally weighted soft
plastic, like the Hogy Protail Eels, or even a classic bucktail jig with a
soft plastic teaser.
The fluke fishing has been OK, with legal fish in the 18-inch range
around Hawses, Sam added, although the doormat bite out Nantucket
way seems to be drawing more and more boats.

Nantucket Fishing Report

The word from Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center
is the fishing from the southside beaches is spectacular; pencil poppers
in orange, pink, and red have been the ticket with huge numbers of
squid feeding on silversides. Most of the bass are in the slot, with the
occasional 40+-inch fish and a limited number of schoolies. The

northside shoreline is also fishing OK, with mainly smaller fish,
especially around Eel Point and the 40 th Pole.
Boaters are doing great on the shoals off of Tuckernuck and Muskeget,
again on bass pushing squid, while the flats around Tuckernuck are
fishing really well, too. Typically, this sight fishing game is associated
with flyrodding, but Sam noted that spin anglers slow rolling and
twitching unweighted soft plastics can get in the game when the fish
are focused on sand eels. Translucent amber is a good color at times,
but Sam pointed out that the best option is using super small, say three
inch or so, stickbait soft plastics in sand eel or pearl colorations.
As with fishing for bass on the flats pretty much everywhere, once they
became crab oriented, the flyrodders have the advantage because they
can put weighted variations right on the bottom where the stripers are
focused. In fact, I can always remember Capt.’s Jeff and Lynne Heyer,
who specialize in fly fishing the flats of Nantucket, emphasizing that you
can’t go wrong with the Capt. Crabby pattern.
Bluefish action for the boats is good and less so at the moment for the
beach crew, although there are some mixed in with the bass along the
southside and up around Great Point.
Last weekend, Capt. Charlie Richmond filed this report on his trip to the
rips off Nantucket: “I fished Nantucket (Sankaty) last Saturday with Rich
Haskell and Dave Rose. We had a good day with 30+ bass (mostly slot
fish) and more than a dozen blues averaging six to eight pounds.”
Of course, no Nantucket report would be complete without a fluke
report; while Sam mentioned Rose and Crown as well as McBlair’s as
spots where folks target big flatties, Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait &
Tackle told me that owner Christian Giardini fished Davis Shoal last
weekend well south of Nantucket and they limited out on double-digit
And Jack Pinard of Hogy Lures said, “As we were about to leave
(Monomoy), Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters pulled up
showcasing an 11.5-pound fluke his customer got in the shoals off
Nantucket. It was his first ever fluke!”

Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters with multiple door mat fluke!

Plenty of boaters out his way are continuing to target their personal
best fluke out off on Nantucket, said Matt Cody at North Chatham
Outfitters. Fish in the 10 to 11-pound class – and larger – are the goal,
with more and more headboats getting into the action. In some cases,
they are doing two day trips to the shoals, staying over night so that
folks can legally pick up two limits.
Matt said that targeting the humps where the water is between 90 and
120-feet is key; when jigging, eight ounces will generally work, but he
moves up to 10 to 12-ounces when fishing hi-lo rigs with a bank sinker.

Capt. Dave’s 6/10/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

It really is pretty remarkable how good the fishing is around all the shoals that the
sounds are famous for. For example, in spots such as Middle Ground, where you often had to
concentrate on certain points and bowls to find the most consistent action, I had my charters
tossing the amber Charter Grade Poppers in spots up and down the rip and from end to end
and the bass were all over them. We even played with using a single inline hook on the belly
with a flag on the tail and once folks go the hang of it, they were hooked up just as frequently
as when they were using a plug with a single belly treble.
One of the challenges with fishing MG, especially from mid dropping tide on is that there is a
ton of weed that will foul a plug big time; when that happens, I simply switch over to a
Hogy Original (seven or ten inch) rigged weedless.
Rory Edwards from Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that he fished MG on Monday and that there
were squid jumping out of the water all over the place, with bass up into the slot in hot pursuit,
making for great visuals. We also witnessed bass pushing pogies out of the water there this
Now, one of the keys to becoming an effective angler – or anything in life for that matter – is to
learn to adjust to challenges and Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth
provided a perfect example this week. He told me that he was having difficulty with his
shoulder, making casting and working topwater plugs a challenge, so he has switched over to
the 1.25-ounce Hogy Epoxy Jig in the shrimp color and been doing well at Middle Ground and
other shoals, including Hedge Fence and Nobska.

Capt. Mike Hogan found acres of bass feeding on small bait in the sounds earlier this week.

Evan believes that color does a great job of imitating squid coloration, as well as sand eels,
which some folks forget about when fishing the shoals. If you pay attention to when a rip
caused by sandy structure starts to die, you will often see a change from gulls to terns working
the area. The reason is that the smaller seabirds are working on sand eels that come out during
the slower stages of the tide, even at slack water. Just a week ago, I was fishing with Davis and
Robert Yetman and arrived around slack tide at a local shoal; there was nobody else there,
although I can assure you that the place had been filled end-for-end with boats just a short
while ago. We opted for what I call my “fly rod for non-flyrodders” spin outfits: ultralight spin
sticks and reels loaded with eight-pound test line with 12-pound fluorocarbon leaders that are
perfect for tossing Hogy Sand Eels on super light jigheads. There are generally smaller bass
around chowing on sand eels, but you never know when something bigger will come along. You
can drift right across the shoals, quartering your casts so that they drift from deep to shallow to
deep again. After catching enough bass on topwater plugs once the rip got going, we even used
the same outfits during the stronger stages of the tide and the bass willingly grabbed out
jighead/plastics combinations.
Lots of other shoal tales came in this week, including Bob Lewis enjoying some time to fish
himself and finding squid spraying and bass hounding in the waters around Eldridge Shoal,
while Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis said the fishing at Succonesset and Wreck
Shoals, which are really part of a series of rips that include where Bob was, has been really good
on everything from surface plugs to soft plastics and squid flies. In fact, Bob sent me a photo of
a bright orange Gurgler style squid that the bass just loved.
Bishop and Clerks is holding plenty of fish, although it is more of a trolling location, but some
folks do well tossing spooks and poppers there.

Capt. Diogo of Gorilla Tactics Sport Fishing putting his clients on some larger bass.

Speaking of trolling, the word from Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis is that friends
of hers caught some larger bass trolling swimmers and soft plastics around West Chop; the
deep holes in this area are known for holding bass that are of a different class than you will find
a short distance away harassing bait on the surface at Middle Ground.
That said, Evan confirmed that folks jigging wire around MG have picked up some larger bass in
the deeper water, another example of how big fish are often best sought in deeper water. He
added that bass up to 40-pounds have been caught off of Nobska on wire and
L’Hommedieu. Haflway is filled with bass.
Both shore and boat anglers are enjoying good action on bluefish from South Cape Beach to
Osterville, according to Amy Wrightson; there is no need to make a long run to summer spots
such as Horseshoe Shoal, although a friend of hers fished there earlier this week and managed
a nine-pound chopper.
Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth said that the bluefishing from shore,
especially around West Dennis Beach, has improved, with plenty of bass in the rivers as well,
from Yarmouth to Harwich.
Rory Edwards said that there hasn’t been as much action on big bass from shore in the
Falmouth and Mashpee area; earlier on, they were doing well on bass up to 30-pounds using
big wooden metal lip swimmers, but generally the southside bite has consisted of schoolies up
inside – unless you find a school of pogies, in which case a big bass or two might be shadowing
them, making them good targets for a wounded pogy imitation or perhaps even a snag-and-

drop presentation – although remember that by law you have to transfer the bait to a circle
hook, unlike the old days when people just let them swim on the snag hook.
Perhaps we are already seeing some movement of larger bass from west to east, although the
water is still plenty cold and there doesn’t seem to be a lack of food, as Andy Little said friends
of his continue to pick up larger bass from the front beaches at night.
No word recently from any of the shops of worm events, but that probably is a result of the
crappy weather this week; next week looks like light winds and sunny warmer weather if that is
a hint.


The black sea bass bite on the wrecks has slowed a bit, but Rory Edwards shared Christian
Giardini’s belief that the fish, especially the larger males show up there first and then they,
along with the spawned out females move into their deeper holes at this point in the season,
making a gift of productive numbers from a friend a really nice gesture.
I spoke to a couple of rod-and-reel commercial flukers this week and they said things have
picked up after a slow start. One said his first day produced only 65-pounds, but his last three
trips were between 100 and 150. Remember that commercials fish on a smaller size limit, but
they told me that they have been picking up recreational sized fish in better numbers than last.
And Evan Eastman told me that his mother, Debbie, picked up a 24-inch summer flattie at
Hedge Fence, while Capt. Willy Hatch of Machaca Charters was in the shop picking up teasers in
preparation for his doormat trips out to Nantucket.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said the fishing for
bass has been good all around the island, with some bigger bass being caught from shore all
around the island while the salt ponds and harbors are filled mainly small stripers. There have
been bluefish around Chappy mixed in with bass. A few folks have started tossing eels, but
generally plugs like needlefish and darters are Vineyard staples, with each one serving a
purpose based on the type of water you are fishing, calmer for the former and rougher for the
latter. Remember, that’s only a general rule of thumb and I know of some very experienced
surfcasters who do well fishing darters on quieter, sand beaches.
Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth had an interesting Vineyard report,
courtesy of his uncle and his cousin. They have been fishing Wasque and had a banner night
this week, picking up about 50 bass up to 43-inches using the 1.25-ounce Hogy Slow Tail in
black/silver. Evan was surprised they were using such a small, light lure, but the fish are quite
often right at your feet at the point, making them quite willing to take a shorter swing with the

Nantucket Fishing Report

Definitely some bigger bass around the islands, with the Nantucket Tackle Center
posting a photo on their Facebook page of a 40-inch fish from the Harbor on a white plug.
The folks at Bill Fisher Tackle said that there have been some bluefish showing off Dionis, while
the rips to the west are seeing more bass and bluefish every day feeding on squid. That typically
means topwater plugs, along with an assortment of pink amber, or white/bone soft plastics –
unless the blues are really thick. There is some debate about where the fishing for bass is best
right now, with folks catching plenty of fish around Madaket throughout the day, while the
harbor area has been good early in the morning and again in the evening. The southside

beaches are also seeing increasing numbers of bass, with the bite, again, best in the morning
and evening. Soft plastic/jigheads in white or pearl are traditionally a good way to start along
the sand beaches, with pearl Finnish style minnow plugs very popular and productive.
Meanwhile, the Tuckernuck flats are fishing really well, with a good number of bass in the 26 to
30-inch class feeding on sand eels and crabs.

Capt. Dave’s 6/3/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

Clearly, a combination of water temperature and bait is producing
some of the best fishing imaginable on the shoals in the sounds. I don’t care
where you go, there are bass being caught, with the topwater bite absolutely off
the charts.
Now, Middle Ground will certainly garner plenty of attention and for good reason:
if there is anything such as a guarantee in fishing, it’s happening there right now.
In fact, the Hogy Charter Grade Popper in clear amber is doing something to bass
that is just incredible to see. Even if you don’t pop one and just let it drift into the
rip or even across the flat water in front, bass have been turning cartwheels trying
to get hooked. In fact, I was saying to Capt. Mike that I feel guilty because I
haven’t been using what were always my go-to Hogy lures at this time of year: the
seven and ten-inch Originals in amber. I love topwater plugs, but let’s be honest:
they aren’t the easiest item to catch fish on – especially when you have rigged
them catch-and-release style with one set of hooks.

Capt. Mike Hogan reported nonstop topwater action in Vineyard Sound.

Speaking of which, I asked the brothers Yetman, Davis and Robert, to help with an
experiment on Thursday, fishing one popper with a single set of trebles in the
head/belly position and another with a single in line hook in the same spot. Both
plugs had custom tied flags and they switched back-and-forth between the rods.

Early on, it appeared that the single in line wasn’t getting it done, but ultimately
what happened is something I have noticed on almost every one of my trips this
year tossing poppers rigged for catch-and-release, even treble rigged ones. Once
Davis and Robert got into the hang of fishing these plugs, they had no trouble
hooking fish on a regular basis and I could see that they were feeding the plug to
the fish.
What I especially appreciated was that even in those cases where a fish came to
hand with the plug sticking out of its mouth, the hooks were in the corner or on
the roof of the mouth, with the release clean and easy with the barbs bent down.
You know what would have happened if the plug was rigged with multiple sets of
hooks and protruding out like a cigar: hooking in the gut and gills, with blood
everywhere.But while MG will always garner an inordinate share of attention, there are fish
being caught everywhere and that means if you find yourself getting crowded and
a bit scratchy there, which will often happen on weekends, you can go elsewhere
and in many cases have an area all to yourself. For example, I have been stopping
at what I call the rip off Nobska, although Capt. Mike believes it is probably the far
western end of L’Hommedieu, and the fishing has been great, again mainly on the
amber Charter Grade Popper. Mark Tenerowicz and I fished there on Tuesday and
had the place to ourselves and I would say the action was as good as it was out by
the Vineyard and when the tide died, we ran across the sound.
Well, Mike had a later start on Thursday than I did and when he visited Nobska,
the tide had picked up and he found a bigger class of bass chowing down on
pogies that absolutely crushed the new seven-inch Hogy Charter Grade popper in
what he calls the translucent white color. Again, he was on these fish with pretty
much nobody else around, but when a couple of what I will generously call
“knuckleheads” showed up, he went elsewhere and caught fish.
Jim Young told me that he fished Hedge Fence earlier this week and he caught a
good number of bass using a pink, subsurface squid imitation, while Charlie
Richmond was good enough to call and report that he and Rich Haskell did well at
Bishop and Clerks jigging wire, with every one of the dozen bass they caught well
within the slot limit.

Capt. Eric Stapelfeld of Hairball Charters found some oversize bass out in the sounds this week.

If you recall, earlier I wrote “if there is anything such as a guarantee in fishing”
and I was hedging my bet for a good reason and Bob Lewis provided a perfect
example why. Two groups of his friends fished Succonesset Shoal this week and
although there were bass present, they were acting very finicky, with no hook ups
or real reactions of any kind. Ultimately, both parties left and found happy fish

elsewhere, in one case pretty close by while the other made a more substantial
move. Now, as I am often wont to do, I offered up a few thoughts on what have
been happening, including the fish might have been feeding on krill or there was a
hatch going on. In the end, Bob was his usual sensical self, suggesting that if I run
across this, then there are so many fish around that I should just go elsewhere
and find some of the many cooperative fish in the sounds.
There are some monster bluefish in the sounds, like the ones Bob and his
nephews Hunter and Austin encountered earlier this week while the rest of the
crew on board were happily catching black sea bass at Lone Rock, just one of the
many spots holding these feisty groundfish from Cotuit to Hyannis.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters found big schools of Bluefish in the Sounds.

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth has been hearing that
the shore fishing around Falmouth is slowing a bit, although there are still good
numbers of smaller bass up inside the ponds.
Meanwhile, Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that the sea bass
bite in the sounds remains really good, with many boaters doing the striper/sea
bass double: hitting the shoals to pick up some bass on plugs or plastics and then
visiting their favorite stretch of hard bottom to add some BSB to the mix.
Amy Wrightson from The Sports Port in Hyannis said that shore anglers are also
picking up blues from Cotuit to Osterville, along with a mix of bass up into the slot
limit. White surface plugs have been an excellent choice, especially when longer
casts are needed to reach the fish.
The night bite continues to be consistent in the same area, according to Andy
Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, with the main difference being that the fish
are often much larger under the cover of darkness and right in close, making
larger soft plastics an excellent choice, especially in darker colors.
The word from Sarge Bloom at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth is that
there is a mix of schoolies and slot size bass in the rivers and off the beaches,
along with bluefish for the shorebound crew. Out at the Tire Reef and the High
School Reef, the sea bass bite is excellent, along with plenty of scup.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said that the
schoolie action around the island is absolutely crazy, with smaller fish in all of the
ponds and backwaters. He has been catching pretty much any time of day without
regard for tide; just the other day he was fishing near one of the bridges on the
east side of the island and enjoyed non-stop action on surface feeding action for
close to two hours on bass up to 26-inches. Doug is a big fan of small (less than an
ounce) eel style paddletail soft plastics or small spook style topwater plugs when
fishing these smaller bass. As he added, everybody pretty much knows about the
bass in the shoals, including Middle Ground and Hedge Fence, but a few boats
have ventured out towards Tom Shoal and found some bass and blues. Wasque is
producing more bass than blues, mainly on jigs and other subsurface
presentations when the current is pulling – which it usually is at the point.
Jim Young told me that the run of big, spawning sea bass at the wrecks off Oak
Bluffs has slowed way down; there are still legal fish to be caught, but you have to
pick through more fish right now if you want to take home a limit of larger ones.

Nantucket Fishing Report

“We’ve been having a great early season,” noted Sam Brandt at
Nantucket Tackle Center. The bass and blues are filling in along the south shore,
with a good topwater bite in the morning while low and slow with soft plastics
and swimmers has been the way to go at night. The flats fishing around Eel Point,
the 40th Pole, and off Tuckernuck is really good, while there has been a good push
of bluefish around the north and east sides of the island. Up inside the harbor, the
bass bite remains very strong, both in the early morning and again in the evening.
And the rips south of Tuckernuck and Muskeget are producing some really nice
bass on topwaters, soft plastics, and flies.


Capt. Dave’s 5/27/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Filmed last Monday!

Stripers have arrived full force in the rips feeding on squid. In this video Capt. Mike shares his favorite technique using Amber Charter Grade Poppers to imitate squid for exciting topwater striper action.

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

I can tell you in one little snippet how good Middle
Ground is: Barry Wood was down from Maine on Tuesday and he called
me to say how good the fishing was there in case I was out and wasn’t
finding fish. He said the topwater activity was phenomenal, both on
spin and fly.
I shouldn’t say anything more about this shoal as it will only get more
and more attention as the word gets out, but Capt. Mike and I spoke on
Monday and he had fished MG on Monday out of his new Contender,
while Hogy Pro Capt. Cullen Lundholm fished nearby, and they had non-
stop action on the amber Charter Grade Popper. Most of the fish were,
again, in the just below to just into the slot, although Cullen’s crew
managed a bigger fish in the mid-30-inch range.
By Wednesday when I decided to give MG a shot, we were one of three
boats there just as the sun came up and the fishing was insane, but by
late morning after the tide turned, the boat numbers increased
exponentially and it was back to the dance, with multiple boats
jockeying for position and people drifting into where others were
casting, mainly because everyone on board wanted to fish as opposed
to keeping someone at the helm.

Oh, well, that means it’s going to become more important to get to a
popular location early and then leave when things get crazy or perhaps

even later in the afternoon or evening when folks are back at the dock
celebrating their day on the water.

Capt. Mike Hogan with a chunky striper that crushed a Hogy Charter Grade Popper in amber.

Then again, another option is to check out the numerous other shoals
in the sounds; for example, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth

and his friend went out with Chuck, the patriarch of
the Eastman clan, for a hour or so earlier this week and had great
surface activity at the rip of Nobska. Now this spot is known more for
wire line jigging early in the season and then a decent fluke bite before
the draggers show up, but Evan noticed gulls working over the rip and
they caught fish on smaller walk-the-dog plugs with nobody else in
sight. That said, I did notice more boats there on Wednesday, so
perhaps the word is already out.
While topwater fishing is always fun, the reality is that when the
current gets humping, then switching over to something weighted is
the way to go, whether it is wire line jigging or tossing soft plastics on
jigheads or weighted swimbait hooks.
Getting back to plugging, shore anglers are getting into the action using
pencil poppers and WTD plugs; one of Evan’s employees was casting a
smaller, plastic one of the latter under the Great Pond bridge and
picking up schoolies when he hooked something that lopped the tail
hook – and part of the tail of the plug – clean off, a confirmation of
what folks have been saying about the large bluefish that have shown
up. They have been mixed in with some bass around South Cape Beach,
but the waters down Cotuit and Osterville way seem to be holding the
greatest number at the moment. They are also mixing in with the bass
in the shoals.
From Yarmouth to Harwich, there are more slot sized bass showing up,
confirmed Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait & Tackle in South Yarmouth,
both from the beaches on the sound shoreline and back inside the
That seems to be the general story, schoolies and slot sized bass for the
sand-and-rock people, but Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis
had work of an estimated 50-pounder caught by a shore angler in the

Falmouth area who was fishing dead eels near the bottom. Andy saw
the photo of it and it was massive; apparently, some other
exceptionally large fish have been caught from shore by folks dragging
large soft plastics along the bottom and using black, blurple, or other
dark colored Danny plugs – with all of this big fish activity happening in
the darkness.

Ground Fishing Report:

Last Sunday, Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle planned to
hit some of his sea bass spots, but boat issues left him working a stretch
of broken bottom in the sounds where he said there shouldn’t have
been fish, but within a couple of hours they limited out on fish between
18 and 23-inches, with no spawning females kept. Christian is a big fan
of the jighead/scented soft plastic grub combination; when the subject
of color came up, he listed green, pink, glow, and white in that order.
Also, when it comes to weight of your jigs and depth of water, a two to
three-ounce should suffice in 30-foot or so, while if you are fishing in
80-feet, as they were, then upping to four-ounces when using braid or
even six-ounces or more if you are using mono.
Along with the BSB, the scup fishing on jumbos is very good, explained
Capt Willy Hatch of Machaca Charters, who sails from Falmouth Harbor,
but also picks up parties on the Vineyard. Willy has also been doing
really well on combination striper/sea bass trips.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

The black sea bass season is off to a strong start
around the Port Hunter and other wrecks off the Vineyard, noted Steve
Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs. As far as stripers go, there
are plenty of schoolies in all of the ponds, with some slot fish mixed in;
both unweighted soft plastics and topwater plugs are working, while
down Wasque Point way bucktails and weighted soft plastics are
preferred when it comes to picking at the bass there. Steve has not,
however, heard of any bluefish around Wasque from shore nor of any
boats trying the rips there as well. As far as squid goes, Steve went out
the other night and didn’t see any in his lights – nor any small bait for
that matter.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Timothy Coggins at The Nantucket Center confirmed that
the bass have shown along the southside beaches, with smaller jighead
mounted soft plastics being used by the hardcore surfcasters who seem
to be the only ones fishing these sandy stretches of beach. As he
explained, distance is not critical as the fish are holding close to the
beach, so lighter jigs work just fine. Some slot sized fished are being
caught up inside Nantucket and Madaket Harbors, especially in the
morning on topwater plugs and unweighted soft plastics. No bluefish
have been reported and the waters around the east side of the island
are still too cold even for bass, although the boaters who have been
fishing for black sea bass have spots out that way, as well as north, but
they keep those numbers “close to the vest,” as Timothy explained. The
fluke bite hasn’t started either, but he anticipates that within a week or
two they will begin to show.

Capt. Dave’s 5/19/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Fishing the Rips

Middleground is a great spot to target striped bass in the rips!


Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

I wasn’t sure where to start this
report, but I elected to go with fish being caught rather than an
observation and a question.
Let’s start with worm hatches – or spawning activity to be more
precise. Bob Lewis personally fished a number in the Cotuit area
starting last weekend and extending into this week. Last weekend, at
the point where he found the worms and fish, the scenario was one
anglers dread: way too many worms to get the fish to really
concentrates on your artificial, which for Bob, as a flyrodder, was an
assortment of bugs that he ties himself. He did catch fish, but not as
many as one would hope given the number of stripers slurping and
Then on Monday, Bob’s good friend Ken Cirillo called to say he had just
finished fishing a worm event from shore and did very well, with his
best fish a 32-incher. Ken is a spin angler, so he fished one of Bob’s flies
behind a casting bubble.
The next two nights, Bob fished the same waters and experienced the
same great action, mainly because there were fewer worms and the
fish were more willing to eat artificials. Bob was joined by his daughter
Lindsay, who picked up a 30-inch bass, along with her boyfriend who
has also caught the fly rod bug.
Color didn’t seem to matter, Bob said, but he is convinced that the key
is making sure your fly stays right on the surface, making a V-wake that
gets the fish’s attention – mainly because that’s what the real thing
does. His favorite pattern – at the moment – is one made of twisted
yarn; on one variety he accomplishes the surface presentation by
adding strips of foam, but on another he goes the freshwater mode and
applies fly floatant. In both cases, a floating line is a must.
One other interesting tidbit is that while Bob is a big believer in worm
spawns happening in the late afternoon and evening/nights of sunny

days, especially if there is low water, Ken was fishing in cooler, foggy
Evan from Eastman’s Sport and Tackle also reported numerous worm hatches over last
weekend in Falmouth’s salt ponds and Waquoit Bay, while Capt. Mike
heard from Capt. Shaun Ruge that he happened upon worms and bass
inside Popponesset last Sunday.
Speaking of Popponesset, Gerry Fine and I spent some time there on
Monday well up inside the bay and although we managed to pick up a
shad and a lone schoolie on the fly, we were taken to task by a
shorebound spin angler who seemed to be hooked up pretty much on
every cast. Honestly, I couldn’t tell whether he was using a soft plastic
or a surface plug, but if I had to guess, I would say the former.
When I spoke to Bruce Miller, he told me that his friend, Dave, had
done well that night in the same area and the individual I mentioned
above just might have been him. In that case, the lure was a small pogy
imitation plastic.
The highlight of our trip was running into Mark Roberts, who was
flyrodding from one of the marsh banks at the entrance to the bay. He
said that fishing has been good, with some quality bass being caught,
including some in the slot. In fact, I saw an angler who appeared to be
fishing bait heft a bass that looked to be well over the upper end of the
Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that from the Three
Bays to Hyannis, the bass fishing has been very good, mainly on
schoolies with enough slot or larger fish to keep things interesting.
It’s the same story as you continue east, noted Lee Boisvert at
Riverview Bait & Tackle, with more fish being from the open beaches
along with those up inside the rivers and bays.
How you take this news depends on how you feel about bluefish, but
Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle saw photos of a couple of
bluefish he estimated to be in the double digit pound range that were
caught earlier this week by an angler who was plugging the Oregon

Beach area for bass, while Bob Lewis spoke to Chris Gill who picked up
some choppers tossing plugs in the same area.

Capt. Dave From the Field:

Now, as far as the observation I mentioned earlier, before Gerry and I
hit Waquoit and then Popponesset, we ran across to Middle Ground
where there were terns working everywhere, picking at what must
have been small bait since you won’t see these diminutive creatures
pursuing the squid that make for so much fun in most every shoal in the
Before we left Falmouth, Gerry and I had run into Capt. Mike who was
returning from some filming and he said that the shoals he fished
seemed very slow in terms of stripers. When I found all those terns at
MG, I called him up to compare notes and he said that he had
experienced the same birdiness and it was more terns off Waquoit, at
Succonesset, and even on the shallows around Popponesset.
Speaking of Succonesset, Christian spoke to one angler who picked up a
bass or two thereabouts earlier in the weekend on soft plastics,
confirming Christian’s observation that this shoal is often the first that
sees striper activity at this time of year.
Being the nervous Nelly that I am, I expressed to Mike my concern at
not seeing any signs of squid or bass and the possibility that we might
be dealing with shoals filled with small bass feeding on what I believed
were sand eels this season. Capt. Willy Hatch believes those terns are
feeding on some kind of a krill hatch and if you have ever fished for
bass when they are on krill, the thought of that being an every day
occurrence certainly didn’t calm me down. Of course, Capt. Mike called
me off the ledge, stating that he believes the squid that we find in the
shoals from Succonesset Middle Ground and down Vineyard Sound are
a different body of squid than what is found down Hyannis way.

Squid Fishing:

Speaking of the Hyannis squid, it appears that the blow we had about a
week ago has pushed the Loligo out, perhaps south of Nantucket and
the Vineyard. With diesel prices being what they are, the inshore
draggers aren’t going to make the run to the backside of the islands, so
perhaps the fishing will be better out there this year.

Overall, Amy Wrightson said the squid fishing this spring was terrible
during the daylight hours, while at night they had some very good fishing.

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report

Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs
said that there are schoolies in pretty much all of the salt ponds around
the island, but there are no sizeable fish to speak of. Soft plastics are
definitely the way to do, with the chartreuse Hogy Pro Tail working well
recently on smaller fish for a friend of Doug’s. There have been a couple
of bluefish caught down Lobsterville way, but nothing else to speak of.
Doug knew of one boat who went trolling the waters around Hedge
Fence and Middle Ground, but came home empty. The inshore squid
fishery also seems to have died, with no boat lights showing at night off
State Beach recently.

Nantucket Fishing Report

Timothy Coggins, manager of Nantucket Tackle Center,
said there has been a decent schoolie bite around Nantucket, Polpis,
and Madaket Harbor. There have also been small bass caught from

Jetties Beach to Eel Point, but the bass action along the southside is a
couple of weeks away. No bluefish have been reported as well. Along
with soft plastics, Timothy said a good schoolie option has been the ¾-
ounce Hogy Charter Grade Popper. As for which color has been working
best, he added “match the sky,” which I am going to interpret as light
during the day and darker in low light conditions.


Capt. Dave’s 5/13/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Filmed Recently in Nantucket Sound

No Problem filling our buckets!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

It was the same news in the sounds
for Gerry and I as we checked out a number of shoals that will
eventually – hopefully – become more active in the next couple of
weeks. All we found was 49-degree water, no signs of fish or bait, and a
variety of birds flying around in search of something.
Oh, and gray seals everywhere: in Woods Hole, off Nobska, at Middle
Ground and Halfway Shoal, and even the entrance to Waquoit Bay;
Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis told me that they are being
seen up inside the Three Bays area and in greater numbers inside
Hyannis Harbor and Lewis Bay . Now, these aren’t your “cute” little
harbor seals that hang out on the rocks throughout the winter and into
the early spring until warming water temperatures and boat traffic
typically send them elsewhere. Nope, these are the critters that can be
found in ever increasing numbers on the outer Cape beaches, around
Great Point on Nantucket, as well as Muskeget and Tuckernuck Islands.
They have been implicated for years by anglers as primary culprits for
the demise of fishing on the outer Cape and for bringing increased
numbers of great white sharks into our waters since seals are one of
their favorite snacks. All I know is I am encountering them with
increased regularity in waters where I would be surprised to find even
one and can’t help wondering if increasing populations and the
resultant competition for food is causing them to become residents in
the sounds.

Cape Cod Backwater Fishing Report

As for the fishing, it’s really good in the backwaters according to
everyone I spoke to, which makes sense for two primary reasons: food
and more agreeable water temperatures. After deciding that we had
enough data in the form of colder water in the sounds and around the
Elizabeths to prove that we most likely weren’t going to find any
actively feeding bass, we headed for the upper reaches of Waquoit Bay.
Given the number of shore anglers and kayakers we encountered, most
of whom were wielding fly rods, it seemed pretty certain that fish had
been caught in this area recently. But even there, when we arrived my electronics were reading 50-degrees and everyone seemed to be
moving around in search of fish. After no fish fishing for a brief period, I
elected to move into a location away from everyone else where I had
typically found slightly warmer water. Sure enough, the gauge read 52
and Gerry started to catch fish. Coincidence? I will never say for sure,
but I have enough evidence over the years to show that even a slight
increase – or decrease in the doldrums of summer – in water temps will
trigger activity.

Rory over at Falmouth Bait And Tackle in the Teaticket section of
Falmouth, across from McDonald’s, told me that he has been doing
very well using the fly rod up inside Waquoit, news that perhaps
explained all the activity there that we saw. In fact, on Wednesday
night, he enjoyed a great trip with actively feeding bass, including some
slot fish. He was using, for the most part, a blue/white Deceiver type of
pattern, although he also mentioned having success with a brown
rabbit strip fly, perhaps one that imitated worms that inhabit the clam
flats in the area.
Speaking of clam flats, Rory added that he and his friend encountered a
worm hatch well up inside Waquoit already this year; it’s been said
many times before, but this isn’t truly a “hatch” in the traditional,
freshwater buggy sense, but rather a spawning activity, with the tail
sections of various species of worms breaking off and rising to the
surface, where they spin and release eggs and sperm, beginning the re-
establishment of their species. Waquoit contains all the elements
required for worm spawning activity, including shallow water over
darker, muddy bottom that warms more quickly and sluggish
currents/tides that keep the temps up.
In Rory’s case, he wasn’t using one of the myriad worm fly patterns that
exist, but a small baitfish imitation. I had one of my best worm hatch –
ah, spawn – trips ever using a chartreuse Deceiver when I couldn’t get
any love on all of my finely crafted worm bugs. Just something to keep
in mind.

I can’t say for sure when Rory found the worms, but I would suspect it
was before the most recent northeast blow we enjoyed, since given
what I have seen and heard, I can’t imagine water temperatures
approaching 60 degrees, which worm event aficionados such as Bob
Rifchin and Page Rogers often cite as the magic number, as Bob Lewis
reminded me. In fact, right before the gale kicked off, Rich Haskell
found a worm event up inside Cotuit and he and a friend managed to
pick up a half dozen fish apiece in water that had warmed to 60
degrees. A couple of days later, Bob went out with Rich and the water
they fished registered only the mid-50’s and not only did they not find
worms doing their spawning dance, but no bass.
With air temps predicted for this weekend in the high 60’s and even
low 70’s tomorrow, I would suspect that worm events might be a real
possibility, especially on Sunday when there is supposed to be some
sun, as opposed to the clouds and fog on Saturday. As Bob emphasized,
all of his best worm fishing trips have been on calmer, sunny days.
Along with Falmouth, which features numerous salt ponds that harbor
good early season spots, Popponesset and Cotuit have also been
enjoying good action, explained Andy Little. On Thursday, shore anglers
found schoolies throughout the Three Bays area, around Dowses, and
the Centerville River. Unfortunately, they all also discovered parking
tickets under their wipers when they returned to their vehicles.
Apparently, it wasn’t like they were taking up spots that residents
would use in local lots this time of year; in fact, they were pretty much
empty, but that didn’t make any difference to the town gendarmes.
This is becoming more of an issues as towns go to no-parking
regulations for non-residents year round, as opposed to the good old
days when regulations were relaxed from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Matt Cardarelli at Riverview Bait and Tackle in South Yarmouth said that
along with the schoolie lures that they have been selling to folks
targeting stripers in all of the rivers down his way over to Harwich, they
continue to sell good numbers of crabs, so the tautog bite must still be
pretty strong. Matt emphasized that most of the better tog spots in the

sound are to the west of their shop, particularly from the waters off
Hyannis to Osterville and Cotuit, which feature more rocky, sticky

Cape Cod Fishing Report for Scup in the Sound

Scup are being caught in increasing numbers, as well, which is not good
news for folks targeting squid. Combine that with the windy, choppy
conditions earlier this week and odds are that the squid have been
pretty much scattered, making for some tough jigging action. In fact, I
have heard of some folks booking squid trips recently and managing
single digit numbers; the saving grace has been that the ones they
caught were really large. Another sign of the slowing action are the
decreased sales of squid jigs.
And, if you’re like me and eagerly look forward to the arrival of the first
bluefish of the season, no news yet, but hopefully a shift in the wind
direction for a few days to the southwest will bring the choppers in.
Fishing Tip: It’s important to remember that fish can become lethargic
when water temperatures are at the lower range of their preferred
water temperatures, which can sometimes make the best retrieve a
slow one – or no real retrieve at all. When Gerry Fine and I fished
Waquoit, we noticed folks tossing soft plastics and flies followed by
fairly rapid retrieves; it wasn’t until we switched over to letting our
Deceiver style flies just sink through the water towards the bottom with
no or very little retrieve that we picked up fish. For spin anglers, that’s
where the Hogy Slow Tail excels as it vibrates enticingly on a very slow
retrieve or no forward movement at all.

Conservation Tip:

I wanted to say something snarky about one of the
most important conservation issues on the Cape being the protection
of shore anglers, in the wake of Andy Little’s parking ticket news, but I’ll stick to what should be the obvious. When fishing involves most
smaller, sublegal fish or you are going to intentionally practice catch-
and-release, your best option is to use single hook lures with the barbs
crushed down. And release fish while keeping them in the water,
whether from shore or boat.


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