New England Fishing Roundup: 8.1.14

New England Fishing Roundup 06.27.14

Our weekly look at the local fishing scene, from Maine to Connecticut.

By Zach Harvey

Maine

Capt. Barry Gibson of Boothbay reports that striped bass fishing has been a little slow, but charter skippers and private boaters are picking up some nice fish in the 28” to 40” range on mackerel chunks along the beaches at the mouth of the Kennebec River. Farther upriver, guides out of Bath are chipping away at legal “slot” fish in the 20” to 26” range, with seaworms and live eels the baits of choice.

The Damariscotta River is producing a few nice bass as well. Mackerel have been abundant in Boothbay Harbor, Booth Bay, and Linekin Bay, and can often be found chasing the numerous schools of sardine-size herring around the wharves and piers.

Offshore, most of the dogfish have moved off of Plattes Bank, so anglers are again getting good shots at cod, pollock to 20 pounds, haddock, and cusk. Tuna fishing on Plattes has been sporadic, but a few big fish over 73″ have been caught and brought into Boothbay.

Photo/Bass
Photo/Bass

On July 27, Saco Bay Tackle posted a report by Capt. Lou Tirado of
Diamond Pass Outfitters, who says that the local bass fishing is still very consistent, with the fish still holding strong in the river thanks to an abundance of bait (sand eels, mackerel, and river herring). First light and an outgoing tide have been the most productive so far, writes Tirado. Follow the gulls as they are picking up the river herring that the bass are driving to the surface. Topwater poppers, soft-plastics in the 6” to 9″ range (Ron-Z’s have been hot), and swimming plugs like SP Minnows are all producing.

Fishing the Saco River inlet has also been productive, with Slug-Go’s, Magic Swimmers and flies working quite well. Trolling tube-and-worms has been extremely consistent too. When the tide turns, head for the ledges and beachfronts, says Tirado. Live mackerel or eels have been the ticket in these spots. Mackerel can be caught with regularity just outside the river mouth and off Wood Island.

In Casco Bay, plenty of slot-size stripers are hitting flies and soft-plastics in the coves and around drop-offs, as well as on the mud flats.

 

Massachusetts—North Shore & Boston

Nat Moody of First Light Anglers in Rowland noted the North Shore striper fishing has definitely moved into the summer sulk mode, with most of the recent damage on bigger fish being done by those willing to log long hours between sunset and false dawn drifting live eels and other live baits for fish into the 30-pound class. For the light-tackle crew, there’s been semi-reliable bird/bait/bass activity around Salem Sound and off Swampscott in the early mornings. Though there’s still mackerel around, most of this surface activity surrounds small baitfish, calling for the use of smaller metals, flies or soft-plastics on fish that range from 18” to around 28”.

Photo/Tuna Fight
Photo/Tuna Fight

On the tuna front, there’s been a slow-and-steady pick of giants from various parts of the Gulf of Maine; what smaller fish are around—there have been scattered shots of 30- to 50-pound footballs on the prowl—have been maddeningly skittish, no surprise given this season’s wild temperature fluctuations. Moody, fishing at anchor earlier in the week, recorded a steep drop on a tide change, with surface temps plummeting from 62 degrees to a shade over 50 degrees in 20 minutes flat.

Cod results vary by location, but in general, there are loads of sublegals to contend with on Jeffreys, while Tillies and some of the deeper water east of Stellwagen out toward Wildcat Knoll continue to turn out some larger specimens.

In Boston, the great Pete Santini of Fishing Finatics reports that striper fishing in and around the Harbor has been slow but steady for those who put in their time and are willing to move around to find the fish.

 

Massachusetts—South Shore

Pete at Belsan’s Bait was quite excited about the recent blitz of better bass in the Cape Cod Canal, and noted the local fishing has picked up nicely off the Cliffs, with plenty of bait around. Unlike in a “typical” season, the bass are still on the move, apparently still in some kind of migratory pattern here on the threshold of August. On Thursday alone, Pete had weighed in 5 or 6 fish into the 30-pound range.

Cod fishing is still holding together, both locally and out east of Stellwagen in the 240’ to 280’ range. Blues are on the move in Cape Cod Bay—tricky to find and moving/feeding on no discernible pattern.

 

Massachusetts—Cape Cod

The striper action along the deeper edges of Billingsgate has been holding up well for the local charter fleet, and there are monster blues around, as well, some prowling the flats.

Photo/Cape Striper
Photo/Cape Striper

Andrea at Red Top confirmed the major blitz activity in and around the East End of the Canal, most notably on the Cape side of the Ditch, with bass from 35 to 45 pounds quite common on early-morning and night tides. Live eels, plugs like Sebile Magic Swimmers, and poppers have all taken a share of the fish over the last few days. There are blues here and there around Cape Cod Bay.

The bass fishing off P-Town has been very slow, while the fleet has gotten large and tightly grouped off Chatham, where sources say most of the heavier fish have been staying on the outside of the 3-mile “Fence”. Enforcement there has been on a rampage, busting anyone who dares to creep out into the EEZ in search of a commercial bass payday.

 

Massachusetts—SouthCoast & Martha’s Vineyard

Coop’s Bait & Tackle on the Vineyard noted the bluefish bite has been quite good most places, adding that some guys have been taking big choppers from the shore at East Beach in Chappaquiddick. Wasque also has had a mix of these bigger blues and the occasional bass.

Photo/Fluke
Photo/Fluke

The bonito action continues at a slow pick around the Hooter and off Menemsha, while the school bluefin activity fizzled right out off the backside of the Island. There was a brief white marlin bite down around the Owl earlier in the week.

The fluke and sea bass fishing remains excellent in the Sound and along the south shore.

Big bass are prowling around the Elizabeth Islands, but this is a night bite and eels are the key to success.

 

Rhode Island

Matt at Snug Harbor said the big bass parade continues off Block Island, off both the SE and SW Corners, where eelers who know how to play the tides have managed to keep the growing bluefish population down to a dull roar, and catch plenty of heavyweight bass from 25 pounds all the way up. The fluking, too, remains dramatically better off the Island’s south side than anywhere else in the shop’s range, including Sakonnet, which has been a major disappointment so far this season. Among other things, some of my sources suspect that the lack of gillnet gear off the south side has given the rod-and-reel fleet a major advantage this season.

School tuna have been most active within spitting distance of the south side of Block; guys who steamed farther south struck out, while folks working anywhere from the Mud Hole westward to the Fairway, the East Grounds, and other spots inside 30 fathoms have had regular shots at these inshore footballs. Most recent word from the canyons was that the nighttime chunk/jig bite has been about as productive as the daytime troll, and that there are some yellows anywhere from the Fishtails to West Atlantis. Of course, with the Tri-State Canyon Shootout coming up, there will likely be a whole mass of offshore intel filtering back to port over the next two weeks.

With tautog season opening this weekend, a few of my diving-oriented friends report quite a few jumbos right up in the shoreline stones, off Narragansett, Beavertail, and the Newport slate (from Castle Hill all the way around the corner). The Bay has been relatively quiet, with the exception of a few small weakfish taken near Sally Rock, and quite a few boats fluking from the bridges southward. By the sound of it, there have been good numbers of keeper slabs in the West Passage, anywhere from Fort Getty to Beavertail in the 30’ to 40’ depths, and in the East Passage from Fort Adams on down.

 

Connecticut—East

Photo/Blue Fish
Photo/Blue Fish

“Q” at River’s End said the striper activity continues at a relative crawl, with the recent action tied almost exclusively to the use of live bunker, on the local reefs and rock piles. One shop regular had what he rated a very good session of bass to around 25 pounds a couple mornings ago, but for the most part it’s been very slow going.

Bluefish are big and reasonably cooperative for guys chunking around the mouth of the Connecticut, but it has been tough out in The Race and in other traditional chopper hot spots. Then again, in the oddball season, there’s no telling what’s going to happen next.

Fluke and sea bass are still holding on the gravel bottom in 50-plus feet, but you might find some bigger slabs dragging live snapper blues around some of the shoal-water spots on unadorned drift rigs.

 

Connecticut—West

Capt. Ian at Fisherman’s World called it a pretty quiet week around the shop. There are now bunker schools up in Norwalk Harbor, along with some shots of smaller bait, including the welcome addition of some peanut bunker. Ian couldn’t speak to the presence of predators hanging with the larger bait inside, but he said one shop regular, 9-year-old Austin Getner, managed to stick a whopping 43-pound linesider chunking in the vicinity of a bait school earlier in the week.

There are still blues and the occasional keeper bass out around 11B for the folks diamond- or butterfly jigging, and fluke action is still pretty solid on both sides of the Sound.

New England Fishing Roundup 06.27.14

Our weekly look at the local fishing scene, from Maine to Connecticut.

By Zach Harvey

Maine

Capt. Barry Gibson of Boothbay reports that striped bass fishing has been a little slow, but charter skippers and private boaters are picking up some nice fish in the 28” to 40” range on mackerel chunks along the beaches at the mouth of the Kennebec River. Farther upriver, guides out of Bath are chipping away at legal “slot” fish in the 20” to 26” range, with seaworms and live eels the baits of choice.

The Damariscotta River is producing a few nice bass as well. Mackerel have been abundant in Boothbay Harbor, Booth Bay, and Linekin Bay, and can often be found chasing the numerous schools of sardine-size herring around the wharves and piers.

Offshore, most of the dogfish have moved off of Plattes Bank, so anglers are again getting good shots at cod, pollock to 20 pounds, haddock, and cusk. Tuna fishing on Plattes has been sporadic, but a few big fish over 73″ have been caught and brought into Boothbay.

Photo/Bass
Photo/Bass

On July 27, Saco Bay Tackle posted a report by Capt. Lou Tirado of
Diamond Pass Outfitters, who says that the local bass fishing is still very consistent, with the fish still holding strong in the river thanks to an abundance of bait (sand eels, mackerel, and river herring). First light and an outgoing tide have been the most productive so far, writes Tirado. Follow the gulls as they are picking up the river herring that the bass are driving to the surface. Topwater poppers, soft-plastics in the 6” to 9″ range (Ron-Z’s have been hot), and swimming plugs like SP Minnows are all producing.

Fishing the Saco River inlet has also been productive, with Slug-Go’s, Magic Swimmers and flies working quite well. Trolling tube-and-worms has been extremely consistent too. When the tide turns, head for the ledges and beachfronts, says Tirado. Live mackerel or eels have been the ticket in these spots. Mackerel can be caught with regularity just outside the river mouth and off Wood Island.

In Casco Bay, plenty of slot-size stripers are hitting flies and soft-plastics in the coves and around drop-offs, as well as on the mud flats.

 

Massachusetts—North Shore & Boston

Nat Moody of First Light Anglers in Rowland noted the North Shore striper fishing has definitely moved into the summer sulk mode, with most of the recent damage on bigger fish being done by those willing to log long hours between sunset and false dawn drifting live eels and other live baits for fish into the 30-pound class. For the light-tackle crew, there’s been semi-reliable bird/bait/bass activity around Salem Sound and off Swampscott in the early mornings. Though there’s still mackerel around, most of this surface activity surrounds small baitfish, calling for the use of smaller metals, flies or soft-plastics on fish that range from 18” to around 28”.

Photo/Tuna Fight
Photo/Tuna Fight

On the tuna front, there’s been a slow-and-steady pick of giants from various parts of the Gulf of Maine; what smaller fish are around—there have been scattered shots of 30- to 50-pound footballs on the prowl—have been maddeningly skittish, no surprise given this season’s wild temperature fluctuations. Moody, fishing at anchor earlier in the week, recorded a steep drop on a tide change, with surface temps plummeting from 62 degrees to a shade over 50 degrees in 20 minutes flat.

Cod results vary by location, but in general, there are loads of sublegals to contend with on Jeffreys, while Tillies and some of the deeper water east of Stellwagen out toward Wildcat Knoll continue to turn out some larger specimens.

In Boston, the great Pete Santini of Fishing Finatics reports that striper fishing in and around the Harbor has been slow but steady for those who put in their time and are willing to move around to find the fish.

 

Massachusetts—South Shore

Pete at Belsan’s Bait was quite excited about the recent blitz of better bass in the Cape Cod Canal, and noted the local fishing has picked up nicely off the Cliffs, with plenty of bait around. Unlike in a “typical” season, the bass are still on the move, apparently still in some kind of migratory pattern here on the threshold of August. On Thursday alone, Pete had weighed in 5 or 6 fish into the 30-pound range.

Cod fishing is still holding together, both locally and out east of Stellwagen in the 240’ to 280’ range. Blues are on the move in Cape Cod Bay—tricky to find and moving/feeding on no discernible pattern.

 

Massachusetts—Cape Cod

The striper action along the deeper edges of Billingsgate has been holding up well for the local charter fleet, and there are monster blues around, as well, some prowling the flats.

Photo/Cape Striper
Photo/Cape Striper

Andrea at Red Top confirmed the major blitz activity in and around the East End of the Canal, most notably on the Cape side of the Ditch, with bass from 35 to 45 pounds quite common on early-morning and night tides. Live eels, plugs like Sebile Magic Swimmers, and poppers have all taken a share of the fish over the last few days. There are blues here and there around Cape Cod Bay.

The bass fishing off P-Town has been very slow, while the fleet has gotten large and tightly grouped off Chatham, where sources say most of the heavier fish have been staying on the outside of the 3-mile “Fence”. Enforcement there has been on a rampage, busting anyone who dares to creep out into the EEZ in search of a commercial bass payday.

 

Massachusetts—SouthCoast & Martha’s Vineyard

Coop’s Bait & Tackle on the Vineyard noted the bluefish bite has been quite good most places, adding that some guys have been taking big choppers from the shore at East Beach in Chappaquiddick. Wasque also has had a mix of these bigger blues and the occasional bass.

Photo/Fluke
Photo/Fluke

The bonito action continues at a slow pick around the Hooter and off Menemsha, while the school bluefin activity fizzled right out off the backside of the Island. There was a brief white marlin bite down around the Owl earlier in the week.

The fluke and sea bass fishing remains excellent in the Sound and along the south shore.

Big bass are prowling around the Elizabeth Islands, but this is a night bite and eels are the key to success.

 

Rhode Island

Matt at Snug Harbor said the big bass parade continues off Block Island, off both the SE and SW Corners, where eelers who know how to play the tides have managed to keep the growing bluefish population down to a dull roar, and catch plenty of heavyweight bass from 25 pounds all the way up. The fluking, too, remains dramatically better off the Island’s south side than anywhere else in the shop’s range, including Sakonnet, which has been a major disappointment so far this season. Among other things, some of my sources suspect that the lack of gillnet gear off the south side has given the rod-and-reel fleet a major advantage this season.

School tuna have been most active within spitting distance of the south side of Block; guys who steamed farther south struck out, while folks working anywhere from the Mud Hole westward to the Fairway, the East Grounds, and other spots inside 30 fathoms have had regular shots at these inshore footballs. Most recent word from the canyons was that the nighttime chunk/jig bite has been about as productive as the daytime troll, and that there are some yellows anywhere from the Fishtails to West Atlantis. Of course, with the Tri-State Canyon Shootout coming up, there will likely be a whole mass of offshore intel filtering back to port over the next two weeks.

With tautog season opening this weekend, a few of my diving-oriented friends report quite a few jumbos right up in the shoreline stones, off Narragansett, Beavertail, and the Newport slate (from Castle Hill all the way around the corner). The Bay has been relatively quiet, with the exception of a few small weakfish taken near Sally Rock, and quite a few boats fluking from the bridges southward. By the sound of it, there have been good numbers of keeper slabs in the West Passage, anywhere from Fort Getty to Beavertail in the 30’ to 40’ depths, and in the East Passage from Fort Adams on down.

 

Connecticut—East

Photo/Blue Fish
Photo/Blue Fish

“Q” at River’s End said the striper activity continues at a relative crawl, with the recent action tied almost exclusively to the use of live bunker, on the local reefs and rock piles. One shop regular had what he rated a very good session of bass to around 25 pounds a couple mornings ago, but for the most part it’s been very slow going.

Bluefish are big and reasonably cooperative for guys chunking around the mouth of the Connecticut, but it has been tough out in The Race and in other traditional chopper hot spots. Then again, in the oddball season, there’s no telling what’s going to happen next.

Fluke and sea bass are still holding on the gravel bottom in 50-plus feet, but you might find some bigger slabs dragging live snapper blues around some of the shoal-water spots on unadorned drift rigs.

 

Connecticut—West

Capt. Ian at Fisherman’s World called it a pretty quiet week around the shop. There are now bunker schools up in Norwalk Harbor, along with some shots of smaller bait, including the welcome addition of some peanut bunker. Ian couldn’t speak to the presence of predators hanging with the larger bait inside, but he said one shop regular, 9-year-old Austin Getner, managed to stick a whopping 43-pound linesider chunking in the vicinity of a bait school earlier in the week.

There are still blues and the occasional keeper bass out around 11B for the folks diamond- or butterfly jigging, and fluke action is still pretty solid on both sides of the Sound.