New England Fishing Roundup: 8.15.14

New England Fishing Roundup 8.15.14

Our weekly look at the local fishing scene.

Massachusetts: North Shore & Boston

New England Boating Fishing Report for July 18, 2014 from the pros.Derek at First Light Anglers on Cape Ann said the striped bass activity has held together pretty well the last week or so, with schoolies and occasional keepers churning up the surface early mornings and evenings. There have also been, for the guys willing to work longer shifts after sunset and before dawn, regular windows of big-fish activity. Mackerel remains in good supply for chunkers or liveliners looking to secure a tide or two worth of raw materials, with reliable concentrations off Eastern and Halibut Points and Marblehead Rock. As for the a.m. schoolie scenario, fish between roughly 18” and 25” have been tearing up little (3” to 4”) gumdrop herring, and in turn responding well to like-sized offerings — Jumpin’ Minnows, various small poppers, and paddle-tail soft plastics, etc. Best action over the last few days has been on the flood tide. There have been some bigger fish — not monsters — hanging around Bakers and the Gooseberry taking mackerel in various incarnations (chunks, whole-dead and live-lined). Best bet for legit heavyweights of late has been the deeper water (80’ to 100’, a range that has remained mercifully dog-free so far) off Nahant and Swampscott. Fish here have ranged into the 30-pound class, and a few of the heavy hitters have been trekking down to Boston Harbor to load up on schools of full-size live pogies, then trucking them north and feeding them to the aforementioned deep-water slobs. Surf sharpies have managed some quality nighttime stripers off Cranes Beach and Plum Island’s Sandy Point, while those on-scene around dawn have been finding schoolies and an occasional just-keeper grubbing on sand eels. There’s been no single area holding enough giant tuna long enough to cough up more than an isolated fish or two — no real “bite” to speak of, just fits and starts of semi-skittish, herring-obsessed giants, mediums, and the occasional shot of footballs scattered out somewhere between Platts Bank way north and Stellwagen’s SW Corner on the southern end.

Massachusetts: South Shore

Joel at Belsan’s Bait  in Scituate was pleased to note there’s been major improvement in the quality and consistency of big-bass fishing across a pretty large stretch of territory that had been surprisingly dead until the last couple weeks. Among the recent hotbed areas off the top of Joel’s head were Nantasket Beach to the north, where live or chunked mackerel has been fooling solid bass, and off Chatham, where a sizeable commercial fleet has been using Shimano’s new “Sniper” vertical jigs, which imitate large sand eels — the prevailing food source in that area — quite effectively. Closer to home, Peggotty Beach, the Glades, Minots, and the Humarock have all been turning out enough solid fish for mackerel-swimmers and soakers working these stretches from shore or by boat. There are droves of schoolies in the rivers from Scituate to Cohasset. There were a couple of school bluefins trolled up on the SW Corner last week — not exactly the big chew, but proof at least that all is not lost for late-summer football fishing. Both fish knocked down squid bars. No recent cod word, said Joel, clarifying that the lack of recent intel doesn’t necessarily mean fishing’s off.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod & Islands

Word from Blackbeard’s in Eastham was of some steady — if not quite lights-out — eeling for bass from the teens on up off Provincetown. Bluefish have continued this season’s here-one-minute-gone-the-next pattern, showing up at unlikely spots with no discernible rhyme or reason. Word has it there are still schoolies piled up along the edges of Billingsgate, where wire-liners are jigging some or catching dinks four at a clip to add some danger and intrigue to a fishery coming up a bit short on sex appeal. Fluke fishing is up and down in Nantucket Sound. There are some absolute eye-popping sea bass mixed in with keeper slabs on the harder-bottom drifts off Nantucket’s south and east sides. One of my dodgy, intensely paranoid, striper-obsessed, but otherwise harmless old friends called to check in, and confirmed that a shot of bigger bass (high teens to 30-plus pounds) has moved into the rips, high spots, and holes off Chatham — and, mercifully, a number of these fish have finally settled in on the right side of the three-mile EEZ Fence that got all kinds of attention from Coast Guard and Mass DFWELE patrol boats a couple weeks back around the commercial bass opener.

New England fishing reportMeanwhile, Coop’s Bait and Tackle  on the Vineyard reported some Jurassic black sea bass loafing around on some of the wrecks off Oak Bluffs and in/on some of the deeper holes and rockpiles along the north shore. Fluking has gotten a bit tough, a situation the storm that came through mid-week isn’t likely to help just now. There have been some stocky bluefish patrolling the shoreline and providing some thrills for boat and surf fishermen alike. Unfortunately, the recent striper fishing has been what my late friend, the inimitable Tim Coleman, generally called “stinko.” Bonito are around but still on a limited basis, and there has been some fair to decent football bluefin fishing off the Vineyard’s backside in the vicinity of Gordons Gully. Coop himself had just returned from a successful canyon run out to Hydrographers, where he and crew had some yellows to north of 50 pounds, mahis, and one blue marlin (released) they estimated at close to 600 pounds.

Rhode Island

Matt at Snug Harbor in Wakefield explained that the big low that came through mid-week seems to have done a pretty good number on most of the fishing opportunities that were underway before the blow dumped a ludicrous quantity of silt-laden fresh water into Block Island Sound. Though he’d yet to get firsthand confirmation, he guessed the green bonito that had been popping up between Matunuck and Charlestown probably dropped back offshore pending some clean-up by Mother Nature. Folks who got out Thursday pretty much skipped the south shore fluke grounds, which looked almost unfishably filthy, but a few enterprising flukemen did take the steam across and managed some solid slabs out in the tide-swept depths south of the island — an area that, thanks to tidal exchange and proximity to much deeper water, cleans up faster after blows and in fact tends not to crap up as badly as grounds along the South County or Newport beaches. Bay fluking/sea bassing will probably be starting to stabilize again by late Friday or early Saturday. Striper fishing over at the Island fell off during the blow; results had also suffered a bit before the weather thanks to mass reinforcements in the bluefish department, which had swarmed seemingly every striper-friendly structure on that side of the Sound. The big moon tides working in conjunction with the recent easterly winds should put the Coxes Ledge cod scenario on hold for a few days; best to let things clean up and wait for the dogs, which go bonkers when easterly winds blow, to heel or go lie down again.

Last guys out the beginning of the week managed to come up with some solid makos on the shark grounds, and one boat that wound up in Atlantis had yellows, mahis, wahoo, and a small bigeye. Now, unfortunately, with the watery deck shuffled by the storm, it will be time to head out blind to see what landed where in the water, bait, and tuna departments.

Connecticut: Eastern Sound

New England Boating Fishing Report“Q” at River’s End in Old Saybrook was trying to stifle a powerful yawn when I called to pick his brain about recent developments in the shop’s watery back yard. After a brief pause, he noted that, contrary to normal August patterns in the lower Connecticut River, there have been some schoolie and keeper bass hanging around the river mouth — as of Thursday evening, at least. Q went on to explain that they’re all awaiting the arrival of a turbid wall of storm run-off from upriver — an event that will likely drive the bunker that spent the entire summer up inside, providing about the only viable method to catch decent stripers on the local reefs. If the bass that were in the river stay there, expect your best shot at them during a flood tide after dark or before sun-up. There have been solid bonito reports from Rhode Island — though the storm may well have put a kink in their hose for a day or two. Fluking is said to be very good at Montauk, and has generally been very good at Block. It has been slow going in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, though a handful of slab specialists have been drifting in 100’-plus outside Black Point and Hatchetts and actually scaring up some fluke that don’t require a yard stick.

Connecticut: Western Sound

Captain Ian at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk breezed through the Cliff Notes version of this week’s fishing report, thanks to unsettled weather and a generalized late-summer slowdown. Still, the harbor’s full of fast-growing snapper blues now, keeping the next fishing generation entertained. Sinker bouncers have been working both sides of the Sound, catching fluke in numerous areas across a wide range of depths from 30’ to as deep as 80’. Buoy 28C has been surrendering a slow pick of big scup, sea bass, fluke, sea robin, or bluefish. Striper fishing has become a truly thankless proposition for the moment.

New England Fishing Roundup 8.15.14

Our weekly look at the local fishing scene.

Massachusetts: North Shore & Boston

New England Boating Fishing Report for July 18, 2014 from the pros.Derek at First Light Anglers on Cape Ann said the striped bass activity has held together pretty well the last week or so, with schoolies and occasional keepers churning up the surface early mornings and evenings. There have also been, for the guys willing to work longer shifts after sunset and before dawn, regular windows of big-fish activity. Mackerel remains in good supply for chunkers or liveliners looking to secure a tide or two worth of raw materials, with reliable concentrations off Eastern and Halibut Points and Marblehead Rock. As for the a.m. schoolie scenario, fish between roughly 18” and 25” have been tearing up little (3” to 4”) gumdrop herring, and in turn responding well to like-sized offerings — Jumpin’ Minnows, various small poppers, and paddle-tail soft plastics, etc. Best action over the last few days has been on the flood tide. There have been some bigger fish — not monsters — hanging around Bakers and the Gooseberry taking mackerel in various incarnations (chunks, whole-dead and live-lined). Best bet for legit heavyweights of late has been the deeper water (80’ to 100’, a range that has remained mercifully dog-free so far) off Nahant and Swampscott. Fish here have ranged into the 30-pound class, and a few of the heavy hitters have been trekking down to Boston Harbor to load up on schools of full-size live pogies, then trucking them north and feeding them to the aforementioned deep-water slobs. Surf sharpies have managed some quality nighttime stripers off Cranes Beach and Plum Island’s Sandy Point, while those on-scene around dawn have been finding schoolies and an occasional just-keeper grubbing on sand eels. There’s been no single area holding enough giant tuna long enough to cough up more than an isolated fish or two — no real “bite” to speak of, just fits and starts of semi-skittish, herring-obsessed giants, mediums, and the occasional shot of footballs scattered out somewhere between Platts Bank way north and Stellwagen’s SW Corner on the southern end.

Massachusetts: South Shore

Joel at Belsan’s Bait  in Scituate was pleased to note there’s been major improvement in the quality and consistency of big-bass fishing across a pretty large stretch of territory that had been surprisingly dead until the last couple weeks. Among the recent hotbed areas off the top of Joel’s head were Nantasket Beach to the north, where live or chunked mackerel has been fooling solid bass, and off Chatham, where a sizeable commercial fleet has been using Shimano’s new “Sniper” vertical jigs, which imitate large sand eels — the prevailing food source in that area — quite effectively. Closer to home, Peggotty Beach, the Glades, Minots, and the Humarock have all been turning out enough solid fish for mackerel-swimmers and soakers working these stretches from shore or by boat. There are droves of schoolies in the rivers from Scituate to Cohasset. There were a couple of school bluefins trolled up on the SW Corner last week — not exactly the big chew, but proof at least that all is not lost for late-summer football fishing. Both fish knocked down squid bars. No recent cod word, said Joel, clarifying that the lack of recent intel doesn’t necessarily mean fishing’s off.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod & Islands

Word from Blackbeard’s in Eastham was of some steady — if not quite lights-out — eeling for bass from the teens on up off Provincetown. Bluefish have continued this season’s here-one-minute-gone-the-next pattern, showing up at unlikely spots with no discernible rhyme or reason. Word has it there are still schoolies piled up along the edges of Billingsgate, where wire-liners are jigging some or catching dinks four at a clip to add some danger and intrigue to a fishery coming up a bit short on sex appeal. Fluke fishing is up and down in Nantucket Sound. There are some absolute eye-popping sea bass mixed in with keeper slabs on the harder-bottom drifts off Nantucket’s south and east sides. One of my dodgy, intensely paranoid, striper-obsessed, but otherwise harmless old friends called to check in, and confirmed that a shot of bigger bass (high teens to 30-plus pounds) has moved into the rips, high spots, and holes off Chatham — and, mercifully, a number of these fish have finally settled in on the right side of the three-mile EEZ Fence that got all kinds of attention from Coast Guard and Mass DFWELE patrol boats a couple weeks back around the commercial bass opener.

New England fishing reportMeanwhile, Coop’s Bait and Tackle  on the Vineyard reported some Jurassic black sea bass loafing around on some of the wrecks off Oak Bluffs and in/on some of the deeper holes and rockpiles along the north shore. Fluking has gotten a bit tough, a situation the storm that came through mid-week isn’t likely to help just now. There have been some stocky bluefish patrolling the shoreline and providing some thrills for boat and surf fishermen alike. Unfortunately, the recent striper fishing has been what my late friend, the inimitable Tim Coleman, generally called “stinko.” Bonito are around but still on a limited basis, and there has been some fair to decent football bluefin fishing off the Vineyard’s backside in the vicinity of Gordons Gully. Coop himself had just returned from a successful canyon run out to Hydrographers, where he and crew had some yellows to north of 50 pounds, mahis, and one blue marlin (released) they estimated at close to 600 pounds.

Rhode Island

Matt at Snug Harbor in Wakefield explained that the big low that came through mid-week seems to have done a pretty good number on most of the fishing opportunities that were underway before the blow dumped a ludicrous quantity of silt-laden fresh water into Block Island Sound. Though he’d yet to get firsthand confirmation, he guessed the green bonito that had been popping up between Matunuck and Charlestown probably dropped back offshore pending some clean-up by Mother Nature. Folks who got out Thursday pretty much skipped the south shore fluke grounds, which looked almost unfishably filthy, but a few enterprising flukemen did take the steam across and managed some solid slabs out in the tide-swept depths south of the island — an area that, thanks to tidal exchange and proximity to much deeper water, cleans up faster after blows and in fact tends not to crap up as badly as grounds along the South County or Newport beaches. Bay fluking/sea bassing will probably be starting to stabilize again by late Friday or early Saturday. Striper fishing over at the Island fell off during the blow; results had also suffered a bit before the weather thanks to mass reinforcements in the bluefish department, which had swarmed seemingly every striper-friendly structure on that side of the Sound. The big moon tides working in conjunction with the recent easterly winds should put the Coxes Ledge cod scenario on hold for a few days; best to let things clean up and wait for the dogs, which go bonkers when easterly winds blow, to heel or go lie down again.

Last guys out the beginning of the week managed to come up with some solid makos on the shark grounds, and one boat that wound up in Atlantis had yellows, mahis, wahoo, and a small bigeye. Now, unfortunately, with the watery deck shuffled by the storm, it will be time to head out blind to see what landed where in the water, bait, and tuna departments.

Connecticut: Eastern Sound

New England Boating Fishing Report“Q” at River’s End in Old Saybrook was trying to stifle a powerful yawn when I called to pick his brain about recent developments in the shop’s watery back yard. After a brief pause, he noted that, contrary to normal August patterns in the lower Connecticut River, there have been some schoolie and keeper bass hanging around the river mouth — as of Thursday evening, at least. Q went on to explain that they’re all awaiting the arrival of a turbid wall of storm run-off from upriver — an event that will likely drive the bunker that spent the entire summer up inside, providing about the only viable method to catch decent stripers on the local reefs. If the bass that were in the river stay there, expect your best shot at them during a flood tide after dark or before sun-up. There have been solid bonito reports from Rhode Island — though the storm may well have put a kink in their hose for a day or two. Fluking is said to be very good at Montauk, and has generally been very good at Block. It has been slow going in the eastern end of Long Island Sound, though a handful of slab specialists have been drifting in 100’-plus outside Black Point and Hatchetts and actually scaring up some fluke that don’t require a yard stick.

Connecticut: Western Sound

Captain Ian at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk breezed through the Cliff Notes version of this week’s fishing report, thanks to unsettled weather and a generalized late-summer slowdown. Still, the harbor’s full of fast-growing snapper blues now, keeping the next fishing generation entertained. Sinker bouncers have been working both sides of the Sound, catching fluke in numerous areas across a wide range of depths from 30’ to as deep as 80’. Buoy 28C has been surrendering a slow pick of big scup, sea bass, fluke, sea robin, or bluefish. Striper fishing has become a truly thankless proposition for the moment.