New England Fishing Roundup: 9.19.14

New England Boating Weekly Fishing Report

Our weekly roundup of the latest fishing action, from Maine to Connecticut.

Maine

Capt. Barry Gibson of Shark Five Charters in Boothbay Harbor sent along the following report on Friday morning: “Stripers are beginning to thin out in the bays and shorelines of the Boothbay area, although a few are being taken along the beaches west of the Kennebec River. The Kennebec itself still holds decent numbers of slot-size bass, which will hit mackerel chunks, eels, and bloodworms. Mackerel have been tough to come by, but a few are being caught around Damariscove and Outer Heron Islands. Sharking continues to be productive offshore, and there was a good bluefin tuna bite out on the Kettle Bottom during the week of Sept. 15th, with nearly 30 boats anchored up and chumming. Local boats Lions’ Den, Breakin’ Wind, and Restless all brought in fish over 73 inches.”

Massachusetts — North Shore

New England Boating Weekly Fishing Report
Photo/New England Boating

Derek at First Light Anglers reported that the bass fishing has been quite good over the last week, and across a pretty good stretch of coastline. Plum Island has had lots of bass, mostly schoolies, along with some better bass at night for eelers; Middle Ground and the mouth of the Rowley River have been good bets. Cranes, around Steep Hill Beach and the swimming area, has had loads of 3” to 5” sand eels and silversides, and has been turning out numbers of good fish—stripers in the 30” to 40” range. On the other side, the stretch from Magnolia to Beverly has had some major, peanut bunker-fuelled surface feeds, the bass in that stretch a mix — heavy on schoolies, but also some solid keepers. The mackerel have returned after a hiatus of several weeks, which is a good sign for the coming weeks, and an immediate source of livies for guys who’ve been filling their wells and running them down to pieces of prime striper real estate off Marblehead and Swampscott. The tuna fishing has been slow, with a few fish out on Jeffreys around the Flags and other spots around Scantum Basin, and also some fish taken off Stellwagen’s SW Corner or across the way around Peaked Hill the last week or so.

Massachusetts — South Shore

Most of the South Shore has been wallowing in one of those migratory voids, with precious little in the striper department from Cohasset southward as far as Plymouth, the latter having seen at least a few fish, especially for the guys drifting eels on night tides. The bulk of the bass, though, still seem to be roving around, piling up in relatively tight areas between the East End of the canal and roughly Barnstable Harbor. A bright spot has been the run of huge (up to 17 pounds) bluefish off Plymouth. These gator blues are reportedly taking topwaters plugs in the vicinity of the power plant.

Massachusetts — Cape Cod & Islands

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportMy old friend Dave Anderson made one Hail Mary shot to the canal earlier in the week looking for some relief from what has been one of the worst seasons of striper fishing in his adult life on his home turf between roughly Little Compton, Rhode Island, eastward to Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, his jigs were of little use in the Ditch, save a couple of dink-sized schoolie bass. That’s been the story in the canal the last two weeks or so — streaky, scattered shots at better fish and faster action, with some discouraging lulls between better hits of fish. There are still some blues scatter-shot around Cape Cod Bay, while the striper fishery has stayed up a couple of notches around Billingsgate, presumably thanks to the recent cooler nights that are stirring the pot a bit. Albies but precious few green bonito are still on the prowl across a decent stretch of the south side beaches and westward along the Elizabeths and Vineyard Sound, with an epicenter still somewhere in the vicinity of Nobska/Woods Hole.

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportCoop’s Bait and Tackle on Martha’s Vineyard was jamming when I checked in late Thursday afternoon, but they did take a few moments to share some recent highlights. Notably, the albie activity and occasional shots at bonito have continued at various spots around the island. Wasque has had probably the most reliable action the past few days. Shore guys are picking away at occasional greenies in the usual spots, but the bass fishing remains, at best, a grind just about everywhere. Blues are around and they’re well-fed, packing on quick pounds as the nights get cooler and both fish and fishermen sense some urgency in their routines. September goes like a bat out of hell and if you’re not mindful, you’ll come to and realize it’s become October. The last boats that shot down to the Fishtails during the last stable window Monday and Tuesday found some good yellows, bigeyes, and even a sword or two. Lord knows there’s been plenty of chum slopped into that water by what has been, at points, a fleet of staggering proportions. Folks jigging as well as chunking have picked up some good hauls.

In Buzzards Bay, albies hare available from the Canal to Woods Hole, although some days are better than others. The best bite lately has been in the morning. Plenty of small bluefish feeding on the massive bay anchovy bait balls. Lastly, porgies have shown up in some of the local harbors, which should mean big blues will soon be in attendance.

Rhode Island

It was a decidedly light crowd at the big striped bass hearing on Wednesday night. The private recreational anglers seemed to favor the shortest possible rebuilding timeline — taking our lumps all at once in 2015 — rather than any of the protracted so-called “step-down” options that would spread the mandated 25% reduction in actual landings out over three years. As for size limits, rec opinions were all over the board, anywhere from 28” up to 32”, while sentiments about bag limits were roughly a 60-40 split between an immediate drop to one fish and a two-fish slot-limit option that would allow a trophy fish and a bracketed keeper, 28” to 40”. Not surprisingly, what few charter captains attended expressed a need to maintain a two-fish bag limit, specifically a slot combination that would step up the minimum size on the “bracket” fish over the next three years, 28” to 30” and then 32”. Candidly, I was floored — borderline disgusted — by the weak turnout. Per the norm, there are droves of complainers, but precious few folks interested in playing a role in the process.

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportMeanwhile, the bass fishing over at Block Island has been very slow going for most folks I consulted, though the sharpies continue to grind some very large fish out of the grounds along Southwest Ledge.

The bigger news since late last week has been the albie fishing from the Connecticut border to the Massachusetts border — not, obviously, on a predictable schedule in one predictable stretch of Rhode Island’s south shore. Folks have had big days off Watch Hill, from Nebraska Shoal out to the apex of the Center Wall in Point Jude, and along Ocean Drive in Newport, among many other places. If you’re looking to put together a good score, best bet is to block out two or three days’ fishing, as the bite has been fluctuating wildly between red-hot and ice-cold on the daily level, but very good on the average, with guys catching as many as 15 or 20 in single outings.

There have also, noted Matt at Snug Harbor Marina, been some long-awaited football bluefin tuna in the 30- to 40-pound range, plus loads of green bonito, on a chunk bite down in the Mud Hole as recently as Thursday morning—a fishery that has not materialized in that famed spot since around 2006. The chunking has also continued down at the Fishtails, with some swords added to the mix of yellows and the occasional bigeye or three, as of the last good weather day Tuesday. Sea bass are still plentiful, though overall sizes have tapered off a bit of late. Schoolies are still chewing all around the lower reaches of Narragansett Bay, and bluefish are just about everywhere.

Connecticut — Eastern Sound

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportRiver’s End staffers and customers have been trailering eastward to Rhode Island to capitalize on the at times superb albie action outside Watch Hill, Point Jude, and points east of there. Shop sinker specialist and all-round swell guy, Q, took a busman’s holiday trek out to Coxes Ledge and found a pretty respectable load of codfish back on Monday — that catch book-ended, both coming and going, by some wild albie sessions and even a quick surgical strike on one rockpile that surrendered a two-man limit of big sea bass in a highly-efficient 20 minutes. Back closer to home, there have been confirmed albie run-ins at the Sluiceway, Plum Gut, around Race Point, and off Harkness over the last week. Fluke fishing has dropped out completely, though that likely relates more to lack of effort than lack of fish. Sea bass are as big and as abundant as anyone can recall them ever having been before, and scup fishing remains better than average in the size department. Blues are crowding the Eastern Sound, but the bass fishing, with the exception of some schoolies on patrol around the mouth of the Connecticut River, still pretty much sucks.

Connecticut — Western Sound

Rick Mola at Fisherman’s World noted the bass action picked up a good bit off in the deeper water; one of his regulars, chunking out in 85’, presumably around 11B or 28C, dropped a very large fish mid-week. Captain Ian from the shop had two bang-up trips on albies off Watch Hill early-week, 20 one trip and a dozen the next. The chunking bail-job continued out in the Fishtails early-week, with some folks absolutely cleaning up using diamond or Glow jigs. One jigger dropped a legitimate Allison yellowfin (well north of 100 pounds, with massive sickle fins) just out of gaff reach. Some shop regulars had bigeyes; all had yellows. How long that fishery will hold together no one knows, but if you want to take a stab, you’d better do so ASAP, before the weather goes to Hades in the proverbial handbasket. Close to home, there have been nightly bass and blue blitzes along the backside of the Norwalk Islands, and the diamond jigging is heating up on incoming tides NE of 11B.

New England Boating Weekly Fishing Report

Our weekly roundup of the latest fishing action, from Maine to Connecticut.

Maine

Capt. Barry Gibson of Shark Five Charters in Boothbay Harbor sent along the following report on Friday morning: “Stripers are beginning to thin out in the bays and shorelines of the Boothbay area, although a few are being taken along the beaches west of the Kennebec River. The Kennebec itself still holds decent numbers of slot-size bass, which will hit mackerel chunks, eels, and bloodworms. Mackerel have been tough to come by, but a few are being caught around Damariscove and Outer Heron Islands. Sharking continues to be productive offshore, and there was a good bluefin tuna bite out on the Kettle Bottom during the week of Sept. 15th, with nearly 30 boats anchored up and chumming. Local boats Lions’ Den, Breakin’ Wind, and Restless all brought in fish over 73 inches.”

Massachusetts — North Shore

New England Boating Weekly Fishing Report
Photo/New England Boating

Derek at First Light Anglers reported that the bass fishing has been quite good over the last week, and across a pretty good stretch of coastline. Plum Island has had lots of bass, mostly schoolies, along with some better bass at night for eelers; Middle Ground and the mouth of the Rowley River have been good bets. Cranes, around Steep Hill Beach and the swimming area, has had loads of 3” to 5” sand eels and silversides, and has been turning out numbers of good fish—stripers in the 30” to 40” range. On the other side, the stretch from Magnolia to Beverly has had some major, peanut bunker-fuelled surface feeds, the bass in that stretch a mix — heavy on schoolies, but also some solid keepers. The mackerel have returned after a hiatus of several weeks, which is a good sign for the coming weeks, and an immediate source of livies for guys who’ve been filling their wells and running them down to pieces of prime striper real estate off Marblehead and Swampscott. The tuna fishing has been slow, with a few fish out on Jeffreys around the Flags and other spots around Scantum Basin, and also some fish taken off Stellwagen’s SW Corner or across the way around Peaked Hill the last week or so.

Massachusetts — South Shore

Most of the South Shore has been wallowing in one of those migratory voids, with precious little in the striper department from Cohasset southward as far as Plymouth, the latter having seen at least a few fish, especially for the guys drifting eels on night tides. The bulk of the bass, though, still seem to be roving around, piling up in relatively tight areas between the East End of the canal and roughly Barnstable Harbor. A bright spot has been the run of huge (up to 17 pounds) bluefish off Plymouth. These gator blues are reportedly taking topwaters plugs in the vicinity of the power plant.

Massachusetts — Cape Cod & Islands

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportMy old friend Dave Anderson made one Hail Mary shot to the canal earlier in the week looking for some relief from what has been one of the worst seasons of striper fishing in his adult life on his home turf between roughly Little Compton, Rhode Island, eastward to Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, his jigs were of little use in the Ditch, save a couple of dink-sized schoolie bass. That’s been the story in the canal the last two weeks or so — streaky, scattered shots at better fish and faster action, with some discouraging lulls between better hits of fish. There are still some blues scatter-shot around Cape Cod Bay, while the striper fishery has stayed up a couple of notches around Billingsgate, presumably thanks to the recent cooler nights that are stirring the pot a bit. Albies but precious few green bonito are still on the prowl across a decent stretch of the south side beaches and westward along the Elizabeths and Vineyard Sound, with an epicenter still somewhere in the vicinity of Nobska/Woods Hole.

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportCoop’s Bait and Tackle on Martha’s Vineyard was jamming when I checked in late Thursday afternoon, but they did take a few moments to share some recent highlights. Notably, the albie activity and occasional shots at bonito have continued at various spots around the island. Wasque has had probably the most reliable action the past few days. Shore guys are picking away at occasional greenies in the usual spots, but the bass fishing remains, at best, a grind just about everywhere. Blues are around and they’re well-fed, packing on quick pounds as the nights get cooler and both fish and fishermen sense some urgency in their routines. September goes like a bat out of hell and if you’re not mindful, you’ll come to and realize it’s become October. The last boats that shot down to the Fishtails during the last stable window Monday and Tuesday found some good yellows, bigeyes, and even a sword or two. Lord knows there’s been plenty of chum slopped into that water by what has been, at points, a fleet of staggering proportions. Folks jigging as well as chunking have picked up some good hauls.

In Buzzards Bay, albies hare available from the Canal to Woods Hole, although some days are better than others. The best bite lately has been in the morning. Plenty of small bluefish feeding on the massive bay anchovy bait balls. Lastly, porgies have shown up in some of the local harbors, which should mean big blues will soon be in attendance.

Rhode Island

It was a decidedly light crowd at the big striped bass hearing on Wednesday night. The private recreational anglers seemed to favor the shortest possible rebuilding timeline — taking our lumps all at once in 2015 — rather than any of the protracted so-called “step-down” options that would spread the mandated 25% reduction in actual landings out over three years. As for size limits, rec opinions were all over the board, anywhere from 28” up to 32”, while sentiments about bag limits were roughly a 60-40 split between an immediate drop to one fish and a two-fish slot-limit option that would allow a trophy fish and a bracketed keeper, 28” to 40”. Not surprisingly, what few charter captains attended expressed a need to maintain a two-fish bag limit, specifically a slot combination that would step up the minimum size on the “bracket” fish over the next three years, 28” to 30” and then 32”. Candidly, I was floored — borderline disgusted — by the weak turnout. Per the norm, there are droves of complainers, but precious few folks interested in playing a role in the process.

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportMeanwhile, the bass fishing over at Block Island has been very slow going for most folks I consulted, though the sharpies continue to grind some very large fish out of the grounds along Southwest Ledge.

The bigger news since late last week has been the albie fishing from the Connecticut border to the Massachusetts border — not, obviously, on a predictable schedule in one predictable stretch of Rhode Island’s south shore. Folks have had big days off Watch Hill, from Nebraska Shoal out to the apex of the Center Wall in Point Jude, and along Ocean Drive in Newport, among many other places. If you’re looking to put together a good score, best bet is to block out two or three days’ fishing, as the bite has been fluctuating wildly between red-hot and ice-cold on the daily level, but very good on the average, with guys catching as many as 15 or 20 in single outings.

There have also, noted Matt at Snug Harbor Marina, been some long-awaited football bluefin tuna in the 30- to 40-pound range, plus loads of green bonito, on a chunk bite down in the Mud Hole as recently as Thursday morning—a fishery that has not materialized in that famed spot since around 2006. The chunking has also continued down at the Fishtails, with some swords added to the mix of yellows and the occasional bigeye or three, as of the last good weather day Tuesday. Sea bass are still plentiful, though overall sizes have tapered off a bit of late. Schoolies are still chewing all around the lower reaches of Narragansett Bay, and bluefish are just about everywhere.

Connecticut — Eastern Sound

New England Boating Weekly Fishing ReportRiver’s End staffers and customers have been trailering eastward to Rhode Island to capitalize on the at times superb albie action outside Watch Hill, Point Jude, and points east of there. Shop sinker specialist and all-round swell guy, Q, took a busman’s holiday trek out to Coxes Ledge and found a pretty respectable load of codfish back on Monday — that catch book-ended, both coming and going, by some wild albie sessions and even a quick surgical strike on one rockpile that surrendered a two-man limit of big sea bass in a highly-efficient 20 minutes. Back closer to home, there have been confirmed albie run-ins at the Sluiceway, Plum Gut, around Race Point, and off Harkness over the last week. Fluke fishing has dropped out completely, though that likely relates more to lack of effort than lack of fish. Sea bass are as big and as abundant as anyone can recall them ever having been before, and scup fishing remains better than average in the size department. Blues are crowding the Eastern Sound, but the bass fishing, with the exception of some schoolies on patrol around the mouth of the Connecticut River, still pretty much sucks.

Connecticut — Western Sound

Rick Mola at Fisherman’s World noted the bass action picked up a good bit off in the deeper water; one of his regulars, chunking out in 85’, presumably around 11B or 28C, dropped a very large fish mid-week. Captain Ian from the shop had two bang-up trips on albies off Watch Hill early-week, 20 one trip and a dozen the next. The chunking bail-job continued out in the Fishtails early-week, with some folks absolutely cleaning up using diamond or Glow jigs. One jigger dropped a legitimate Allison yellowfin (well north of 100 pounds, with massive sickle fins) just out of gaff reach. Some shop regulars had bigeyes; all had yellows. How long that fishery will hold together no one knows, but if you want to take a stab, you’d better do so ASAP, before the weather goes to Hades in the proverbial handbasket. Close to home, there have been nightly bass and blue blitzes along the backside of the Norwalk Islands, and the diamond jigging is heating up on incoming tides NE of 11B.