The Weekly Bite: August 15-21, 2010

Illustration courtesy ## Fished Impressions##


Saco Bay:

  • Craig at Saco Bay Tackle reports that striper fishing is an early-morning or night bite. Live eels are taking fish at the mouth of the Saco and Pine Point. Hot lures are Mambo Minnows and 6 _” Slug-Gos. Not much doing during the day, although some slot-sized fish have been taken on clams off Higgins Beach.
  • Bluefish are hit or miss lately, but some big fish up to 35 inches have been taken on big-lipped trolling plugs in deeper water. Some smaller blues have been taken inside the Saco River, as far upstream as the Narrows.
  • Craig also told us that shark fishing is red hot right now, and the fish are in close—within 8 miles. Tantas Ledge is the hot spot. Threshers up to 12 feet have been taken, and there are loads of blue sharks available too.
  • Tuna in the 300-400 pound range have been caught as close as 3 miles from shore. Live bait is the key to success, along with fluorocarbon leaders. The fish are feeding heavily on spike mackerel.


North Shore:

  • Big bass continue to be taken on live eels at night inside the Merrimack River and along the beach off Plum Island. Best baits range from clams to live macks. Big bluefish remain spotty outside the inlet, but action can be gangbusters on some days.
  • Surfland Bait & Tackle reports: “The tuna sightings have been pretty constant lately, but not too many hookups. There have been some small tuna, and some giants. The problem has been that the tuna are popping up and going down really fast. There haven’t been many sustained feeds on the surface, making it pretty hard to cast into the fray and hook up. The fish are as close as a mile off the Merrimack, and the Halibut Point area off Rockport has been good for watching too.“
  • Small mackerel and herring are making for fast light-tackle action with schoolies and blues in Ipswich Bay, off Plum Island and in Salem Sound. Early morning is best. Productive lures include swim shads, metal KastMasters and Hopkins spoons, and soft-plastic jerkbaits (Slug-Gos, Fin-S-Fish).
  • Derek Spengler at First Light Anglers reports that tuna fishing on Stellwagen’s northwest corner has slowed in the last few days, as the fish seem to have moved north to Jeffries. Occasional pods have been popping up, but they don’t stick around long.
  • Striper action has been decent, with good surface feeds happening thanks to an influx of small herring. Fishing the rocks has not been as steady as inside the rivers and around the bait pods.

South Shore:

Our pick for hot spot of the week is Duxbury Bay, Mass, where Capt. Dave Bitters of Baymen Guide Service put his angler on this 41-inch striper.
  • Capt. Dave Bitters of Baymen Guide Service reports on his website that fishing for bass inside Duxbury Bay has been outstanding, with fish up to 41 inches blasting topwaters, swim shads and live pogies. “We’ve had the best season in about 10 years in terms of consistency,” Bitters told New England Boating, adding that there has been a nice mix of bait in the bay lately to hold the fish. For the best action, fish the early morning bite, and look for working birds to point the way.
  • In terms of tuna, Cape Cod Bay has been pretty quiet over the last 2 weeks, with scattered pods of fussy fish. However, there is a lot of bait around, and Bitters, along with other pros, expect things to go off any day now and continue strong through the fall.
  • Some big blues were reported off High Pines by another local angler.

Cape Cod northside:

  • Big stripers are falling to trolled tube-and-worm combos in the bay, with the commercial guys loading up in the final days of the season. One sharpie was seen unloading a catch of bass up to 35 pounds at Barnstable Harbor on Wednesday, so they are out there. The fishing off Chatham has also been very strong.

Buzzards Bay:

  • The bay remains very quiet save for some small blues and school bass in the west end of the Canal. Not much going on, but there are lots of baitfish. Albies and bones should show any day now. Look for the first action on the east side of the bay.
  • Some reports of small bass (up to 26”) from around the Elizabeth Islands, specifically Quick’s Hole.

Cape Cod Southside & Martha’s Vineyard:

  • Received firsthand reports of hot bonito action off the Vineyard, specifically off State Beach and the Oak Bluffs ferry dock. It’s a bit of a mad rodeo, however, so be prepared for a crowd and try to keep your cool. More bones have been reported from Falmouth to Cotuit as well, but the schools seem to be more scattered.


The following report was filed by Cross Rip Outfitters:

  • “After a couple weeks of tough fishing things are getting better. Capt Shawn Bristow landed 7 bonito on the Bonito Bar a few days ago. Also Corey Gammill landed a few the last couple days on his trips. I on the other hand I never seem to be in the right spot at the right time. The beach fishing has had its ups and downs too. The best bite is at Great Point. Just don’t get stuck at the Point; try the east- and west-facing shores.
  • “Also hearing of more bass starting to bite around the Island. One customer caught one at Great Point, but only landed a head. He thought shark; no seals were around at all. Things are picking up; get out and wet a line.”

Rhode Island:

  • Tom Meade posted in his Hot Bytes blog on the Providence Journal that some small bass, hickory shad and snapper bluefish were recently taken in the Narrow River on the ebb tide.
  • Block Island is giving up bass on live eels on Southwest Ledge, but action has slowed since mid-July.
  • Fluke are available at Clay Head and the rip on Block Island.

Newport & Narragansett Bay

  • Newport is still seeing small blues and occasional bonito in the sound, but still not much happening up inside the bay. No albies to report.
  • Not much doing in the Mud Hole in terms of tuna and mahi either—yet.


Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle in Saybrook reports:

  • STRIPED BASS: Schoolies have dominated the bass action this week with a fair pick scattered about. Plum Island, Race Rock, Bartletts and Hatchetts Reef have had their turns this week. There’s a lot of small baitfish on the reefs attracting mostly sub-2-foot bass. Adult bunker are on the rise in the Connecticut River providing bait for a small pick of larger bass on Long Sand Shoal and the Westbrook Reefs. Drifted eels on the night shift at the Shoal is also giving up a few bass.
  • BLUEFISH: There’s a lot of ’em. The traditional Race and Gut run are pretty easy picking for diamond jigs and more surface action than we’ve seen there in a while. Southwest Reef has some mini- Race type action. Schools of blues have been surfacing at and south of the Connecticut River, sometimes covering several acres. That action tends to favor late day. Next week’s late-afternoon ebb tides and overcast weather should have very favorable conditions for some blue blitzes at the mouth of the River.
  • FLUKE: Overall numbers are decreasing as interest in catching shorts is waning. The dedicated flukers are doing well as they’ve taken the knowledge they gathered on deeper spots this season and capitalizing on it. We’re still weighing in doormats from the local depths. This year we’re seeing more doormats coming in from the west. Even reports this week from Misquamicut and Isabella are catches from 50′ and deeper. Block Island also had an upturn in reports this week, you guessed it, also 50′.
  • Smaller fluke are still in good numbers at Long Sand Shoal, the River and Soundview with a few keepers in the mix.
  • PORGIES: We got a few complaints this week of decreased numbers this week by anglers on the local reefs. It’s still good at Cranes, Hatchetts and Bartletts to name a few spots.
  • BONITO, FALSE ALBACORE: There were some confirmed reports of bonito caught at Newport this week. We haven’t had any other mainland reports of tunoids yet.