The Weekly Bite Fishing Roundup
August 13, 2010
Capt. Barry Gibson of Shark Charters reports from Boothbay Harbor, Maine:
“Striper fishing in the Boothbay area continues to be a roller-coaster ride for area anglers. The Kennebec River has been producing some decent catches of fish in the 22″ – 30″ range, and the western beaches stretching to Small Point have seen some fair yet action. Regular client David Levin of Florida fished with me on Monday, August 2, and tallied six nice bass from 28″ to 32″, but the next day the beach was unfishable due to large rollers and breaking surf. From Tuesday through Saturday we fished the bays and rivers for just a couple to three fish per trip. They were nice bass, though (by mid-coast Maine standards), running 27″ to 32″. Keepers in the 20″ to 26″ range have been hard to come by, as most fish have been just a few inches over the slot limit.
“Bluefish have filled in the void left by the bass. Local reefs such as Southwest have been well stocked if you don’t want to run to the better known hot spots such as the Race and Plum Gut.” -Pat Abate, Rivers End Tackle, CT
“A dozen or so tuna have been taken offshore. The commercial guys working Plattes Bank, some 45 miles offshore, have been nailing a few, although many have been in the mid-60-inch range and were therefore released. Live mackerel large enough for hook baits (8″ on up) have been hard to come by, as school after school of “tack” mackerel in the 5-inch range have moved shoreward. Best bet for bigger macks is to troll or jig way up into the bays, as well as in Boothbay Harbor right in front of the the marinas; for some reason, that’s where the larger ones seem to be hanging out.
“Reports of bluefish continue to come in. Dan Stevens of the charter boat Blackjack picked up a few at the mouth of the Kennebec earlier in the week. –Capt. Barry Gibson, Shark Six Charters, Boothbay Harbor, ME
According to Kay Moulton of Surfland on Plum Island, nighttime striper action has been steady for anglers using live eels inside the river. In fact, she just weighed in a 61-pounder taken by angler Bill Kendrek of New Hampshire. Apparently Kendreck had landed a 51-pound bass the week before, also taken on a live eel. Smaller fish are also being taken along the flats during the day by anglers trolling tube-n-worm combos.
Bluefish have been hit or miss close to the inlet. Monday saw lots of them, but they had vanished by Tuesday. In deeper water, blues up to 10 pounds or so are being taken on trolled swimming plugs in 60-80′ of water directly off the north jetty of the Merrimack.
Tuna have been tantalizingly close to shore on some days. Last week they were sighted just a few miles off the beach, although no one managed to hook up. Sporadic action has been reported on Stellwagen Bank as well.
A bit further south, in Salem Sound, schoolie bass have been feeding on juvenile herring on top off Marblehead and Salem in the evening.
According to Pete Santini of Fishin’ Finatics on Everett, the harbor is reportedly giving up some good daytime bass fishing lately around the islands, off Deer Is., and the airport. Best action seems to occur around the tide change. Some anglers have reported nonstop topwater action with schoolie fish in the sub-keeper range, with a few larger ones in the mix. The fish appear to feeding on small bait, possibly peanut bunker, and effective lures include the Deadly Dick and Hopkins NoEql spoons. Small flies such as the Skok Mushy also slay. Santini predicts a “normal” fall run of fish in close this season given the amount of small bait available.
Night fishing with live eels is even better, with some monsters being taken. Capt. Russ Burgess has put his clients on no less than 5 fish over 50 pounds this season by fishing at night.
Offshore, there “are tuna all over the place,” says Santini, but hard to catch. For anglers fishing Stellwagen, he recommends slow-trolling live baits (pogies, mackerel, small blues) as the key to success. Tuna have also been blowing up nearshore, some as close as Minots Ledge and Egg Rock. They are hard to hook, but things may heat up this fall.
Farther south, the east end of the Canal was the scene of a big blitz on Tuesday, with stripers busting bait off the jetties. Apparently some nice fish in the upper 30-inch range were landed on metal lures. Lots mackerel seem to have stayed in and around the Canal this season, which may be why the area has seen better bass fishing.
On the tuna front, things have been quiet inside lower Cape Cod Bay and out to Stellwagen, although the occasional giant is being taken by live-bait fishermen. Not much doing for the run-and-gun casting crowd, though. At least not yet.
Not much brewing in the upper bay besides micro blues of a pound or so, but conditions are ideal (lots of small bait and warm,clear water) for the much anticipated arrival of bonito, false albacore and possibly Spanish macks later this month. Indeed, a quick tour of the east side of the bay on Wednesday night produced a confirmed sighting of a high-flying Spaniard, so the fish are moving in. Past logs show that the first albies generally show in the bay around the third week in August. Farther south in the bay, Standard Times outdoor columnist Mark Folco reports that bigger blues are available, and may be why sharks have been spotted off local beaches.
In Vineyard Sound, big bass are available along the Elizabeths to pluggers and fly-fishermen willing to be on-site by first light. There’s a small window of opportunity, but it’s usually “dawn and done” right now. Later in the day, bigger fish can be taken on wire and chunks fished over deeper structure.
Some spotty bonito action has been reported off Falmouth and along the Vineyard’s north shore, but the fish have yet to fill in. More consistent action is available to anglers fishing the famed Bonito Bar off western Nantucket.
No word yet on any action with small bluefins, skippies, bones or albies off Westport or Sakonnet.
Tom Meade of the Providence Journal reports in his Hot Bytes column that yellowfin tuna are being taken on the shelf. Bigeye, marlin, mahi and wahoo are also being reported in the canyons. Seems like a big eddy of warm water has moved in along the shelf, bring with it the tropical species.
Off Block Island, the stripers up to 38” are still being taken on incoming tides near shore, while fluking remains fairly strong along Clayhead, and the SW and SE corners.
Closer in, night fishing with eels is producing some good-sized bass on the reefs off Newport and Beavertail. Bluefish in the 5- to 10-pound range are beginning to move into the bay, but otherwise things remain quiet inside.
Steve Cook at the SaltWater Edge gave us his take on the local situation. He reports that there is lots of peanut bunker around the entrance to the bay and that some bonito are definitely around. He mentioned Beavertail and Sakonnet Points as likely spots to look for them. Should be just a matter of weeks before the albies show.
Striper action has pretty much been relegated to the nighttime and early-morning hours. Lots of small blues around as well. Typical summer stuff, but the peanut bunker reports are encouraging for a good fall run.
Offshore, Cook confirmed that the yellowfin action has been good at the canyons. Not much word on anything at the Mud Hole or Coxes, however.
Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle in CT reports:
“Striped bass fishing this week was on a normal downswing for August. The only problem appears to be fewer bass. Daytime fishing even with bait is being pushed over by blues. There are some strange things this summer, such as the random daylight surface blitzes. Surface-feeding bass will just start on some reef or rip like it was late fall. These feeds have been taking place by Plum Island, Race Rock, off Cornfield, Hatchetts, Long Sand Shoal and off the mouth of the Connecticut River. Don’t go looking for them; just be prepared if they pop up. Bartletts has had some more consistent action on early and late day tides.
“Long Sand Shoal is still giving up a few nice sized bass on night drifts with a few bass near daybreak, mostly with eels. There’s a small population of bunker in the Connecticut River and limited schools in the harbors to the west. There’s not any large schools until you hit New Haven.
“Tube-and-worming during the day has been the slow and steady method close to shore from Westbrook to Waterford. Its not hot but it works if you stay with it and can put up with the scup stealing your worms.
“Bluefish have filled in the void left by the bass. Local reefs such as Southwest have been well stocked if you don’t want to run to the better known hot spots such as the Race and Plum Gut. A lot of the action has been on diamond jigs. Smaller rockpiles such as Cornfield and Cranes also have a few better-sized choppers. The mouth of the Connecticut River early and late in the day still has smaller blues blitzing small bait. There’s been a lot of reports of small baitfish, either herring or bunker. The back bays seem to be full of them.
“Snapper blues are growing, with a 4-inch average now. As we mentioned in the bluefish report there’s a lot of small bait around and it’s providing a feast for the snappers. The DEP Piers and the Causeway have been good. The Blackhall River is also a good spot as is any place you can find some moving water. One of the bonuses this year is that both the snappers and blue crabs are good and often found in the same spots.
“Fluke numbers are slowing down, maybe for lack of effort. We’re not getting the reports of catches of 20-plus shorts in an outing. Limit catches are not common but chances of catching keepers are getting better. The season end on the 25th of this month so there’s still a few good weeks left. Soundview and the mouth of the River are still good bets for numbers and possibly a keeper or two thrown in. At the risk of repeating myself every week, you gotta go deep for doormats.”
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