Bluefin Blitz Continues, Fluke Fishing Fantastic
On some parts of the Cape, the water was red hot this week. So hot, a wayward red drum mixed in with the striped bass off Chatham where it chomped a diamond jig and landed squarely on the scales at Riverview Bait and Tackle in Yarmouth. The fish weighed 35 pounds–a big red whether you’re in Florida or Massachusetts.
Depending on your target species, the fishing was either very poor or very good this week. Summer water temperatures have scattered bass schools, making them difficult to pin down on a consistent basis, Mike from M and D’s reported. When anglers are finding them, however, they fishing is very good. One group, Mike heard, caught a large number of striped bass all larger than 38 inches in Cape Cod Bay. Chris from Bad Fish Outfitters in Falmouth also cited the Bay as a likely spot, mentioning that tube-and-worm fishing was the way to go.
Some of those bass have been trickling into the Canal, and Mike reported decent morning action for anglers fishing loaded Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers. Alan from Red Top said the West End is holding fish in the mornings, feeding on mackerel and squid. Alan also mentioned that anglers are catching the squid after dark in the Sandwich Marine Basin.
Chatham continues to produce bass, but the area has been running hot and cold. One day, the fishing is fast and furious, then next, fish are hard to come by. Such streaky fishing shouldn’t be a surprise, suggested John from Nelson’s in Provincetown. There’s only so many fish there to sustain that much fishing pressure. A good day of fishing may be followed by a few slow ones as more bass move into the area to replace the ones harvested and sent to market.
John said the fishing around the Lower Cape is a little slow. Some fish are being caught by boaters and kayakers, but the surf fishing has been very quiet.
There wasn’t much talk of stripers off the Cape’s south side, but big bluefish, fluke and bonito are keeping fishermen plenty busy. Cam from Billfisher’s on Nantucket said the bonito fishing has been consistent, and casting with lures or flies is the best bet. While anglers are trolling for the bonito around places like the Hooter off Martha’s Vineyard, around Nantucket, casting is the way to go. Cam said catches of up to a dozen bonito are not uncommon.
Fluke fishing is good. East of Nantucket is consistently producing keeper fish, as is Lucas Shoal. Chris from Bad Fish was fishing Lucas this week and loaded up on monster scup, black sea bass and fluke using Lucanus Jigs from Shimano.
Big bluefish continue to feed around Nantucket, but they’ve become scarce off Provincetown due to a recent drop in water temperature. Blues are also mixed in with the striper schools off Chatham, and are eagerly attacking diamond jigs.
Bluefin tuna fishing continues to be hot east of Chatham. Captain Eric Stewart of the Hook Up in Orleans landed 5 bluefin of 8 hooked on Thursday. Other boats had similar results landing multiple fish. Trolling, jigging and casting are all working. Dan from the Hook Up reported that tuna are being caught from Nauset down to the BB Buoy. A smaller class of fish has showed off Chatham, with fish from 42 to 55 inches being taken.
Off Stellwagen some of these smaller fish have appeared as well. John from Nelsons said there have been a few in that size range caught in recent days. Also taken from the bank was a 700-pound-plus giant.
White marlin are still popping up in the waters just south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Cam from Billfisher reported that anglers spending a couple hours searching are generally seeing a few billfish. Getting bites is another question all together. There have been “acres” of halfbeaks according to Cam, but the marlin seem to be the only predators taking advantage. Tuna seemed to have moved on.
Best Bets for the Weekend
I’d love to recommend a hot red drum spot, but I’ll be surprised if we see another one caught this season. I highly doubt that fish travelled all this way on his own, however. Who knows? Stripers seem to be in Cape Cod Bay and off Chatham. Trolling is the best bet, but vertical jigging off Chatham has been successful as well. Fish are moving around quite a bit, so stay mobile.
Bonito fishing around Nantucket and the Vineyard is good and getting better. Trolling and casting are both working. Cam at Billfisher expects this fishery to last another month, until the albies arrive and muscle out the bones.
Fluke fishing is also very good. Lucas Shoal and the waters around Nantucket are producing. Mike from M and D’s has even been pulling a few out of the Canal. Look for deep water for the best shot at a doormat and for a mixed bag of sea bass, fluke and scup.