The Hooter is an area named for the buoy that marks the end of Muskeget Channel, just over 3 miles south of the Southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard. (The buoy makes a hooting sound as it bobs up and down.) What draws fish to this area isn’t the buoy itself but the sandy structure of Wasque Shoal and its sharp drop-off into deep water at the end of Muskeget Channel.
Action at The Hooter begins in mid- to late May when striped bass arriving from the south (and later, bluefish) are drawn to the area to feed on squid and sand eels. The fish are often found in visible current rips on the edge of Wasque Shoal (area A) and can be taken by casting or trolling.
As the water warms, bass are more likely to be found in deeper water off the edge of the drop-off into Muskeget Channel (area B) and can be taken by trolling parachute jigs on wire line or by vertical jigging. Remember to stay within the 3-mile line, as it is illegal to target bass in federal waters.
- Check out some amazing bonus footage that our crew captured of a bluefish spewing sand eels at the Hooter
In mid- to late July, bonito arrive at The Hooter, often a week or more before they are reported inside Vineyard Sound. False albacore will also mix in by August, and bluefin tuna are always a possibility in the deeper water.
Most bonito fishermen use high-speed trolling tactics to target these fish while avoiding bite-offs from bluefish. Rebel Fastracs, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, and other lures that track well at high speeds are popular.
Casting metal lures like Deadly Dicks and Swedish Pimples or Hogy Epoxy Jigs around schools of sand eels under feeding terns will also be effective at times. Use your chartplotter to focus your efforts on the steep dropoff. Usually, you’ll find the bait and the bonito hanging between the 30- and 50-foot contour lines (area C).