by Jerry Vovcsko
Looks like temperatures, both air and water, are due for a serious upward spike over the upcoming weekend. Right now water temps in Nantucket Sound are sitting in the mid-fifties but the weather folks tell us we're going to see air temperatures zooming into the ninety-degree range for the next four days. That won't have much impact on those pods of bluefish cruising in the Sound these days but it may mean striped bass will be hanging out a little deeper than usual. There's probably no need to sink baits or lures into really deep water to find bass but it's not a bad idea to work the rips and currents as the water heats up locally.
This is a particularly good time to wander down along the Elizabeth Islands paying careful attention to Quicks and Robinsons Holes. Tidal currents in those between-island slots churn things up pretty good and big stripers like to sit there ambushing baitfish as they're tossed by the fast moving currents. Over the years swimming plugs have been effective in these places along with jig and plastic combinations.
For those who arrive in the pre-dawn hours, topwater plugs – needles, darters and such – are very productive during the first-light moments. Lately, live eels have been responsible for hook-ups with some mighty large bass in the Cuttyhunk area and along the west coast of Martha's Vineyard. And there are definitely more Large bass around; confirmed reports of a fifty-three pound striper caught from shore in Narragansett Bay tell us the big guys are heading our way and traditionally begin showing up on the lower end of the islands right about now. Combine that with rising air and water temperatures and it's a recipe for success for those folks fishing the islands this weekend.
But the Elizabeths are not the only place worth a look, far from it. Buzzards Bay has lit up in the Quisset-West Falmouth-Megansett area. Lots of stripers, mostly schoolie size right now but the keeper types are moving in slowly. Bluefish patrolling Vineyard Sound in the Woods Hole end of the Sound and around Succonesset and L'Hommedieu Shoals. There have been reports of bigger blues showing up on the back side of the Vineyard and by now they would have moved into Wasque Rip had Wasque not been obliterated by winter storms a couple years back.
Further East stripers in the 22 to 26 inch range have filtered into the flats around Monomoy Island with some keeper-sized bass mixed in. That whole area will begin to heat up very soon now as well as on Pollock Rip and then up along the back beaches. There have been good numbers of bass heading northward past Truro and Provincetown and up toward the New Hampshire coast and on up to Maine. Some of our readers up in Maine are celebrating the arrival of a slug of stripers in the Kennebec and Sebasticook Rivers including at least one thirty inch keeper.
The Cape Cod Canal seems to have morphed into on-again, off-again mode after having reported lively action around the east end with keeper size fish showing up earlier in the season. If the mackerel that were hanging out around the east end show up again in any kind of numbers we could be seeing some larger bass moving in with them. That could mean topwater action in the early morning hours and jig and plastic combos later in the day around the slack tides.
Bluefish have moved into Cape Cod Bay and they're showing up pretty much all over the Bay with five pounds being typical of the ones caught lately. Schools of blues were cruising off Sandy Neck beach over near the mouth of Barnstable Harbor earlier in the week and anglers tangled with pods of three to four pound blues off the beach at Sandwich.
Fluke season is open now and that means there'll be more boats working around the Middleground in Vineyard Sound. A good approach is to drift along the reef with a strip of fluke belly on a small jig and then keep going westerly off that drift and strip line to get the baits down into the "holes" off the west end of the Middleground. Folks have taken some serious Large out of those spots using that technique…the holes drop some ten to twenty feet below the usual forty foot depths out there. It works on a west-running tide and one of the bigger stripers a fishing buddy of mine caught came when he hooked up with a smallish fluke on the drift over the reef and had that fish gobbled by a 40-lb+ striper after he drifted out over one of the holes.
As a wise man once said, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. (I wonder if it was the same guy who said "Carpe Diem does not mean fish of the day.")
*** According to a story in today's (5/30/13) Boston Globe, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed a lawsuit against federal regulators, alleging that new rules reducing the number of ground-feeding fish fisherman are allowed to catch for the rest of the year will be a "death sentence" for the industry.
Effective May 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered fisherman to reduce by 77 percent their catches of certain species of fish, including haddock, cod, and flounders. The suit, filed today in US District Court, aims to block the regulations, claiming NOAA based them on questionable science and did not take into account the potentially disastrous economic impacts they would have on fisherman.
***(added on 5/30)