The Tight Lines Fishing Report is brought to you by Corey and Cam Gammill via Bill Fisher Tackle and Bill Fisher Outfitters. Visit their website, their shop at 127 Orange Street, or give them a call at (508) 228-2261.
Dear Fishermen and Friends,
It’s raining on Nantucket… what should you do? I think you know our answer, GO FISH! I would ask that you avoid the South Shore today because it’s big and scary, but otherwise, there are a ton of fishing options such as Great Point, Quidnet and Eel Point. Most important though, fishing memories are made on these days. It is on a day like today that Cam and I caught our first bluefish with our Uncle Hugh at Great Point decades ago!
As for the fishing report, fishing right now is all about bluefish with lots of other opportunities to find other fish as well if you time your expedition well. For instance, plenty of bass have been caught in the evening and nighttime and bones are being caught sporadically as well. But thankfully bluefish are carrying the day. And anyone who knocks bluefish, shame on you, just think back to 2-3 years ago when blues were scarce. (To understand this more, see below!) So where are the bluefish? Great Point has been excellent on the outgoing tide and slack leading into the outgoing, but it has been slow on the incoming. This is true from the beach and the boat. Down south from the point there have been BIG blues chomping on BIG bait stacked from Sankaty north, so don’t be afraid to go to Quidnet area and fish. Super fun. Old man has also been excellent from the boat with fish chasing bait clear out of the water. The upside of old man is that bass have been mixed in as well, so if you are looking for linesiders this would be our recommendation.
Beach Fishermen on the South Shore are doing well in the morning and evening for blues between Fishermans and Madequecham. These same beaches have also produced bass at night time as well. But to catch the bass you need to be there as the sun is setting or nighttime. The go to lure seems to be the Grey Lady Pencil Popper. These lures are JUST AMAZING if you have not fished them yet. They cast a country mile and just raise fish.
The last place to mention this time of year, is arguably the most talked about in August, which is the West End. People LOVE targeting bones in August. While the bite has not been red hot yet, it has been good with those having patience being rewarded. But please remember the west end is not just for boaters, but lots of blues, bones and bass can be taken right from the beach around smiths point. This is one of the must underrated fishing locations on island, because it is hard to get to, but this time of year there is so much bait that the fish are plentiful. They are chomping on small bait, so small swimmer, Grey Lady Hell Fire 120’s, or deadly dicks are the name of the game. We love the Grey Lady products because of the single hooks. And also remember if Smith’s Point is good, so is eel point. Put your time in and you should be rewarded.
Our last comment is not about fishing locations, but simply the emphasis to get out there. Whether you are catching or not, the act of fishing itself is the essence of “getting away.” Grab your kids and show them the side of Nantucket that is truly special. This island is loaded with amazing resources, and we think our fishery is the best of them all. Believe us, we love the restaurants and the architecture of this island, but when you have a rod in your hand looking out to the ocean, you get the real moment of relaxation which drew us all to this island in the first place.
Bluefish and Bait: Understanding the role of Bait in our system!
I have been asked all season long, “why do we have so much more bluefish than normal?” While the answer isn’t straightforward, there is a logical explanation. Fish follow bait. It is that simple, when our fishery has bait, we will have fish. We have been incredibly lucky to not have squid boats sitting south of the island for the last two years and this has allowed bait to freely flow into our system.
Most of our bait as well as many of our finfish (tuna, blues, bones, albies) all winter offshore near the warm gulf stream where there is an ecosystem of life. Small fish eat plankton, bigger fish eat smaller fish etc… But all of the species need to reproduce, and most species to reproduce they need to lay eggs that physically attach to the bottom. It just so happens that the area south of Nantucket and the Vineyard are incredible reproduction grounds (think of all the tiny sand eels, bunker and squid in our fishery right now!) All of our waters are loaded with micro bait that is recently hatched from fish that laid eggs in the spring and early summer. Watching the fish regurgitate is almost as cool as catching them as it gives us a window into their eating patterns.
So back to the bluefish… for years when the squid boats were all over the south of the island, their gear was ripping up the eggs of all the baitfish and very little of the baitfish would hatch and enter our waters. This isn’t to mention the millions of pounds of squid and herring being captured up in these nets. So with no squid boats last year, bait was able to hatch and fill our fishery and the same has again happened. And fortunately, the bluefish have come in from offshore and found easy meals. This is a long explanation to say, the bluefish are abundant, but for them to come inshore, we must protect the bait. We love talking about our fishery and our ecosystem, so never stop asking…