Most years our fishery is fairly predictable. There are variations of course, but almost to the week we can let you know how it will play out. Not this year. Every week and every day seem just a little bit different.
We’ve had Bonito show up (and then leave) earlier than ever. We’ve had what feels like 10% of the bluefish population that we are used to. Our Bass fishing continues to be stellar off shore (and it’s late July!) However, inshore fishing cannot make up it’s mind on what it wants to do. Our offshore fishery, which is normally in high gear right now, is very slow to get started. Lastly, our bottom fishing is absolutely out of control. We are regularly catching trophy Fluke, which used to be a once in a season event.
Everyone is throwing around theories about why they bluefish have not shown up, but nothing has stuck. Many think that they are eating bait offshore, while others are blaming the large number of squid boats that have come in since early July. We tend to think that there is cyclical nature to these fish that we have not experienced before. The truth is, we’ve seen a decline over the last couple of years, but nothing to this extent. Bluefish like a wide array of bait and can handle a lot of different water temps, so they seem pretty resilient.
We keep having hope and hearing that bluefish are being caught in certain areas, only to discover that it is just a school, but they have not stuck. We have not lost hope as we still have more bait to come in. And while we say there are not many blues around, there are some in the western rips and around Dionis, just the numbers are light and the fish are small. We hear of occasional choppers around Sankaty, but nothing like what should be there. Recently, a few beach fishermen on the east side of the Island landed several nice fish with some consistency- so we continue to be cautiously optimistic.
The good news is that the bass up around Monomoy Shoals and in our offshore rips continue to be thick! These are big fish and there are a lot of them. Monomoy shoals has been amongst the best fishing, although you do have to compete with a lot of Cape boats, but it is worth it. Unless a boater is comfortable in the Eastern Rips we are hesitant to recommend people going out there. From the beach, we are still getting good reports from the south shore. Friends wandered over to Tuckernuck and had a great evening this week. There have also been consistent reports off of Madaket and Madequecham from the beach at night.
This is the year to try something new or at the least become a better bottom fisherman. The fluke bite this year have been excellent! The inshore bite just east of Great Point has been slower, but if you are willing to venture into some deeper water it has been pretty darn good. The fluke have been in 30-40 feet of water and are hanging on the back side of edges or in the flats after edges a few miles off shore. Take some time and study your GPS and look east of the island 2-3 miles and find what looks like small edges with flat runs afterwards. If you are adventurous, try to head down south of Old Man Shoal. It is hard to give specific locations and Fluke tend to be all over the bottom, but put your time in and you should be rewarded.
We have some funny weather coming in this week, but it should stir up our water and activate it. We are on the cusp of seeing some regularity in our Bonito fishery. The bait is certainly set up. We should also see Off-Shore take off in the next week, so stay tuned. Despite the changes, we still have an incredibly unique and productive fishery. Go wet a line!