July 24th Fishing Report:
Good fishermen recognize patterns and trends and great fishermen recognize patterns before they are about to happen so they are there when it starts. Chris Lydon worked hard early this week to catch a bonito as he knew they would be out there this time of year and after putting in a few days caught the first of the season. In the last few days, while it isn’t “red hot,” more bones have been caught and released and we can say that bonito season has officially started. Anyone fishing the West End of the island can recognize these patterns as there are now acres of sand eels that have filled in throughout the western bars and islands. While speedsters are the goal of many, the wolfpack of 2-4 pound bluefish can not be ignored for their pure fun. Small blues are under the birds off the bar and south of tuckernuck. As a reminder, these conditions set up best on an incoming tide, but those who know, also know that an outgoing tide can produce fish, you just have to put your time in to understand their patterns.
Not surprisingly the beginning of the bonito bite is on the heels of some fun/good offshore fishing. It has yet to “go off” but there is a lot of exciting fishing happening south of the island as there are bluefin being hooked on both the troll and spin gear and white marlin have been hooked/landed as well. Again, nothing guaranteed but those that know what they are doing have a legitimate chance of catching a cool fish if they run south. Even if you don’t catch, you are likely to see some amazing things, whether it be sharks on the surface Porpoises, Mahi-Mahi, Whales, or Tuna jumping. A day down South is worth the experience even if it is just sight seeing.
As for the bass bite locally it has slowed down during the day tremendously. A few bass are being picked off out of the rough waters and western edges and the occasional fish is coming from great point. The flats guides are seeing and doing some catching, but their production has slowed down as well. This is typical for this time of year with the warm weather keeping the remaining bass that have not left the island deep in the water. I was asked recently why was the bass fishing good last year at this time, but not this year? The answer is fairly simple in that last year the 30+ squid boats south of the island caught their quota by mid/late june, so all the squid that came through the island after that period filled our system invigorating the bass to be more active during the day. With the squid boats taking longer to catch their quota this year, as they hurt the squid reproduction grounds over the last few years by over dragging, there are very few squid entering our system. With no big bait to incentivise a day time feed, the stripers are staying deep during the day.
It is important to understand that there are a lot of bass still around Nantucket, but due to the water temp and small bait(sand eels), they wait to feed until night-time when they can push bait up on the beach. These fish can be incited to feed during the day, but only if they can chase big bait. For instance there have been bass caught and seen during the day pushing the bunker schools in the chord of the bay. If the squid were in our waters like last year, they would be more active during the day. All this being said there is a crew of fishermen on this island who are catching 3+ bass a night, but they are fishing hard from 9-midnight. There are lots of bass to be caught, you just need to fish for them when they are feeding. Areas that are producing are: Great point, Quidnet, Miacomet and Cisco. If you are fishing at night time, always fish with a buddy, and use swimmers, SP Minnows or bombers, or a soft plastic. Fish boringly slow, whatever lure you are fishing, and be incredibly patient.
If your goal is to simply bend a rod and bluefish are your target, great point has gotten better in the last week, although the sighting of four great whites has mellowed this fishery in the last few days. Great Point is still producing 8-12 blues if you are willing to fish for a couple of hours from a boat. Again, from a boat there are more blues as you push to the south shore off the airport, or fish old man shoal. These fish are big, so come prepared. There are a lot of blues west as well off of Tuckernuck/Muskeget. The one note about Fishing off the airport is to be incredibly respectful/thoughtful of the whales that are there. Feel free to fish, as fishing is good, but give the whales the 500 yards that we are asked to give them.
From the beach, Fisherman’s and Madequecham have produced big blues and great point is producing a ton of smaller 2 pound fish. Fish from the south shore is best in the evening and morning and the same for Great Point.
This is the time of year when fishing is fun, because like early in the season you have lots of potential, but you have to earn it. And while we all love a bent rod, earning it is WAY more fun.