You have to love July. The weather is perfect, the water is always changing and the fish are super happy. While our Striped Bass fishing is slowing down, the rest of our fisheries are just gearing up.
We are careful in how we choose our words about Striped Bass slowing down, because they are still here and the fishery can be productive, but compared to the last couple of weeks, which were as good as we can remember, there is no way to continue that pattern as the water is warming up and our number one bait source is being taken from us. In talking to many captains on the island, we have all seen bass catch rates fall in the last week as we have seen the squid boats south of the island go from single digits to 35. There is not doubt that the lack of bait into our waters is making a difference. This is most notable in the eastern rips which this time of year usually are loaded with Bass. Many will remember 3-4 years ago when the eastern rips would be loaded with squid and squaretails. For the last few years with the strangle on our bait these rips are much slower.
Luckily the inshore stripers are finding some of the bunker that is littered across the North Shore and those inshore fish are also keying in on the sand eels that have filled in around the island. In the alst few weeks we have become used to the stripers being active during the day, but the warmth of the water and the lack of squid are leading the stripers to adjust to their summer patterns of staying deep during the day and feeding at night. So if targeting bass, make sure to fish early morning or the later evenings. This is not to say you won’t find the fish during the day, but we like to guide you to your best chance of catching fish.
Speaking of early morning fishing, I had to pry a great family out of their beds earlier this week to go target fish. We were on the water by 5am to enjoy the sunrise and each of the young men stopped to appreciate how beautiful it was. When we hooked fish, there was no further need to convince them why this is the best time on the water. Michael Grise was rewarded with a 20lb fish. As we were coming into the dock around 9 am, they said, “we aren’t even normally awake by now.” I love that. On the water, we call that bonus time! We have a full day before most of the Island even wakes up. We know that most folks are here on vacation, so relax and enjoy yourselves, but don’t be shy to get up early and see a different side of our beautiful Island.
Striped Bass can still be found on the flats and we even had some great reports on the North Shore this week, so if the best time for you to fish is during the day, go for it! Also, several customers caught fish in the middle of the day on the south shore, specifically in Miacomet and down of Madaqucham. At night, most of the South Shore beaches are producing and there has been some great activity on the East Side, most notably at great point. The North Side has been good too, but again mostly at night. I spoke to a good friend of the shop today who is averaging 5-8 fish a night. He is putting his time in, but he is getting rewarded.
The South Shore, however, may be the most fun right now. The beach fishing is better in the evenings and the mornings, only because of the number of swimmers. Off the boat, the blue fishing has been good with most of the fish on the top water. The best show this week was the number of Humpback and Wright Whales that were sitting just a mile off of the beach. Do try and stay away from these whales as they are protected, but no reason not to check them out. What a cool luxury to have whales so close by…
This is the time of year when the water is changing by the day. Hopefully next week, we even have a great offshore report. Go see what you can find and enjoy our ever changing fishery!