If I want to catch a striper, when should I be on island?

June 15th.  The Bass begin their migration North in the early Spring and the first wave tend to get to the island in early May.  The Bass are usually slim pickings through May but pick up steam in early June as the water warms towards their ideal temps and the bait comes in.  The warmth at the end of June that brings the Fog also tends to push bait away that also thins the Bass. Some years we are lucky and have cool water through July and some years the fish are gone by June 20th….

  • As for Fall fishing, Nantucket Striped Bass fishing leaves a lot to be desired. It gets a small surge of fish for a few weeks, but for the most part fish migrating South move quickly and tend to not linger around Nantucket, whereas northbound fish linger and fatten.

What are the Striped Bass Regulations

A recreational angler can keep up to one fish per day that are a minimum of 28 inches. *However, we recommend only keeping what you and your immediate family can eat for dinner. ** It is also important to remember that these fish have to be caught within 3 miles of shore. (see question below)

Why Can’t I keep a striper Outside 3 miles?

In the early 80’s the Federal Government put a moratorium on keeping Striped Bass in an attempt to rejuvenate the fishery.  It worked and in 1984 the Federal Government allowed States to control State waters (which is within 3 miles of shore.) The government maintained the moratorium on federal waters.  And yes those waters are patrolled and heavy fines are imposed if you are found to be breaking this law.

From the beach you will need some distance, so the old adage is the longer the better. New technology has changed this though and a 9 foot rod tends to be the perfect size. Much longer and the rod becomes labor-some to throw for a significant period of time. Most 9 foot rods have the backbone to toss a plug the distance necessary to reach bluefish and have the backbone to handle bigger fish from the beach.

  • If you are targeting Bass at night you will likely (unless chunking) be throwing a lighter lure and might want a rod that has a backbone to fight the fish, but a softer tip that will allow you to throw a typical bass lure.

  • If you are fishing the harbor, you will likely want a 6-7 foot rod, which has a strong backbone and a soft tip. Shimano and G-Loomis are leaders with this type of product.

I want to fish from the beach, what rod should I be using?

Your opportunity to catch fish bigger fish from the boat will need you to have a rod that is stiff through the butt.  Ideally you will be looking for a 6-7 foot rod that can easily be used on the boat. Some Rip guys prefer a bit longer (8 foot) for casting distance, but few will go beyond that?

If I am fishing from a boat, what is the ideal rod?

Mid-September through Mid-October is the ideal time to catch Falsies from both the beach and the boat.  While you can often catch these fish crashing bait, often it is best just to blind cast through lanes they typically hold in.

  • Locations for Falsies…Madaket Opening, End of the Jetties, Great Point.

If I want to catch an Albie, When should I be on island?

  • Shallow water: surface/sub surface, water movers, ie sluggos, spooks, or poppers.  In the shallow waters (harbor etc…) these fish are very explosive and look up as well as down. *** A new favorite of ours is the Albie Snack and Wax Wing.

  • Deep Water: Swimmers: While the bombers are tried and true, most of the die hards are moving over to Rapala Mag X. Also consider lead heads and if the fish are on the surface, poppers.

  • Beach: Bombers tend to be a goto, in recent years, soft plastics and lead heads have made a big push

  • ****We highly recommend that you are always prepared with multiple types of lures and depth within each lure (ie two-three of each.) Reason why, is if something is working, you want to make sure you have another if you lose it.  You also want to have variety in case you know fish are there and they do not like what you are throwing.

What Plugs Should I use for Bass?

A West Tide is an outgoing tide, meaning the tide is ebbing or leaving harbours, bays etc… It is referred to as a West Tide because when the tide is moving it tends to move TO the West.  You can notice this if you are drifting on a boat, or if you are watching water go over a sandbar, the tide is moving towards the West.

  • ON the opposite side, An East tide moves to the East and is a flood or rising tide.

  • It is important to note that a West Tide moves towards the West, while a West wind comes from the West.  Don’t ask why….just is.

Why do fishermen on Nantucket refer to the tide as a West Tide and East Tide?

The simple rule is get on the water when you have the time and if you have the luxery to choose a particular tide great.  Too many people try and time the tide perfectly and end up missing the opportunity to fish.

  • As far as better tides, this changes weekly by location, but below are a few general rules of thumb. This being said, check the fishing report often as tide will usually be mentioned.

    • Nantucket Harbor: Beginning of a West Tide as water is starting to run out of the harbor.

    • Great Point Rip (Boat): West Tide tends to fish better for Blues while the East Tide tends to fish better for Bass

    • Madaket Opening: West tide in the opening, but East Tide on the outer bar

Is East(incoming) or West(outgoing) Tide better for fishing

The Traditional answer is The East (Incoming) tide.  Most people looking to target bonito go to The Bonito Bar on an East Tide as the incoming tide there brings a healthy sand eel population from the ocean (30-50 feet deep) tight onto the outer bar of the opening (5-7 feet deep.  This natural slope and cross current along the bar creates a trap for the Sand Eels that the Bonito tend to prey on. The bonito are typically caught in the deeper water (12-22 feet.)

  • While it is tougher to target Bonito at Great Point, when they are in, they are often caught there on both tides, but more success also takes place on the East Tide.

What is the best tide to catch Bonito and why?