Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vineyard Report 7/26/07

The summer pattern has emerged in Vineyard waters. Bluefishing is strong at the moment, with fish in the 5 to 1o pound range available in awsome numbers in the shoals off the East end of the island. The blues are also present inshore, with clouds of sandeels being the primary forage alond the Vineyard beaches.

Bonito are begining to show around the Vineyard, with peridoic catches occuring to the South and East of the island. The bones are not yet particulary targetable inshore, although they have been caught close to the beach on both sides of the island in the past week. It shouldn't be long before bonito fever sets in around these parts, hopefully everyone will be on their best behavior this year.

Bass fishing has slowed a bit in the past weeks, with the comercial fleet cleaning the fish out of many of the areas that were so consistant for us this spring. It's unfortunate, but it's the reality at the present time. There are still a great deal of bass feeding on krill on the North and West sides of the island. Krilling fish are tricky to catch, but persistance and presentation seem to pay dividends in the end. Flats fishing is also still an option for catching bass on fly and light tackle, with most of the islands shorline flats still holding. The fish are a bit more difficult at this point, as warmer temps and almost 2 months of looking at flies seem to cause them to get a bit of lockjaw. The best flies on the flats at this point are Jiggys and tan crab flies.

There aren't many tuna fish with in striking distance of the island at this point, but it shouldn't be long now; August generally seems to be the prime month for small boat tuna fishing out of the Vineyard anyway.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

tuna 7.9.07

Busman’ Holiday

I’ve never really known the origin of the term ‘Busman’s Holiday’, but it’s a phrase that is commonly applied to a day when two guides have the day off and go fishing together. That’s what happened this Monday, when Jamie Boyle and I both found ourselves with a blank square in the calendar and the itch to get our first tuna of the 2007 season on the fly rod.

With tuna on the mind we met at the Vineyard Haven public boat ramp at 4:30 AM. Joining us on this mission was longtime friend and talented angler Patrick Courtney. After loading Jamie’s boat with the necessary tackle, ice and provisions we steamed north, up toward Cape Cod where we had reports of surface feeding bluefins from reliable sources that live in the area.

Once we arrived at the grounds it was not long before we began to see fish on top. Seeing your first leaping tuna fish of the year gets the adrenaline pumping, I don’t care who you are. After a couple of fly changes and tippet strength modifications we came up on a group of fish that was busting pretty hard and one throw in with a small olive over white Mushmouth yielded a hookup almost instantly. After a battle that lasted the better part of 30 minutes we had the fish boat side. Some fine work on the part of Jamie at the helm and Patrick on the gaff brought the fish over the rail, a nice fat 46 inch specimen that we estimated to weigh in the high fifties, a personal best on fly for me.

Next it was Patrick’s turn, and a couple of shots with the spin pole produced a fish in short order. Pat is an expert with the heavy spin stuff, having taken many tuna and marlin in this fashion. As a result of his experience he knows what the tackle he uses is capable of, and ten minutes after he went tight we released a nice tuna in the 45 to 50 inch range.

Now it was Jamie’s turn. I wasn’t accustom to driving shots in Jamie’s boat, which is significantly bigger than mine, but regardless of my needing a little time to work the bugs out it only took Jamie two casts to tighten up to a nice bluefin on the fly. Like Patrick, Jamie is quite accustom to landing big fish on relatively light tackle, and he was able to best another tuna in the same size range as the previous ones in less than 20 minutes.

The action began to slow around mid-day, but it did open up for us for a short time in the afternoon and we were able to hook two more fish, landing one. Four fish landed on five hookups, 3 on fly and one on spin, not a bad way to open up the 2007 tuna season. All the fish were in the 45 to 50 inch range and weighed between 50 and 60 pounds. Hot fly was the Mushmouth (big surprise), and the spin lure of choice was the Maria, although we did have some fantastic hits on top water stuff.

On the home front, the bass fishing on the Vineyard has remained very strong. The shoals off Chappy are still producing nice bass on spin and fly alike. The bass fishing this year has solidified it self as head and shoulders above the previous two years. The fish are bigger, more plentiful and more aggressive. They also seem to be hanging in their inshore haunts longer than they have in a great while. There are a host of factors that could be contributing to this, including water temperature, bait population and numbers of fish in general. It’s most likely a combination of these and others.

Not that many people have started looking for tuna south of the island as of this report, but they surely will be soon. A couple of bonito have been landed in Vineyard waters, and it shouldn’t be long before we’re dealing with them in fishable numbers inshore. The beach fishing has been predominantly a Lobsterville thing, with some nights stronger than others. The clouds and the fog have kept me off the flats for the most part, but with high pressure and clear skies predicted to return soon, I should have a far more detailed flats report next week. All in all the fishing on the Vineyard and in surrounding areas is very strong at this point. Usually we’re talking about a slow down at this point of the season as the summer doldrums set in, but right now is prime time.

Captain W. Brice Contessa

Thursday, July 5, 2007

report for 7.5.07

With water temps still hovering in the mid-to high-60’s in our oceanside spots, bass fishing continues impress us on a daily basis. Squid continue to be at the top of the menu, and some of the squid blitzes have been so intense that 5-to 10-inch squid are actually jumping right into the boat! The bass this week have been ranging anywhere from 26” to 30 pounds. The best days have been those with a lot of wind and large seas. As is often the case with stripers, wild weather leads to wild fishing. Add a whole bunch of squid to the mix and it can get downright crazy. It should be a great week of fishing ahead with a moderate SW breeze predicted for the next 4 or 5 days out.
Also, the first couple of bones have been caught in Island waters. Great to hear, but I wouldn’t expect any consistent greenie fishing for at least a couple of weeks.
On the shore scene, Lobsterville is still the word of the day. Fish up to 40” have been chewing flies and plugs consistently for the last week.
Capt. Tom Rapone

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

MV Flats Report 07/03/07

Flats fishing has remained consistent on Martha’s Vineyard over the course of the past week. Clear, bright skies allowed for sightfishing opportunities most days, and the current number of fish in the shallows is far greater than it was at this time last year.

I fished predominantly on the East end of the island this week, as the numbers, size and willingness to eat flies of the fish on the shoreline flats in this area was impressive and hard to leave. I did make it up-island at the end of last week (6/29), and was not surprised to find strong numbers up there as well, however the combination of blustery Southwest winds and in and out clouds allowed us only to land three fish in 4 hours of pushing around.

Bass on the up in the skinny water on the Vineyard are still in the same size range we’ve been seeing most of the season, in the 24-36 inch range with some serious toads in the mix. Fly selection has also remained fairly consistent, with an added emphasis on the crabby stuff recently.

Captain W. Brice Contessa