The Fishing News | CAI

The Fishing News

    

with Steve Junker

Each week during saltwater fishing season Steve Junker checks in with the folks at On the Water magazine and others to find out who's catching what where around the Cape and Islands—and how they're doing it.  

For a detailed weekly Fishing Forecast, check out On the Water.

Luyen Chou / flickr / CC2.0

Catching a fish, only to return it alive to the water, may seem counter-intuitive. Especially if it's a trophy-size striper. But it's happening more often than you might expect, and becoming increasingly popular.

On The Water

Chris Cavanaugh was fishing for scup from the beach along Buzzards Bay when he hooked something much bigger. He figured it must be a striped bass, until he wrestled it ashore and got a good look at it. Then he didn't know what he had.

CorpsNewEngland / flickr/ CreativeCommons

Fishing is unpredictable, right?

But sometimes it's not. Anglers who frequent the Cape Cod Canal may have looked at the tide charts during the ice-bound days of winter and highlighted this past week as a good possibility for great fishing. If they had, they would have been right. This past weekend and early in the week saw reports of plenty of fish 30-40 inches being landed.

schvin / flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 Yes, it's been cool. And yes, that wind has been blowing a lot these days.

But even if these aren't the beautiful days of summer boating (think jewel-like July or sultry August), we are into the very best time of year for inshore fishing.

Putneypics / flickr

So what's an eager spring fisherman to do?

Those busy southwest winds kept up most of this past week. For recreational anglers edgy to get out on the water searching for newly arrived striped bass, it has been a bit of a torment. Those 20mph+ gusts can take a lot of the fun out of small craft and kayak fishing. It's not so easy to cast and reel when you're being pitched from gunwale to gunwale, never mind trying to hold your boat's position up close to those big rocks.

willmacdonald18 / flickr

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, anglers across the Cape and Islands are noting that bluefish haven't yet shown up in numbers. Okay, maybe bluefish aren't the region's glamour species (I'm talking to you, striped bass), but blues make delicious eating, especially on the grill, and at a time of year when bigger stripers are still hard to come by, bluefish are usually an early season go-to.

Jeremy Jenum / flickr

February 25, 2015 - less than 3 months ago - 18 square miles of ice filled Cape Cod Bay.

Whew.

It's no surprise that striped bass may be a little slow this year returning to Cape Cod waters, which were colder than usual through April, and are slowly warming. 

jetskibrian.com

Large striped bass pushing through our waters, big-as-a-horse bluefish (well, almost...), those bottom-dwelling brutes called tautog... summer may be over, but the fall offers plenty of great fishing to look forward to.

Clinton & Charles Robertson / flickr

A live eel can be the very best thing to put on the end of your line, if you're searching for a big late-season striped bass. But it can also make your life miserable.

http://natureontheedgenyc.blogspot.com/

They are not rod-bending behemoths, they are not chrome-plated speedsters. That is, they are not glamour fish like stripers and albies. Snapper blues? They're... well, they're just fun to catch. And they're good eating too.

Think of all the things that make fall a special time of year - you have tomatoes, cucumbers, low humidity, empty beaches - and you have snapper blues. So nice. 

On The Water/ onthewater.com

When false albacore feed, they "erupt" from the water in a violent tumult, members of the school leaping full-body from the water. The sight incites within the fisherman a corresponding frenzy, a heart-palpitating desperate urgency to race to the blitz, to cast and pray and cast again.

Jenny Junker

If you fish, then you have surely noticed: there just aren't as many striped bass around as there were eight or ten years ago. And the most recent stock assessment by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission confirms this fact. While it asserts that overfishing is not yet occurring, the science indicates that the spawning biomass of striped bass has been steadily declining and is now approaching a critical level.

What's to be done? To protect striped bass, regulators are considering cutting back on the recreational allowance. The three approaches under consideration are 1) a 25% cutback in the 2015 harvest, or: 2) a "3-year plan" that calls only for a 17% cut the first year and no cuts the following 2 years, or 3) a 3-year plan calling for a 7% cut each year for 3 consecutive years starting in 2015. Within these 3 approaches, "specific options to be considered include bag, size, slot and trophy size limits for the recreational fishery and quota reductions for the commercial fishery."

What does that mean for the recreational angler? In Massachusetts, the current limit is two bass per day with a 28-inch minimum. It seems likely that this limit will be reduced, perhaps to one bass at 28-inches, or one bass at 32-inches.

The good news is that striped bass are considered one of the better managed species in the fishery. Because they spawn in inshore waters, scientists have been able to amass good data on their habitats and spawning stock. And this proposed intervention seems to be coming enough in advance to head-off a major stock collapse like what was seen in the 1980s, when keeper-sized bass became scarce along the Massachusetts coast. 

As the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission weighs its options, it is seeking public input. Two public hearings are being held in our region, both on Tuesday, September 2nd. Here the location details:

September 2 at 10 AM
Nantucket Community Room
4 Fairgrounds Road
Nantucket, Massachusetts

September 2 at 6 PMMassachusetts Maritime AcademyAdmiral’s Hall, 101 Academy DriveBuzzards Bay, Massachusetts  

Written public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on September 30, 2014 and should be forwarded to Mike Waine, ASMFC, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or mwaine@asmfc.org.

https://saltycape.com/hedge-fence/

"Have you heard about bonito? Are they here yet?"

That's the refrain passing between fishermen as August enters its final weeks. Bonito are a passion for many anglers, and they only arrive at this time of the season.

Tyler Contento / Facebook

Everyone who’s ever gone fishing knows the anguish of losing a fish - and there are many ways to lose a fish. But perhaps the most mysterious way is getting spooled. 

Tom Puchner / fickr

Fishing for tuna doesn't always mean a trip to Stellwagen Bank and lashing yourself to the fighting chair to do battle with a 600-lb fish. South of Martha's Vineyard the action is very good this season for smaller bluefin, in the 40-lb range, from 40-to-45".  I spoke with Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water Magazine, about a recent trip to target these "football" bluefin. Heading 10 to 15 miles south of the Vineyard, the crew was fishing in depths of about 140 feet.

Denise Pichirallo / flickr

  Lucky you, you're in this beautiful part of the world for a few precious days or weeks of vacation. And you've got an itch to go fishing. Maybe you want to get the whole family involved (great idea!). You've got just one question: "Where do I start?"

Kevin Blinkoff, editor of On The Water magazine, says it's a question he hears a lot. So he's got a high-level-bullet list of suggestions to get you where you want to go. That is, catching fish while enjoying your vacation.

www.measure-it.biz/#!fishscale/component_14104

The pressures of constant innovation extend even to the timeless pleasure of fishing.  

Nat Chalkley / gtncharters.com

Every now and then a local angler happily pulls up a fish, only to discover that what's on the hook was not what was expected. 

Alistair Nicol / flickr

There are plenty of reasons to fish at night. Yes, you're more likely to land bigger bass after dark. But it's also a great way to sharpen all your fishing senses.

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk/Flickr

As July brings warming waters to the Cape and Islands, the fluke fishing heats up. Also known a Summer Flounder, fluke are a flatfish, and very tasty. Oddly, fluke begin life looking much like a "regular" fish, but as they mature, one eye migrates around to join the other on the "up" side of the body. Ambush predators, fluke lie on the bottom waiting for something tasty to get swept along in front of them. It's a feeding strategy that can help you target them.

Chris Bentley / flickr

All right, yes, that's a headline that begs endless snarky suggestions. But really, for fishermen, it's a serious question.

AP photo

Wait, you're going to catch a fish and throw it back? For non-fishermen, it's counterintuitive.

Kevin Bryant

If you're looking for a "best bet" for Father's Day fishing, Black Sea Bass might be your winning pick. The fish are around in good numbers and seem to be extending their range northward in recent years. 

Black Sea Bass are a bottom fish. You want to look for them where there is bottom structure such as rockpiles, wrecks, ledges, or dropoffs. They are a schooling fish, so where you find one, you're likely to find more. They do like squid - a good set-up is to bait a weighted hook or jig with a piece of squid. 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/

For thousands of years smoking fish was a go-to method for food preservation. So now we have refrigeration and flash-freezing - but something in your ancestral genes still calls out for that smoky flavor, right? (Think bacon.) Smoking your catch in the backyard is not difficult to do, and it can add new color to the flavor palette of your summer. Here's what you need to know to get started.

At its most basic, hot-smoking is just slow-cooking with heat while infusing the fish with great smoky flavor. 

robposse / flickr

As we turn the corner into June, opportunities for surfcasting along Cape Cod and the Islands really pick up. Warming water temperatures draw striped bass close to shore to feed. But don't wait too long. By early/mid summer - as water temperatures continue to rise - those bigger bass will back off to deeper and cooler water.

Pages