Cooler Waters Down South Mean Striped Bass Are Taking Their Time Coming Our Way

May 18, 2018

Here's the launch of the Fishing News for 2018. It's mid-May, and many fishermen are looking for squid, which typically show up in our waters this time of year and are a harbinger of bigger fish to come.

Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water magazine, says it’s been a very good year for squid so far.  “It's around this time they show up and move into Vineyard sound to spawn, and they form big groups off the south side of Cape Cod, between Hyannis and East Falmouth. Ee've seen commercial fishermen out there pulling nets. They're doing really well on squid. Recreational fishermen have been going out and using squid jigs, and they're doing very well, too.”

Of course, one of the reasons that fishermen keep an eye on squid is because bigger fish, like striped bass, love to eat them. Typically, we see the smaller striped bass return first, and then the bigger fish, which stay down south longer to spawn. Blinkoff says that while last year at this time we already had some big fish around, this year is a little slower, and perhaps a little more typical.

“We're seeing mostly smaller fish, what fishermen call schoolies, and just now starting to see some keeper-sized fish,” says Blinkoff.

The water temperature affects how soon the striped bass move in—but it’s not so much our local water temperature, as the water temperature down south, says Blinkoff.

“Those big fish are up in Chesapeake Bay, Delaware River, and Hudson River, and they won't spawn until the water gets warm enough. Back in mid-April, the water was very cool. They didn't feel like spawning, so they sat around and waited a couple more weeks. They're finishing up now, and reports are that they've left the spawning grounds and are starting to head this way.”

Blinkoff says first reports of bluefish have come in, off the south side of the Cape. “Usually, after you hear of one or two, it's within a few days that you hear of lots of them. So definitely keep an eye on those beaches right around where the squid have been—that’s where you'll see big schools of bluefish come in and start tearing through.”

There’s more in the audio above, along with a roundup, if you’re headed out fishing this weekend. Give it a listen.