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.

Earlier seasons of The Fishing News are available on our archives page.
 

The Fishing News is made possible in part with support from Arey's Pond Boat Yard on Pleasant Bay in Orleans.

 

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.

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