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2024 Martha's Vineyard Fly Fishing Preview

After several months of cold, fish-void days and sleepless nights dreaming of the return of our beloved striped bass, spring's dawn is finally on the horizon! Sure, water and air temps in New England remain frosty, but our glasses are half-filled with visions of voracious eats and bent rods. In the distance, we can hear the faint tremble of a screeching reel steadily growing louder and angrier! Leave the cynicism behind, close your eyes, and focus on that line getting ripped through your hands because winter is nearly over, and the Vineyard fly fishing season will soon be in swing faster than albies on anchovies.

Part of Martha's Vineyard's allure lies in the differing fishing opportunities found throughout the late April to early November fishing season - From throwing squid patterns in the rips in May, sight fishing the skinny flats in June, to frantically casting Surf Candies to albies during the magical fall run. This 100-square-mile fishy paradise we're lucky to call home offers something to even the most discerning angler. Follow along as we break down what the visiting fly angler can expect throughout the season. 

Early Spring

Early Spring is an exciting time to be a fly angler on Martha's Vineyard! Schoolies arrive in droves from the Chesapeake Bay on their annual migration north. This is the perfect opportunity for boatless anglers since stripers push close to shore and are hungry! The cooler water temps allow for exciting action from sun up to sun down, and we book many full day trips in early Spring. We have beach permits to drive down the beach and get to more remote, pristine areas. Martha's Vineyard's shore game can be as strong as going out on the boat!

Although the water is gin clear this time of year due to the lack of plankton, these fish need to pack on the calories and aren't as fly-selective as later in the season. That said, classic Clousers are hard to go wrong with to imitate the increasing numbers of sand eels.

Coinciding with the bass migration, squid begin appearing, and the rips serve up calamari to stripers looking for an easy meal. Some bigger fish begin entering the mix in the rips, providing hot early-season action to New Englanders. An aggressive, compact line designed for making quick shots, like RIO's Outbound Short, is perfect for the rips.

We are not joking that fishing the rips this time of year is nothing short of a National Geographic Ad. The water is tie-dyed with black ink, the birds are diving, and squid are breaking the surface with big open mouths of hungry bass in hot pursuit right behind. We have had many clients tell us they want to take a quick break from the action and just watch the battle around us. It is a spectacular sight that should not be missed. 

 Late Spring & Early Summer

Fish are thicker than chowder, and the action is hot! The flats, rips, jetties, and everything in between generally fish well this time of year. Last May saw the best fishing for bluefish for both size and numbers in quite a few years, and we expect this trend to continue! The bluefish were so big and aggressive that they were almost scary. We are grateful they only get as big as they do, or we wouldn't swim in these waters...

The squid bite in the rips is truly a site to behold. Picture large schools of bass and blues gorging on pods of helpless squid. With the water on the cooler side and plenty of bait around, stripers are more willing to eat larger topwater patterns, and nothing compares to watching bruisers come up for crushing eats. If you are new to fly fishing, leave images of peace and tranquility behind because this fishing isn't for the faint of heart. The Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS 350 is our fly rod of choice when launching gnarly flies through the wind.

This is prime time for sight fishing the flats thanks to the mild water temps, endless numbers of sand eels that swarm the flats daily, and the bass ripping through these schools in hot pursuit. One of our favorite sights is watching the crystal clear flats change color as we watch a huge school of bait anxiously make their way across the flat. Be sure to be ready because fish cannot pass up a meal served up on a silver platter like this. 

Our boxes for the Bahamas see double duty, and Gotcha variations along with crab patterns like the Alphlexo are perfect for tempting hard-to-fool stripers. The Airflo Cold Saltwater line is our preferred choice for flats fishing in cooler water. Unlike most striper lines, the Cold Saltwater has a less aggressive taper, perfect for delicate presentations.

Dog Days of Summer

As the mercury rises, it's best to fish in the early mornings, late evenings, and nights. Fish are more dispersed, but they're still around! Unlike many fisheries in New England, pockets of stripers can be found in specific areas where water stays cool. Stripers migrate to Martha's Vineyard and so we are lucky enough to have good striper fishing all season long. It pays to be mobile this time of year, and hiring a guide to get to otherwise unreachable spots is critical. Another bonus is bonito start to show up, giving us a hot preview of fall's hardtail action.

The rips still hold tons of bait, and bass and gator blues aren't far away from the easy prey frantically attempting to break free of the relentless current. We're still throwing larger profile baitfish patterns like Beast and squid flies but have switched to sinking lines since fish are suspended deeper in the water column. Scientific Angler's Sonar Titan S3/S5/S7 has the mass to deliver big flies and the density to get them deep into the strike zone.

The heavy current in the rips is constantly churning up cooler water and bait. More bait is moving in each day and getting us even more excited for fall. Many times there will be crystal clear skies, but the water will look like it has raindrops on it. This is just the active bait moving right below the surface, trying to stay safe from the monsters below...

Kismet Outfitters is proud to carry a wide selection of Levi Opsatnic flies this year. Levi specializes in tying Bob Pop-influenced patterns we've fine-tuned specifically for Martha's Vineyard fishery. Levi's flies grab even the most ardent observer's attention. We are happy to put a box together for you and ship it out. Please call Abbie at 860.944.5225 for custom box ideas! 

Polling around the flats and searching for belly-crawling bass fixated on crustaceans is one of our favorite summer pastimes. If you ask any guide at Kismet we all have the same response. There is no place we would rather be in the world than the flats of the Vineyard searching for big, snobby stripers. In our opinion, it truly is the best way to spend a day.

Sight fishing with crab flies is highly technical. Prepare to suffer the heartbreak of refusal by pretentious stripers doing their best permit imitations. However, patient anglers are rewarded with thunderous eats from formidable stripers. Don't forget to trade your cold water line for one designed for hotter temps, like the RIO Flats Pro.

Fall Run


For many, Fall represents the pinnacle of fly fishing on Martha's Vineyard. We have fished the world over, and there isn't another destination we'd rather be! By this point, the summer crowds have subsided, and the temperatures couldn't be more optimal for fishing.

The infamous Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby runs from mid-September through mid-October, bringing a fishing-centered crowd. Thankfully, the Striped Bass category has been nixed for conservation reasons, but the Bluefish, Bonito, and False Albacore categories keep anglers fixated on topping the leaderboards.

This is the time to get your box ready, your lines switched, and your rod quiver on point. With albies around, you don't want to be caught off guard! Our fly boxes consist of smaller patterns than we fish throughout the rest of the season to match silversides and bay anchovies. White, pink, and chartreuse are all we need and use. 

The classic Mushmouth, Clousers, Surf Candies, and the lovely Albie Whore, take over our boats, boxes, pockets…everywhere. Be sure to stop by the shop to pick up our custom Albie Whore flies tied by Cape Cod local Captain Casey Anthony.


The conditions on the Vineyard are constantly in flux. It's part of what makes the fly fishing exciting and challenging. One minute, you think you have it dialed, and then the next, you'll be scratching your head in bewilderment. Kismet Outfitters is here to help crack the code. 

Our guides live and breathe this fishery and provide lifetimes' worth of local knowledge during our guided trips. We are all on the water every day and love sharing our fishery. If you're interested in experiencing one of the world's premier saltwater fly fishing destinations, please email or We run trips on 3 different boats, from shore and paddle board, so there is something for every angler! We look forward to seeing you in 2024!