We have had an excellent season so far on Martha’s Vineyard. Not only have we seen large numbers of fish, but of good size, too. Big blues and bass are plentiful from the shore, boat, and paddle boards. The water is getting warmer, but the bite is still hot!
The rips have SO much bait it's crazy and a good sign for the August and fall run. We are seeing stripers and big blues in the rips, with the latter pushing 15 lbs from the boat and even the shore! The gator blues are eating larger profile yellow herring patterns, sand eels, and squid flies. We have a lot of great flies in the shop and can happily put together a killer box for you. Due to the warmer temps, we have switched to sinking and intermediate lines. Leave the floating line on the spare spool until the water cools again.
The stripers in the rips are keyed in on sand eels. However, we are still getting them on squid, especially if the water is too thick with sand eels. Slow, jerky strips work best with the fly suspended under a sinking line such as RIO’s Outbound Short or Scientific Anglers Sonar Titan Triple Density. The nice thing about both is that they are available in various densities, and their shorter, heavier heads allow them to load and shoot with fewer false casts. Don’t forget to add Cortland’s Tie-able Wire Tippet when pursuing blues because you will lose flies thanks to those piranha-like teeth!!
The flats have yet to slow down, and I would be surprised if they did. The water clarity isn’t the same as in June, but the sight fishing is still very productive. We are using crab patterns and clouser minnows with intermediate or floating lines. A longer fluorocarbon leader with Scientific Anglers Sonar Intermediate Camo line has been our preferred setup when making accurate yet delicate presentations to these spooky fish. Some smaller blues are on the flats, but we primarily sight cast to larger striped bass. We can show you our favorite crab and clouser patterns in the shop. If you are off the island, call us, and we can send you pics and flies today!
We have heard from a few of our guides that smaller schools of bonito are slowly coming in. We are SO excited for them to hit full force, and we expect them to do so any day now. There is so much bait in the water, so they better arrive hungry!
The shore fishing has been tougher during the heat-of-the-day, but very productive early morning, dusk, and night. The exception has been the rips, where hungry big blues are eating flies mid-day. Your chances of catching slot-sized stripers in numbers are increased substantially during low-light conditions. However, all is not lost if you only have a few hours to burn in less-than-optimal conditions. Consider these tricks from the pros:
First, the best striper fishing from shore is happening off the beaches up-island. If you haven't fished Aquinnah to Menemsha, it is worth the 40-minute drive from Edgartown. Not only is this a beautiful area, but there are still plenty of stripers getting caught! Overcast and cloudy days are your best bet, and it’s not unusual to see birds on bait and bass in hot pursuit. Classic sand eel imitations like Clousers with chartreuse and flash should crush it but don’t hesitate to throw darker flies. For bluebird days, forget flashy attractors in favor of lighter and more subdued natural offerings!
If you’re seeing fish but not getting hits, size down your fly size and opt for lighter fluorocarbon tippet. I switched to 12lb fluoro on a recent trip up-island, and the results were substantial. Scientific Anglers’ Jungle Clear Tip is excellent for up-island since the most fishy spots are filled with rocks, pebbles, and other debris that can tangle a sinking running section. The intermediate clear tip gets down enough to put your fly in the zone and aids with stealthy presentations. Another nice touch is the line’s warm water core which prevents the running section from turning into a bowl of overcooked noodles with the midday sun baking over it.
Since water temps are rising, please be mindful of our fish friends and apply mindful C&R practices. If you must take a picture, don’t hold the fish out of the water for more than a few seconds. The Fishpond Nomad net is perfect for keeping fish submerged so they aren’t flopping around on the sand for an extended period. The rubber netting is less harmful to fish, and flies don’t get stuck like traditional cloth netting.
We are booking trips with our four guides. Call, stop in, or email the shop to book your trip today! We are so excited to get out and fish with you all!!
Owner/Head Guide at Kismet Outfitters
Shop Manager at Kismet Outfitters