Time for topwater
This week’s report should be more aptly entitled a catching report, as the catching is solid for every avenue of angling. Most basically, and arguably the most fun for the family, is the huge volume of squid in the Great Salt Pond. They may be caught night and day; however, they are easier to find at night as they congregate around boat and dock lights. For daytime squidding, we recommend a swimming type squid jig, on a dropper loop, above a teardrop-style, heavier squid jig. Daytime squidding requires a bit more angling technique and Hank at B.I. Fishworks will give you a full dissertation on this highly effective squidding technique.
There’s no shortage of finned fish to catch from the shore. The Coast Guard Channel is producing short fluke and porgies for most of the day, with bass and blues showing best at first light in the morning, with a decent presence at sunset. There are bass to be caught all day on clams on the east side’s sandy beaches. The most important thing in picking a location is to find where the waves are making the most white water, and fish the clams behind the break. For the shore-based lure fishers, looking for bigger game, the south side is the hottest at night. This is heavier duty fishing, but swimming eels will find the best fish. Regardless of what side of the island one is fishing, throwing poppers and topwater lures will bring reactionary strikes from both bass and blues from the hour before sunset to full dark.
The catch report from the boat, working from the ground up: the seabass and porgie bite is still hot above the rocky ground surrounding the island. The most effective technique for these bottom dwellers is to vertically jig metal lures in the bottom five inches of the water column. Sea bass restrictions are still one fish at 14-inches per angler per day until Sept. 1; however, if one works through the smaller fish, you can be rewarded with a five pound-plus sea bass, particularly in the deeper waters south of the island. For targeting the delicious fluke, working large bait profiles like a whole double-hooked squid, 50 inches or deeper, will see the better flatfish flopping on the deck. Alligator bluefish have moved in as well, offering some good fights on the light tackle outfits. Thirty-six inch behemoths have been caught on the south side in deep water off Vail Beach. The tell tale method to finding these bruisers is looking for the birds, specifically terns or petrels, diving into the water after bait. This typically means fish are present and they are mostly likely feeding on bluefish. These fish are never really finicky, and will hit virtually anything you throw in their direction. Striped bass are present in larger numbers as the summer continues.
Matt King on the Hula Dog landed 48- and 49-inch fish this week, and Capt. Chris reports very few fish are under 40 inches, making a lot of customers happy with personal bests. Eeling is still the most effective method to land bass, but the anglers dedicated to ‘artificials’ (or lures) are finding topwater plugs to finally be the ticket in the shallower waters. Bass have moved into some of the coves around the island and are great fun to throw topwater plugs at, eliciting exciting strikes and takes on the surface.
Which leads us to our Lure of the Week; the Rebel ‘Jumpin Minnow.’
The Jumpin Minnow is over 40 years old and was originally created for freshwater largemouth bass. The lure contains an old-style lead rattle that creates a loud and distinctive call to beckon fish from a distance. Now made for saltwater fishing, this slender minnow-shaped topwater bait sashays back-and-forth on the surface to create a hypnotizing action like that of a baitfish fleeing a furious predator. Nothing triggers bass and inshore predator fish like the subtle walk-the-dog action of the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow. Internal weighting allows for long casts, making it perfect for schooling fish or anytime fish are feeding on top. It comes in five colors and two sizes, but the half-ounce size in the bone color is a must for the tackle box. Best of all, they are inexpensive and retail under $7. They will catch stripers, bluefish, bonito, and false albacore — and can be used in freshwater for all fish.
Catch ‘em up!