Few places have the geography and history that make fishing Martha’s Vineyard such a great experience. And you don’t have to wait until summer to find out what it’s all about. The season begins as early as mid-April, when anglers start targeting small stripers and bluefish with light tackle on the South Shore. Locals generally divide their time, fishing for bluefish in the early mornings when it’s calm and going after stripers later in the day when the temperatures start to warm.
Locals swear that May is one of the most underrated fishing months here. During the first week, big schools of prespawn blues appear finning on the surface and in daisy chains on calm days, and anglers target them with squid flies as well as poppers, especially in calmer conditions. Alewives have been spawning in the tidal ponds and creeks since March, and now bigger bass follow them inshore to take advantage of the cornered forage. Big grocery flies around 6 inches long are the most productive patterns in this situation, and you’ll need a 10-weight just to cast them effectively. Intermediate or fast-sinking lines are ideal in this situation.
If you want to target blues from the beach, productive spots include Chappaquidick Island’s East Beach and Cape Pogue Gut. These are just a few of the good places to fish this time of year. The vineyard is full of estuaries, and each one harbors a herring run with big bass in hot pursuit. Lake Tashmoo gives up a good number of stripers during its annual May worm hatch, and fish will start to show on the sandy shallows at the end of the month. Vineyard Sound is often home to huge blitzes when juvenile ocean herring start balling up.
Although most of the vineyard’s spring stripers range from 10 to 18 pounds, it’s not unheard of to catch pigs this early in the season. The alewives bring in the big girls, and two years ago local guide Jamie Boyle led his client to a 40-pound striper in open water in May.
For more information, contact Capt. Jamie Boyle (508-922-1749), Capt. Tom Rapone (508-922-1754) or shore guides Cooper Gilkes (508-627-3909) or** Ken and Lori VanDerlaske** (508-696-7551).