Happy days are here again. Bluefish are still solidly in our area, and catches have been fantastic. Can we officially declare the five-year bluefish drought over? I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that. When it comes to fish behavior, it always seems “we don’t know what we don’t know.” But right now, it certainly looks like we are back to normal — and no one is complaining, least of all charter boat captains.
The bluefish are in all the usual spots, like the edge along Herring Cove, off the cottages at Beach Point, and off the Pamet. They have been in all depths from 20 to 70 feet, and there is plenty of food around to keep them here. Trolling umbrella rigs, casting swimming plugs, and vertical jigging remain the top three ways to catch these toothy critters. The fish have been mostly medium sized, which means four to eight pounds.
Surface water temperatures are tropical in some areas, with some charter boat captains reporting readings as high as 75 degrees F. Bluefish like warmer water, unlike striped bass, so they may stay put for a while.
Striped bass are still camped out down the backside ocean beaches from Peaked Hill Bar to the south and east, but fishing there has been inconsistent, which is to be expected at this time of year. We are all hoping that, once the cooler winds blow, ushering in autumn, the bass migration south will commence, and we will get a shot at some of the fish now to our north as they pass through. The migration has been good for us in the last few years, so let’s remain hopeful for a good fall bass run.
A fair number of bonito are around right now, with catches being reported along the edge from Wood End to the Race and also off Cold Storage Beach in Truro. They are being caught by people targeting bluefish, as these two fish often mix and feed in the same places.
I am hearing more and more credible reports of blue crabs being seen and caught around here. This would be yet another example of a species moving north because of the warming ocean water. It’s hard not to have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, it’s another canary in the coal mine in terms of climate change, and that’s not good at all. But on the other hand, blue claw crabs are big business to our south, where going crabbing in rowboats is a popular summer family activity — it’s something I did with my dad all through my youth.
Blue claw crabs are among the finest tasting in the world, but their meat is typically very expensive, fetching anywhere from $30 to $50 a pound at fish markets. This writer certainly won’t complain about tossing a couple of crab traps in the harbor and catching a few crabs to make pasta in crab sauce like Mom used to do.