Last week I wrote about the possibility of us having a good striped bass bite, uninterrupted, all season long. I might have spoken too soon, as the bass really turned off this week. There were a few from the Race to the Race Point Lifesaving Station, but the bite slowed down significantly. Besides that, weather kept the boats in for a couple of days, and the winds from the northeast have chilled the waters everywhere.
Whiting fishing is good now in the deep water (160 to 180 feet) off the Bathhouse and Hatches. Baited hooks on the bottom are the ticket there, and sometimes strong currents will necessitate heavy sinkers, but the fish are down there and hungry. Whiting are very tasty pan-fried and even better smoked. Get out shore fisherman Jim Gilbert’s column from last week on brining and smoking your own fish and use it on whole cleaned whiting — you won’t be sorry.
After being everywhere, the bluefish were suddenly thin in the bay this week. But the area between Race Station and Head of the Meadow is an exception. That stretch has been consistently occupied by big bluefish. They are in pretty shallow water and are slamming swimming plugs hard.
It’s still quiet on the giant tuna front. The late summer/fall blitz in the bay has not materialized as of this writing.
The whales are still in that area off Race Point Beach and putting on quite the show, with groups of humpbacks open-mouthed and feeding and breaching as well. Fin whales and minkes are still in the Race and they are now close enough to see from the beach.
And another sight to see: It’s nice to have the campers back on the beach. Times have changed so drastically for them, as the period they’re allowed on the sand has been condensed to just a couple of weeks a summer.
Out of view, apparently, someone has been doing damage to the skiffs docked on MacMillan Pier. One inflatable boat was slashed with such violence that the person doing the slashing must have cut himself in the process. The boat had bloodstains all over it. Why anyone would want to vandalize these boats is so beyond me. But I think more frequent night walks by the harbormaster’s staff might be needed to put a stop to such crimes.
The U.S. Dept. of the Interior has officially approved Revolution Wind’s request for a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard; it will be built about 14 miles southwest of Aquinnah. Objections from the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head led to the project being scaled down to 65 windmills plus two substations instead of the 100 windmills initially planned. The power from the farm will not come back to Massachusetts, by the way, but will instead flow to Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The turbines will be 873 feet tall, according to a report in the Vineyard Gazette. I’m afraid a view of many windmills off our beaches when we look out to sea is going to become the norm sooner rather than later unless the pushback gets stronger.
But the views aren’t the only issue. These farms appear to have adverse effects on the marine environment. Revolution Wind says it will create a fund to compensate for losses suffered by the recreational and commercial fisheries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as fisheries from other states directly related to the construction of the wind farm. I have not seen the specific details of this promise, but I look forward to seeing the plan.
Meanwhile, dead whale number 68 for this spring and summer washed up on Long Island last week. People are worried that the noise from construction of the wind farms is confusing the whales. Scientists at NOAA and the Marine Mammal Commission who have been looking at rising whale deaths since 2016 say the noise from these farms is not as bad as noise from offshore oil. They’re pointing to warming waters leading whales into areas of higher boat traffic. Stay tuned.