Fishing report: Return of the squid

A weekly roundup of what’s biting and where on Martha’s Vineyard.

A fresh and inky bucket o' squid, taken from Vineyard waters.

The big news this week: The squid are back. Steve Morris, owner of Dick’s Bait and Tackle, told The Times that anglers were pulling them in at State Beach and Memorial Wharf.

As Nelson Sigelman described in his “Goin’ Fishin’” column last May, “Jigging for squid is about the most fun an Island kid of any age can have. It requires a minimal amount of tackle, some limited tactile skill, a bucket, and clothing that you will never want to wear in polite company.”

Steve recommends either pink or glow-in-the-dark Yo-Zuri squid jigs and light line. “From the beach, cast the jig, let it sink a little, and reel it in with an occasional tug. From the dock, let it slowly sink, then jig it until you feel the squid,” he said.

Squid grilled with olive oil and sea salt is a treat, especially when it’s so fresh it’s never seen the inside of a refrigerator. It also makes fantastic bait for stripers and blues, and it freezes well, so depending on the size of your freezer and the flexibility of those who share it with you, you can stock up for the rest of the season if you get out there.

For bigger quarry, Steve reports keeper-size striped bass are hitting on Sluggos. Pink and white have been the most productive colors, possibly because of the similarity to the invading squid.

Storm Shad and swimmer lures remain productive. “When June rolls around, the the color yellow seems to do well, yellow bombers in particular,” he said.

People in search of cows — the big stripers — have started to use live eels at night. Live eels are a striper favorite, and almost always account for the Derby-winning striper and bluefish.

Larry’s Tackle co-owner Peter Sliwkowski reports good striper action on Chappy. “There’s been a lot of bass at the Gut; the outgoing tide has been very productive. They’ve been slamming the Daiwa SP minnow,” he said. “The north side of Chappy has had some good action; Jumpin’ Minnows seem to be working well. Bluefish have been more sporadic than last week.”

Peter said he heard about a cow caught at Big Bridge, with a squid caught at State Beach, then set adrift on a hook across the street.

He said the left fork at Katama and Norton Point had been very productive — until a dead whale crashed the party. “The whale is disintegrating, and it’s gumming up the lines and the guides. I hear it’s smelling pretty bad there,” he said. “It’s been washing up and washing away for the past few weeks.”


Bob Hawkeye Jacobs Tournament this weekend

The Dick’s Bait and Tackle annual Memorial Day Derby has been renamed in honor of Vineyard fishing legend Bob “Hawkeye” Jacobs, who died last May. The derby begins this Friday at 12:01 am, and ends Monday at 4 pm. For more info, call Dick’s Bait and Tackle, 508-693-7669.


Tip of the week

You don’t need a scale to get the weight of that fish you’re about to release. All you need is your tape measure. You can get the total weight by multiplying length x girth squared, then dividing by 800. This tip courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association.


‘The tug is the drug’

My first fishing excursion of the year this past weekend was marked by two police encounters.

The first was in an empty Philbin Beach parking lot, where a genial Aquinnah police officer asked how I was faring. I told him so far I’d come up empty at Menemsha Channel and Lobsterville. He said a friend of his had done spectacularly well from his kayak in Menemsha Pond earlier in the day, landing three stripers over 30 inches, one of them 38 inches. I asked what lures his friend was using. He smiled and exercised his right to remain silent, and wished me good luck.

The sun was setting, and after an unproductive 20 minutes at a stunningly scenic Aquinnah beach, I went to my secret spot on Menemsha Pond, the location of which I will never divulge in this column.

I got my first strike of the year on a Storm Shad. I’m guessing it was a bluefish, judging by the serrated teeth marks and the missing tail. It was a thrilling two seconds. To quote my favorite fishing bumper sticker, “The Tug Is the Drug.”

I heard that Quansoo was hopping, so I decided to make a break for it while there was some daylight left. About halfway there, the blue lights of a Chilmark Police car lit up in my rearview mirror.

After a long wait, sitting aside State Road, bathed in the light of shame, the officer came up to my window. He asked where I was coming from. I pointed to my full rod rack, and said I’d been busy not catching fish. I left out the part about the tug being the drug.

He informed me that I’d exceeded the speed limit as I headed out of Beetlebung Corner.

I debated explaining that I’d heard that the fish were slamming at Quansoo, but decided to go with a simple apology.

After another long wait, still sitting in the light of shame, the officer returned with my license and registration, and kindly let me off with a warning.

Knowing that was the best luck I’d have all night, I skipped Quansoo and went home to a cold beer.

A stunning sunset, my first tug, and I didn’t get a ticket that would have taken a bluefish-size bite out of my paycheck.

It was a fantastic first weekend.