Spring migration

Joe Uva with a spring striper. — Colin Gould

Spring is in the air, and I have been clamoring to get back out on the beaches to fish from shore. Though I did make it out a few times to fish for holdovers, and freshwater fish this winter, there is something special about standing at the edge of the ocean’s water and humbly casting for fish. I have been tracking the migration of striped bass online, and with reports of the first mackerel being caught from shore a couple of weeks ago, I knew they would be here any time.
My friend Joe Uva is someone who is always ready to go fishing, regardless of weather or season. As I am still only a few years into my journey to becoming a fisherman, having friends with a lifetime of knowledge doesn’t hurt. Joe stopped by my place a few days ago and invited me out for some early-season striped bass fishing. Our original plan was to take his boat out for sunrise, but the weather was not in our favor. We loaded our gear up in his truck and decided to head to the south shore to try our luck in the rain. The moment I stepped onto the beach with my gear, I immediately felt at home. After a few casts, Joe’s friend, Colin Gould, hooked up the first bass of the day. A few casts later, I was on for the first time this season, and though it was a small striper, I couldn’t help smiling from ear to ear. Joe asked if I would like a picture, but I decided to quickly release it — enjoying the experience rather than capturing the moment for a social media post. We hooked up a few more times before the weather began to take its toll on our companion, who did not have waders, and decided to pack it up. There weren’t any record-setting fish, but the fire that burns inside me to get out fishing has been fully stoked for the season.

With recent studies showing that the striped bass population is suffering from overfishing, new regulations have yet to be decided, but are expected to be imposed for the 2020 fishing season. As someone who loves catching these fish, I for one will be practicing catch and release with striped bass.

I spoke with Doug, at Dick’s Bait and Tackle, who mentioned that mackerel have been caught in Menemsha and Edgartown Harbor. Striped bass have been showing up on the south side, and are making their way up-Island. Squid are in our waters, which generally indicates the bluefish are not far behind. Though there have been reports of bluefish heading our way, I have yet to hear of a bluefish being caught on Vineyard shores this season. Tautog fishing has also been in full swing off Cape Poge. If you haven’t already done so, it’s a great time to dust off your gear and get fishing!

Gavin Smith began fishing when he moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 2014. He is a self-admitted novice, but a truly avid one, eager to learn and share as much as he can. Gavin is a private chef and passionate foodie who appreciates the bounty that Vineyard waters provide, and likes nothing more than sharing his passion with his clients. He is a regular contributor to the Fishing Report.