Fishing Report: Stripers moving in relentlessly


Fishing, to me, is worth losing a little sleep over. This week I sacrificed my slumber for the opportunity to fish several times. I am often reminded of how fortunate I am to live on this Island. The abundant resources that surround our food ecosystem are amazing. I have been in the food business, in several capacities, for most of my life. I have never felt so close to what I eat, what I prepare, and what I serve as I do here on Martha’s Vineyard.

As my passion to understand cultivating and gathering the ingredients I use in my cooking grew, my interest in fishing slowly turned into a near obsession. I find myself attracted to things that you can never perfect, things that keep you learning, and keep you guessing at times. It is also a good excuse for me to get out of the kitchen, and get outside.

My friend Phil Levesque invited me out on his boat with his neighbor to do some black bass fishing. We headed out into some thick fog in the early morning; though it cleared a bit several times, it was pea soup most of the day. We were able to catch some beautiful sea bass rather quickly, and decided to set our sights on some bluefish. We traveled a large swath of the northeast side of the Island, even getting around to the south side for a bit. Striped bass were everywhere. We had a hard time fishing for bluefish, because no matter what we used, we were catching stripers. From trolling deep divers to casting metal, we consistently hooked up all morning. It was an absolute blast to be back out on a boat fishing after several months fishing from shore.

Early Sunday morning, after a busy week and weekend, I had the opportunity to head out with Jamie Golden, a contributor to On the Water magazine. Jamie was another reminder to me of just how lucky those of us who live here are. He lives in Hopkinton, and regularly drives over an hour to fish the Cape Cod Canal, and visits the Island when he can.

Last summer, I did a series of pop-up dinners at Lambert’s Cove Inn. John Cain, the owner of the property, invited me to his event Relentless MV this weekend, which included an experience. It just so happened that one of the experiences was going fishing with Jamie. He spent his morning on Saturday with a group from the event. They had a range of experiences, but were for the most part novices. We were both glad that it turned out to be just the two of us that day. We headed down to the south side and set up on the shore. It was a leisurely morning, and the tides were not in our favor, but we had the time and decided to make it work. After a couple of hours, I landed a few bluefish, and Jamie hooked up with a couple of striped bass, one of which was promisingly large. We are all looking forward to the bigger bass arriving. According to On the Water’s migration map, a large number of 30-pound fish are as close as Buzzards Bay, with more heading north up the coast from Connecticut, and larger fish trailing behind them.

Stephen Morris at Dick’s Bait and Tackle said the bluefish are not only being caught on the south side, they have been making appearances at State Beach, though the numbers are not as impressive as in previous years. He echoed my experience, saying that there are an incredible number of smaller striped bass around, which is very promising. He also mentioned that one of his customers caught the first weakfish of the season that he knew of.  

If you are a fly fisherman, don’t forget to sign up for the Rod and Gun club’s annual catch-and-release fly fishing tournament June 8 and 9. Registration is available online, at local tackle shops, and the day of the event at the Edgartown School from noon to 3 pm.

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.