The schoolies are back

A schoolie I caught a few years back. —Janet Messineo

They are back!

I’m not talking about any unwanted poltergeist! 

In one week, Island fishermen got a double dose of good news. This is the news that all fishermen wait all winter to hear: The schoolies have arrived in Vineyard waters, and Norton Point beach stickers are for sale, and the beach is open. 

Schoolies are small bass, typically 12 to 20 inches, that swim together in a school of other fish their age and size. Honestly, I don’t fish much for schoolies. I just love knowing they’re here because their older, bigger, and fatter cousins are soon to follow. 

On the Water’s weekly map shows 30-inch bass being caught in New Jersey and Connecticut. They’ll be here soon, and the real (reel) fun will begin. 

As we wait for the bigger bass to arrive, as well as the bluefish, tautog, and sea bass, it’s time to start driving the beach. The more we drive the beach, the more we encourage the shorebirds to build their nests away from the driving lanes. Shorebirds are a welcome sight, especially oystercatchers, but it’s better for beachgoers and fishermen if the birds nest in the beachgrass, or as close to it as possible. 

I hope to see you on the beach, fishing or driving Norton Point.