I Love May because the fishery is always adapting and adjusting. Any day you could get on the water and find a mass of fish. This happened to me on Wednesday. I was poking around the harbor and fished for 2 hours and saw one shadow that might have been a fish. I wasn’t discouraged as I had found fish earlier that week, but I got to thinking, this is early season. Well, I was rewarded at our next location as I found a nice school that was a touch selective but we were able to pull two nice 25” ers out of that school. That is the way the day continued, when we found one, we found many, but stretches between with nothing. Fast forward to this morning, I found a couple of larger schools, but for the first time I started seeing singles. I missed a few fish this morning and I expected a follow up, only to be left alone. A good sign, honestly.
What I just described is typical of the early season. As fish show up they arrive in larger schools and they tend to stay in schools until they settle in and then they start to explore and find patterns as ones and twos and as smaller groups. When you see these early season masses it’s mesmerizing as they darken up the water and feed together, but often they are tough to get a bite out of until they have settled. It usually doesn’t take them but a couple of days to settle, and this is where we are at. Daily more schools of fish are entering our fishery and daily those schools from a few days ago are starting to split into smaller groups. Its fun to see the patterns emerge.
So where should you be going and what should you be looking for? These fish are not in patterns yet, so tough to answer where, just be willing to look around and try a few areas. But what you should be looking for is bait, and if you don’t see bait look for where bait should be, fresh water run offs, by structure, think the jetties and brant point as well as the mooring field in town. In fact as I came in this morning I saw a pile of bass explode by the boat basin. Boy did this make me laugh. Thank goodness we caught fish or I would have thought I was being laughed at, instead I enjoyed the irony. That said it is not surprising as the structure of the basin provides protection and warmth for bait and the bass figure that out and can have an easy feed. Many know that during the summer bass are all over our docks at night. This time of year, they are there during the day… fun.
It is also important to remember while our fishery is slowly filling up with fish, the same is true for bait as well. We have a percentage of the bait we will have in another week or two’s time. It will come and it will come soon.
It is hard to talk about specific locations as these fish are moving, but generally Madaket has been more productive than town, although town is starting to get productive. Not to say town hasn’t been good, but Madaket’s water has been warmer and closer access to the south shore means that fish are often coming through there before getting to town. Definitely think about fishing the inside of smiths point, eel point or Warrens landing. We have not heard much from the beaches on the south shore, but it should be anyday, so do not hesitate to go that way.
As for what to use, we stay committed to our early season stance of fish small baits on small rods. One fish and you won’t regret the purchase. I have been mixing between soft plastics and twitchbaits… both have been incredibly productive. I have fished a few poppers/jumping minnows and while they can be incredibly productive, I have yet to have the expositions from them. I tend to say subsurface this time of year, but many like to stay up top. All will work, just make sure you are staying active and connected in your retrieve.