Martha’s Vineyard Flyby

Gotta start them early! With my little one at Cedar Tree Neck.

During a recent family vacation to wonderful Martha’s Vineyard I had two goals:

  1. Visit Murdick’s Fudge for peanut brittle and half-pound slabs of fudge
  2. Go out on a boat fishing for false albacore, aka little tunny, on the fly

Before I knew it, I was on the ferry home and hadn’t done either! The crowded afternoon parking situation in Oak Bluffs discouraged me from the candy shop. Then, the day I had booked with Little Tunny Charters ended up being a full blown thunderstorm, and we got chased off the water by the foul weather. We had been on the boat for 15 minutes when Captain John found some fish, and then the skies opened up and the day was over at 7:15 am. Bummer!

Re: albies, regardless of what you see on social media, the fishing has been hard for them this year. Talk to enough guides, tackle shop employees, and salty anglers, and you’ll hear more stories of frustration than success. However, I’m excited to return to Southern New England soon enough to get another shot at the false albacore, as there’s nothing like it around here in terms of inshore light tackle angling.

Can you identify this Martha’s Vineyard jetty?

I spent the week getting up at 5:30 am and driving around the island to scope out and fish new areas. While these trips were not fruitful, I saw a bunch of cool spots and met friendly folk. If you’re looking for a nice walk on the beach and a place to make some casts, here are a few places to start:

  1. Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary. You have to drive down a narrow, rutted dirt road to get there, then hike five minutes to the beach, but it’s beautiful and secluded. If you’re like me, driving on an unpaved road is part of the fun!
  2. Lambert’s Cove Beach. After Labor Day, the parking lot becomes public. It’s an easy walk to the beach. The prettiest swimming beach I’ve seen in Martha’s Vineyard!
  3. Jaws Bridge. This bridge has a couple names. Every time I went to a jetty on the island, I saw people fishing, so you will have company. The jetties are popular with fly anglers, so maybe you’ll make a friend or two.

I surf casted, wade casted, and shore casted at other spots, but I won’t reveal them all. Flyfisher’s Guide to New England Coast, Fly Fishing Boston: A Complete Saltwater Guide from Rhode Island to Maine, and the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby guide will show you plenty of other places to go.

Access is surprisingly easy if you are comfortable driving on bad roads, get there early (or late) enough, and are willing to share the water with others. The island is very accommodating to anglers, and the fisherman friendly laws and regulations of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are in your favor.

Plenty of room for your backcast at Katama Beach if you can handle the surf and wind.

So where did I finally catch fish and what were they? In one of the ponds out of a kayak, and striped bass of course. A recent YouTube fishing report from The Fisherman magazine mentions the good fishing to be had in Martha’s Vineyard ponds, and I will vouch for it. I had one of my best hours of striped bass fishing, releasing half a dozen 20- to 24-inch fish out of a friend’s kayak before I decided to head in. I didn’t feel the need to hassle any more of these healthy schoolies. The chartreuse and white barbless mushmouth fly I used worked wonders, and I was satisfied.

Dave Skok’s Mushmouth, thoroughly chewed up and rusted.

If you are on the Vineyard and want to trade tips, reach out to me at [email protected] and I’d be happy to chat.

I returned the next day to the same pond and only caught one smaller fish, so the previous day had obviously been the right tide/time of day, but these two kayak trips that I did saved the trip. I spent most of the time trolling a 40 lb./30 lb./20 lb. leader that I made out of Seaguar Gold Label, which has become my new saltwater leader material of choice.

Oh, and my sweet tooth ultimately got the best of me: I sheepishly ordered peanut brittle and fudge online when I got back home.

Grateful for this late summer striped bass out of the kayak.
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