Capt. Joe Huck on the Helen H continued the daily porgy grind this week, and remains upbeat about the quality of the fishing, adding that the sea bass ratio improved from Wednesday afternoon on. He’s been a bit surprised to find the porgies are still in “herd” mode, cruising the open bottom in shoal water within spitting distance of the Helen’s Hyannis slip. Typically by this point in the season, Huck is seeing the scup pile up on structure, rather than roaming the “open range,” giving him reason to believe there’s quite a bit of prime fishing yet to come.For the most part, he’s been dialing in on thick concentrations of big scup in 20 to 25 feet of water, though in the last week he’s ventured out as deep as 60 feet in search of Joe scup. Per the usual, with huge bodies of porgies all over the place along the Cape’s south side and Nantucket Sound generally, the trick has been to find a pile with the right size ratio. Average size has ranged from ¾ of a pound to a bit over a pound, with the biggest fish on any given trip reaching Scupasaurus proportions, 3 ½- to 4-pound stuff. Quite a few anglers supplemented their 40-fish porgy tallies with sea bass limits in the second half of last week. The sea bass aren’t monsters, but they range from keeper size to around 2 pounds, with occasional humpheads past the 5-pound mark.
Asked about the variables affecting angler success, Huck noted the fishing’s improved in both quality and consistency now that we’re off the big moon tides, which tend to make the pick a bit tougher, especially for less experienced patrons. He also noted that less is definitely more in the rig department: less three-way swivels and beads and snaps and junk mean less tangles, more fishing time and better results at day’s end. A simple high-low rig with dropper loops sporting decent-sized hooks (2/0 to 3/0 wide gaps, circles or octopus hooks) and a surgeon’s loop at the bottom for the sinker work just fine on both target species. Adding to the scup and sea bass take have been occasional keeper striped bass and bluefish, which can be a mixed blessing given that their arrival tends to spook the scup for a short while.
Barring a couple of tough weather days, including Sunday, which featured heavy squalls, thunderstorms and rain so heavy Huck was squinting hard to see the pulpit from his wheelhouse, the fishing remains nothing short of lock-and-load. The challenge isn’t so much landing your limit, but culling away until each of the 40 scup in your cooler is over a pound and a half
As this update goes live, the entire Helen H Fleet is focused exclusively on Hyannis’ legendary spring scup and sea bass run. The Helen’s running two trips daily, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Angler, with a 60-man capacity, has mainly been carrying private charters; the Fish Hawk and Sea Hawk are carrying six-person charters, while the Fleet’s latest addition, the Isabella H, is rated for five passengers. There are still plenty of openings on the Helen, both weekdays and weekends. To book a spot at the rail now, or to inquire about private charter options, call the office at 508-790-0660.