Fluke remains the name of the game for the Helen H Fleet, with very few distractions. Capt. Joe Huck rated Tuesday morning’s half-day trip as the best showing of slabs on a short trip so far this season. That trip was set off by ideal drift conditions-a nice easy breeze out of the west backing an easterly flood tide, giving the H plenty of speed over ground. The tally for that trip included numerous fish in the 4- to 6-pound range, plus a load of chunky keepers to fill fillet bags. Seven-year-old Max Luppino of Pound Ridge, NY got on the board with a 6-plus-pound jumbo. Brother-sister team, Kelly and Nathan Mahalak from Wilkes Barre, PA had his-and-hers 5-pounders.
Backing up, the full-day Nantucket fluke runs Sunday and Monday ranged from good to outstanding. Sunday had the better drifting scenario north of Nantucket, and quite a few quality flatties in the 3- to 5-pound range and a good number of bigger stuff in the 6- to 7-plus range. Among those who scored were Alberto Matinez of Worcester with a 7.5, Eric Griffin of Rosedale, MA with a 6-plus, and Al Rende of Pelham, NY with another near-seven. Sea bass rounded out the catch both days. Blues have not yet become major players, but a few cross the rails most trips.
Monday, fishing was made a bit trickier by a very brisk drift, thanks to 20-plus knots of W to NW wind; best results on Monday went to those with the right gear to tend bottom-light braid and lightweight, ultrasensitive sticks, or the opposite, the heavy sticks capable of handling significant loads of metal to keep baits down. When the drift is absolutely cranking, as it was on Monday, it often helps to streamline your rigs, replacing thick bucktails and other not-so-hydrodynamic features to keep the rigs from scoping out and riding off the bottom. Sometimes, a simple, good, old-fashioned one-hook drift rig with some modest-sized bait is best for the job. All the pretty colors and ultra-nautical teasers and giant-slaying baits are about useless if you can’t keep them on the floor.
Capt. Joe Weinberg had on weekend scup-sea bass charter that took him over toward the Vineyard. Word was that his patrons had plenty of scup and a nice mess of sea bass-including a couple of corkers-to fill the freezers back home. Research set-aside permits allow the Helen H Fleet to continue pursuing scup at their spring bag limit until the quota is filled.
Tuna reports remain very favorable, both the bluefins out east and the yellowfins to the south.