Capt. Joe Huck on the Helen H lamented a continued struggle with light winds and weak tides when I caught up with him Friday afternoon. The unfavorable drift conditions out in Nantucket Sound forced a bit of a change in the game plan over the last few days. Joe and Capt. Walt elected to move onto tougher bottom to bump up the sea bass ratio, a move that panned out well on the half-day trip. Each trip has been seeing a dozen or more jumbo sea bass in the 3 ½- to 6-pound range, in addition to good numbers of smaller keepers that are taking the bite out of slow going with fluke. Patrons with the patience to work on a slow pick of fluke are still connecting with fish from 18 ½-inch keeper size to around 5 pounds. The sea bass are responding well to a number of different rigs. The trick is to fish something that will get the sea bass without eliminating the chance of a fluke. Standard fluke drift rigs with a dropper for the sinker and a long leader ending in a single 5/0 live bait hook with a red or green feather teaser have been effective. Some guys are fishing green or white bucktails-single or tandem-with good results on both species. If you’re more interested in the sea bass, a simple high-low rig with red or green feather teasers is probably the best bet. Squid/spearing combos have done most of the damage, though any of the usual top-secret sea bass baits will work.
Reservations have been surprisingly light on the Sunday/Monday Nantucket Fluke trips, despite very good fishing when the conditions align. Capt. Joe Weinberg on the Fish Hawk had a tough pick on the backside of Nantucket Thursday morning, thanks to wind dead-square against the tide-the boat bobbing in circles like a Clorox bottle as the forces of nature duked it out. That crew still managed a respectable showing of nice slabs, the biggest of the in the 4- to 6-pound class, plus a scattering of sea bass.
Huck is confident the fluking is going to hit stride over the next couple weeks; the strengthening tides as we come off the quarter moon should help the drift conditions significantly.