Current Waters: August Fishing & Green Crabs

Capt. Carl Bois •

Unnamed GC Female

In certain parts of the day and tides, the striped bass have certainly shown themselves to be a challenge. They make us work for it.

Fortunately, the fluke have decided to play fairly and they are a great table fare replacement for when we have slower stints of bass fishing. They are scattered about everywhere.

We’ve been picking away at large bluefish this past week but now we’re seeing a bunch of small bluefish move in. That’s the best in my opinion because the small bluefish are the best for eating. Although hopefully, a few big ones stick around for the August Blues Tournament.

Some more weather is coming in this weekend to mix things up again. It keeps things interesting.

I really look forward to a strong presence of bonita hopefully moving in in the near future here. A few have already been caught and one entered into the tournament this week. More on the way, for sure!

Tuna fishing seems to be steady with signs of growing stronger. They seem to be present in all directions.

The August Blues Tournament has been off to a great start. There is still time to register and enter fish. Reminder that the tournament runs all month and it is catch and release. Check out the leaderboard here and for information on how to participate. First bonito has been caught on the beach but the rest of the category is wide open. Get out there and join the fun!

One interesting catch this week was caught off the Town Pier by Austin Starr of Starrfish Charters. The small fish, only about 3 inches long, was caught right from the boat while at the dock. It turned out to be a Banded Rudderfish. These aren’t that common in our area. This unusual catch is a fish more commonly caught and cooked in the mid-Atlantic states. Banded rudderfish are related to amberjacks. This little one was a juvenile. As they grow, they lose their darker bands and exhibit a more blue/green sheen. Usually found with floating objects including debris, floating seaweed mats, and sometimes large fish. One of their other common names is “shark pilot” for that reason.

They are more common along the Cape in the summer, but not commonly caught. They generally feed on small fish and shrimp. As a warmer water species, the adults are more targeted for angling in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. They can get as big as 30 inches, but they are usually under 24 inches in those locations with slot limits in Florida. The meat is described as like a grouper and one fishing site even said it could be compared to swordfish. Well, the three-incher isn’t going to go far. I’d love to know if anyone catches anything sizable. As our waters warm who knows if this species will one day be more common on the line.

One fishery that is white hot right now are green crabs! Next week is the 4th Annual Green Crab Week (GCW) – a collaboration between the Nantucket Land and Water Council, the Maria Mitchell Association, and Sustainable Nantucket. The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is an invasive species that threatens Nantucket’s native species and eelgrass habitats. Events will include chances to hunt, capture, recycle, and even eat green crabs! As part of GCW, there is an ID workshop and Green Crab fishing derby, perfect to get kids involved. Most of the events are free and the derby is $10 for a team of 4. See here for registration and info about the derby. Prizes will be given away, but it’s really an opportunity to help remove some of these invasive species from our harbors.

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