The Elizabeth Islands are hewn by wind, time and tide out of glacial deposits left eons ago by a retreating ice age. Running southwest from Cape Cod, this island chain forms the natural barrier defining Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound. At seven miles long, Naushon is the largest of these islands .
Caught in a constant crossfire of multiple tidal influences, the shoreline is a jumble of massive boulders, deep pocket waters and shallow sand bars. Along the Vineyard Sound shoreline, there are few breaks in the rocky shore. This coast is frequently battered by heavy seas that sweep past Martha’s Vineyard. Naushon’s northern shore holds long stretches of beach, and a great number of shoals. Wind and current on the Buzzard’s bay side are infamous. Gusts pop up on summer afternoons and can reach 15-25 knots on a day that starts off as calm. A relatively shallow body of water, Buzzard’s Bay can become it’s own hazard to navigation in only an hour.
This is the land of striper fishermen’s dreams. Rocky shorelines, shoals and a confluence of tides mean there is always a good place for fish to hide and something for the bass to eat. Herring, squid, eels and numerous other baitfish make this area their home. In the springtime, herring, in the midst of their spawning run, gather in large schools awaiting tides to ride in. The bass are right behind them, gorging on the nutrient rich feed. This time of year also marks the arrival of massive schools of squid. These creatures seemingly from another world, too become fodder for the bass’ insatiable appetites. As the water warms, more feed arrives. Sand eels, menhaden, creek chubs, crabs and the offspring of the herring flood these waters. September and October offer great fishing as the stripers gorge themselves in preparation for their migration to southern waters.
From early May to November, anglers search out these pockets of bait by the tell tale sign, gulls and terns flocking over feeding hordes of commingled schools of stripers and bluefish. These predators strike at the surface, causing great thrashing eruptions of bait arcing to the sky in an attempt to avoid the crushing blow from tails and teeth. A well placed fly can be torn from the best leader under the sudden weight. Like trout anglers, saltwater fly fishermen must focus on the available baitfish and match their pattern selection to the size, color and action of whatever the school is feeding on.
If you go, finding a guide who knows the pocket waters and the right tides to fish them on is critical. One of the best light tackle guides fishing these waters is Capt. Dave Peros. You can reach him at 508-564-6133 or check out his site www.captdaveperos.com.