If you’re looking for a perfect fishing getaway, we recommend the “Land amid the Streams” as your next angling destination. Once a booming whale hotspot and now a posh summer colony, Martha’s Vineyard is one of those places you simply must visit. If you’re a passionate angler, you’ll definitively want Martha’s Vineyard fishing on your bucket list, too.
This Massachusetts beauty boasts more than 120 miles of coastline. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? While not as developed as its neighbor, the island shares the same prolific waters as Cape Cod. Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean are the big names in the fishing game. Add to that numerous inlets and bays, and your Martha’s Vineyard adventure can start!
If you’re about to explore these fisheries for the first time, knowing what to expect before you get there is crucial. But, sifting through the scattered pieces of information online can be tiresome. This is where we come in. We’ll paint a picture of what it looks like to fish in Martha’s Vineyard for you. Be it fish species, techniques, spots, or regulations, we’ll leave no stone unturned. Are you ready?
What can I catch when fishing in Martha’s Vineyard?
The short answer – anything from inshore favorites to deep sea monsters! Martha’s Vineyard fishing almost guarantees an encounter with celebrities such as Bass and Tuna. One of the longest-running fishing tournaments in the US is the “Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby.” Another well-known competition is “Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic.” This speaks volumes about how incredible angling is here. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the headliners.
May announces the unofficial beginning of the fishing season and the arrival of the royals – Striped Bass. Striped Bass are the kings of the area for a reason. Massive and formidable, they’re the worthy rivals you’ve been waiting for. Luckily, Martha’s Vineyard is a proud breeding ground for these brutes. This means you won’t lack in Stripers while you’re there.
While you can target them year-round, the real frenzy storms in with the Derby during the late summer. Anglers from all over the world flock to Martha’s Vineyard to try their luck at landing a trophy Striper. Whether you fly fish, surf cast, or troll, these picky eaters won’t go down without a fight. But, they might fall for herring or bloodworms. Don’t forget to gear up with strong lines and patience!
Bluefish wouldn’t normally be your go-to fish, we know. At first glance, there’s nothing particularly alluring about them. They aren’t eye-catching or brag-worthy. You don’t even have to work up a sweat to find them. They swim in schools and are pretty common in the area. However, Bluefish fishing can be intense as they know how to put up a show!
These toothy fellas are aggressive eaters. They’re ready to risk their lives to corner their bait. This insane practice of attacking prey in the shallow water is known as the “Bluefish Blitz.” Your surf casting view will be truly spectacular. So, when in Martha’s Vineyard, do as the locals do – go for the Blitz. Hit Chappaquiddick Island in June for an action-packed experience!
Summer Flounder, Fluke, or Doormat? These superstars shine in the late summer and go by many names. Fluke, or Summer Flounder as they’re also known here, are the most sought-after fish on the East Coast. These bottom dwellers will make your heart leap. The heart-thumping intensifies with the arrival of the big ones. So, if you’d like a feel of that by yourself, go after some Doormats!
Summer Flounder promise a memorable day with your family. They’re fun to catch and you can find them closer to the shore which makes them perfect for shorter trips with the little ones. An added bonus is their delicious meat. First, treat Fluke with a live minnow (they won’t be able to resist it), then treat yourself with a finger-licking Fluke meal. It’s almost a win-win deal for everyone.
Since we’re name-dropping, it’s high time we mentioned the true VIPs. All you deep sea fishing enthusiasts should look out for Tuna! While the leading role goes to none other than Yellowfin Tuna, you may cross your paths with Bluefin Tuna, too. Martha’s Vineyard fishing is on fire in summer. The hottest season of the year brings blazing sun, tight lines, and trophy catches.
Mid-July can get pretty crowded in Martha’s Vineyard. But this won’t bother you because you’ll be rummaging through the deep blue. Summer is when Yellowfin Tuna are at their peak. It’s also the ideal time for you to spend the entire day out in the open and away from the hustle and bustle. To secure your spot, don’t forget to book one of the top-notch charter operators in advance as they’re fully booked by the time you get there.
Speaking of VIPs, these Martha’s Vineyard residents are the actual movie stars! Believe it or not, the terrifying motion picture “Jaws” was filmed there. But don’t worry – you can spend a carefree day at the beach because the shallows aren’t teeming with Sharks. The offshore waters, however, are a Shark fishing playground.
The chance to land an impressive specimen lies further out. Shark fishing is an all-day activity, so you’ll have to book at least a full day trip. The more time you have, the bigger your chances of finding a prize catch are. The odds will be in your favor for sure if you head south any time from June to September. Prepare a lot of chum and get ready to battle Mako or Shortfin Sharks.
… And More!
Martha’s Vineyard fishing is all about variety. The island’s rich waters cater to the needs of professionals and novices alike. You can reel in anything from smaller inshore species to offshore giants. Sure, you can catch Striped Bass, Bluefish, Fluke, Tuna, and Sharks. But what else is out there? Well, let’s see.
To land world-renowned species like Mahi Mahi and White Marlin team up with a charter operator. The waters closer to the shore are home to Scup. If you’re a fan of these little fellas, you won’t even need a boat to reach them. You can always surf cast or fish from a pier. Apart from those, you can also come across Bonito, False Albacore, and Tautog. Long story short – Martha’s Vineyard fishing has something for everyone!
How can I fish in Martha’s Vineyard?
Depending on your preferred angling style and the fish you’d like to target there are different ways you can fish in Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re into deep sea fishing and going after the giants, you’ll need a well-equipped boat and skillful captain to take you where the fish are biting. You’re a fan of staying dry at the dock? Not a problem – there are options for you, too. We outlined the most popular angling approaches below.
By now you’ve probably realized that you’ll need a helping hand if you want to hit the jackpot. Locating brag-worthy opponents means knowing these waters. Who better to show you around than the local charter operators? Born and raised in the area, these guys know Martha’s Vineyard fisheries like the back of their hands. There’s only one problem – they get booked fast!
You’ll see first-class captains in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown Harbors. However, we aren’t joking when we say that Martha’s Vineyard fishing charters are in demand. Chances are slim that you’ll find a free high-end guide on the spot. You even have to book a ferry in advance to get to the island in the first place. So, plan ahead, reserve your captain before the high season starts, and you won’t miss out on the opportunity to reel in Tuna, Shark, or Marlin.
In case you weren’t able to secure a full day trip offshore, it isn’t the end of the world. Especially knowing that Martha’s Vineyard fishing is so much more than its deep blue celebrities. Another extremely popular way of angling here is shore fishing. Blessed with gorgeous beaches and prolific inshore waters, Martha’s Vineyard offers premier surf casting corners.
Remember the Blitz? How else would you experience this Bluefish spectacle than by fishing from the beach? Wasque Point to the east is considered to be the prime Bluefish location for surf casters. You can also expect Striped Bass, Tautog, and Scup depending on the beach and time of the year. Fly fishing enthusiasts should definitely check out Lobsterville Beach.
If you prefer more cosmopolitan surroundings to secluded beaches, give it a try with one of the several fishing piers. You can find well-maintained and angling-friendly piers in the marinas. The Oak Bluff Fishing Pier is among the longest and best on the island. This mostly wooden construction sticks out to the Atlantic Ocean and offers an incredible view of the marina.
Apart from the view, it’s famous for superb angling. Wetting your line from the Oak Bluff Fishing Pier means finding Striped Bass, Bluefish, or Scup at the end of it. You’ll certainly come out victorious during the late spring. Striped Bass emerge hungry and ready to bite. Summer and fall will equally reward you with excellent fishing conditions. Be it trophy Striper or delicious Panfish, you won’t end up empty-handed.
Where can I fish in Martha’s Vineyard?
From Vineyard Sound to Nantucket Sound, Martha’s Vineyard is bathing in fishable waters. You can cast your line anywhere in between and end up a winner. Add the Atlantic Ocean opportunities on top of that and it becomes obvious that the island’s fishing spots are endless. To help you narrow your search, we’ll share a couple of fantastic starting points below.
- Oak Bluffs. If deep sea fishing is on your radar, then Oak Bluffs Harbor is a must-visit location. This place is home to top-tier charter operators specializing in Marlin, Tuna, and Shark pursuits. If you’d rather fish from a pier, Oak Bluffs has you covered, too.
- Vineyard Haven. Along with Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Harbors, Vineyard Haven is a great departure point for exploring the Atlantic Ocean. High-end charters offer tailored trips and big game fishing adventures.
- Menemsha Public Beach. Menemsha Public Beach is ideal for having fun in the sun with your family. Not only will you be able to swim and relax on this sandy beach, but you’ll also catch Panfish or two for a family dinner. This beach is custom-made for shore fishing and summertime bonding.
- Lobsterville Beach. Right next to Menemsha Public Beach, you’ll find gorgeous and quiet surf casting heaven. Lobsterville Beach comes highly recommended by nearly everyone who fished there. Since it’s rarely crowded, it’s also an exceptional spot for fly fishing.
- Wasque Point. Heading east, you’ll arrive at Wasque Point. Apart from being the number-one conversation starter around here, this charming place is a magnet for beach fishing lovers. Wasque Point is a Bluefish hotspot, so don’t be surprised if you witness the Blitz.
Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Regulations
When fishing aboard a boat with a certified charter operator, you won’t have to worry about anything. They’ll take care of your fishing license and respect size and bag restrictions. If, however, you’re planning to explore Martha’s Vineyard fisheries on your own, getting familiar with the law of the land is a must.
First, you’ll need to purchase a recreational fishing license. The permits and fees are listed on MassFishHunt – the official licensing site of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Once you’re officially licensed to go after Striped Bass or Bluefish, you should prepare for harvesting by taking a look at the latest rules and regulations. There you’ll find information on the season, size, and possession limits.
Finally, if you want to surf cast, don’t forget to check if the beach you have in mind allows shore fishing. Squibnocket Beach, for example, is available for surf casting in the late afternoon during summer.
Martha’s Vineyard Fishing: Angling at Its Best
While stunning year-round, Martha’s Vineyard is simply breathtaking in summer. Not only does the island transform into the ultimate vacationland, but it also becomes an angling epicenter. There isn’t a more suitable combo if you ask us. And if you don’t believe us, well, there’s no other way to prove us wrong but to pack your things, book a charter, and check it out yourself. Right?
Have you ever been fishing in Martha’s Vineyard? Do you have a bragging story to share with us? Or any recommendations on where to surf cast? We’re all ears. Let us know in the comments below.