Gone Fishin’: Squid invasion provides inky Island fun

A handful of jigs in different sizes and colors and a white bucket is all you need.

Ned Casey of Edgartown took a photo of this bucket full of squid he caught Saturday night destined for the bait freezer and the sauce pan. — Ned Casey

Jigging for squid is about the most fun an Island kid of any age can have. It requires a minimal amount of tackle, some limited tactile skill, a bucket, and clothing that you will never want to wear in polite company.

Squid currently abound in Island waters. Memorial Wharf in Edgartown is one of the more popular spots, but it can be crowded and challenging when the current is strong.

Last Friday, Tom Robinson and I went to Bend-in-the-Road Beach in Edgartown. The wind, still chilly coming off the 55° water, was off our backs, which made it easy for me to cast my small, red squid jig using a very light Eagle Claw rod I use for that purpose, because it makes it easy to feel the tentative grasp of a hesitant squid.

I admit I am not very good at this. Tom, and Cooper Gilkes, generally have a lot of fun at my expense squidding. Most nights I have no squid rhythm. That night I was dancing with the stars. The squid were so aggressive that the moment after the jig sank, I could feel squid grabbing and pulling at the jig.

Initially the squid were off the beach about 20 yards, but as dusk turned to night, they moved in closer and became more aggressive. I used a split shot for weight just above the jig so it would sink quickly.

Most of the squid we caught were huge, many almost one foot in length. The only reason I did not fill my bucket is that my shoulder was killing me, and I figured Norma would kill me if I dumped a whole bucket in our sink.

Interestingly, that night more than a dozen mainland boats had come across Nantucket Sound to jig for squid right off Big Bridge. The bright lights they used to attract the squid made it look like a shopping mall was anchored just off the beach.

The good squid fishing should last a few more weeks. It is a fun night for the kids, and the beach provides plenty of room. The action usually starts at dark.

Dick’s tournament will honor Hawkeye

Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs will host its 24th annual Memorial Day Weekend Derby, renamed this year the Bob Jacobs Memorial Day Tournament, in memory of the fisherman of the same name who died on May 8.

Robert Scott “Hawkeye” Jacobs never missed the derby, Doug Asselin told me in a telephone call from behind the counter during one of the shop’s brief lulls on Tuesday. He will certainly be missed.

Hawkeye provided me with some of my most cherished fishing stories. They included his unsuccessful but hilarious effort to free his fishing line and the Derby albie it was connected to from beneath the Pied Piper passenger ferry by diving off Memorial Wharf in Edgartown and trying to get under the boat.

Dick’s contest begins at 12:01 am Friday morning, and ends at 4 pm Monday. The fishermen who catch the heaviest bluefish or bass from the shore or a boat will earn cash prizes. The cost to enter is $30, and all the entry money goes right into the prize pot. An additional $5 entry fee puts you in the running for the largest black sea bass award.

Doug said there is lots of bait all around the Island. That includes sand eels, bunker, the aforementioned squid, and even mackerel.

There are lots of reports of striped bass being caught, but few reports of large fish. Bluefish had been unusually scarce in Island waters, but are now starting to show up.

I expect that the recent warm weather and southwest winds will propel a charge of bluefish our way. I predict a Memorial Day blitz, so have your steel leaders handy.

For more information on the Bob Jacobs derby, call 508-693-7669.

Tackle yard sale

The Great Circle of Life, also known as the yard sale, ensures that nothing ever really disappears, it just passes from one hand to the next. I am certain that a NordicTrack we owned for about six months, which worked quite well as a coat rack, has made an appearance at several yard sales.

If you are in need of some tackle, the opportunity to actually get something useful and swap fish stories presents itself this weekend.

The Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters Association will host a sale of “gently used saltwater fishing tackle,” their description, not mine, at the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club from 8 am to noon Saturday. Fishing reels, rods, and lures will be available. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the MVSA scholarship fund.

The club is located off the Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. Go to the end of Third Street and turn right. Take your first left into the club.


This article by Nelson Sigelman originally appeared on mvtimes.com.