Miles and miles: The urgency of the Fall Run

We covered some miles this weekend. And we found life almost everywhere we looked. Both days felt very fall-ish, which is not a feeling I can really describe, except to say that the days are getting noticeable shorter, work is getting busier, and the fish (bass blues and bones) are getting hungrier.

These conditions do create a bit of a urgency to our fishing trips. While the fishing is great to excellent and we still have months of good fishing left, last call is coming. And whether we say it or not, it’s in the back of all our minds.

I’ll argue that this is a good thing. It forces you to take risks; get out of your comfort zone. Chase the blitzes, make the runs, and cast into rips you normally would stop at. Every cast matters.

Saturday: Bass are back on the South Shore

On Saturday, we stuck around the home base for a bachelor party for this guy. If anyone’s caught the bass bug this season, it’s Troy. He is totally striper (and mackerel) obsessed, and we’ve had some ridiculous fishing days with him this year, so I felt the pressure to get him on some fish before he takes the dive and never gets to fish again (just kidding).

We ran out front and found the mackerel way away from the fleet. It’s pretty wild we’re still finding mackerel, but with lower water temps and limited blues to chase them away, why wouldn’t they stay?

Inside, we found what we were looking for: a few big schools of very nervous pogies.

We fished macks on circle hooks and snagged pogies, and both were getting eaten. These bass were ravenous. A few times, we had some surface action where the wolfpacks would slam the pogies right on the surface.

Later in the tide, we had to jump around the pogy schools to find the bass, but the bite stayed consistent throughout the morning. These were thin fish all around 34″; a size class we haven’t seen much of in the Bay this year. Some early migrators? Seemed like it to me.

Sunday: Vineyard Pt. 2

With light winds and a red hot bonito bite, we knew what we wanted to do. The decision was, where to go? Ultimately, with a fogged in South of the Cape, we decided to launch out of Falmouth (Falmouth Harbor) and fish the Sound and the Island.

The other option was to launch in Buzzards Bay fish our way South, and run through Woods Hole if we heard the bite was hot along the island. But the Hole isn’t fun in the fog, so Falmouth it was.

We ended up running all the way out to the Hooter, where we trolled up one bone. Winds were light but the weeds were in heavy, so we decided to move inshore and fish along the coastline.

Inshore, most of the fog had burned away and we set up shop in a few different locations around State Beach, Oak Bluffs, West Chop, East Chop, and Vineyard Haven. While drifting along with a few other boats, the water boiled 30-feet to port. Then, it erupted, and bones came clear out of the water chasing silversides and peanut bunker.

Capt. Bill and I cast Epoxy Jigs and hooked up. As the boats moved in on the blitz, they disappeared.

We reset our drift and waited. Sure enough, they popped up again right next to the boat. We were ready. Sean made a beauty of a cast into the whitewater with a pink and green surfcandy. Tight on the fly rod.

These would end up being our best two shots at fish all day, and we capitalized with one on the fly and 3 on Joe Baggs Resin Jigs (1/2 oz, pink, silver). We spent the rest of the morning chasing schools of fish popping up sporadically, and dealing with the boat traffic. People seem to lose their minds when the funny fish show up.

We found it was best to stay in a consistent location and wait for them to come to us. A few times later in the morning, we had blitzes pop right next to us, but we just couldn’t capitalize. In the blitzes, a fast retrieve right on the surface (and a fast hand over hand retrieve on the fly) got the bite. Away from the school, we got some bumps when we let the offering sink for a few seconds.

We called it a day when the running over of schools and boats yelling at each other got too much. But what can you expect when the weather is beautiful and the bones are in?

How’d you do this weekend? Seeing signs of the Fall Run? We want to hear about it. Email us at

Billy Mitchell

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