Martha’s Vineyard 2009 Season Recap

As I write this recap for the 2009 fishing season there are many thoughts that pass through my mind. The first is that I am fortunate to have so many great anglers that chartered with me this year. From the seasoned hard-core pros to the first-timers, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you all and compliment you on your cooperation and enthusiasm. Each year we seize upon the opportunities to learn from each other and 2009 was no exception. Honing our angling skills is an important part of the sport as we learn new techniques and practices. Adding these skills to our repertoires make us better fishermen and allow us to better appreciate the passion we all share. The second thought is more emotional and that is; another season has come to an end. I like to look at the conclusion of a season as more the expectations of another one. Who knows what 2010 will bring but I for one can’t wait to get back on the water.

Following is a very brief summary of how I saw 2009:

Early Spring (April 15 – May 15) … As expected, the bass returned to Vineyard waters around the middle of April. Like the last couple of years we did not see an over abundance of micros but we did have decent sized schoolies populating inshore locations during the first weeks of May.


Spring (May 15 – Memorial Day) … By the end of May we were experiencing great fishing with larger than normal stripers. Bait was plentiful all around the island which boded well for a strong season. Bluefish were a bit late but the anticipated target date of Mother’s Day provided some good results. By the end of May we were thick into bass and blues with consistent success.


June & July … The month of June and first few weeks of July were absolutely spectacular! Bass fishing was just about the best I’ve seen around the Vineyard in more than a decade. Each trip out seemed to outdo the previous one. Size definitely mattered as we experienced some exceptional fly fishing for bass ranging anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds with regularity. The light spin anglers did even better. Because the bass fishing was so good we even passed up the opportunities to wrestle with bruiser bluefish.


August thru Middle of September … What was traditionally the doldrums period, the first half of August provided some uncommon angling. Bass were still readily available but smaller and bluefish were easily found in the shoals. As expected, not every trip was successful but there was always some bottom fish to target when the need arose. Atlantic bonito arrived late and in rather small numbers. We finally caught our first one on August 11 but other boats reported earlier catches. Bonito fishing was anything but consistent. In fact, it was a bit disappointing. There was ample bait around and even bait we were not accustomed to such as juvenile bay anchovies. The false albacore made their appearance toward the end of August and by the first week in September we were thick into them at locations that were different than where we found them in past years.  The albie season was shaping up to be as strong as the bass fishing was in June.


Derby Time (September 17 thru October 17) … A strong start with a weak finish is the best way to describe it. We spent most of the derby chasing albies as they were plentiful during the first 3 weeks. Most of the schools we fished were of a smaller size class but it was more about quantity than quality. The albie fishing was excellent! Bonito fishing on the other hand was almost non-exsistent as the only real concentration of them was on the south shore of the island. The bass and bluefish were around but with the albie fishing so good at the start of the derby we pretty much ignored them. By the end of the derby the weather turned sour and fishing was pretty much hit or miss.


Well that puts the wraps on the 2009 season. I look forward to next year and will be contacting all my anglers from time to time over the winter months. You can keep in touch with me either through my website at or my facebook page under Phil Cronin. We also set up a facebook group titled Martha’s Vineyard Fishing so all you facebook finatics can become a friend or fan of either or both. Have a great winter.

Tight Lines and Singing Drags,


Captain Phil Cronin


Mark N. Cahill has been writing and editing for since 1995. He started fishing in the mid-1960's and caught his first striper off World's End in Hingham in 1966. From there on in it was an obsession. He loves fishing for tuna, and fly fishing for striped bass. In a pinch, anything with fins will do...

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