Written by Tim Hill and originally published on GuideHire Chronicles.
Cover Photo: Sam Herrick
You’re in Nantucket…you’ve got the bite, bad, but you don’t know the spots to alleviate your need to get hooked up. We’ve got the cure: some inside information on the TOP 9 surf casting and fly-fishing spots on The Grey Lady.
- Great Point – The best way I can describe it, Great Point is probably the most notorious surf casting/fishing/trolling/fishiest spot on the island of Nantucket, Great Point can be either Mecca or purgatory for anglers. Catch the right tide, on the right day, with the right conditions and you’re pretty much guaranteed top water surf casting action for both bass and blues during the spring and summer months. For those who fly, hit GP at first light or at sundown and lay some line down in the shallows on the interior of Coatue, the outside East facing beaches of the GP shoreline, or if not closed off due to nesting Piping Plovers/Seals, the very tip of the point where the rip creates perfect conditions for predatory fish. Come in the fall? You’ll be targeting False Albacore, Bonito and late season Stripers.
- Eel Point – Eel point offers great fly fishing with abundant sand bars that allow anglers to wade out into the tidal flats and fish the cut between Nantucket Islands Western side and Tuckernuck Island. Turing tidal exchanges, bait is pulled and pushed through the narrow passage between the two islands, creating river-like rapids that predatory fish love to sit in, waiting for an easy snack. Sundown usually produces the best opportunities, tides can be moving either east or west, but a slack tide will be your worst enemy.
- Smiths Point – Running parallel to Eel point, Smiths point, when open to vehicles, or connected to Nantucket Island (I’m being serious, Smith’s point historically becomes eroded and detached from Nantucket every decade or so) is a great surfcasting, and even better fly fishing spot as it is home to shallow flats, deep drop offs, wade-able sand bars and best of all the “bonito bar”.
- Nobadeer Beach – Pounding waves from this south facing beach create perfect conditions for surfcasting and fly fishing by “trapping” bait in the shallows just feet from the sandy beach. Swimmers, surfers and even those walking along the beach routinely witness flats hunting bass just feet from the sand. Often times you can find fish quite literally swimming around your feet in thigh deep water. This beach is also great because you can drive onto it with your vehicle, with the proper permits displayed, of course.
- Cisco Beach – Similar to Nobadeer, Cisco is a unique fishing spot that is coupled with heavy surf and a point, creating a small “rip” as wave and tides pull and push water together. Night time fishing, especially fly fishing, can be very productive here as shallow waters and deep drop offs create holes and eddies where bass lay in wait for dinner. Since it is a popular swimming and family beach, early morning or night time fishing may be best to make sure you’re catching the right species.
- Madaket Harbor – In between Eel Point and Smiths Point lies Madaket Harbor. If you’re up for an adventure, a little wading, exploring and don’t mind getting muddy, Madaket Harbor can be home to some big bass during the spring runs and early summer cows. A nursery to juvenile fish and bait, the harbor provides shelter from fast moving tides and currents coming from the bonito bar and around Tuckernuck Island, perfect proving grounds for hungry migratory bass and blues alike.
- Polpis Harbor – Similar to Madaket Harbor, Polpis is a nursery for juvenile fish and home for many small bait fish. It is unique because it is a harbor…within a harbor. Nantucket Harbor is vast, and thus, there are natural estuaries and “harbors” that provide shelter for baitfish, even within the harbor. Tidal exchanges create micro-tides within these estuaries and interior harbors, creating unique fishing opportunities, but only for those who know about them. This is also one of the top fly-fishing spots on island in my personal opinion as shrubbery provides shelter from the wind and shallow waters allow for easy wading access. But, it can get a little buggy during sundown so bring that DEET.
- Brant Point – you may be elbow to elbow with other anglers at times, but Brandt Point can be a prime surfcasting & fly fishing spot during rising or falling tides as the narrow inlet to Nantucket Harbor creates a strong, fast moving current that pulls and pushes bait in and out during tidal exchanges. The mixture of fast, strong currents, moving tides and a concentrated area through which the water flows, creates the perfect recipe for predatory fish to sit and lie in wait for a meal. Tack on the fact that the channel just a few feet from Brandt point goes from a depth of 1 foot of water to 40+ feet, and now you know why you’re elbow to elbow.
- Sconset Beach – for the braver of anglers, this can be a prime spot for toothy blues. Strong currents and tides moving off of Old Man Shoals create a mecca for fish and surf casters alike. Going for the big guys? Cut that bluefish in half, and chuck it back in…you’ll find another toothy predator on your line pretty soon.
- Hahaha – no shot bro. My spot 🙂
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