Bottom’s Up

by: Cam Gammill

photography by: Bill Toelstedt, Carl Danielson and Cam Gammill

When most people think about fishing on Nantucket, their minds immediately think of striped bass or bluefish. Striped bass offer the opportunity of catching a trophy-sized fish and have historically had a romantic allure. Bluefish have often been extremely accessible and provide an amazing fight for anglers.

While no one disputes how important these fish are to our fishery or the distinction they deserve, I would make the argument to include bottom-fishing in your choice of island angling. It has been relatively over-looked by the masses. Those who enjoy it and pursue it have kept it as their own secret. Admittedly, bottom-fishing is not as accessible (it requires a boat) or as sexy (Instagram photos with a fluke are not as cool as with a large striper).

Morgan Gammill holds a scup.

Bottom-fishing, in short, is the act of using a weighted jig/bait to actively target species on the bottom of the ocean. I made up that definition, but it feels right. On Nantucket, we primarily target black sea bass and fluke when bottom-fishing, but the best part is the variety of fish you can catch. Since I have kids, I generally think with a kid’s mind. I equate it to the excitement of playing the claw game at a carnival, where you drop in your coins, move the claw and hope to capture a fun prize.

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