There aren’t all that many places on the Northeast Coast where two major bodies of water collide—and you know the names of most of them. Places where major bays and sounds exchange water are places that gamefish congregate and feed in numbers—think about it; Race Point, Point Judith, Nappatree Point, Montauk Point, Sandy Hook…I can go on, but I don’t think I have to.
Falmouth Heights is the south-facing shoreline that leads to Nobska Point and Nobska serves as the last thing holding Vineyard Sound back from charging through Woods Hole and spilling into Buzzards Bay, needless to say, the currents in this area are powerful and many species of gamefish love it.
Nobska Point itself is a hotspot all its own, but boaters must proceed with extreme caution, the current rushes through at speeds only rivaled by the Cape Cod Canal, and some of the passages between rocks, reefs and land are barely 200 feet wide. Sea Tow boats are ever-present here for a reason—they are very often needed. Rocks protect the tip of the point and every other piece of land that reaches through the current. Striped bass fishing throughout Woods Hole can be awesome, but you better know the lay of the land, running aground on these rocks and reefs is not an option if you want to have an enjoyable day of fishing.
Falmouth Heights stands high above the imaginary line between Vineyard Sound and Falmouth Harbor, the road heading east along the shore from Nobska Light traces its majestic saltwater vista. For our purposes, we’ll focus on the area from the easternmost jetty below Nobska Light to Fay Beach in Falmouth. Thanks to the magnetic tidal draw of Woods Hole, this shoreline features some good sweeping current on ebb tides as Woods Hole demands more water from Vineyard Sound while gravity flushes it into Buzzards Bay.
This phenomenon presents its best advantages when the albies are in residence, usually beginning in August. The persistent longshore currents set up an advantage for the speedy albies and the feeds can be ferocious. The downside being that it also transforms this region into a run-and-gun raceway—I counted 70 boats there one morning this past August! A tactic that has proven reliable is to break away from the fleet and motor in under the cliffs of Falmouth Heights to set up drifts within a quarter-mile of the beach. Baitfish use the geography of the shoreline to find slower water in tight and albies, regularly run it to feed on them—and the fleet almost never notices.
You will likely also see a small flotilla of boats roped in about a mile or so offshore. These boats are fishing Falmouth Harbor Shoal—a system of bars, rocks and at least one wreck, that holds many bottom species. The sea bass fishing here is usually the main draw, but it will also hold fluke, scup and striped bass as well. The methods for catching these fish is no different than any other bottom fishing hotspot, but I’d wager a disproportionate number of epoxy jigs are dangled here while waiting for the albies to surface.
Heading back in toward Nobska Point, I would not recommend fishing the rocks from a boat or kayak unless you know the area cold. From shore, it’s a different story. The jetty south and east of the point is a great place to set up for shore albie fishing. It’s also a fine place to swing a darter on ebb tides. Be warned, I have tangled with some big sharks here on live eels and I’ve seen photos of 30-pound class stripers bitten clean in two by something with a serious bite radius from a spot not too far away. You really never know what might swim through Woods Hole. I know another guy who hooked and landed a 150-pound bluefin on a bass rod within sight of Falmouth and Woods Hole. This is an amazing area with insane tidal exchange and many species to choose from. Give it try in 2022!