Fishermen usually associate August with hot weather and slow fishing, but so far this season, that’s only been half true. The fishing off Cape Cod has been fantastic for any time of year. From stripers to bluefin to largemouth bass, there’s a lot to get excited about this weekend.
Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay
The streak of afternoon Canal blitzes petered out on Monday, but by Thursday morning, action in the Canal was picking up again.
Mike at M and D’s reported big mackerel in the Canal Thursday, with some good-size bass in pursuit. Mike at Red Top had also heard of good fishing in the Canal early Thursday. Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle reported that white lures were producing best for stripers in the Big Ditch lately.
Anglers are still finding keeper black sea bass in Buzzards Bay reported Mike at Red Top, but there are many more shorts to weed through first. The big humphead sea bass have moved off to deeper water, and aren’t likely to return until next spring.
Fluke fishing in Buzzards Bay is very slow reported Mike at M and D’s. Even commercial fishermen—who are allowed to keep fish 14 inches and larger—are finding difficulty putting keepers in the box.
The Elizabeth Island striper fishing is good with bass up to 30 pounds reported Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle. Chunking is the method of choice reported Julian at Larry’s Tackle in Oak Bluffs, but eels cast into the rocks are also producing fish according to Christian at Falmouth Bait and Tackle.
South Side and Islands
Though fluke fishing is poor in Buzzards Bay, it’s not bad in the sounds. Christian at Falmouth Bait and Tackle said to try some lesser-known fluke spots in order to hook keepers. More popular locations like L’Hommedieu and Lucas shoals have been picked over already. Christian said the waters off Osterville and Succonesset Shoal are his picks for fluke action.
Shore fishermen have been finding stripers on Popponesset on live eels reported Jeff at Forestdale. Snapper blues are providing fun light-tackle fishing in Popponesset Bay, and scup are providing action in Cotuit. For the snappers, a small Kastmaster or piece of squid is working well. For the scup, squid, clams or seaworms will get bites.
Bonito are showing at the Hooter, but they have yet to make an appearance closer to the Vineyard just yet, but Julian at Larry’s Tackle thinks they will. A bumper crop of spearing (Atlantic silversides), the bonito’s favorite baitfish, could bring the bones right onto the beaches of the Vineyard.
According to Coop at Coop’s Bait and Tackle, the scup fishing is slowing down as they move to deeper water. Fishermen targeting deep structure are still catching good sea bass, Coop said. Fluke fishing around the Vineyard is fair, but not great.
Striper fishing around the island is excellent right now, reported Julian at Larry’s. It’s fishing more like June than August Julian said. Bass in the teen- and 20-pound range are consistently coming off up-island beaches after dark, and the occasional 30-pound-plus bass is hitting the beach as well. Boats are also experiencing good bass fishing. There was a rumor of a monster 58-pound striper taken on an eel at night by a boat angler fishing around the Vineyard, but a picture or further evidence of the catch has yet to surface.
Julian also reported a blitz of stripers and blues happening around Wasque a few days this week. The blues are in the 10-pound range and the stripers are right around keeper size.
Cape Cod Bay and the Outer Cape
Cape Cod Bay fishing has been inconsistent reported Mike at Red Top Bait and Tackle. There wasn’t much word about bass fishing in the bay this week. Fishermen trolling tube-and-worm rigs during the day are having marginal success, but anglers are finding better action running across the bay to Race Point.
Big schools of stripers are still feeding in Provincetown waters. Fish are hitting diamond jigs, but there have been surface blitzes as well, reported Jim at Nelson’s Bait and Tackle. Jim was paddling his kayak out one day this week and a huge school of stripers began beating the surface into a froth. The bass aren’t biting every day, or at all stages of the tide, and fishermen are regularly encountering schools of stripers off the Race that just won’t bite. When the fish are feeding, however, the action is fast. On The Water Insider Captain Bobby Rice of Reel Deal Charters has been on the bass during this first week of August, and has even guided charters to quintuple hook ups on nice-sized stripers.
Bluefish are in the bay, but don’t seem to be venturing up to Race Point as often. More blues are being caught in front of the Cottages and off the Path in Wellfleet.
Fishermen are trolling up 26- to 28-inch stripers with regularity at Billingsgate Shoal. Jigs on wire line or umbrella rigs are getting it done.
Fishermen from the beaches of Cape Cod Bay, including Scusset and Sandy Neck are catching some smaller stripers by fishing clams as bait.
There were reports of giant tuna entering the Bay this week. Jim at Nelsons said harpooners have spotted the fish, and to his knowledge only one rod-and-reel angler has hooked up.
Chatham has stripers as well, but these fish seem to be skirting the 3-mile line. Beyond three miles it is illegal to fish for stripers, even if you catch and release. On days when the bass are within the limit, the fishing has been good.
Bass and panfish are biting well in most of the Cape’s ponds. Frog lures worked through lilypads and dense vegetation are drawing strikes from big bass, while tiny jigs or poppers are catching the panfish.
Trout are biting well in deep water reported Jeff at Forestdale. The key is getting the bait 30 feet or deeper. Both nightcrawlers and shiners are catching fish.
South of the Vineyard, the fishing for small bluefin is incredible. Boats are putting up big numbers of the 20- to 40-pound fish. The bluefin have been so abundant and are feeding so recklessly, many crews are putting together double-digit catches. Experienced offshore captains are boating as many as 20 bluefin in a single outing. Trolling is the tactic of choice. The schools of bluefin have attracted mako sharks to the area as well, so a combo shark-and-tuna trips would be a great option for some offshore variety.
Best Bets for the Weekend
If you have a vessel that can make it to Gordon’s Gulley, get there. Make sure you have your HMS Permit and are familiar with the regulations on bluefin. Recreational anglers are allowed 1 fish between 27 and 47 inches and 1 fish 47 inches to 73 inches per boat per day.
A cruise along the Canal in the morning hours is a good idea for shore fishermen, unless they can get over to the Vineyard, where the surf fishing has been excellent for both bass and blues. Race Point is holding big numbers of bass for boat anglers, and the Elizabeth Islands are a solid option as well.