Saltwater season is wrapping up on Cape Cod. There are still a few fish to be taken, including some big and powerful ones, but for the most part, it’s time to scale down the tackle and enjoy the world-class freshwater action most of us have been ignoring for the past six months.
According to Stan at Red Top Inc., fishermen looking to score their last striper of the season can do so in the Canal. The fish are running small, but Stan had heard of one keeper landed in the East End this week.
Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle reported a few fish being caught on Sandy Neck Beach this week in the early mornings. These fish should stick around throguh the weekend. Many of them might holdover in Scorton Creek or Barnstable Harbor, giving fishermen a shot at stripers right through the winter.
Blackfish are another saltwater option this weekend. A number of shops are still selling green crabs. On The Water’s Andy Nabreski went tog fishing on Tuesday and caught a number of keeper-sized fish. The tog weren’t very large, with the largest about 5 pounds, but the fillets from them will make a chowder that will taste wonderful on the cold days we have coming up.
Lastly on the saltwater front this week were bluefin tuna on Stellwagen Bank. The fish were feeding heavily on the surface and a number were caught on topwater lures and spinning gear. On The Water TV was out filming the bite on Monday and Tuesday. For more information on that bite, check out the blog.
In freshwater, trout are biting best right now. Stan at Red Top recommended using worms or Power Bait for rainbow trout during the day, and small stickbaits for brown trout at night.
Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle had heard of brown trout to 18 inches this week, and even a couple tiger trout. The hot ponds on the Upper Cape have been Spectacle and Peters. Mashpee-Wakeby has been okay for trout, but with the pond being so large, the trout have a lot of room to spread out, Jeff said. Down Cape, Cliff Pond has been producing trout, as has Sheeps. Bakers has been producing fish as well, especially on shiners.
Speaking of shiners, fishermen hoping to catch largemouth bass this week should bring along some live bait. With the colder temperatures, the bass are slowing down a little bit, and a live shiner under a bobber will no doubt produce more action that artificial lures. If you would rather stick to lures, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits and jig-and-pig combos are all working. Big swimbaits are working as well, and while you’ll get fewer bites on these striper-size lures, the fish that hit them are usually big.
Smallmouths are biting as well. In the cold water, smallies group up in big numbers and provide great action for fishermen vertically jigging with bladebaits or probing bottom with dropshot rigs.
Pickerel are a November staple on Cape Cod. With the weeds dying back in most ponds, these miniature pike will be on the prowl looking for an easy meal. They won’t be picky about what they’ll hit. Spinners, stickbaits, tube jigs and live shiners are all good bets for fall pickerel.
Best Bets for the Weekend
This weekend could be the real last call for Cape Cod stripers, so bring some small jigs and hit the Canal if you would like one more bass before you pack away the gear for the winter. Blackfish are still in shallow water, so they are a great bet for this weekend. Getting crabs could be more difficult than getting the tog, so be sure to call around to the tackle shops to secure yourself enough bait for a day of fishing.
If you are just looking to feel something tug on the line, trout are your best bet. Any trout-stocked pond is a good bet, but the larger, deeper ponds like Cliff, Peters, Sheeps and Spectacle are the best spots.