Despite a week of tough winds from the Southwest, stripers are being caught all around the Cape and South Coast
The crew at CMS in New Bedford reported that schoolie stripers are loaded in the rivers, providing light-tackle fun both during the day and at night. Boats that have been able to sail have found some big fish in Buzzards Bay around New Bedford.
Despite less than favorable tides and challenging winds, fishing has held steady in the Cape Cod Canal reported Todd at Falmouth Bait and Tackle. Mornings are seeing some surface activity with schoolies and keeper-sized stripers. Mike at Red Top said reaching the fish can be a challenge with the strong winds, but anglers who are casting far enough are having great action with 20- to 36-inch bass.
Some of the larger stripers that were in the Canal before Memorial Day Weekend have turned up off Barnstable Harbor. Fish to 44 inches have been taken off the Harbor by fishermen live-lining macks reported Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle.
Stripers are spreading out through Cape Cod Bay, said Simeon at Goose Hummock. Fishermen are catching fish by snapping wire on Billingsgate Shoals and by vertical jigging off Provincetown. Trolling umbrella rigs has also accounted for some fish on the Shoals and at Race Point.
Fishermen working inside Barnstable Harbor and along the Cape Cod Bay beaches up to Eastham caught schoolies and small keepers over the weekend. Small lures or flies have been working best. If throwing a plug, adding a teaser is a good idea as the bayside stripers have been small spearing and sand eels.
Ben Bianco of Black Eel Outfitters said, “If someone would shut the fan off, fishing would be amazing. Nantucket Sound, especially in tight to the beaches, is loaded with bait and when the wind isn’t blowing people off the water, there have been massive blitzes of schoolies and larger fish mixed in between Dennis and Chatham.”
The South Side from Falmouth to Cotuit is also producing some excellent striper fishing. Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle said fishermen at the Popponessett Spit have taken stripers to 40 inches on topwater lures this week. Many of the south-facing beaches are producing bass, but to many fishermen, finding consistent numbers of bluefish has been a mystery.
According to Jeff at Forestdale Bait and Tackle, the bluefish are here, but have not been venturing within range of shore fishermen. Boat fishermen, when they can get out, are having no trouble hooking the blues. There have been some bluefish bites for the surf fishermen as the usual locations of South Cape Beach and Oregon Beach reported Todd at Falmouth Bait and Tackle. The action has been hit or miss however. On Tuesday, OTW’s Andy Nabreski and Eddy Stahowiak got into some bluefish action on South Cape Beach. The trick, Andy said, was using bait on the bottom. The fishermen throwing plugs were getting shut out, but dunking squid resulted in frequent bites and bluefish up to 8 pounds.
Black sea bass fishing opened this weekend, and if the wind would let more fishermen get out there, they would discover that the fishing is fantastic. Sea bassin’ is excellent in the sound, reported Simeon at Goose Hummock. Simeon had even heard of some scup and sea bass at the Target Ship in Cape Cod Bay. Buzzards Bay is producing big numbers of sea bass as well reported the guys at CMS. Squid and clam baits are working for a mixed bag of sea bass, scup and the occasional blackfish. To target sea bass, especially big ones, metal jigs or bucktails are the best bet. Captain Pete Pryzgocki of Castaway Charters has been catching some of the largest scup he’s ever seen in Nantucket Sound, along with good numbers of keeper black sea bass.
Tog fishing has been challenging, reported CMS. There are big blackfish around, but getting a bait through the sea bass, scup and abundant undersized tog is no easy task. The tog should be going on their spawn soon, which means that structure inside bays and harbors may be holding some surprisingly large fish.
The largemouth bass fishing is very good around the Cape’s ponds. Lilypads are beginning to emerge, meaning that a topwater frog worked around this vegetation could bring some heart-stopping surface strikes. As the ponds warm up, trout will be moving deeper, and trolling will become the best tactic for these fish. Fishing the early morning hours with bait is still a good bet for shore fishermen.
Peter from Larry’s Tackle Shop, reported that fishing on the Vineyard continues to improve. With the constant wind, most reports are coming from shore fishermen. The Wasque bluefish bite, especially at Wasque, has turned on with long-casting anglers doing very well. Bigger bass have moved in and fishermen are having success by chunking with fresh squid and plugging. With the incoming tide at Edgartown Harbor shifting to the evening this week, the squid fishing should be very good. Due to the winds, limited reports of black sea bass are coming in from the boats, but the few who have been out expect it to be a great year.
Best Bets for the Weekend
With the wind forecasted to die off by the weekend, the fishing on Cape Cod should be excellent. You can’t go wrong with stripers right now, whether you choose Race Point, the Cape Cod Canal, or anywhere in-between. Shore fishermen would do best to check the Canal or South Side Beaches while boaters have their best shot at a big fish off the South Coast and around Barnstable Harbor. Live bait will be king for trophy-size stripers. Use live bunker in Buzzards Bay and live mackerel in Cape Cod Bay. Both baits are in good supply right now.
The manageable winds should make for great bottom fishing this weekend as well. After enjoying some sunrise striper fishing, why not shift gears to sea bass and scup to catch something for Sunday night dinner. Bottom fishing is great all over the Sound side and Buzzards Bay, and even the Target Ship in Cape Cod Bay is holding some good sea bass and scup.