Cape Cod Fishing Report – July 21, 2016

Ashton Hannah with his first brown shark of the season taken from the Martha's Vineyard surf.

Ashton Hannah with his first brown shark of the season taken from the Martha’s Vineyard surf.

Even at the height of summer, each week brings some new fishing opportunities on Cape Cod. This week, we’re seeing improving bluefin action, and good striper fishing, but in some new places.

Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay

Jigging at night has been the ticket for Cape Cod Canal stripers reported the crew at Red Top Sporting Goods. Mornings have been okay in the East End, but for the most part, fishing the bottom after dark has been the best technique.

One of the hot lures in the Canal this week has been the Savage Sand Eel. Heavy bucktail jigs and soft-plastic stickbaits on heavy leadheads have also been working. In the morning, pencil poppers are a good bet to cast to the break fish, but working jigs may still be the better option.

Fluke fishing in Buzzards Bay is still good. Fishermen are finding good numbers of fish around the edges of the Canal channel, including some keeper size. Scup are still present in the bay, and some small, sub-legal sea bass are being caught.

Cape Cod Bay and Outer Cape

While it’s not exactly clear where the big stripers that spent the first part of the summer off Provincetown and Truro moved to, many fishermen have theories. Some fishermen believe the fish have moved offshore, while others think the school moved south toward Chatham. Others believe the fish rounded Race Point and have set up on the shoals in Cape Cod Bay. Based on this weeks reports, it seems like both the Chatham area and Cape Cod Bay are good bets for finding quality stripers.

Ben at Forestdale Bait and Tackle reported that boat fishermen are having good success fishing eels in Cape Cod Bay. He said several large bass were caught, but he wasn’t sure what part of the bay was holding the fish.

Billingsgate Shoal is producing good numbers of 22- to 28-inch bass, while Barnstable Harbor is also producing good fishing on schoolie stripers. On Billingsgate, umbrella rigs and tube-and-worm rigs are working, while in Barnstable, small jigs or flies are tempting the schoolies.

Schools of bunker have attracted some good bass to the waters off Chatham reported Captain John of Fish Chatham Charters. Fishing live bunker and squid off Monomoy has been working for bass in the mid 40-inch range. The bunker appear to be moving North, John reported, with the bass hot on their heels. The bait and fish were off the Chatham cut earlier this week and heading north.

Captain Bobby Rice of Reel Deal Fishing Charters has been finding good numbers of stripers in the 40-inch range along with some bluefish. He’s been using his network of boats and fellow Reel Deal Fishing Charters captains to dial in the bite.

South Side and Martha’s Vineyard

The striper surf bite on Martha’s Vineyard has been very good with eels and needlefish taking bass up to 44 pounds at night according to Peter at Larry’s Tackle. Peter said the south side of the island has been good, but in recent days, the north shore has lit up with big fish. Also in the surf, Peter said fishermen have been getting a couple brown sharks on East Beach. Bluefishing has been good for both boat and shore fishermen around dusk, with fish up to 14 pounds being taken. Fluke fishing around the Vineyard has been more quantity than quality lately.

The shoals off Falmouth, however, are still producing some keeper-sized summer flounder according to Ben at Forestdale Bait and Tackle.

From shore at Cotuit and Popponesset, Ben said fishermen are catching good numbers of scup and northern kingfish. While a few kings are caught every year on the Cape, this year, there seems to be a good number of them around. Kingfish will hit clams, squid, or seaworms fished on the bottom on small hooks. They are excellent eating and fun to catch.

Small schoolie stripers are still roaming around the South Side beaches and bays. Dawn and dusk are the best times to hook up.

Tuna and Offshore

Some more tuna are being spotted east of Chatham, but the real news this week has been the bluefin bite south of Martha’s Vineyard. Trolling spreader bars is producing fish from 27 to 60-plus inches. The fish are feeding on sand eels, and have been hanging around large groups of dolphins and whales. I fished south of the Vineyard with Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters on Thursday, and Terry put four bluefin between 44 and 60 inches in the boat.

A quick reminder on bluefin regulations, each boat can take two fish between 27 and 47 inches and one fish greater than 47 inches but less than 73 inches.

Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod

Some heavy southwest winds kicking up Thursday afternoon may stymie attempts to hit the tuna grounds this weekend, but when the wind dies, the good fishing should continue.

There is plenty of bait outside the Cape Cod Canal, and with strong tides this weekend, it may be worth seeing if any of that bait gets sucked into the Canal and kickstarts the striper bite.

The best bass fishing by boat sounds like it’s taking place in Monomoy and Chatham, while the best surf fishing is happening on Martha’s Vineyard.

  1. Ross

    Any Albie/Bonito sightings on the South Side? I heard the Hooter had some fish but just wanted to see if they have moved inshore at all. Thanks.

  2. Walleye

    Captain Jan Wallewyn of Gloucester’s “Yankee Charters” bagged a nice blue fin tuna that dressed out at 440lbs off the east end of Stellwagen bank , his second fish. Good time if you can book with him.Tight-lines.

  3. Jeff

    As far as what I read here about the outer cape, maybe the commercial guys caught them all…..


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