We’ve reached peak tourist season here on Cape Cod, which means heavy traffic on routes 28 and 6. Cape Cod’s waters are experiencing some traffic jams as well as warming water temperatures are driving more stripers north to the Cape. Striper fishing improved all around the Cape this week, and with other options including bluefish and fluke, it’s looking like a good weekend to be a fisherman on Cape Cod.
Outer Cape and Cape Cod Bay
The surface action around Provincetown and the backside of the Cape has continued into its third month, with fishermen still finding schools of stripers feasting on sand eels. The fish are taking spook-style topwaters, swimming plugs, vertical jigs, and paddle-tail shads.
Ben at Forestdale Bait and Tackle reported some decent action on Billingsgate Shoals this week. One angler caught a number of small stripers and a 40-incher by trolling umbrella rigs at Billingsgate.
Schoolie stripers continue to roam the Cape Cod Bay beaches, providing fun fishing for fly- and light-tackle fishermen.
Striper fishing at the Monomoy Rips got a little better this week, as Captain John at Fish Chatham Charters reported catching 12 to 15 fish per trip, with some stripers in the mid-40-inch range in the mix. Most fish, John said, are right around the 28-inch minimum size. He’s been having his best luck casting soft plastics in the rips.
Captain Mort of Fish Tales Sportfishing also reported that the Monomoy Rips are improving. Mort has been impressed by the numbers of schoolie stripers around this year, but said some larger fish are popping up occasionally. The schoolies spitting up small squid, reported Mort, so it’d be wise to fish lures that imitate these baits, like Slug-Go or Got Stryper.
Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay
After a slow month of June, fishing in the Canal picked up this week reported AJ at Red Top. Stripers have been feeding on big baitfish, a mix of mackerel and sea herring reported the crew at Maco’s. There are also some large bunker in the mix reported Ben at Forestdale. Ben had a fishermen weigh in a 42-pounder this week, and the fish reportedly fell to a whole bunker that a seagull dropped.
AJ at Red Top recommended yellow pencil poppers for the Canal, while the Maco’s crew advised not to be without Al Gag’s Whip-It Fish.
Fluke fishing is Buzzards Bay is hot according to a report from Maco’s. Sea bass fishing has fizzled out as the larger males have moved to deeper water, leaving the smaller females behind, reported AJ.
There were also reports of some large stripers being caught around Cuttyhunk on live and chunked bunker.
South Side and Martha’s Vineyard
Lucas Shoal is holding good fluke fishing as well. Smaller fish are sitting in the shallower depths while larger fish, and most of the keepers, are coming from 60-foot and greater depths. Ben at Forestdale recommended Wreck Shoal and Succonesset Shoal for fluke as well.
The deeper waters around the Vineyard and bottom structure in Nantucket Sound are the last holdouts for consistent catches of keeper sea bass around the Cape. Bill at Sports Port recommended using jigs, rather than bait rigs, to target the large sea bass. Small bait-stealers, like small scup, can make it difficult to keep a bait on the hook long enough to attract a keeper sea bass.
Horseshoe Shoal is producing good catches of blues reported Bill at Sports Port. Trolling swimming plugs has been the top technique advised Ben at Forestdale. Ben also said to look to Succonesset Shoal to produce some bluefish as well.
Stripers are still around Martha’s Vineyard reported Cooper from Coop’s Bait and Tackle. Wasque, Middle Ground, Squidnocket, and Gay Head are all producing stripers for boat anglers. Bluefish action is best at Horseshoe Shoal, said Coop.
Tuna and Offshore
If you’re after tuna, you’ll have to hit the canyons advised Steve from Chaser Offshore Fishing. The bluefin bite, both east of Chatham and south of the Vineyard has been surprisingly slow, leaving many captains scratching their heads.
For the canyon bite, Coop and Steve said to shoot for the hot water between Hydrographers and Veatch where fishermen are catching yellowfin and a few bigeye.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
With bass fishing pretty good all around the Cape, you should be able to find good action relatively close to where you are staying. The Provincetown/Backside bite has definitely been the most consistent, but getting there bright and early is important, especially as we move deeper into the summer, when bass will begin to shift over to a nocturnal feeding schedule.
Monomoy Rips are good and getting better, and with the added possibility of a 30-pound or larger striper, that may be the pick of the weekend.