(photo – Stavros Viglas of Martha’s Vineyard checked in with one of the first inshore albies of the season.)
Cape Cod Canal & Buzzards Bay
It was another good week in the Cape Cod Canal. There were reports of a late-night jig bite, an early-morning topwater bite, an afternoon bite, and an evening bite. The West End, the East End and the middle were all mentioned in reports this week, but all the shops described the bite in the same way: it has been up-and-down, and you have to put in some time and effort to connect.
Over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, they haven’t weighed in a big bass since last week’s 50-pounder, but they reported that a good number of 20- and 30-pound bass have been caught this week, with good late-night action toward the West End on jigs and an early morning bite on topwater plugs. The folks at Maco’s in Wareham added that there has been an afternoon bite as well, but it’s been inconsistent. White shads and Savage Sand Eel jigs bounced along the bottom have been the top fish producers.
Upper Buzzards Bay has schoolie stripers, small bluefish under birds, and no sign, yet, of bonito or albies. There are some decent fluke being caught around the Mashnee Flats. Sea bass are still around in 30 to 40 feet of water, but remember that the season closes on August 31 this year. In the Cape-side harbors, there’s lots of bait and small snapper blues. Down toward Westport and Sakonnet, there have been some bunches of bonito popping up. Along the Elizabeth Islands, most of the reports are of small blues and stripers to 30 inches during the day.
Cape Cod Bay and Outer Cape
The Cape Cod Bay striper bite remains strong for big bass off Sandy Neck and on Scorton Ledge. Tube-and-worm rigs by day and live eels at night remain your best bets. From the beaches, chunk bait in the evenings and into the dark are producing some fish. Trolling wire line is producing some blues and bass at Billingsgate and at Race Point, where vertical jigging is also productive.
Some smaller tuna in the 50-inch class are popping up on the southeast corner of Stellwagen and on Peaked Hill. The fish have been coming up just enough to give the run-and-gun guys some good shots.
The striped bass fishing has been very good off Nauset, Chatham, and Monomoy. Bluefish scattered the pogies, but you might still find some off Nauset with bass on them. The better bite is out in deeper water where wire-line jigging the pot line and vertical jigging in 60 to 80 feet of water has been producing good fish, reported Captain John of Fish Chatham Charters.
Captain John has been chasing tuna and connected Thursday with two fish in the 50-inch class off the backside of the Cape by working north toward Highland Light. The fish hit trolled squid bars. There has been some topwater tuna action up toward Truro for spincasters throwing plugs and soft-plastics. He also landed an 81-incher earlier this week out at the Regal Sword on a trolled ballyhoo.
South Side and Islands
Slightly cooler inshore waters and an increase in the amount of bait has brought schoolie stripers and small keepers back in along the south-facing beaches. The Poppy spit has been a good spot for stripers and a few small blues, reported Jeff from Forestdale Bait and Tackle. An angler fishing clams in the early morning has been doing well on 30-inch bass. Another fishermen who was trolling off Popponesset reported some small blues.
Bonito fishing had been sporadic, and bluefish strangely absent, but the past few trips to the Hooter have been productive and yesterday Captain Kurt Freund of Fishsticks Charters lucked into an all-out blitz. He had bonito on top, bluefish at mid-depth, and stripers below them. Some bonito have been reported on Hedge Fence as well, but most of the fishermen on the Vineyard Sound shoals are finding black sea bass (remember that the season closes on August 31).
There were confirmed reports of bunches of albies feeding inshore this week and at least a few were caught, including one from the shore, reported Peter from Larry’s Tackle Shop on the Vineyard. The albies have been spotted along State Beach and off Cape Pogue. Peter also reported squid and peanut bunker in the area and said that island anglers are sharpening hooks and prepping gear for the better fishing that’s sure to come as we transition to September fishing.
Snapper blues are showing in the harbors and salt ponds. The baby blues will grow fast and should be a good size for eating in another week or two.
The water is too warm for bluefin tuna south of Martha’s Vineyard, but it’s just right for mahi, makos and marlin, reported Steve at Chaser Offshore Fishing. The water out by the Star and Gordons Gully has had good amounts of life in recent days. Small jigs tipped with Gulp or cut squid are irresistible to the mahi hanging around floats. White marlin are tough to fool, but some fishermen have had luck with live pitch baits. Farther south at the Shipping Lanes, there have been some small yellowfin tuna and larger mahi caught by trolling.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
Many fishermen will be hunting albies this weekend, which may or may not show in numbers. A better bet might be to head to the Hooter or the Bonito Bar for a mix of bones and blues, and then check for albies in Muskeget Channel on the way in. It’s also the last weekend of the black sea bass season, which has been phenomenal. Head to any piece of structure in 30 plus feet of water in Vineyard Sound or lower Buzzards Bay and you should have no problem putting together a final fresh sea bass fish fry. Shore fishermen who put in some time on the Cape Cod Canal will continue to be rewarded, while boat fishermen looking for bass should either head to Cape Cod Bay with live eels or the waters off Chatham with an array of vertical jigs.