The Cape Cod Canal Report
Though the Canal isn’t as hot as it was in July, big fish can still be taken by persistent anglers targeting the lower portion of the water column.
Jeff Miller over at Canal Bait and Tackle said the Canal fishing has been okay, primarily at the west end on jigs. It’s definitely a morning bite, but if you’re limited to the daylight hours chunking mackerel on the east end can also produce fish. Jeff emphasized that your presentation should be right on or near the bottom during this time of the year.
According to the staff at Red Top things have slowed down since the epic bites 2 weeks ago. However, there are still big fish around. Two fish above the 30-pound mark have been weighed in on the Red Top scale within the past 24 hours. Fish have been taken on both the west and east end, primarily on jigs. It’s tough to tell where the bite will be best on any given day, so be prepared to cover water to find the bite.
The folks at Maco’s said the Canal fishing hasn’t been red hot, but there are fish in the 40-inch range for persistent anglers. Most fish are taken on jigs, but there’s been some topwater action right at first light. Canal anglers are also finding success slinging eels at night, around the tide changes.
Cape Cod Bay Report
It seems as though Barnstable Harbor and Sandy Neck have slowed down, but the deep-water fishing in Cape Cod Bay is still producing plenty of fish.
Captain John of Cape Cod Bay Charters reported the best action has been in the deep water near Wellfleet. The west side of the bay through Sandy Neck has been very slow. Most of the big fish set up in the Canal don’t seem to exit very often. Mackerel are still present in the bay, and live lining them in deeper water is an excellent way to hook up.
Captain Elena Rice of Reel Deal Charters also primarily targeted deep water in Cape Cod Bay for striped bass. A handful of fish came from the vertical jig, but for the most part they’ve been jigging up live mackerel, and live lining them to hungry striped bass.
Live mackerel is the name of the game according to Captain Ron Signs of Bucktail Fishing Charters. Captain Ron and his clients have had no trouble finding mackerel when searching in waters deeper than 60 feet. The abundant 8- to 9-inch mackerel are perfect for live lining, and have been very effective in landing fish up to 34 inches. It’s been inconsistent for larger fish, but some are being taken in the western portion of Cape Cod Bay.
Captain Dan Hannon of Salt Shaker Charters said things have slowed down a bit in Cape Cod Bay, but there are still plenty of smaller fish around. Billingsgate is holding fish, with most of them being taken wire line jigging. There’s a night bite towards the west, but it’s slow fishing during the day. The best daytime fishing has occurred in the northeast portion of Cape Cod Bay.
Sports Port Bait and Tackle reported, there are some smaller fish around in Cape Cod Bay, but the fishing isn’t very hot overall. Additionally, one of the Sports Port employees hooked a bass in the bay, only to have a 10-foot great white fully breach to grab his fish! This is increasingly common in Cape Cod Bay, so keep an eye out for these enormous predators.
Captain Matt of Fishy Business Sportfishing in Plymouth reported a pick up in the striper action in Cape Cod Bay. He’s mainly been fishing from the late afternoon into the night, finding that the bigger fish are easier to fool during these low-light periods. Eels have been the primary method of landing fish, but they’re also live lining mackerel when they can find them.
Chatham & Monomoy Striped Bass Report
The striped bass action off Chatham and in the Monomoy rips remains very good, and the waters have warmed enough for bluefish to move into the area.
The striped bass bite is very good near the Chatham inlet, and in the Monomoy rips according to Captain John of Fish Chatham Charters. The vertical jig bite has turned on, but a wide variety of swimming plugs are still effective in shallower water. The arrival of bluefish into the area has made for non-stop action.
Captain Mort Terry of Fishtale Sportfishing has had success targeting a variety of species in the Chatham area. The black sea bass fishing has been very good, and the Monomoy rips are still holding striped bass. In the past 48 hours the water temperatures have risen, and the bluefish have moved in. Their most recent trip was a mix of blues and bass, making for consistent action. There’s a variety of ways to catch fish right now including vertical and wire line jigging, and casting swimming plugs and topwaters to actively feeding fish.
The Offshore Report
Prior to the full moon, the offshore bite was excellent. With the Nantucket Big Game Battle taking place this week, there should be fresh reports to help anglers find the fish after a brief slowdown in action.
Fish Chatham Charters has been making tuna trips east of Chatham, and reported that the action has slowed down with the full moon, especially compared to the excellent action last week. Captain John is preparing for the Nantucket Big Game Battle, and will have fresh Canyon reports for On The Water readers next week.
Chaser Offshore Fishing has reported solid offshore action, but it’s a long trip to reach the fish. Most of the action has been in the eastern reaches of the Canyons, and it’s been a good bite of yellowfin and bigeye tuna. The action south of the islands has been more of a mixed bag, with mahi, white marlin, and wahoo all in the mix. However, the action has been hit or miss. The most consistent action is in the Canyons and east of Chatham
Reel Deal Charters also encountered excellent action prior to the full moon, but as the nights got brighter the action slowed down. They’re managing to hook and land fish off Stellwagen Bank.
Buzzard’s Bay & Vineyard Sound Report
For the most part, the “funny fish” haven’t moved into the area heavily yet. However, angler can still catch a variety of keeper-sized bottom species and aggressive bluefish.
Jim of Eastman’s Sports and Tackle said the bonita and albie fishing has been slow to non-existent. Bonito can be caught around the Hooter and Bonito Bar, but they haven’t moved into the sound heavily yet. However, one angler caught and photographed a 30-inch king mackerel while trolling Horseshoe Shoal. This fish distinctly lacked the brown dot markings of a spanish mackerel. Brown sharks are moving in on the south side of the Cape in the Falmouth area, and are willing to bite large chunks of mackerel. Jim reported the striped bass fishing is still slow, but bluefish are more than willing to cooperate.
Patriot Party Boat has encountered decent bottom fishing in the middle ground area, with plenty of black sea bass in the mix. The drift fishing is slightly challenging with the strong full moon tides, but when the bait is on the bottom the fish are willing to cooperate. Their sportfishing boat is having no trouble jigging up bluefish on wire line, along with sizable black sea bass. Black sea bass hitting wire line jigs has been a regular occurrence for Captain Jim this season.
According to the folks at Sports Port Bait and Tackle in Hyannis, the bottom fishing in in Nantucket sound has been very good for both black sea bass and fluke. Keeper fluke are becoming increasingly common, primarily in the Bishop and Clerks area. The first reports of albies have trickled in, with small numbers of fish off Craigville.
Captain Matt of Fishy Business Sportfishing reported excellent action for black sea bass in Vineyard Sound, in addition to his encouraging Cape Cod Bay striped bass report.
The Maco’s staff also reported that the fluke fishing has picked up in Buzzard’s Bay, with fish up to 7 pounds moving in to the area.
Martha’s Vineyard Report
The action on Martha’s Vineyard seems to be holding steady as blues, bass, bottom species, and sharks are all in the mix.
The folks at Larrys Tackle Shop on Martha’s Vineyard reported red-hot brown shark fishing off Chappaquiddick. Anglers are jigging up bluefish on bucktails, then either chunking or live lining them to brown sharks up to 100 pounds. Striped bass fishing has also improved, primarily on the north shore of the island. Rocky areas in the middle of the night are your best bet for larger bass, but schoolies can still be found around the island at dawn and dusk.
The staff at Coops Bait and Tackle also reported decent sized stripers on the north shore, particularly in the Menemsha channel and the surrounding area. The brown shark fishing from the beach is still going strong as well. The bottom fishing has also improved, with larger fluke moving into the area as the smaller fish head out. Black sea bass are still abundant, and bluefish are thick off East Beach during the day and evening.
Paul over at Keep It Reel Kayak and Tackle said the fishing has been decent, with a plenty of blues of the east side of Chappaquiddick. Schoolie fishing from shore is still good, but you’ll have to work for a larger bass. Bottom fishing has been excellent off the north side of the island, around the Lucas Shoal area. Keeper black sea bass and fluke are both in the mix.
Best Bet for the Weekend
There’s going to be a little rain on Saturday morning, but don’t let that keep you from looking for bonito off the South Side of the Cape. Hit the shoals in Vineyard Sound, or the Hooter or Bonito Bar if you’re up for more of a run. With the fish still scattered, trolling will be the best best. Clark Spoons and deep-diving minnow plugs will be your best baits. Prepare to catch plenty of bluefish, but if they are too much of a nuisance, bump up the trolling speed to as fast as 7 knots. This will discourage some of the blues, but not the bonito.
If the bonito are no shows, pull in the trolling gear, break out the poppers, and have some fun with the bluefish.