Cape Cod Fishing Report – August 23, 2018

Casey Reed found some bonito mixed in with the small blues in Nantucket Sound.

As Amy at Sports Port said, “The fishing is great, if you’re flexible in what you’re willing to catch.”

While the striper fishing was fair this week, the variety of other species available more than made us for it.

Remember how we were missing the blues all spring. They’ve more than made up for their late arrival by storming Vineyard and Nantucket sounds in vast numbers. John at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle said that larger blues are still sporadic, but the smaller, 1- to 6-pound fish are tough to miss. On a Tuesday evening kayak trip, the flocks of terns nearly blotted out the sun as they amassed over bluefish blitzes. Everything drew strikes, but lures with a single hook will make it easier to catch and release these fish.  I was wishing I had an 8-weight fly rod, as this would have been a great opportunity to put a big bend in the long rod.

Some blues are even being caught from shore, reported Amy from Sports Port. Fishermen are catching snappers on the south-facing beaches.

Blues have been a little less reliable in Cape Cod Bay, where Captain Dan of Salt Shaker Charters said they showed up off Wellfleet early in the week, but have since disappeared.

Black sea bass action is still good around Martha’s Vineyard and in Nantucket Sound reported the crew at Larry’s Tackle. Fluke fishing around the Vineyard has been slower, but the shoals of Nantucket are still producing outstanding fluke fishing.

Bonito are around in good numbers according to the report at Larry’s Tackle. They are even being caught from shore on the Vineyard, and in boats at the Hooter, around Tashmoo, and even on some of the rips in Vineyard Sound. Trolling is a reliable way to cover ground and find the bonito, but they have been occasionally showing on the surface, allowing fishermen to cast to them with minnow plugs, metals, and even topwaters.

Swarms of peanut bunker from Cape Cod Bay to Martha’s Vineyard have brought out the schoolie stripers, which have been feasting on the baby menhaden. The peanuts are easily visible as they dimple the surface and form dense schools that can look like patches of darker water. The numbers of peanut bunker around bodes well for albie season—which should kick off in a week to 10 days.

Captain Dan is working hard to find keeper sized stripers in Cape Cod Bay. He said fishing live mackerel at the Barnstable channel is working. The macks, he said, are out in 60 feet of water, and it’s been fairly easy to find and catch enough for bait. Trolling tube-and-worm rigs has been taking some bass off Brewster, and wire-line jigging is producing fish on Billingsgate Shoals, but many are undersized.

The striper action has been a little more reliable toward the Canal, where big numbers of schoolies are around, and some bigger fish are still in the mix according to the report from Red Top. The action has slowed since last week’s mid-week frenzy, but Red Top still weighed in fish to 43 pounds this week.

The Monomoy Rips are stacked with stripers reported Amy at Sports Port. While she reported a slowdown last week, the reports she heard this week suggested that while the bite has ebbed and flowed, overall, it’s still good out there.

Farther east of Monomoy, Captain Matt from Fishy Business Charters has been finding some excellent groundfish action with good-sized cod, pollock, and haddock. He’s even done some sharking out there. Blues have been easy to come by, but the makos have been more elusive. Matt did have a mako in his slick the other day, but it failed to take a bait.

As of this writing, I hadn’t heard from my tuna contacts, but it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the bluefin front. There are giants being taken on live bait, but the lack of smaller tuna has made the run-and-gun game virtually non-existent. Traditionally, September has been a can’t miss month for bluefin on Cape Cod, so fingers crossed that as summer winds down, the tuna fishing ramps up.

Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod

The albies are coming—but they’re not here yet. Before they do, make sure you hunt down some bonito.  The albies tend to push the bonito out of an area when they show up.

Even if you don’t find any bones, you can enjoy the big numbers of little blues.  Pack a fly rod or some small poppers rigged with single hooks, and have a blast.

As for stripers, you can take the same scaled-down approach, and find a school of peanuts and enjoy fast catch-and-release fishing with fly or light tackle. If you want a shot at bigger bass, it sounds like Monomoy is the ticket right now.

UPDATE 8/24/18: At least one albie has been caught on the South Side of Cape Cod. 

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