If your Labor Day weekend Plan A is albies, you might want to shift to the almost-as-fun Plan B’s—bonito and bluefish.
Cape Cod Fishing Report
The bluefish have finally hit Cape Cod Bay in good numbers, with big blues being taken in 30 to 40 feet of water reported Captain Dan of Salt Shaker Charters.
Striper, striper, shark! Interesting and fun-filled week on Cape Cod waters with several great catches from all these super junior Reel Dealers along side multiple white shark sightings. @salty_crew @smithoptics @northchatham_outfitters @mercurymarine @invincibleboats @invincibleboats_northeast @captainelena @vanstaalofficial @cortlandline @daddymaclures @garminmarine
John at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle doesn’t think you could fit another bluefish into the waters of Buzzards Bay and off the South Side of the Cape. Most of these are “rat” blues of 1 pound or so, but Bill at Sports Port has been hearing of plenty in the 4- to 6-pound range too. They are providing reliable topwater action, and have been a great way to experience fast action with the fly rod.
A few blues are being caught in the Canal as well, reported Jeff from Canal Bait and Tackle.
Besides the blues, and a few small bass, the Canal has been quiet this week, Jeff said. The crew at Red Top has heard the same, saying that schoolie bass have been feeding on smaller peanuts early in the morning, but things have been slow otherwise.
Jeff did mention bonito being caught—some even on pencil poppers—all the way to the East End.
It continues to be a banner year for bones, which have even moved into Cape Cod Bay where Captain Dan of Salt Shaker Charters had found them mixed in with the bluefish.
The bonito are fairly widespread reported John from Eastmans. He’s hearing of them around Martha’s Vineyard, the Elizabeths, and throughout Buzzards Bay. Many have been good sizes as well, with fish topping the 6-pound mark being caught.
Trolling has been a good way to cover ground and locate bonito, but it hasn’t always been necessary, as bonito blitzes have been a relatively common sight as we near the unofficial end of summer.
Small metals have been working, but so have minnow plugs, soft plastics like the Albie Snax, and topwaters. I had great luck on Saturday with a ¾-ounce Crippled Herring, which is a close match in size and shape to the peanut bunker that have been so abundant around the Cape lately.
Even if the bonito aren’t showing, working around and outside the bluefish schools can be a good way to pick one up.
King mackerel are still hanging around, too. OTW Publisher, Chris Megan caught a 34-inch long king mack on Saturday that fell just a couple peanut bunker short of the state record of 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Most of the kings being caught are hitting trolled minnow plugs like the Rapala X-Rap or Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow.
Most of the striper action is happening in the Monomoy Rips or in Cape Cod Bay. Captain Mort of Fish Tale Sportfishing is catching stripers around Monomoy every day, but the best fishing is happening very early in the morning. The stripers have been feeding on small baits, peanut bunker and baby squid, which have been tough to match.
Captain Matt of Fishy Business Sport Fishing has been trolling and fishing live eels for good-sized stripers in Cape Cod Bay. The best action has been early and late in the day, and at night. Through the middle of the day and into the afternoon, only the bluefish seem to be biting.
A few stripers are also being caught along the Elizabeth Islands, where John at Eastmans says anglers are scratching up keepers by fishing eels after dark.
According to Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters, the striper bite around the lower Cape was spotty at the beginning of the week, but seems to be picking up. Macks became hard to find with the arrival of bluefish, and the Great White sharks have not helped. It is not uncommon to hook into a white shark while fishing for stripers, as they sharks are eating baits intended for stripers as well as hooked stripers.
Cameron at Larry’s Tackle on Martha’s Vineyard is still waiting on the albies. He knows of a few taken off state beach, but overall, there’s no numbers just yet. The Vineyard is loaded with bait, however, so when the albies do show, the action should be fast and furious. Bonito have been a moving target around the island, Cameron said, but there are still plenty around. Fishing up-island has been the best bet recently. Striper fishing around the island has been slow, which is not surprising given the 75-degree water temps.
Black sea bass are still biting in 50 to 60 feet of water off Westport reported Captain Mel, who has been catching limits with jigs.
There’s been some tuna activity east of Chatham. John from Fish Chatham Charters had a 70-incher recently. There have been some of the smaller recreational-sized fish, but for the most part, it’s been a slow, live-bait bite for giants. But some of those fish have been GIANTS, including the 1130-pounder caught by Captain Cullen Lundholm.
After losing what I consider to be a grander boat side last week, I got another chance today and stuffed this 1130 lb slob with a couple of great guys from Miami @trollnaked @gone_fishing55 #capestarcharters #giantbluefintuna #conch27 #pennfishing #simradyachting #capecod #myfishingcapecod #bluefintuna #bluefin
Besides mahi and white marlin, it’s been quiet south of the Vineyard reported Steve from Chaser Offshore Fishing. The best tuna reports are coming from way, way out, Steve says, where there have been yellowfin and bigeye.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
Make the most of these abundance of bluefish and bonito this weekend. Albies will be here in better numbers soon, but in the meantime, get your reps in with these other species.
For stripers, plan on losing some sleep for the best bet at finding keepers. Eels are your best bet, whether fishing Cape Cod Bay or the Elizabeth Islands.