The overlying theme in this week’s report is that the striper fishing on Cape Cod is not what it should be for the middle of June. There are big numbers of little bass from anywhere you want to cast from the Canal to Chatham to the Lower Cape, but larger fish are tougher to come by.
There were a couple notable catches this week, including a 51-inch, 41-pounder taken by Captain Ian of Reel Deal Fishing Charters off the Lower Cape. That was one of several large bass reported by Reel Deal Crew this week, including Captains Bobby and Elena Rice.
Finding larger bass requires covering plenty of water, and it sounds like there’s lots of striper-less waters in-between. Captain Rich of Beth Ann Charters out of Provincetown had heard of some 30- to 32-inch bass taken off Herring Cove on morning this week, but by the afternoon, they’d pulled a disappearing act. Rich reported bass holding in deeper water in Cape Cod Bay, 60 to 90 feet, but not necessarily relating to structure and not feeding on the surface. This has made them difficult to find. You almost have to run right over them with the electronics running.
There are mackerel aplenty off Provincetown, reported Captain Mike of Cee Jay Fishing, all that’s missing are more bigger bass to eat them. Similar to Rich’s report, Mike said, the 30-inch-plus fish seem to be moving around quite a bit, not staying in one place for long. They haven’t yet set up in any one area.
Further down in Cape Cod Bay, Captain David of Stripers-R-Us has been catching bass on live macks at Billingsgate. At that end of the bay, David said securing mackerel for bait has been easy, as long as you go early. Later in the morning, the mackerel have been more scattered. One trip this week, David’s crew caught 16 stripers up to 33 inches.
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys had an action-filled trip on the bay this week, taking more than 50 stripers to just shy of keeper size on light tackle and lures.
Fishing in the Canal was slow in the early part of the week, according to the report from Red Top Sporting Goods. Things improved on Thursday morning, with fish to 40 pounds reported. Jigs and paddle-tail soft plastics have been the ticket.
In Buzzards Bay, Captain Matt of Fishy Business Sporfishing reported that some larger stripers to 25 pounds showed up this week.
Captain Mel True of FishNet Charters found plenty of bunker in Buzzards Bay, but none of those bunker were being harassed by predators. He was planning on looking back toward to Rhode Island border to find larger stripers.
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has been having good luck in Buzzards Bay, with his crews catching double-headers of stripers to 30 inches.
The rips off the South Side of the Cape are loaded with bait and schoolies reported Captain Mort of FishTale Charters.
Jim at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle said the shoals are full of small stripers, with the occasional keeper, being taken on light tackle. Fishermen seeking larger bass would be wise to snap wire off Middle Ground, Jim suggested. Woods Hole has been surprisingly quiet, given the time of year, Jim said. He believes most of the larger bass are moving up through Buzzards Bay.
Boat fishermen off Martha’s Vineyard are starting to see some bigger stripers, with fish in the 20-pound range being taken according to Melissa at Larry’s Tackle.
Some bigger bluefish have shown on the Vineyard, with 10-plus pounders being taken at Wasque according to Melissa. On Nantucket, the bluefishing has yet to improve, reported Captain Jay of Starr Fishing Charters. Bass, however, have been plentiful in the rips, and are providing great fun on light tackle.
Black sea bass fishing remains strong in Nantucket Sound reported Captain John at Fish Chatham Charters. In Buzzards Bay, fishermen are still catching limits, but the fish are spreading out, and moving around, so you’ll need to do a little more looking find your five fish.
Fluke fishing has been surprisingly good, reported Jim at Eastman’s Tackle. There are a decent numbers of shorts caught for each 17-plus-incher, but they are there. Jeff at Sports Port, noted the good fluke action as well, citing keeper-sized fish caught in Popponesset.
Also interesting was a good number of northern kingfish caught at Dowses Beach this week. Jeff said an angler came into the shop claiming to have caught cod, but when he showed the picture, it turned out to be a kingfish, and a big one at that. Kings are great eating and fun to catch. They are partial to sandworms, clam, or pieces of squid and have small mouths. Look for them around sandy bottoms on the South Side and in Buzzards Bay. There have been increasing numbers of kings caught around Cape Cod over the past few years, and this early report of them bodes well for good numbers of them to be around again this summer.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
Despite the below-average reports, the June Full Moon rarely disappoints. With good numbers of baitfish in place, from mackerel, to bunker, to sand eels, the table is set for any migrating schools of stripers that ride the big moon tides into Cape Cod. The captains remained hopeful that the fishing was running a bit behind schedule, and we’d see improvement later this month.
But, if you’re happy catching schoolies—and why shouldn’t you be—there are plenty of them to go around. Scale down your gear, crush your barbs, and hit a beach, bay, or harbor mouth, and enjoy what’s been a great run of small stripers. These fish are eagerly attacking topwaters. Just be sure to play them quickly, and release them carefully so they have the chance to grow into big stripers.