Windy and wet sums up the past few days on Cape Cod, but the general consensus is that larger stripers have arrived—and not just in the Canal.
How you’d rate the Canal fishing this week depended very much on where (and when) you were fishing. As David at Red Top Sporting Goods put it, the best action was isolated to a couple small areas, mostly mid-Canal. But in those areas, the fishing was very good at times. Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle rated the action as “nonstop” with soft-plastic jigs doing the most damage. Magic Swimmers were catching too, reported Red Top’s David, but anglers hoping for topwater action had relatively few opportunities. The larger fish ranged into the 20- to 30-pound range, with a 50-pounder reportedly caught at Railroad Bridge according to Matt at Maco’s Bait and Tackle.
There were also 20-pound-class stripers caught off the South Side this week, reported Amy at Sports Port. She’d heard of one caught from shore on a minnow plug, and another caught by boat on a live bunker. Fishermen have reported big numbers of this favorite baitfish along the South Side, but with relatively few predators on them.
The blues that have been reported are a bit small to take down a full-size bunker, but the fact that there are any bluefish at all is good news compared to last year. John at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle got word of 5- to 7-pound blues hitting the beaches between South Cape and Cotuit (along with some 30-inch-inch-class bass mixed in). Reports of 3- to 4-pound blues have been steady from Cotuit, especially around high tide.
John had also heard of fishermen losing eels to blues at Halfway Shoal, and David at Red Top said there have been bluefish mixing in with the stripers in the Canal.
The shoals are another location where the bass fishing seems to be improving. Nasty weather kept many fishermen from hitting them recently, but there had been good numbers of schoolie stripers, with enough 30-inchers around to keep it interesting.
There’d been little word of large bass on the Vineyard until a day or two ago, when Julian at Larry’s Tackle heard of a 38-pounder taken. That fish was the first one over 34 inches that he’d heard of this spring. Schoolies abound on the Vineyard, Julian said, especially on the North Shore. Wasque is producing bass as well. Bluefish have been hit or miss, but anglers hoping to hit, will have their best shot at Chappy.
Bluefish remain scarce on Nantucket, but the striper fishing is getting better each day reported Captain Jay of Starrfish Charters. Light spinning gear and smaller lures has been the ticket to having fun with the predominantly school-sized stripers. Jay says that the mackerel have moved on, but that squid are filling in around the edges of the rips, which is drawing in the bass. There was also a bonito taken on Nantucket this week—which is very early. Last year brought huge numbers of small bonito to Cape Cod and beyond (with some even reported in Maine) so that could be the sign of a banner bonito run this summer. Let’s hope so!
Captain Bobby Rice and the Reel Deal Fishing Charters crew reported an atypical spring run on the Outer Cape, compared to the past few seasons, but that they are now seeing some 30-plus-pounders mixing in with the small keepers and schoolies.
Captain Mike of Cee Jay Fishing said the schoolies are starting to fill in at Provincetown, and blames the weather for the slower-than-normal start to the fishing at the tip of Cape Cod.
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys found fish to 40 inches in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday. The bite started out on lures, but when that slowed, he and his crew switched over to live macks and continued to catch.
The report from Captain Mel of FishNet Charters suggests there are more big stripers on the way, as he’s been finding good topwater action with bass to 35 pounds near the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border.
Bottom fishing is very good for a variety of species. In Provincetown, Captain Mike of Cee Jay said the tog are biting well along the breakwater. John at Eastman’s said keeper fluke are being taken in Vineyard Sound, with one angler reporting a limit catch on Lucas Shoal recently. There was even a keeper fluke caught from the rocks at Falmouth Harbor.
Black sea bass fishing remains good, but the action did seem to wane a bit this week. Whether that was weather-related or the sign of the run tapering off is debatable. Captain Drew of Downeast Charters said he caught plenty of sea bass on his most recent trip in Nantucket Sound, but not many jumbos.
Buzzards Bay still has sea bass aplenty, according to Captain Matt of Fishy Business Sportfishing. He reported that he’s still finding limits of the big “blueheads.” Matt at Maco’s said the sea bass fishing is still hot and heavy in Buzzards Bay. Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys said he’s been finding plenty of 20-inch-plus sea bass in Buzzards Bay.
Amy at Sports Port reported great sea bass fishing off the South Side, with the best baits being scented artificials like Berkley Gulp or Fish Bites.
Scup fishing is still very good as well. Captain John of Fish Chatham Charters found lots of them while sea bass fishing this week. Scup remain thick in Buzzards Bay as well.
Fishermen looking to test their bottom fishing mettle against other Massachusetts fishermen can do so in the Bad Daddy Tournament this Saturday, which will be awarding prizes to the top three scup, black sea bass, and blackfish. Check the website for more details: Bad Daddy Fishing Tournament.
Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Cape Cod.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
The wind is cutting us a big break this weekend, and boat fishermen will have the opportunity to track down schools of bigger bass. Cape Cod Bay, and the South Coast toward Rhode Island are likely spots right now, and with all the bunker on the South Side, it’s just a matter of time before something sizeable finds it—either gator blues or cow bass would be fine with me.
Securing fresh fillets should be no problem on the sea bass grounds, and you might just add some fluke to the mix if you head toward Lucas Shoal.
And, tuna are creeping closer to Cape Cod by the day. Fishermen running south found 50-inch bluefin in the Canyons, and Captain John from Fish Chatham caught word of some big bluefin to the East. As waters warm, more bluefin will move in. Based on the reports from down south and the early reports here, we should see tuna much earlier than we did last season, when the tuna dragged their tails on their way to the Cape.