More stripers are arriving every day, but most are still in the 12- to 24-inch range. Tautog fishing is improving, more bluefish have been reported, and squid and scup fishing are going strong.
More stripers are appearing along the Cape Cod Bay beaches reported Evan at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle. Fishermen there are finding big numbers of bass, with a handful larger than keeper size. On the South Side, Evan said, schoolies are being caught on the open-sound beaches and inside the salt ponds and bays. Squid fishing is still good for the boats, Evan said, and some have even been caught off lighted docks from Hyannis to Falmouth.
The East End of the Canal has been producing squid at night reported Tom from Red Top. Most Canal anglers, of course, are focused on the stripers, which are being caught on topwater lures at first light. Most of the fish have been small, but a few close to 30 inches have been caught, with the number of fish that size growing every day, Tom said.
Keeper tog are being caught more consistently in Buzzards Bay, Tom reported. Amy at Sports Port said fishermen in Nantucket Sound are finding keeper tog as well. Amy had even heard of some keeper-sized blackfish taken from shore. I caught a pair of keeper tog from shore this morning, after most of my recent kayak tog trips have been subject to difficult wind and current. To find tog from shore, you’ll want to find an area with a rocky bottom and water deeper than 5 feet. The tog are moving inshore to spawn, and while they are fair game according to the regulations, it’s not a bad idea to release the females, which are loaded with eggs right now. You can tell a female tog from the males by the coloration. Females have a mottled, almost camouflage pattern and are brown and tan, and sometimes greenish. Males are more of a flat dark brown to gray, sometimes with patches of orange. The males also sport a pronounced white chin.
Black sea bass season opens this coming Monday, and there have been reports of some sea bass being taken. Tom at Red Top had a customer do some scouting in Buzzards Bay this week, where he found some sea bass already moving in.
The scup fishing is very good right now. Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing said he found the bottom loaded with keeper-sized scup while fishing for stripers this week. Neal from Sea Tow Cape and Islands reported some very large scup out in Buzzards Bay. Neal had also heard of some large horse mackerel being jigged in Buzzards Bay.
Those mackerel are just part of the buffet awaiting the larger stripers when they arrive. Captain Brian Coombs saw plenty of herring running around on his trips in Buzzards Bay this week, but found few stripers big enough to eat them. Many of the bass he saw in open water were feeding on tiny baitfish, and were difficult to fool except with the fly rod.
There have been more bluefish reported. Tom at Red Top heard of some big blues roaming around Buzzards Bay, while Amy at Sports Port heard of scattered bluefish coming off the South Side, both in the harbors and in Nantucket Sound. Evan at Eastman’s heard of a very big bluefish taken in a boat off Popponesset.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
This next week is usually the week that the first wave of bigger stripers arrives. There’s plenty of bait around, and plenty of reason to be optimistic for their arrival. In the meantime, enjoying the excellent schoolie fishing is the best bet for the weekend. Fish small, single-hook lures, and consider crushing your barbs to help them survive release. For schoolies, you have your pick of places, as they have the Cape surrounded, from the Canal, to the South Side, to the Outer Cape, to Cape Cod Bay.
If it’s a meal you’re looking for, the squid grounds in Nantucket Sound are producing buckets of future fried calamari, and Buzzards Bay has plenty of good-sized scup you can catch while prospecting for where to start your sea bass season next week.
And if you’d like to catch some blues, finding schools of adult bunker seems to be the key to catching one of the big slammers around the Cape right now. This is true on the South Side and in Buzzards Bay.