There were some very large stripers in the Canal this week, reported Jeff from Canal Bait and Tackle. The bite had mostly fizzled out by Thursday, but Jeff said the previous few mornings were very good, with fish to 40-plus pounds being taken during a brief window at the change of tide. From other fishermen I spoke with, it sounded like there was 30 to 45 minutes of good fishing, surrounded by surprisingly slow action. Jeff said yellow was the hot color this week, replacing pink, which had been the go-to for a few weeks.
Green mackerel was also a productive color according to the report from Red Top. There, reports had been of good numbers of 30-plus-pound fish, during a short but intense window of good fishing at the tide change. Jigging remains the best tactic for fooling the fish, though there was some action on the surface earlier this week. Small blues have been in the Canal as well, snipping the tails off the Gag’s, Savages, and JoeBaggs soft-plastic paddle tails.
The bunker that had been holding stripers in Buzzards Bay appears to have bolted through the Canal. Captain Mel True of FishNet Charters heard of some big stripers smashing through a bunker school in Cape Cod Bay. The school was moving quickly, he said. On Billingsgate, Mel found plenty of fish, but most were under 30 inches.
Trolling hoochies has been a popular tactic for the Billingsgate stripers according to Simion from Blackbeard’s Bait and Tackle.
Captain Ross from Cape Cod Charter Guys has canvassed Cape Cod Bay this week, and has been finding bass from schoolies to slot-sized, along with plenty of bait. He’s found big mackerel and bunker, and bass feeding on those bunker, but larger stripers have been few and far between.
There was a similar report from Monomoy where Captain John Clothier of Fish Chatham Charters has been catching big numbers of schoolies and slot-sized bass (more than 50 on Thursday). There’s been great action for fly- and light-tackle fishing, though John suspects fishing deeper or trolling might turn up some larger bass.
One of John’s clients also caught a bonito on Thursday, which seems very early for a bonito to be at Monomoy. Over the weekend, bonito blitzes were reported on Nantucket, and another 7- to 8-pound bonito was caught from shore on Martha’s Vineyard according to Sam from Larry’s Tackle.
Beyond the bonito, Sam said surf fishermen have had a lot to fish for on the island lately. Stripers of 40 inches and better have been taken on plugs in the surf, blue fishing has been good, and the first brown sharks of the year have been reported. Sam also reported some keeper fluke for the boat fishermen.
The fluke fishing in Vineyard Sound improved this week according to Jim from Eastman’s Sport and Tackle who said Nobska was among the places where good-sized fluke have been caught. For black sea bass, the 80- to 100-foot depths off Cedar Tree have been best, Jim reported. Jim also said that Wasque got a good push of 30- to 32-inch stripers, while Hedge Fence loaded up with smaller bass and blues.
Captain Kurt Freund of FishSticks Charters reported that this week’s trips have all been a mix of fishing the rips for striped bass and bluefish and jigging the deeper water for fluke and sea bass. Middle Ground has a mix of schoolies mostly between 22 and 26 inches, and bluefish. There have been schools of breaking bass and blues in other spots along the north shore of the Vineyard. He recommends keeping an eye out for birds. On Saturday, Captain Richard Cascarino and Kurt took a busman’s holiday and went south for tuna. They didn’t find and tuna, but we were treated to a spectacular whale and dolphin show. Dozens of whales, humpbacks and minkes. Spouts, of course, tails, pectoral fins, bubble net feeding behavior, the works. And hundreds of dolphins. It was crazy! And Tuesday, among 2 keeper sea bass and 2 keeper fluke, one was a 25-inch, 6-pounder.
The sea bass fishing in Buzzards Bay has slowed down, as the keeper sized fish have made their way out of the bay. Other bottom fishing opportunities include cod and haddock fishing east of the Cape. Captain John of Fish Chatham had a great groundfish trip this week
The tuna bite at the Dump slowed, and the small bluefin moved out, but there have been reports of tuna east of Chatham for harpoon boats, and fish on Stellwagen for rod-and-reel fishermen.
Besides the bonito, the most exciting report I heard this week was that of the great surfcasting for stripers along the Outer Cape from Herring Cove to Newcomb Hollow. The crew at BlackBeard’s said that fishermen soaking bait along the beaches have been catching good numbers of keeper-sized bass, along with a few that were “too big to keep.” Swimming plugs were taking some fish as well.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
For schoolies and “slot-size” stripers, it sounds like you could go almost anywhere on the Cape and have a decent shot at catching, and catching big numbers. Monomoy Rips and Billingsgate Shoals were the standout locations, but the reports from the Outer Cape give hope to fishermen looking to fish the true surf. The Canal could turn back on , but as the breaking tides end, fishing at night could help avoid the crowds and improve the odds of hooking a good fish.
Fluke seem to be the best bet for bottom fishermen in Buzzards Bay and in Vineyard Sound, unless you want to follow the keeper sea bass to the deep structure.
This is the strongest start to the tuna season we’ve had in a few years. The small bluefin are bound to reappear, but in the meantime, there are giant and recreational size tuna on Stellwagen Bank.