Cape Cod Fishing Report – July 16, 2020

Nothing cools a bite faster than an east wind. Earlier this week, with the summer southwesterlies blowing every day, it seemed like the striper and tuna fishing was going strong, but the north, and eventually northeast winds churned up the water and moved the fish around.

Captain John Clothier of Fish Chatham Charters had a good early week on the tuna grounds east of Chatham, but after the wind shift, the tuna shifted as well, and it took John didn’t track them down until toward the end of the day on his Thursday trip.

Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters found a few giant tuna feeding on a pod of pogies in Cape Cod Bay. Before he knew they were there, he launched a Doc into the school, hoping there were big stripers working the bait. He was surprised when giant tuna crashed the plug, narrowly missing the hooks.

Mel has been doing most of his fishing along the South Coast lately, catching sea bass, and stripers from shorts to “over-slots.”

There seems to be a decent number of the 28- to 35-inch fish around, especially in Cape Cod Bay, where Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys was catching them before the wind shift. According to the report from Maco’s Bait and Tackle, much of the action in Cape Cod Bay has been on the tube-and-worm rig, or live mackerel, especially off Barnstable and on Billingsgate.

It’s been a tough season for surfcasters seeking big fish from shore, but Hunter Thayer found some quality fish this week, including this 48-incher. Perhaps things will turn around with the new moon.

Mackerel made an appearance in the Canal this week, pushing all the way through to the West End reported Captain Neal Larsson of Sea Tow Cape and Islands. The macks didn’t appear to bring many bass with them, though, as according to the crew at Maco’s the Canal is still somewhat slow. There haven’t been many big fish, or blitzes. The most exciting Canal news from Maco’s this week was the presence of keeper-sized black sea bass in the West End.

Red Top had a similar report, saying not much had changed since last week, in regards to the hit or miss fishing in the Ditch.

Off the South Side, the striper fishing is slowing, according to Pat from Eastman’s Sport and Tackle. Warming waters seem to be moving stripers out and moving bluefish in. Monomoy is still loaded, said Pat, and, while most fish are smaller, there are enough 35- to 40-inche

rs out there to see fishermen on their toes.

Black sea bass are biting well in 80- to 100-foot depths, and there have been some fluke in the mix, but overall, the fluke fishing in the Sound is slow. Buzzards Bay seems to have more keeper fluke at the moment. Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has been finding good sea bass, and some stripers, down along the Elizabeths. Captain Neal of Sea Tow Cape and Islands had also heard great reports coming from the Elizabeths, of good numbers of slot-sized stripers.

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Big blues are being caught at the Hooter, reported Pat from Eastmans. There have been a few bonito caught out there as well, but the bones have yet to arrive in big numbers.

Also on the hardtail side, there was a king mackerel caught in Buzzards Bay this week, reported Neal. The kings weren’t as abundant last year as they had been in 2018 and 2017, but perhaps this early arrival is a good sign of things to come.

Bishops and Clerks and Horseshoe Shoal are also producing good bluefish right now according to Scott at Sports Port Bait and Tackle.

The bass have slowed, but blue fishing is steady on Martha’s Vineyard reported Sam at Larry’s Tackle. The blues, while not quite as big as they were last week, are still averaging a solid 6- to 7-pounds.

Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod

With our southwest summer breeze returning this weekend, looks like a great couple days for fishing.

From shore, the new moon and breaking tides are coming up for the Canal. While it’s been quiet, the bigger tides usually have a way of drawing some fish back into the Ditch. The Outer Cape continues to be a good place to wet a line for schoolie stripers in solitude, and the South Side beaches are a good bet for producing bluefish.

From the boat, heading to the Hooter, having fun with big blues and possibly plucking a bonito out of the mix is a good bet. Some high-speed trolling with minnow plugs might turn up a king in Buzzards Bay, but if you’re going to do that, have some fluke gear on board as a back up plan.

The tuna are still mostly too big for recreational fishermen to keep. Captain John of Fish Chatham said his fish ranged from 70 to 100 inches this week. The later we get into the summer, the more likely we are to see some of those smaller tuna. Canyons have fish, and with a big tournament on the Vineyard this weekend, a lot of boats will be headed that way, so we should have a good picture of what’s happening out there by next week.

14 on “Cape Cod Fishing Report – July 16, 2020

  1. Gary Urgonski

    Fisherman holding a 48″ striper – that is an ILLEGAL fish. Get it back in the water and stop with the selfie!

    1. Chris

      Just stop with the judging already … taking a few seconds to have a pic taken of your catch is not going to kill the fish , relax for Christ sakes and stop being so gad damn anal retentive a fish like that deserves a pic …

  2. Tim

    Fished Monomoy this morning. Nothing. Didn’t see a fish caught by any boat.

  3. Douglas Sheeley

    Non only is the 48 fish out of the water too long for the selfish selfie, it looks like it has a Boca grip lodged in it’s jaw. No respect!

  4. Wayne

    What are the chances any of you whiner’s have ever taken a selfie?
    Isn’t enough we c & r. Don’t get your panties in a wad.

  5. H.T

    First and foremost, it is not ILLEGAL. It is illegal to obtain and bring home, yes. However, it is not illegal to safely land, unhook while in the water, keep in the water, and only take out of the water for 4 second for a quick picture to document a trophy.. Research conducted by the AMFC shows fish suffer damage to the gills when out of the water for 10 seconds or longer. This fish waa out of the water for half that time. Furthermore, it was caught on a single hook lure and VS200. Ensuring a quick fight to lessen stress and minimize damage to the jaw. Lastly, it was properly revived and not released until she was fully ready to swim off. We do more and then some in order to conserve the species. Educate yourself….

  6. Not Whiny Baby

    Really have to take the fish out of the water to get the hook out; so, stop being fish snobs. Oh, no respect. Please, you’ve probably never landed more than a 24 inch bass on your fly rod.

    1. Fisherdad

      Your partly true the fly rod is the best but if you fish around Chatham and don’t pull your fish in you WILL be shark bait just saying tight lines bud

  7. Bill from Falmouth

    Just one other regular suggestion I like to make – please crush the barbs on your hooks. It makes it so much easier to remove them from any size fish, which means we aren’t mangling them too badly if at all, and honestly I haven’t seen any noticeable increase in fish lost since I started doing it two years ago. Like 90% of what I catch these days gets released anyway. A sore lip is ok but big tears and other damage will probably lower the chance the fish will survive. We need a bumper sticker like REAL MEN CRUSH BARBS or some such silly thing.

  8. Tom Stoddard

    Is striper fishing on the south side better in August or September?

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