I’ll spare you the, “weather is hot, but so is the fishing” intro. The heat’s been brutal, but the weather pattern bringing this heat has allowed fish to settle in, and create some fun and reliable fishing around the Cape.
For one, the striper fishing in Cape Cod Bay has been pretty good. Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle said fishermen trolling bunker spoons and tube-and-worm rigs have been turning up some decent bass in the bay. Covering ground and locating bunker has been another good, though less consistent approach reported Ian from Red Top Sporting Goods. Ian said finding the bunker hasn’t been easy, but once you do, there have been shots at 40-plus-pound bass on topwater lures.
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has also had a good week on Cape Cod Bay, throwing swimming plugs and topwater lures to breaking bass. Ross said many have been slot-sized.
Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters had some good striper fishing as well, and reported mixed sizes of bass all around the Cape. He said one cast might turn up a 25-incher, while the next gets a 40-pounder.
Live mackerel are working, same with live bunker, but it sounds like you don’t have to resort to live bait to get bites.
Captain Mel also said the sea bass fishing is good, with some jumbos, south of Martha’s Vineyard. Fluke are plentiful in Vineyard Sound, but keepers are scarce. The bottom fish in Buzzards Bay seem to have cleared out according to the report from Grady at Maco’s Bait and Tackle, and beyond some small bass and blues, fishermen in the Bay are waiting for bonito to return.
There’s still not a ton of bonito reports out there. Fish are being caught “here and there” with increasing frequency (including one from Cape Cod Bay on Wednesday) but there’s been no big concentration of them.
The most interesting report this week came from Captain Neal Larsson of Sea Tow Cape and Islands, who was responding to a boat along the Elizabeth Islands, and found the crew of the disabled vessel catching what they called small “false albacore.” Neal saw them blitzing, and said they indeed looked like little albies. Last year, we had an early arrival of false albacore, and that may happen again, but i don’t think this is it. I don’t think it was bonito either, Neal certainly knows the difference between an albie and a bonito. But, albies do have another doppelgänger that occasionally visits the Northeast – the frigate mackerel. They don’t get as big as albies, but look almost identical. And, beyond that, fishermen in Rhode Island have been reporting blitzing frigate macks (and chub macks) for the past week or so.
Julian at Larry’s Tackle on Martha’s Vineyard said he’s seen some blitzing frigate macks this week, but heard of no big numbers of bonito, beyond a handful taken at Squibnocket. He’d also heard of a flying fish spotted in Edgartown Harbor. The heat, and the species around the Cape, are getting downright tropical right now.
It’s been mostly small blues on Martha’s Vineyard, but Julian reported a decent bite of stripers into the mid-20-pound range last week on the north side of the island.
Julian’s hopeful that some of the big numbers of yellowfin in the canyons will move into the Dump and the tuna grounds south of the Vineyard that have been mostly devoid of tuna this season. There have been some reported in the Shipping Lanes said Jim at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle, and he’d heard reports of white marlin and mahi inside the canyons as well.
Jim had heard of a few bonito from around Hyannis and at the Hooter, but again, no big numbers. Jim said there are bass and blues in the Sound, but they’re small. Fishermen are having better luck with stripers along the Elizabeths, casting eels. Fishermen putting in a good effort are reliably connecting with stripers up in the 30- to 36-inch class.
The Canal has slowed from what Grady at Maco’s called the best week of the season, though according to Ian at Red Top, there’s still some fish to be caught at night on jigs. The fish have also spread out, and Ian said there’s a good shot in both the East and West ends.
Jeff at Canal said getting there before first light has been the key to getting bites the past couple days, and that the fish have been smaller.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
There are still giant tuna east of Chatham, and perhaps some large pelagics sliding north from the canyons toward Martha’s Vineyard. Striper fishing is steady, but if you’re fishing from shore, you’ll want to head out in the dark. From the boat, take your pick of running and gunning looking for bunker and breaking fish or trolling a likely area. Small blues are all over the place, and bonito and frigate mackerel are around, so I’d keep a rod rigged with slender, long-casting jig, in case you see some breaking fish that are moving too quickly to be bass or blues.