Above: One of the big bass taken with Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters in Cape Cod Bay last weekend.
There are a a lot of catchable fish swimming around Cape Cod right now. Many are smaller than fishermen would hope to catch (like stripers) some are bigger than some fishermen would like to catch (like bluefin tuna), but all are feeding well as we approach midsummer here on the Cape.
There were more reports of larger stripers in Cape Cod Bay this week. The fish are following schools of bunker around the bay, and aren’t hanging around any one area for all that long. Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters had a great day on Sunday, catching stripers to 40 pounds on topwater in the bay. At the same location, 24 hours later, Mel said the bass and bait had moved on.
All the bunker in the Bay is attracting some tuna as well. Mel had a giant tuna rip through a bunker school on Sunday, sending the baitfish slamming into his boat as they tried to escape.
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Simion at Blackbeard’s Bait and Tackle had heard about the tuna and stripers in Cape Cod Bay. The bass he said, have been out in open water. Some stripers are being caught by boats along the backside as well. Simion reported plenty of bass in the surf of the lower Cape, but most, he said, were in the 25- to 27-inch range. I was out that way Thursday night, and found stripers at both of the beaches where I stopped. They hungrily attacked swimming plugs and teasers. My biggest was probably about 30 inches, but most were between 24 and 26 inches.
That’s the same size bass that continue to feast on small squid at Middle Ground and Hedge Fence, reported Pat at Eastmans Sport and Tackle. The light tackle fishing on those rips continues to be excellent.
It was mostly smaller bass at the Canal this week, though there were some flurries of bigger fish action, along with some bluefish, reported Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle.
Cole at Red Top Sporting Goods said swimming plugs, like the Sebile Magic Swimmer, are working well in the mornings, but that paddletail jigs, like the JoeBaggs, Al Gag’s, or Savage Sand Eel, continue to produce best after dark. Topwater fishing is accounting for a few stripers as well.
Some larger stripers have moved into the rips at Monomoy. Captain John Clothier of Fish Chatham Charters reported some 20-pound fish moving into the rips over the past week. He’s been using live mackerel to tempt the larger bass, which have mixed in with the slot-size fish and schoolies. The striper fishing, John said, has been very good.
Those large bass at Monomoy may have moved there from Martha’s Vineyard where, according to Julian at Larry’s Tackle, warmer waters seem to have driven out the bigger bass. Julian said there are still plenty of schoolies around the island, and that the blue fishing at Wasque has been very good. Blues to 15 pounds were reported there this week, and fish of 10 pounds or better have been a regular occurrence.
Pat at Eastman’s reported big blues at the Hooter. Fishermen have bene going there to look for bonito, said Julian of Larry’s, but have been finding big bluefish instead. There have been a few more bonito caught, seemingly at random, and there aren’t enough around to target just yet.
If you’re after black sea bass, head for 80- to 100-foot depths, like those off Cedar Tree, said Pat at Eastman’s. Just be sure to bring enough lead to hold bottom in those stronger currents.
If you go fishing for fluke at Lucas or Tom shoals, you’ll have plenty of action, but you might not get a keeper. There seem to be more keeper fluke coming from Buzzards Bay, according to the report from Maco’s Bait and Tackle, but you’ll need to pick through the small scup and sea bass to get them.
The good tuna fishing continues east of Chatham, according to Captain John of Fish Chatham Charters. He’s hooked five tuna over his past two trips, and all but one have been too big to keep recreationally. He did get a 70-incher this week that his clients were able to take home, but the other fish were north of 80 inches, and were released to fight another day.
The Dump, while it had a brief flurry of small tuna, has been quiet.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
I had a great time putting some sand under my boots and catching some scrappy schoolies on the Outer Cape this week, and hope to do that again soon. I fished without another angler in sight, besides OTW’s Andrew Burke. We did have run-ins with seals and a particularly curious coyote, but it was a great night, nonetheless.
The weather may put a damper on the boat fishing this weekend, which could provide a good opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the freshwater ponds you’ve been ignoring since the stripers showed. Or, you could break out the light tackle, and enjoy the schoolie fishing in the salt ponds.
Sometimes a summer storm like this one can bring some pelagic in on its heels, so don’t be surprised if, by next week, we’re talking about bonito and recreational sized bluefin. At the very least, a big storm can light up the striper fishing.