Cape Cod Fishing Report – July 9, 2020

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.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Cape Cod.

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.

O'Toole family striper
The O’Toole family caught this 50-inch striper off Monomoy on Monday

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.

25 on “Cape Cod Fishing Report – July 9, 2020

  1. Tim.Petracca

    Why are all fish displayed while held in a horizontal position. It’s deadly to these beautiful breeders of our future. Please take pix vertical and preferably in water.

  2. Doug s.

    I’m confused. That 50 inch striper caught by the o’toole family looks a bit dead. How is that?

    1. Kevin Blinkoff

      Hi Doug, according to the O’Tooles, the striper was caught and released. It looks alive to me, but it does have what appears to be a skin infection and a beat-up tail fin. Pretty common on big spawning-size fish this time of year.

      1. B.V.

        It seems that many more fish this year have skin infections. Is it known what the cause for this is?

  3. Mike Bombardier

    Glad you got into fish Jimmy. Nice and quiet out there isn’t it?

  4. JR

    Actually, it is safer for the striper to be held horizontally. A vertical position enables the fishes organs to shift to the rear of the fish.
    I agree the best is to have the fish remain in the water, dehook the fish, recusitate the fish and have it swim away when it is ready.
    Afterall, taking a fish out of water and taking pictures is the same as shoving your head underwater and having pictures taken of your submerged head. I am sure you would want to get your head out of the water quickly: the fish feels the same way about being out of the water.
    Tight lines

  5. Douglas Sheeley

    The charter boats are risking the big strippers by taking photos. This is pure advertising. These fish should be put back in the water after removing the hook!

  6. Bruce S

    Those big bass look dead as a doornail! WTF are you doing OTW?

  7. Don S.

    @Tim.P… Re: horizontal va. vertical – you have that completely backwards. Vertical, esp. by the jaw only, is most damaging to the fish. And unhooking the fish in the water is still the least harmful. If you’ve gotta lift it for a photo it must be supported horizontally.

  8. Joe Swaluk

    Those photos disgust me…neither of those fish will survive. Charter boat captains need to modify their methods or get out of the game. This type of activity contributes to the demise of the species which is already in trouble….however this fact is not generally accepted by charter boat skippers and tackle shop owners.

  9. Bill From Falmouth

    Totally agree with the comments above. Those fish will likely die, particularly after having fought themselves into exhaustion. Release them at the water and be done with it. We’re all trying to preserve the stocks so we can continue catching them in the future. And CRUSH THOSE BARBS! I wish Hogy and others would sell barbless hooks right out of the package.

  10. Mel

    Everyone is an expert on everything these days. What are you all gonna have to say when a Charter’s client gets his arm taken off by a Great White, while reviving the almighty and precious Striper? Give it a rest!!!

    1. Fisherdad

      right on Capt.Mel most of these guys are jealous because the only way they will ever see a nice fish is by someones else’s pic

  11. Mike Bomba

    1. Always better to hold a fish horizontally.
    2. Not always easy to unhook a big fish, or any fish for that matter while they still are in the water.
    3. Some of the clients on those charters only get to go home with a pic now, so cut the captains a bit of slack. All the captains I have seen do a quick CPR anyway.
    4. Impossible to tell if those fish are alive or dead in the pics, but if I was a captain, I wouldn’t advertise poached fish.
    5. If you don’t like the reports, stop reading them.

  12. Rob Gartside

    There is not al lot are to say about the pictures. It is terrible to handle breeding fish that way. OTW should at least add comments that the fish were released (even if the release was terrible as evidenced by the pictures) so as to not give the impression that they were kept. For an organization that shifted the Striper Cup to catch and release, this is very bad form!

  13. Doug s.

    Good discussion. I’m gonna have to disagree on the o’toole fish as even if it is alive at the moment of picture, the amount of time it took to get all hands on fish, rods out of the way, and sitting with smiles leaves little hope that fish made it. I have spent almost 150 hours on the water this spring and summer so far in my kayak and am stunned by the continued reduction in larger fish schools (schools of big fish). I’m encouraged because last years swarm of 22 to 25 inch fish have been replaced with this years swarm of 24 to 28 inch fish but WE MUST TAKE CARE OF THE BIG FISH!

  14. Chris Mangini

    That Bass is DEAD! It has x’s in its eyes and is clearly in rigor Morris. This is a crime to portray a beautiful fish killed for a photo. It’s also illegal. OTW should not support this kind of fraud let alone award it a prize. Shame on you!

  15. Chris Mangini

    That fish is DEAD. If it were alive the fins would be erect and tail drooping. It is clearly in rigor Morris! That makes it an illegal fish and OTW should be ashamed of sponsoring such fake news. The Otooles should also be ashamed of supporting a lie with their children. Shame on all of you.

  16. MB420

    Way to crush some little kids guys. But lets care about the fish

  17. Bruce S

    The top picture with the fish having its mouth wide open like that is dead.

  18. Dan

    Listening to you guys complain about fish pics is priceless ?.

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