Cape Cod Fishing Report – September 3, 2020

Above: Kevin Blinkoff with an albie caught on Monday. 

Albie season is over. You missed it.

Not really.  The fishing did slow down a bit over the past few days, however. The albies scattered a bit, and even when you could see them, they were moving fast and remaining on the surface only for a few seconds at a time. The upside was that if they popped up within casting range, they were aggressively striking any number of lures.

Some fishermen were blaming the east winds. I seem to have more bad trips than good when the wind direction is from the east or southeast. Others, like Jim at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle, were blaming a lack of baitfish out front. He said that was the reason the surface feeds were short-lived and the albies seemed to be changing locations on a daily basis. On Monday, Kevin Blinkoff and I found big schools of albies off the South Side of Falmouth in our kayaks. We caught five fish between us from 6:30 to 8:00 (one even took Kevin for a swim), when we had to pedal away from blitzing fish to get to the office. On Tuesday, there were fewer fish, and by Thursday, none. Jim thinks when the peanut bunker and silversides move out of the backwaters, the albie fishing will pick back up.

The most positive albie reports came from Buzzards Bay. Both Red Top Sporting Goods and Maco’s Bait and Tackle reported good fishing for albies and bonito in the bay. The crew at Red Top recommended white, olive, and green-colored lures.

On Martha’s Vineyard, Sam at Larry’s Tackle said there was a similar slowdown in the albie action, but that some fish were now being taken from the beaches. Peanut bunker around the island had small bass and blues feeding heavily, Sam said, and after dark, some fishermen were catching some larger bass in the surf.

Larger stripers were scarce in this week’s reports, once again, but Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle reported that commercial striper fishermen have been catching commercial-size bass (that’s 35 inches and up) from boats in Cape Cod Bay. Massachusetts recently added another commercial day in order to help fill the quota, which, as of this writing was less than 40% filled after more than two months of fishing. Recreational fishermen were quick to voice their displeasure, stating that the difficulty in filling the quota was reflective of the current, depressed state of the striped bass population, and that increasing pressure on the already overfished stripers was a bad idea.

Live eels and tube-and-worm trolling are the top tactics in Cape Cod Bay, but Jeff heard of a 30-plus-pounder taken on a plug.

The crew from Red Top had heard of a big school of bass roaming around Cape Cod Bay, but few, if any, made it into the Canal for the full moon breaking tides this week. By all accounts, striper fishing, for larger bass, has been slow in the Canal.

Captain Mel True with a big triggerfish caught on a recent tog trip.

There have been big numbers of little bass, mixed in with bluefish, feeding throughout Buzzards Bay, which seems to have the largest concentrations of baitfish right now. Fly and light-tackle fishing has been big fun for these smaller fish.

On the South Side, the crew at Sports Port said blues are around, and stripers are “here and there.”

Tog fishing is picking up in Buzzards Bay according to the crew at Maco’s. Scup fishing is also good. Black sea bass season closes for recreational anglers on September 8, so you only have a few days to secure your final sea bass fillets of the season. (Fishermen aboard for-hire vessels will be able to keep sea bass until October 9.) Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters has switched over to tog fishing, and has even caught a big triggerfish at bycatch.

Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys is still finding black sea bass out past the Elizabeth Islands. He’s also been seeing 30-inch bluefish and the occasional albie and bonito.

Trolling at the Hooter remains the best best for bonito . And it seems most bonito stayed out there all season, rather than run inshore like they did last year. Captain Steve of Chaser Offshore Fishing spoke of the good Hooter Fishing, and also, solid fishing for small bluefin tuna south of Martha’s Vineyard. Last Friday, he was trolling the Shipping Lanes, caught a 50-pound yellowfin, then crossed over into some colder water and found football bluefin tuna. He said there have been mahi out there as well, but they’ve been small.

East of Chatham, Captain John Clothier of Fish Chatham Charters reported that the larger bluefin have gotten scarce, but smaller fish have moved in. Very small. John’s caught bluefin as small as 30 inches this week, and heard of fishermen even catching them trolling spreader bars. The influx of 30- to 60-inch tuna has been a good thing for the recreational anglers who spend much of the summer waiting for tuna they’d legally be able to harvest.

Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod

Three free days to fish, and the weather is looking good. The albie fishing is bound to bounce back. Look for the best concentrations of bait, and you’ll have the best shot of finding the albies. If the albies prove elusive, and you’re dead set on catching hardtails, head off to the Hooter and troll some bonito.

For stripers, Cape Cod Bay in the boat is your best shot for a slot-size or larger fish, while Buzzards Bay is likely to produce the best light-tackle action with smaller bass.

It’s the last weekend to catch sea bass, but the best fishing is out past the Elizabeth Islands in deep water. A closer-to-home option for bottom fish are the tautog in Buzzards Bay.

The striper fishing should be picking up. Traditionally, schools would group up in Cape Cod Bay in early September, and build through the month before running through the Canal. That seems to be happening, so despite the slower-than-normal striper fishing on Cape Cod this summer, there’s still reason to be optimistic for the fall run.

21 on “Cape Cod Fishing Report – September 3, 2020

  1. Joe mack

    Its 9/3/20 and the commercial fleet has just 38% of the quota. Why? Because the bass aint there any more. The conservation powers that be afe adding another catch day to further deplete the biomass that is in deep trouble. Where the hell is your input? CRICKETS!!! We recs are yhe ones that support your organization, not the commies. We need you to grow a pair and stand up for us . Yes you Chris,you Jimmy,you Kevin,you Andy, and the rest of you at OTW. Take a stand!!!

    1. Bill from Falmouth

      Totally agree with you, Joe, both on the lack of state controls here and the lack of advocacy from OTW. Seriously. I have fished this area since 2007 and the drop off in striper stocks has been dramatic. Just close the darn fishery down for a couple years, meaning no keepers from Viriginia to Maine. The commercial striper guys are not the usual garden variety commercial fisherman, for the most part. They are folks who get a license and then supplement their income – not all but most. Just close it down before it gets more overfished than it already is. And by the way, those 50,000+ harbor seals and gray seals lurking the outer Cape ain’t helping matters either.

      1. TL

        Agree 100%. Many Striper “comms” I’ve talked to are wealthy center console owners who have no need for the small supplemental income a few stripers brings in. More likely they do it for the tax write offs. Regardless, adding comm days to fill an unfillable quota is ludicrous. Adding to that are the charter boats where every slot fish is kept except where the few conservation minded captains strongly advise against it. I’ve always practiced catch and release fishing the surf 5 days a week and my usual honey holes haven’t produced a single fish over 30″ where they used to produce multiple fish over 40″. The crash isn’t coming, it’s here and our fisheries management is responsible along with publications like OTW for not doing enough with their platform. This is one of the reasons my fishing circle and I let our subscriptions expire.

    1. Jimmy Fee

      Sporadic reports of stripers at Monomoy, but the fishing, at least for larger fish has been inconsistent. Tuna fishermen using live bait have been catching occasional stripers farther off the beach.

  2. Dave

    Obviously they didn’t stop commercial striper harvest in the canal this year to protect the fish otherwise why would they open up another day outside the canal . Could it be they only did it to appease complaints from canal joggers bikers and walkers who didn’t like the atmosphere with sight of blood and fish along the canal on their daily exercise regimen? I gotta wonder about the motives on this one . So the quotas are not filled so let’s give them another day . If you were looking out for the fish’ welfare that would not have happened and they would have given the fish a break this year .

  3. Kyle Pires

    Jimmy is 100% correct,commercial fishing was ruining the canal.
    And it wasnt getting any better,only worse every year

  4. Roy

    I was talking to my fish store guy and he told me that striper was selling for $35/lb to him and that, to make any profit he would have to sell it for $42. He did not bother. Keep in mind that the commercial fish are caught on Mon Tue or Wed and that many people like to have a nice piece of fish on the weekend So would you want to pay $42 bucks for what might be 6 day old fish?Not me.

  5. Ken

    The Wampanoag tribe was very heavy in the canal last year. Taking all they could …. even 16”
    Not sure how many years could have made a effect on population decrease … but not helping.

  6. Paul

    Nice day at Nobska watching the on the water crew filming. Very thankful for the speed of my Old Town Sportsman Bigwater to chase the hardtails

  7. Eric

    Buzzards Bay hot spots for bones? I tried South of Cuttyhunk and no hits no activity 10am

    Epoxy plugs and hoggies

  8. Brad Timm

    We all, as recreational anglers (which I am), have a very important role to play in striped bass conservation. It’s easy to blame the commercial fishermen, but the reality is that that is only part of the problem. It’s general human nature to blame others, but let’s look at what each of us can do to help by our own individual actions. For example, the most recent federal striped bass stock assessment found that 48% of striped bass mortalities came from catch-and-release mortalities. The recent mandate of the use of a circle-hook is a great step in the right direction on that front. However, how many of us are still using lures/plugs with barbed treble hooks? I know that I need to be better about that…think of how many of those fish likely die after release? Think how low that mortality rate would drop if all of those treble hooks were replaced by single (and ideally barbless) hooks.

  9. James Walcott

    OTW editors once stated that they could gather resources to influence the managers of the Striped Bass should the bass go through another down turn like they did in the early 90s.
    OTW has done next to nothing to protect the Striped Bass or influence these ‘managers’ as promised. It’s not too late OTW. Start by advising to raise the rec limit next year to at least a 32 inch minimum to save all the 25-27″ fish we have now and start rebuilding. I’m sure you can come up with some other ideas to help save the fish that you’ve profited from for over two decades.

  10. Barry Woods

    I agree with Joe and Bill. I’ve subscribed to OTW since it first came out (1990?). In that time I’ve seen it expand many fold and become a marketing machine. IMHO they have a responsibility to their readership to recognize a threat to the fishery that sustains ALL of us and certainly them. They allowed catch and release for their tournament but that is not enough at this point. They need to engage in fisheries management policy and get a solid rec voice at the table OR watch the collapse from the stands and wonder what more they could have done. Support Stripers Forever, yes, but take a stand that preserves this fishery before it collapses again (which it is already well on its way to doing).

  11. charlie

    They blame overfishing for depl;eting the fish stocks.That has nothing to do with it. The geniuses who bow down to Skomal and his White Shark conservancy never mention the 100,000 or so seals on the cape and so shore who eat their weight per day in Stripers,Lobsters,blues and all the other fish in the area. At about 200lbs each that is TWENTY MILLION lbs of fish and lobsters daily. Not to mention the 100’s of white sharks and all the others that eat the same stuff and they weigh about 1000 lbs each. They are protected for 50 years and they were never really in danger. The seals are also polluting the clam flats with shit. How come this is never mentioned when blame is laid on the fishermen

  12. Edzo

    Jesus Christ. Albie fishing has become brutal this year.
    Way to many idiots, that have NO clue. Gorilla warfare 101. People need to wake the F up and keep an eye out for others and have some respect.

  13. Bad News

    Wah Wah Wah Wah….”Commercial Guys are the Problem because I haven’t caught anything this year because I’m lazy.” WAH WAH WAH Weee WAAAA

    1. Sangbang

      You checked this page uot enough to read at least the comments, yet have nothing intelligent to add. Maybe this is a 15 year old trying for attention?

  14. Jeremy Gamble

    Maybe the seals, maybe the commercial fishermen- certainly all could be contributing. Might also be the decimation of baitfish, elvers, rising water temps due to climate change, increases in pollution, decrease in preserved habitats. What do we think is going to happen?!!!

  15. canalrat

    Best thing happen to Canal is no more commercial striper. Canal like a ghost town this day.:)

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