Above: Katie Curran used a float-and-fly rig to catch this small pond pickerel on Sunday.
We’re approaching that dreaded part of the season, Fishing Limbo, when ponds are skimmed over, but the ice is still to thin to fish on. Fortunately, the larger ponds are still open enough to allow fishing, and the mild temperatures (and even rain) in the forecast will likely reopen the smaller skimmed over ponds for the weekend.
On the small ponds this time of year, you can expect to find pickerel and yellow perch feeding well. Winter can be a great time to fish for largemouth bass as well, but often requires a slower presentation. Suspending jerkbaits are a go-to for winter fishing, but this season, I’ve been using the float-and-fly rig as well, and have had pretty good success. This rig uses a small hair jig suspended under a float, and is very effective at fooling bass and pickerel in cold water.
And live shiners are almost always certain to provide some action. Most of the shops have them in stock this time of year, but it’s worth calling ahead to make sure.
The larger Kettle Ponds, like Mashpee-Wakeby, Peter’s, Big Cliff, Long Pond in Plymouth have been open all along, and the trout fishing has been very good. While there wasn’t much chatter from the shops this week, the crew at Red Top said the current intel from their customers suggests that for the best odds of catching tout, you’ll want to fish bait. Nightcrawlers and shiners are out-performing lures by a considerable margin right now for the trout. That jives with what I’ve been seeing on the trout ponds – that is to say that I have not caught a single trout in 2021 over three trips while throwing artificial lures. With a three-day weekend coming up, it feels like the perfect time to cast out some bait, prop my rod in a forked stick, and enjoy the mild winter weather.
I’ve heard of some boats headed out for cod to Coxes Ledge from the Cape, but have not gotten word back on how they’ve been doing. For a better picture of the current cod action, check out the Connecticut/Rhode Island report.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
It feels like a bait-and-wait weekend, though the milder temperatures might make the fish a bit more active, and willing to strike lures. Trout and pickerel would be my top pick, followed by bass. Shiners for the pickerel, worms for the trout, and jerk baits, float-and-fly rigs, or Ned Rigs for the bass.
If you need a dash of salt in your fishing, you could always visit the East End of the Canal where mackerel and harbor pollock occasionally move in during the winter. Sabiki rigs and small metals are the ticket. I haven’t heard any reports on whether or not there has been any action down there, but I bet you’ll find a few other anglers trying their luck.
At the very least, go do some fishing in these unseasonable temperatures, because if the Mother Nature ever makes good on these Polar Vortex threats we keep hearing from the weathermen, we might be fishing on ice before the end of the month.