I know it’s the week of the June New Moon, and we should be talking stripers, and we will, but the first species mentioned by just about every shop we talked to this week was the bluefish.
We had a decent run of bluefish in 2020, but this year, the yellow-eyed devils seem to have cranked it up another notch, as they are being caught on all sides of the Cape and Islands right now.
Travis at Red Top Sporting Goods said he’s been catching gator blues off the South Side beaches, having great luck with the Doc topwater plug. From the sound of it, the blues are hitting beaches from Falmouth all the way to Dennis on the South Side. Jim at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle said bluefish have been finning at the mouths of some of the bays. When blues are finning like that, they can be maddeningly finicky, and will sometimes refuse topwaters and swimming plugs, but often still take soft-plastics, if you’re willing to sacrifice some lures (or use one of the new breed of tougher soft plastics like those from Hyperlastics or Z-Man). The blues seem to be feeding on a mix of scup, bunker, and small squid.
Fishing for blues has been great on Martha’s Vineyard said Melissa at Larry’s Tackle Shop. She’d been out Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, catching plenty of 6- to 8-pound blues. The south side of the Vineyard has been most productive, with Wasque having the most consistent action. Melissa has had the best luck with metals lately.
Matt at Maco’s Bait and Tackle has been hearing of 5- to 6-pound blues running around Buzzards Bay, and there have been some rumors of 10-12-pound blues in the mix.
The biggest bluefish I heard of this week was taken with Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys, who found a 34-incher mixed in with a school of stripers feeding on tiny sand eels.
Overall, striper fishing has been fair to middling for the new moon in June. The Buzzards Bay bite has been slowing a bit, but – and probably not coincidentally – the fishing has improved in Cape Cod Bay. Captain Ross burned some fuel on Thursday to track down the striper bite out there, where he found a huge school feeding on the surface. Captain Mel True of Fishnet Charters found stripers from school size to 42 inches feeding on tiny sand eels, but said they are extremely picky.
The Canal was so-so this week, but Travis at Red Top said the “breaking tides” this weekend still hold promise. There are some bass being caught in the Canal, but many have been small. Most of the keeper-sized and larger fish have been hitting after dark on eels or jigs.
There are slot-size fish haunting some of the harbor and bay entrances on the South Side, looking for dropback herring, reported Jim at Eastman’s, giving shore fishermen on the South Side a shot at a good-sized bass. Two-inch-long squid at Middle Ground have brought in some slot-size fish as well, providing fun light-tackle and fly opportunities for boat fishermen.
There haven’t been a lot of bass mixed in with the blues on the Vineyard, said Melissa at Larry’s, but fishermen working the north shore of the island are finding some fish.
Black sea bass fishing is going strong in Buzzards Bay, reported Mel True. Matt at Maco’s said there are plenty of sea bass in the bay, with Cleveland Ledge being a good starting point for boats looking to catch a limit. In Vineyard Sound, Jim at Eastman’s said the bigger sea bass have moved off the wrecks, but that there are still keeper fish to be found. Travis at Red Top has been catching 4- to 5-pound sea bass in Nantucket Sound.
Big scup are being caught around the Vineyard, and are still in Buzzards Bay, and fishermen looking to jig squid can still do so in Edgartown Harbor, Melissa said.
There have been a good number of weakfish reported as well, said Frank at Sports Port Bait and Tackle. The weakies have been coming from the South Side, though some sea bass fishermen, including Captain Mel True, have been getting some in Buzzards Bay as well. It’s been a banner year for weakfish to our South, and there should be some hanging around the Cape this summer.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
The bass fishing could break open on the backside of this moon. The tides weren’t particularly strong for the new moon, which is the result of the moon being much closer to the earth during the full moon phase (which resulted in those exceptionally large tides two weeks ago). Still, there are bass to be had all around Cape Cod. If searching for the fish in Cape Cod Bay, bring some smaller offerings (or better yet, flies) to try and match the tiny sand eels. The fish remaining in Buzzards Bay are going to be most interested in larger live baits like bunker or mackerel, if you can get them.
Bluefish have made for some fun afternoons all around the Cape lately as kayak, boat, and shore fishermen have been getting out after work and having fun with these hard-fighting fish.
If you haven’t had your fill of sea bass fishing, get out there this weekend. While the deeper waters in the sounds will hold them through much of the summer, the Buzzards Bay bite will be fizzling out as June wears on.