Things were setting up nicely ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, before three days of cold northeast winds battered the Cape. Water temperatures dropped in some areas around the Cape, and moved the fish around, but going into the first weekend of June, things are looking good.
AJ at Red Top Sporting Goods said the Canal is fishing well, but that the fish are hugging the bottom and not feeding on the surface. The East End has been producing a mix of bass and blues, both hitting soft-plastic paddletails fished on jigheads. The blues have been running 6 to 8 pounds mostly, and some of the bass have been large.
Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle echoed the good action in the East End. Mackerel-colored jigs are working well, Jeff said.
There’s been action at the West End as well, AJ said, but it hasn’t been consistent day to day.
Boat fishermen have been finding bass feeding on the surface in Cape Cod Bay recently as well. Topwater lures have been catching out there, and topwaters continue to work in Buzzards Bay, though it sounds like those fish have thinned out some. While the fish in Buzzards Bay may have moved, they could also be hunkered down after the recent drop in water temperature. While topwaters are working at times, live bunker has been a trump card for getting the bass to bite in Buzzards Bay.
Captain Brian Coombs of Get Tight Sportfishing has been focusing his efforts on Vineyard Sound, where squid holding in the rips have attracted stripers and bluefish. Most of the bass are around 26 inches, fish of the 2015 year class, Coombs suspects. He’s been catching them on Rebel Jumping Minnows and Al Gags paddletails in pink. The bluefish he was finding over the flats just off the South Side of the Cape seem to have moved into the rips.
Some of those blues may have moved to the Vineyard as well, where Peter at Larry’s Tackle said the bluefish bite is improving. Fish have been showing up with increasing frequency at Cape Pogue, Wasque, and on the north side of Chappy. The fish are runing 5- to 9-pounds, and there’s been no sign of the slammers that Peter had heard of in New York and New Jersey. Last year, the big blues hit the Vineyard in mid-June, and Peter expects the same for this season.
Bass fishing is holding steady for smaller fish, and Peter has heard of some larger ones, into the high-20-pound range “up-island.”
Squid fishing is holding steady in Edgartown Harbor, Peter said, and fishermen are leaving with plenty of calamari for a couple hours of work with teh squid jigs.
There was a great striper bite setting up on the Lower Cape before the big winds moved through. But as the conditions settle down, the fishing should pick right back up. Surfcasters and boat fishermen were seeing great numbers of schoolie bass, with a few slot-sized fish in the mix.
Black sea bass fishing has improved even more this past week, with more and larger sea bass entering Buzzards Bay. Kevin Blinkoff and Chris Megan of On The Water joined Ryan Lilly and Dan McFetridge of Old Town Canoes for a great morning of kayak sea bass fishing on Wednesday. The crew found plenty of keeper fish, including a 5-pounder.
The wrecks of Vineyard Sound are still stacked up with sea bass as well.
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has been switching over to sea bass after targeting stripers at sunup. The stripers, he said, have been finicky some days, and bite well on others, with a good mix of slot-size fish and schoolies. He’s also been finding some bluefish mixed in with the stripers in Buzzards Bay.
There have been some keeper fluke taken in Upper Buzzards Bay, but shorts greatly outnumber them. Sea bass fishermen have also been catching the occasional weakfish.
Capt. Mel True of Fishnet Charters found the sea bass bite a little off this week. If you found a big school it was lock and load, but you had to do some searching. If you can get on a school of pogies in open water, there are big bass shadowing them in Buzzards Bay. Scup are still tearing it up and will keep rods bent with live bait.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
Sounds like the stripers are moving around right now, so the anglers should be too. With the arrival of fish in Cape Cod Bay, fishermen should be able to spread out as they look for schools of big migratory fish. In years past, now would be the start of great surface fishing for big stripers in Cape Cod Bay and off the backside beaches, but that failed to materialize the past few years. But the presence of both sea herring and squid in recent days could bode well for that bite
Sea bass fishing usually peaks right around now, so if you want to fill a limit with knotheads, now is the time. You can find plenty of fish away from the fleets, focusing on structure in the 20- to 35-foot range in Buzzards Bay, and smaller wrecks in Vineyard and Nantucket Sound. You’ll also find considerably less competition for the sea bass down along the Elizabeth Islands, especially Cuttyhunk. In the process, you just might intercept a northbound school of big stripers.
Bluefishing is holding strong. OTW’s Katie Curran found a hungry school of blues off the South Side Wednesday evening, and the blues were mixed in with bass, and even topwater-striking sea robins.
We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming this weekend, with moderate southwest winds. This should help the bass settle into wherever they moved during the storm and set up some consistent fishing. Tides will be weak as we move further away from the super moon, and that could lead to some slower fishing, but the approaching New Moon should bring a fresh wave of big stripers into Cape Cod waters. Whether they make landfall at the Canal, the islands, Monomoy, or the backside is anyone’s guess.