It’s the heart of summer, so, unsurprisingly, the inshore fishing around the Cape has hit a bit of a lull. It happens most years, and it rarely last longer than a week or two. The striper fishing bounces back in August, and bonito and albies pile in.
Bonito have been showing up here and there around Martha’s Vineyard since June, but it seems the fishing is getting a bit more consistent recently. Patrick at Eastman’s Sport and Tackle said Bonito Bar is holding good fishing for bones right now. The Hooter, which has had some sporadic bonito reports in recent weeks, seems to be mostly bluefish and sea bass at the moment.
There have been small bonito showing up in the Canal reported Jeff at Canal Bait and Tackle. These are the 12-inch and smaller bonito that tend to mix in with the mackerel in Cape Cod Bay in the late summer, Jeff said.
The Canal has been slow, but Jeff anticipates the action will pick up shortly. August 5th, Jeff’s birthday, always has good fishing at the Canal, Jeff said.
The fish that are in the Canal are biting mostly at night on jigs. Squid in the Canal have meant that pink and white have been the most productive colors, according to Jeff.
There was a little action in the Ditch on Thursday morning according to Conor at Red Top Sporting Goods. There were a couple breaking fish, but for the most part, the action was on subsurface plugs like Daiwa SP Minnows and Magic Swimmers.
Most of the larger stripers seem to be from Cape Cod Bay to Boston and north. Trolling at Billingsgate is producing a few good sized fish. Captain Bobby Rice of Reel Deal Fishing Charters has been doing very well on good sized bass on live bait off the Outer Cape, and occasionally, the fish are schooled up and aggressive enough to take vertical jigs.
Trolling is also the hot tactic at Horseshoe Shoal, where 30-inch-plus bluefish have been feeding well reported Patrick at Eastman’s. On calm days, the blues have been feeding on the surface, giving anglers a shot at casting topwaters to them, but for the most part, it’s been a troll bite for the big blues.
The South Side and Buzzards Bay has come alive with small schoolies recently as the tiny baitfish that show up in midsummer are arriving. Some of the thumbnail-sized baits are fueling impressive blitzes, but despite the feeding frenzies, the stripers have been pretty picky as they focus on the small baits.
Bottom fishing has been slow in Buzzards Bay, where warm water tempertures have driven sea bass and fluke to deeper water, according to the crew at Maco’s. There has been good sea bassing in the deep water around Cedar Tree, reported Patrick at Eastman’s, and anglers hoping for a good fluke should try the holes between the Elizabeth Islands.
Though the inshore bite is on the slow side, offshore is another story. The big schools of small bluefin are still kicking around South of the Vineyard, though the Claw and the Dump seem to have cooled off some. Close to Block Island, however, the sand eels, whales, and schoolie bluefin are still plentiful. The shipping lanes are holding yellowfin and mahi, and the canyons have been hot. Big bigeye, yellowfin, swordfish, and mahi are all there and biting well. Captain Larry Backman of the Skipjack returned from another banner offshore trip this week with a 72-inch bigeye, a swordfish, some 40- to 50-pound yellowfin, and some mahi and tilefish to boot. OTW’s Andy Nabreski was along for the ride, and in addition to catching the fish, enjoyed seeing the different species that schooled in the lights of the Skipjack overnight.
From Captain Steve of Chaser Offshore Fishing “The offshore fishing is great. The school bluefin bite at the claw is done but there are still some around the top of the dump. Further south to the lanes we are getting yellows, mahi, and the occasional wahoo. In the canyons, the yellows and bigeye are thick, especially to the East with plenty of swords taken deep dropping. The next few weeks are prime canyon fishing time.
The crew at Eastman’s said the hot canyon has been Hydrographers, but that Atlantis and Oceanographers have been producing as well.
Fishing Forecast for Cape Cod
If you can get offshore…go! Plenty of options, without even mentioning the giant tuna fishing happening east of Chatham and on Stellwagen. It’s worth looking for bonito inshore, and scaling down your tackle to target the schoolies blitzing on tiny bait. The late-July lull is almost over, and August is set up to be an outstanding month of fishing both inshore and off.