Fishing is very much a sport of camaraderie, collaboration, and giving. This willingness to share for the benefit of the next angler is part of what makes these fishing reports happen. So, it was encouraging to experience a prime example of angling fellowship on a trip to Nantucket Island this past weekend. A longtime friend and I were relaxing on the beach, enjoying the glowing sun and rolling sea, when we noticed a man very intently fishing. The angler had picked a reliable spot; I had spent many mornings on this beach during the summer I lived on the Grey Lady. His efforts appeared a bit out of place, however, as the beach was brimming with swimmers and playing children. Regardless, this determined fisherman clawed the sand for crabs and continued to drift his baited hook within the trough behind the shore break. To the surprise of myself and many bathers, he pulled out three large school to slot-sized stripers on light tackle. Thoroughly impressed, I approached the man who introduced himself as Rick, and we began to dispute everything over cold drinks, from striper fishing to Connecticut sports. The next day, my friend and I returned; this time armed with a wooden-handled Shakespeare rod we resurrected from the dusty corners of his basement. Sure enough, we descended the beach to find Rick in his comfortable procession of clawing and casting. We chatted for a minute like old pals. Then, he noticed our limited tackle and returned to our camp with crab catching pointers and the last of his personal hooks, sinkers, and leader. His generosity afforded us a well-equipped afternoon on the surf and showcases the unshakeable camaraderie among everyday anglers.
In the spirit of Rick, and all generous anglers in search of good karma, our local captains and tackle shops impart their knowledge…
Evan Eastman, owner of Eastman’s Sport and Tackle in Falmouth reports that his late-night efforts have been putting fish in the boat. Finding fish deep and under the moonlight has been his secret to success recently. Live eels have been taming trophy-sized stripers for him. Also, he is an epoxy jig loyalist, using a multitude of colors to find slot bass and blues on the rips of Middle Ground and deep ridges off Woods Hole. Most fish stacked in the rips these days, Eastman says, are bluefish or schoolie to slot-sized bass. When he wants a bigger bite, he finds heading to the Elizabeth Islands and fishing live eels brings out cow stripers. He has also heard of 90 to 110 inch Bluefin being pulled from Crab’s Ledge consistently.
Patriot Party Boat of Falmouth informs that the recent summer sizzle has made keeper bottom fish harder and harder to come by. To keep their coolers full, they have been fishing further west where keeper sea bass come over the rail with more frequency.
Captain Kurt Freund of Fishsticks Charters on Martha’s Vineyard reports:
“The rips at Wasque and other spots in Nantucket Sound, as well as Middle Ground, continue to hold striped bass and bluefish. These fish are hitting topwater plugs, swimming plugs and, increasingly, sand eel imitations like sluggos on small jigheads. We’ve also caught bass and bluefish and a few sea bass on trolled deep divers. The deep water in Vineyard Sound is finally yeilding some nice fluke and sea bass. We fished the Fluke for Luke tournament on Saturday, and our team, Fishsticks with Charter Sauce, was in second place at the end of the first day. We got knocked off the leader board on Sunday, but it was nice while it lasted! On a recent trip, Chef Michael Cimarusti performed the ikejime technique for killing fish by disabling the brain and spinal cord. By disrupting signals from the nervous system to the muscles, this technique stops the release of stress hormones and lactic acid and preserves the quality of the meat. We performed the technique on every fish we kept that day and it was a great learning experience.”
Ian of Red Top Sporting Goods maintains that live and chunk baits have been catching stripers still cruising the depths of the Canal. While the Cape’s south shore beaches continue to see big stripers on large surf plugs and live eels. He was emphatic, though, that the boats have been getting the better of surf fishermen. With water temperatures continually rising, Cape Cod Bay still holds the biggest bass around. Ian had heard of some linesiders north of 40 pounds being caught.
Sports Port Bait and Tackle in Hyannis says that warming water is pushing stripers out of their neighborhood. However, Billingsgate Shoal and Monomoy are still enjoying a reliable striper bite if you have the resources to get offshore. The south side beaches are currently mobbed by bluefish which will chomp down on mostly anything thrown at them. Bluefish are not the only toothy beasts being caught off the south shore beaches. Brown sharks (or Sandbar Sharks) have entered the area surrounding Hyannis. Some young men recently came into Sport Port brandishing a photo they took with a safely released 7-footer!
Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has been spending his mornings in Cape Cod Bay and is a happier man for it. He’s witnessed pogy schools so thick that his sonar unit assumes a sandbar is beneath the hull. These pogy schools are being ravished by slot and trophy stripers, bluefish, and bluefin Tuna alike. The Cape Cod Bay is brimming with life, one of his charters this week even got a free shower courtesy of a humpback whale blowhole. In the afternoon, pogy schools dissipate and stripers move to deeper and cooler hideouts. Regardless, Ross and company have found that vertical jigging Cape Cod Bay’s steep cliffs can pull quality stripers (like the one below) off the couch.
Sticking to the theme of good fishing karma, OTW’s Matt Haeffner and I headed to the Outer Cape surf in search of some late-night stripers, but the conditions did us dirty after a significant overnight wind shift. We were skunked, and eager to put some sort of bend in the rod, Matt decided to shift gears. Around 1:15 a.m., some good fishing karma came for Matt and he landed this 5 and a half pound largemouth to end the night.
Freshwater fishing may not be the main attraction for anglers visiting Cape Cod, but for locals, it’s a reliable way to feed the addiction that comes from things that go bump in the night.
Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain around Cape Cod and the Islands!
Cape Cod Fishing Forecast
It is officially midsummer on the Cape and fishing conditions should be treated as such. Surfcasters can find big bass in the darkness and blues blitzing on pogies on the south shore. Live eels seem to be producing the most monster fish while artificial plugs and soft plastics prove effective. The outer cape has been heating up recently, reports of 20-pounders in the surf have come from a handful of different beaches. For boating fishermen, Cape Cod Bay remains the hottest bite in town and the morning still sees blitzing fish on water-darkening pogy schools. The Canal is still alive, but artificials have been outperformed by chunk and live baits as of late. Tuna fishing has been lights out the last couple of weeks. Although its essential to get out to the Race, Stellwagen, or Crab’s Ledge by first light. Anglers have been reporting a hot bluefin tuna bite from five to about eight in the morning. After eight the heightened sun shuts off most feeding activity. As always, don’t neglect the freshwater! Shore-bound anglers might enjoy a few hours of July sunshine while cruising one of the Cape’s ponds for summer largemouth.
Stay safe and tight lines!