Fluke, scup, sea bass, and of course, sea robins have all made their presence more than known this month; even through the recent heat wave. If you’re offshore, I hope you’re finding ways to stay cool while fishing. For the shore bound anglers, getting on the water in the early morning or late evenings is not only the most comfortable time to fish, it’s also the best time to wet a line. On Wednesday morning, OTW’s Andy Nabreski hit the water with Matt Haeffner before the sun got too high, and caught some keeper fluke while wading in a local bay.
When the winds were down earlier this week, the moisture outside felt so thick that you could reach out to grab a handful of it. As difficult as it may be to turn away from the salt in July, these calm and muggy nights are also the perfect summer conditions for some freshwater bass efforts.
In last week’s report, OTW’s Matt Haeffner got into some big largemouth bass in similar circumstances. Matt has been hitting the ponds on occasion, but mostly when the saltwater bite gets painfully slow and the desire for a bend in the rod outweighs anything else. Gurgling topwater lures creep across the surface and join the bullfrogs in breaking the night’s eerie silence. The ponds are guaranteed to hold some bucket mouth bass, and with them comes the occasional mixed-bag surprise.
In similar fashion to the salt, freshwater fishing will be most productive at sunrise, sundown or during the middle of the night when water temperatures are cooler. Freshwater bass, much like striped bass, use this lack of light to their advantage and let down their guard for a couple easy meals. Even on humid nights, those freshwater ponds can be a comfortable angling haven through a sunny and scorching late July.
Matt also reported tons of bait in and along the Cape Cod Canal and its east end near Scusset Beach. Scattered bunker pods and schools of bay anchovies are left alone during the hours of peak sunlight, but there are bound to be bass on them during low light conditions. The Canal has been mostly silent though, with occasional appearances from slot and under-slot fish that don’t seem to be moving or feeding in schools. However, the bait balls around the canal’s ends are a hopeful sign for the pre-fall run bite that should materialize in a month or so.
Many consecutive days of heightened mercury have jumbled the saltwater bite; however, there’s plenty going on in the salt ponds and back bays. Along with the occasional wave of striped bass and bluefish biting on Outer and Upper Cape beaches, reports of quality scup and fluke in shallow water continue to come in across the South Cape, and they’re feeding well in the warm, summer waters. Matt reported that when he and Sean weren’t at the ponds they were wading the flats for fluke and scup, which both provide fun, light-tackle, backwater action when the surf is slow.
To learn more about finding keeper fluke and sea bass during the summer, West Marine in Hyannis will be hosting a seminar from 6-9 p.m. on July 26 with Jimmy “The Greek” Koutalakis.
If you can’t get out to enjoy the offshore tuna madness, that’s okay. July is also a great time for inshore, light-tackle bait-and-wait fishing, which is especially popular with young kids. Around channels, bridges and fishing piers, small black sea bass, sea robins, scup, and northern kingfish and norther puffers pile up to feed on rain bait and small crustaceans that float by in the moving current. By no means is this the type of white-knuckled tuna fishing you’ll find offshore this week, but it’s a great way to enjoy some time outdoors by the water with family or friends. Find out where and how you should be concentrating your efforts from the Cape’s finest captains and tackle shops this week.
Canal Bait and Tackle has been fine tuning their summer patterns in the ditch. As has been the case this month, stripers are still feeding in the Canal but keeping to the depths. Weighty options like heavy jigs, bucktails, and swimmers are fooling some bass. The most effective tactic, though, has been live or chunk baits during the tide change. Fishing the canal can be spotty these days, but don’t let that turn you away from the possibility of some slot stripers.
Macos Bait and Tackle happily reported keeper fluke caught on the Mashpee Flats. Off Plymouth in Cape Cod Bay, striped bass remain a stronghold as they gorge on the area’s pogy schools. Bluefish continue to call Buzzard’s Bay home, but a few big Canal bruisers have been interrupted while poaching trapped bait schools. Also, scup have been plentiful on the bottom of Buzzard’s Bay.
Patriot Party Boat of Falmouth has been venturing to the Vineyard Sound to do their bottom-bouncing. Their efforts have produced plenty of keeper seabass and scup, especially in the sound’s western end. Their sportfishing trips have had luck with the linesiders in the churning currents of the Muskeget Channel.
Red Top Sporting Goods has seen the Canal bite slow down as the mercury rises. Regardless, they echo the chunk bait rally cry of the Canal loyalists. On the southside beaches, plugs, live bait, and chunk baits have been connecting with bluefish and occasionally stripers. Red Top has heard the canyons are brimming with life and the bluefin being caught there are ascending the tape measure tick-by-tick. Perhaps the most exciting statement from Red Top, though was the report of “a few eight to ten-pound fluke” pulled out of the Buzzard’s Bay.
Sports Port Bait and Tackle of Hyannis has declared the first Bonita catch of the summer, thanking the current heat wave for the surprise. Stripers are few and far between off the south shore beaches. Nonetheless, surfcasters can scratch their itch by fishing Dowses Beach and Craigville Beach for brown sharks. Bluefish are sure to do the trick if you can’t make the nighttime sharking shift. One place striper fishing has stayed consistent, though, is the Monomoy rips. Getting jigs or wire line down deep to cruising fish could produce some bites.
Capt. Derek Simons of Seastriker Charters has been catching seabass on Nantucket Shoal including a solid 22-incher!
Capt. Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys has found his stride with the Cape Cod Bay striped bass. When getting out at sunrise, he has enjoyed blitz conditions and picturesque topwater eats from quality bass like the one below.
On a recent trip through the Canal to the south side, Capt. Ross saw abundant bluefish and black sea bass among some menacing blue sharks.
Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain around Cape Cod!
Cape Cod Fishing Forecast
The shining sun and high temperatures will stay through early next week, but summertime brings new visitors as it displeases some reliable favorites. Stripers and blues will likely be better targeted by boat and getting out in the early morning. If dawn patrol isn’t in your cards, fish deep or with live bait to draw out sluggish predators. Cape Cod Bay remains a consistent bite as well as Monomoy and Race Point. For those fishing for their freezer, the Vineyard Sound has been the scup and sea bass hideout. Fluke are becoming more common, and more massive as the summer goes on; check the shoals of Buzzard’s Bay and the Islands as well as the Mashpee Flats for these exciting flatfish. Tuna are growing with every tide and soon, I believe 100+ inchers will be meeting hooks with regularity. Crab’s Ledge and Stellwagen Bank remain the bluefins’ favored feeding grounds.