Cape Cod Fishing Report- July 28, 2022

Striped bass fishing improves around the Outer and Upper Cape, and bluefish show up in the Canal.

(Above) This hungry bass smacked a 9-inch Musky Mania Doc on the surface. (Photo: Cape Cod Charter Guys)

A relentless heat wave has shuffled fish behavior and location this week. One aspect that makes Cape Cod a world-class saltwater fishery is its cold water, especially close to sandy beaches and estuaries. After a week-long heat wave, some reliable spots can be cleared out, devoid of bait and their accompanying predators. These fish are likely retreating to deeper and cooler waters following their favorite meals like nomad hunters on a buffalo herd. Keep an eye on your electronics when checking up on your secret spots. Sonar and water temperature readings may look very different than they did during your last bass-busting outing. If fish are still around, they will likely be glued to the bottom’s structure and eating like a grade-schooler; inconveniently picky with blips of reckless abandon.  

If you are fortunate enough to hook into some deep-water crawlers, it is important to understand how warming water alters a fish’s biology. Warm water is inherently more laborious to obtain oxygen from during respiration. As water temperatures increase, so does the metabolic rate of the fish that inhabit it. On average, for every 18-degree increase in water temperature, a fish must double its respiration rate. This excess energy expenditure is a double-edged sword for fishermen. When fish are forced to raise their metabolic rate, they require more calories to sustain themselves. This can oblige big fish to eat big meals, which contribute more calories with less energy expended during hunting. On the other hand, fish will become more sluggish and will be more selective when choosing their prey. If you can yank a bruiser from its summer lawn chair, remember that this fish is starved for oxygen after battling your drag. Take extra care to revive the fish as mortality rates exponentiate when respiratory demands are elevated. This is also a reminder to keep fish wet the remainder of this summer. Photo shoots with your personal best striper are certainly necessary to preserve the moment, but not at the cost of the fish’s life.  

Canal Report via East End Eddy Doherty: “Bluefish invaded the Canal and were being caught everywhere for a couple of days from the railroad bridge to the herring run and all the way to the east end. I was bouncing a white Bill Hurley Canal Killer off the bottom on an early dropping west tide in the Combat Zone when a bluefish attacked my soft plastic jig with the enormous vigor and strength that is characteristic of the yellow eyed devils…  

Some slot sized striped bass and larger are being caught periodically by soaking pogies and other old school enticements as some anglers are having more success chunking than throwing lures so sharpen your bait knife. Bob Weir of Taylor Point, however, fooled a 33 pound striped bass on a west bound ebb with a pink Al Gags soft plastic 5 ounce jig so he’ll be sticking with lures! Squid imitations are working as Ryan Smith of Bourne reeled in a striper that looked to be just above slot that fell for a pink Savage at the end of the east tide…” 

Canal Bait and Tackle of Sagamore reports an uptick in Canal activity this week. Big blues have been charging mackerel schools on the east end. Some stripers have reentered the ditch’s feeding frenzy and have been caught on chunk baits, live baits, and anything fished proximal to the rocky bottom.  

Maco’s Bait and Tackle in Buzzards Bay has heard through the grapevine of big seabass schools off Noman’s. They echoed the call to the Canal and harped that the Plymouth area still holds great volumes of bait, bass, and blues. Warming waters is not always reason for gloom when on the Cape. This temperature change has brought smaller baitfish such as glass minnows to Buzzard’s Bay. They have been getting devoured by birds and even a few schoolies near the Marititme Academy. Fluke are not opposed to warming waters and 20-inchers have been caught with some consistency on the Mashnee Flats.  

Red Top Sporting Goods reports solid fishing off Plymouth in Cape Cod Bay but cites that bait and bass will likely shift northward towards Boston if weather stays tropical. Through the heat wave they have been getting out to the kettle ponds and landing largies.  

Sports Port Bait and Tackle in Hyannis reports productive Mid-Cape surfcasting at the intersection of high tide and low sun. Blues and schoolies have been chewing close to shore under the right conditions. The Monomoy rips remain the steadiest fishing in their area, however. 

Cape Cod Charter Guys Capt. Ross cited a legendary day tuna fishing after a lengthy, risky run. Nine quality bluefin landed on spinning gear and Strategic Angler plugs was enough to blow the minds of both the clients and the captain.

A long and risky trip to the tuna grounds paid off for Cape Cod Charter Guys earlier this week.

Also, Capt. Ross said the pogy schools off Plymouth are holding mondo bass, much like the one shown in this week’s cover photo (above).

Captain Elena Rice of Reel Deal Fishing Charters in Truro reports:

“It’s been a week of fishing artificials off the tip of Provincetown for striped bass and occasionally some really good bluefish action too. Have not been using live mackerel the past few days as the Daddy Mac RD Bomb is getting it done in the early morning hours and then the later morning and afternoon trips switch over to jigging when the fish are no longer on the surface. Interesting dynamic this year as the decrease in mackerel likely causing the increase in sand eels looks to be holding the fish in the Provincetown area.”
Captain Bobby Rice of Reel Deal Charters holds a 42-inch fish with a head and tail that indicate it still has some growing to do. (@fishreeldeal)

Captain Kurt Freund of Fishsticks Charters on Martha’s Vineyard reports:

We’ve had more than just unusually hot days this week. A couple of days were so windy that there were small craft advisories posted. On Thursday, the advisory was scheduled to go into effect at 11 a.m., so father and son Jamie and Aidan Masterson and I decided to sneak a trip in before the weather got too bad. Now, my first responsibility is my guests’ safety, so I wouldn’t have gone if I thought it was unsafe, but I have to admit it wasn’t the nicest day. Nevertheless, we had a great trip, jigging and trolling black sea bass, despite the less than ideal conditions. Sometimes, it’s overcoming the obstacles that makes it fun and rewarding.
On a much nicer day though, Jean, Cullen, Mandy and Jeff Dallenbach had a productive trip targeting fluke and black sea bass and even landed a bonus bluefish. Shawn Byrne and family also caught a couple of big bluefish and a bunch of black sea bass to 20 inches.
Jean Dallenbach with a nice keeper fluke on Fishsticks Charters this week.
Jeff Dallenbach caught this bonus bluefish on the family’s recent bottom fishing trip with Fishsticks Charters.

Cape Cod Fishing Forecast 

Next week will bring steadier weather and hopefully steadier fishing. Big bass and blues are still chewing on pogies off Plymouth although they may soon depart in search of cooler waters. The Canal had a remarkably productive week, hopefully the bite will stick around and bless the Cape’s surfcasting faithful. Getting baits deep in the channel and matching the mackerel and pogies will be your best bet for ditch-roaming bass. Race Point has been a consistent striper bite as it holds the Outer Cape’s coolest waters. Many miles from Race Point light, the Tuna have been eating aggressively. Stellwagen Bank seems to be in a bit of a slump but the Tuna grounds off the Race have stayed alive. Buzzard’s Bay and the southside beaches have seen a jolt of life sparked by an influx of smaller baitfish which are attracting schoolies and bluefish. Shore-bound and kayak-topping anglers are encouraged to investigate their local kettle pond, where largemouth are thriving in the dog days of summer. 

4 on “Cape Cod Fishing Report- July 28, 2022

  1. George

    What do bluefish eat? Can they be caught from shore on Cape Cod?

    1. Fred Lilienkamp

      What do bluefish eat? Anything and everything, including you. Bluefish are one of the craziest fish in the salt water, which is why they are so fun to catch. Pogies. They love pogies. They will shred an entire school of pogies. If you do get one in your boat -look out! A big blue will flip out and bite anything it can reach. Hopefully it’s not your hand – or foot. They will attack all the local bait school – sand eels, mackerel, herring. I’ve caught them on those baits – mostly by trolling when I had a boat. As this report mentioned, in a hot August they can get lethargic. One summer I had to go so far as to put a double-hook wire rig into a black eel fished deep in Wellfleet harbor. That was the only thing that worked. That was unusual, though. I have caught a lot of them surfcasting at Duck Harbor in Wellfleet at high tide. I walk into the water as far as I can go, fling out a hi-lo rig with chunk mackerel or pogie. A 4 or 5 oz pyramid sinker. Walk back to the beach, tighten the line, and put the rod in a sand spike. Sooner or later – Wham! Pole is jumping and the drag is screaming! Great fun. You HAVE to use a wire leader. Seen too many lines severed when Mr. Blue doubles back and slices your line. Now you’re singin’ the blues (hee hee). When I started surf fishing – in 1978 – I used to go up to the Merrimack River – Plum Island. 70 miles from my house. When I got to the breakwall people were returning to the parking lot saying: “Ya should’a been here 15 minutes ago” as they were dragging 15 lb blues back to their cars. After a whole summer of this, the next year I got aboard Captain’s head boat. We caught a lot of blues. One of my best bluefish stories was that fall. The Captain was going to run his last bluefish trip for the season on Columbus Day. Somehow I convinced my wife to join me. Any ‘ol salt around here knows that October weather on the ocean – well, you’re taking a big chance and rolling the dice and it could come up snake eyes. It did. 8 foot waves and a howling wind for 3 hours and most of the boat was heaving their guts out at the rail. The toilet was clogged with vomit. I was trying to console my wife who had turned green and was chumming up at the rail. I never heard so many complainers in my life. Did I mention that in these 3 hours only 2 fish were caught? A sea robin and a 12″ cod. “Turn Back!!” people were screaming, “There’s no fish here!” “Why doesn’t he go back to port?” “Oh God, I’m dying!!” Bleeeeeeech! Captain announces we were going to the Isle of Shoals for one last try. “Forget fishing! Get me home!” Captain slows down and prowls around the shoals. We were using herrings, wire leader, and egg sinkers and drifting. “Whack!” A blue hits and comes over the rail. “Wham, another one!” Yee – Ha! – I have one!. I can’t help my wife as we both are wresting bluefish – Gators – 20 lb fish. Now everyone is on. Bluefish flying everywhere. People hopping round avoiding the snapping teeth that were chomping across the deck. Lines slashed. Funny – no one was complaining now! Finally we had to leave. We caught 14 bluefish. We were exhausted and very happy. Oh – if you see a school pop up, lures can be good too. My best bluefish lure was the green Robert’s Ranger. I also used a metal lipped double jointed mackerel lure. And Shimano makes holographic swimmers that swim 3 ft under the surface – good also. My nephew lost my favorite Shimano after I had caught 14 blues with it. Next to the boat, he had the line go slack and the blue cut it. Never could find that exact same lure again. In September, the baitfish start migrating and the blues are hot on their tails. One day, at LaCount’s Hollow beach in Wellfleet on the ocean side of the Cape. A bluefish blitz came zooming down the beach. I was fishing but catching nothing. My wife was staring toward the north and said : “Fred, there’s tiny fish jumping onto the beach, 1000s of ’em , and they’re headed right toward us!” Sure enough, something I never saw before in my life. 1000s of terrorized blueback herring were committing mass suicide right in front of me. Then I saw the boil of big fish, slashing every which way gobbling up the herring. BLUES!. I threw my double-jointed mackerel lure into the chaos. Instantly on! I was at the spot on LaCount’s where a large sand bar jutted out. The herring were trapped!. I knew it, the herring knew it, and the blues knew it. Finally, the herring escaped. And I ended up catching 20 bluefish.

  2. TightLinez

    Is this really a fishing report? Its full of ambiguous nonsense . . .these reports are nothing more than wordsmithing to make it sounds is if epic fishing is happening. A picture of one tiny bluefin tuna caught by a nerd from NY (albeit an assumption), with his “compass rose tattoo” and his matching fishing shirt, shorts and “waterman booties” (really ??? .lol) on a spinning rod is considered “a legendary day tuna fishing after a lengthy, risky run.” It would be nice if you actually provided legitimate reports . . these reports are as vapid and as rife with of nonsensical nothingness as a Millennial’s resume. If the fishing sucked this week because of the weather . .its ok, just say it . . You can do better. That being said – the bit on the water temperature related to fish respiration rates and mortality was great – do more of that on slow weeks. Tight Lines fellas

  3. Bill from Falmouth

    Gosh almighty, OTW. PLEASE tell your readers NOT to hold a monster striper (clearly needing to go back in the water due to the slot keeper regs) by it’s stomach. That can crush vital organs. There are no ribs to protect them there. Honestly, where is your head at? You glorify the catch in your lead photo with that kind of man-handling. Some times I wonder just what you all are thinking.

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