Cape Cod Fishing Report- September 15, 2022

Albies push within casting range from shore, the Canal fishes well on the East tide, and a surprise almaco jack is caught off of Martha's Vineyard.

Picky eaters. Aren’t they frustrating?

One of my friends growing up was a picky eater, and he refused to eat fruits and vegetables even through high school. Remarkable, I know; almost as remarkable as how picky the albies have been for me on the kayak.

These fish are up and down in a matter of seconds, and the shots I did get into a feed either hooked and popped off, or I took a swing and a miss. I’m still seeing peanut bunker everywhere as well as “snot bait”; I think those are tiny bay anchovies that are just so small and semi-translucent, they look like a nice gooey booger on your finger.

This is about the same size, shape and color of the bait albies have been slashing through when they’re not on peanuts. Kind of looks like smeared snot + small enough to have come out your nose= snot bait.

To mitigate the pain that comes with an albie-less morning after plenty of opportunities, I’ll be making minor tweaks to my albie fishing that seem to be the difference makers:

  1. Every fish I’ve lost this year has popped on a jig with treble hooks. It could be an unlucky coincidence, or my own fault for playing the fish wrong, but I’m confident that it’s the size of the treble hooks. On smaller jigs, I have short-shank treble hooks which don’t seem to penetrate the lip enough to keep these erratic, drag-ripping fish from twisting the hook out while running. In comparison, the jigs dressed with a single hook have kept the albie pinned during the whole fight, even when hardly hooked. I’m going to avoid short shank treble hooks for the duration of the albie run, and see if my hooked/landed ratio improves.
  2. Small flies and a casting egg are king when the tiny bay anchovies (“snot” bait) are the main forage. This morning, my only bite came from splashing a casting egg across the surface with a small Chocklett’s gummy minnow fly in tow. I missed the hook set, but I’m confident in this method. The splashing of the casting egg riles the albies enough to draw maybe one or two to the surface in pursuit of the fly.
  3. From a boat or kayak, keep several rods rigged and ready with different options to improve your chances. Recently, I’ve kept three 7-foot rods rigged on the kayak; one with a resin or epoxy jig, one with the casting egg/fly, and one with an Albie snax.

If you’re fishing for albies from Buzzards Bay to any stretch of the south Cape, keep one eye on the horizon for violent splashes on the surface and one eye on near-shore rips where there’s good current. And of course, look for birds.

Albies are getting closer and closer to casting range for shore anglers and surfcasters; I saw a handful of fish breaking off of a jetty between Falmouth and Woods Hole. Further east, even more reports came in from our audience of albies outside of Bass River within casting range of the fishing platform, and in between the jetties. The possibility for a shore ‘core seems to increase each day.

In the realm of larger relatives to false albacore, bluefin tuna fishing is still pretty stellar east of Chatham, although some north winds may throw off the bite a bit.

Devin Acton’s newsletter, The Weekly Salvage, brought me up to date on the happenings offshore with a collection of resources that are chockfull of tips, pointers and reports within the sportfishing community. Acton reported a tough bite around the Cape Cod Bay area after a couple weeks of stellar bluefin action:

Tuna fishing is a lot like a boxing match: days and weeks of nervous preparation, a test of stamina and mental adjustment in real-time, only to get socked in the face repeatedly. In that guise, the past weekend was a taste of Tyson for yours truly, Cape Cod Bay delivering a long-overdue uppercut to the gut as I limped back into Barnstable harbor fish-less in the dark. Those are the moments we love to hate, when we pay the price of zigging when the fish are still set on the zag. As far as the ‘zag’ goes…the Bluefin bite does remain fairly ‘wide-open’ by historical standards, with our expectations of a shallower and wider dispersion of fishing locales seeming to be playing out. As we show below, half-beaks have entered the Fall fray just on time, some of the Cape finest tuna tanglers already dialing in on the ‘beek spray’ that make Bluefin especially susceptible to topwater presentations.”

Furthermore, he delves into identifying baitfish on the tuna grounds—specifically, Atlantic silverstripe halfbeaks— in order to make a more informed decision about what will grab the attention of any nearby feeding bluefin. I’ve never experienced a beek-bite, but it sounds like when they’re in, it’s show time.

For the surfcaster, fishing has been good in Buzzards Bay with an influx of striped bass and bluefish moving through the Canal. Cape Cod Bay should be fishing well this week with the North winds. Before all this wind kicked up, my buddy Brian Larsen had a great day on gator blues in Cape Cod Bay, which leads me to believe that all this north wind will push them into the canal.

Brian Larsen captured this action shot of one of the many blues he and friends hooked into during a kayak outing on Cape Cod Bay. (@brian_lars)

So, fishing the bay will likely yield some fish as bass and blues funnel into the East End of the Canal; but I got skunked at the canal on a west tide earlier in the week, so I’ll kick the Ditch reporting to a more reputable source…

From the Cape Cod Canal, East End Eddie Doherty reports:

“The Canal exploded with huge schools of striper and bluefish blitzes ripping up the surface on the east tide at daybreak. The future of surfcasting is in good hands with courteous young men like Connecticut 8th grader Nick Terezakis who has successfully fished Montauk, Shinnecock Inlet and many other sacred surf spots. He’s been wetting a line since the age of 3 and spending a lot of time with his father Anast on the big ditch. The 12 year old phenom caught a nice slot on the Cape side during an east running current with a custom made Donny Meyer pencil.
Nicholas Terezakis with a nice slot bass. (photo: Anast Terezakis)

Caleb from Maco’s Bait & Tackle in Buzzards Bay said that some guys have been catching slots on loaded Cotton Cordells and Bill “on the grill” Prodouz from Pocasset caught a big 35 inch bluefish at Pip’s Rip on an east flood tide. The heavy yellow eyed predator, estimated to be over 12 pounds, ate a soft plastic combo jig off the bottom. Donnie “Hawkeye” Willis has done well catching slots and even hooked some bonito off the State Pier. Bill Walsh, the pride of Roslindale, is recovered from his operation, reeling in several slots and blues on a surface bite with his Band of Anglers 5 inch Asturie while chasing fish along the Canal on his bike. John Doble got into a mixture of breaking slots and big bluefish while working his white stick shad in the east end with some of the blues approaching 14 pounds!”

Connor from Red Top Sporting Goods in Buzzards Bay reports:

“The Canal has a lot of big blues right now. They’re coming on jigs like Fish Labs and Al Gags, mostly, so have some spare tails ready in case you get chomped down by a gator blue. During low light hours, the blues will be on top and bottom. Not as many bass on top, they seem to be mixed in with the bluefish mostly, and they’re almost all slot-sized and just over. The East End has a load of small bonito as well.”

Amy at Sports Port Bait and Tackle in Hyannis reports:

“Albies are all over, from Craigville to Nobska. There’s lots of boats out there, and almost even more kayakers! Epoxy jigs and Albie snax have been the key producers of fish out this way. People are also getting them from shore out here. Morgan, a shop employee, was on a boat by the Vineyard this weekend and they got into a bunch of bluefish and some schoolie bass. I kayaked in Cotuit this week and caught a good number of stripers around 24-26 inches on topwater earlier in the day. In the bays on the south side there’s just tons of peanut bunker, and if there aren’t albies on them, you can bet there are snapper blues under them. The kids are enjoying going for blue crabs, and that’s been good recently. The Cape Cod Bay side is also getting schoolie and slot stripers, and I even had one customer who caught some baby bonito from shore in the Bay.”

Maco’s Bait and Tackle in Buzzards Bay reports:

“Mega-sized bluefish are in the canal up to about 15-pounds, and they’re biting on jigs mostly. Fluke fishing has slowed but it has still been good around Onset. Meanwhile, tautog are starting to move in around here, and there’s been some better fishing southwest of us on that front.”

Eastman’s Sport and Tackle in Falmouth reports:

“Tuesday morning I marked a ton of fish and got a couple right off the side of the boat around Falmouth. Nobska was loaded with albies (and boats), but everyone seemed to be hooking up to fish. On Wednesday I was out with my father who caught a big Spanish mackerel, but the albies weren’t showing on the surface very long for the most part. This morning was great, with lots of fish around the entire south side. I got a couple right outside my inlet as I left while using the Hogy epoxy jigs. There has also been a good bite for slot stripers off of the Elizabeth Islands while fishing eels. Schoolies are on the south side of Cape in numbers, swimming up into salt ponds and cruising off the beaches. Guys are catching them using eels, chunked mackerel and pogies. Bluefish are also up near Megansett but can be found throughout Buzzards Bay during the morning hours.”

Captain Ross of Cape Cod Charter Guys in Bourne reports:

“We had a slower week of fishing overall. We’re finding the fish, but lots of people still want to go out looking for stripers and blues; right now though, albies are the name of the game. They too have been tough, because its very fast paced fishing and unfamiliar to some clients. We’re still finding bass and the occasional blues from Plymouth down to Falmouth, but we’re ready to go for albies!”. Call Captain Ross to book a trip (509)993-8981 or go to capecodcharterguys.com.

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

“Well, we lucked out; after bait fishing through the end of last week, the bluefin tuna jigging and topwater bite returned! We picked up a 70-inch bluefin on a Hogy sand eel jig, which you can watch on video here. We also got a 46-inch bluefin on a Hogy epoxy jig, meanwhile, our other boat also landed two fish on RonZ’s. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Bobby brought in his limit both days using only topwater lures. Today (Thursday) looks like heavy Northwest winds, so hopefully that doesn’t throw off the bite!”

The jig and pop bite is back in action for Reel Deal Fishing Charters this week. (Photo: @fishreeldeal)

Fishsticks Charters in Martha’s Vineyard reports:

“This is gonna be a good news/bad news kind of report. There are a LOT of albies around. Vineyard Haven Harbor, West Chop, up to and past Tashmoo, East Chop, State Beach, Cape Poge, Nobska down to Falmouth Heights and points east. Lackey’s up to Tarp Cove and points west. I’ve seen albies feeding in all these places.  I don’t feel like I’m “burning spots” by telling you this. It’s no secret. They’re everywhere. That’s the good news. The bad news is that getting them to bite is not easy. They are up and down very quickly, so it’s hard to get on them, and even when you get a cast into them, they don’t always bite. But sometimes they do! We had some success and landed albies at Tashmoo and State Beach. Both took epoxy jigs. OK, more good news: we had a great trip on Sunday, the first day of the Derby, at Squibnocket. Again, not a secret spot. We caught 12 albies and one bonito. The surprising twist was that none of those fish were caught casting. They were all caught trolling. And the bonus exotic catch of the week was an almaco jack, caught (and identified) by my Derby team partner, Jacob Riis.”

Big albies are everywhere. If you can find a bait ball or scattered pods of peanut bunker,  you’ll probably find some fish beneath them. (Photo: Hans Riis with an albie aboard Fishsticks Charters)
Jacob Riis caught this almaco jack during his trip with Fishsticks Charters this week.

Cape Cod Fishing Forecast

Albies should continue to move closer to shore; they’re within casting range, and as baitfish like peanut bunker get bigger, the albies will become less finicky.

Stripers and bluefish will continue to file through the canal, but an East tide seemed to be the ticket to a successful topwater bite in the morning this week.

Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay should fish well for both bass and blues whether fishing via vessel or surfcasting. Low light hours remain the most productive times to catch, and topwater spooks have been a key producer for schoolie bass and bluefish up to 5 or 6 pounds. With north winds, surfcasting in Cape Cod Bay will be difficult in terms of casting into headwinds and it could kick up a lot of seaweed; but sustained winds should have the bait pushed directly to the beach, making for some possibly epic near-shore feeds.

The Outer Cape beaches have been relatively quiet, partially due to an absence of surfcasters calling in sick with albie fever. However, even with the wind shift there are still a decent amount of schoolies and slots coming up on swimming plugs.

Lastly, it would be remiss to overlook freshwater fishing. It’s not quite trout season, but it is the perfect time of year for some big, topwater largemouth bass. As temperatures cool, night time will only be the right time for a little longer, and if there’s a bit of wind blowing, the chew could really be on fire. If you’ve gotta scratch the fishing itch, and do it fast— head to your favorite bass pond when the saltwater conditions won’t cooperate.

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