When I spoke to Mike Thomas at M & D’s on Thursday, lamenting what I found as pretty much a dead sea in Buzzards Bay from Nashawena to the Maritime Academy, he emphasized that the bulk of the activity has been in the early morning – and we’re talking before first light. Once the sun hits the horizon, folks have told him that the activity pretty much like somebody has flipped a switch.
There are some good fish being caught on live eels along the edges of the main channel, both from the Maritime Academy to Onset and Gray Gables to Mashnee Island, but the average size is significantly smaller than what is being caught in the Big Ditch itself.
I marked the water temperature in the bay as a consistent 72 to 73-degrees and Mike noted that Little Harbor Beach has been closed to swimming due to high bacterial levels.
Perhaps the most consistent activity has been terns dipping and wheeling to pick up small bait; most reports have tagged it as peanut bunker, although closer to shore in spots such as Old Silver Beach and Black Beach there are good numbers of silversides as well. Perhaps the funky winds on Tuesday stirred things up, but there were no indications of bonito and the few boats that I saw who typically target them were just rocketing to and fro.
Mike said that even when it comes to schoolies and few larger bass around Stony Point Dike, Phinney’s Harbor, and the boulder fields that surround the many necks from Bourne to Falmouth, very early has been the key to the best fishing. Even the schools of four to five-pound bluefish that have been reported moving throughout the bay have been most active in the morning; paying attention to slicks when the blues aren’t on top can pay dividends. A few casts with topwater, rattling plugs such as Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows and Heddon Zara Spooks will often raise a couple of fish, but if you are marking fish deeper in the water column, then dropping an Epoxy or diamond jig could get you hooked up.
Black sea bass are still being caught in good numbers around Cleveland Ledge and around other structure off Bird Island, Wing’s Neck, Dry Ledge, and Southwest Ledge, but the recreational season closes on Tuesday, August 29. At the moment, the tautog fishing hasn’t really gotten going, explained Mike Thomas, with the vast majority of fish still holding in deeper water, say around 40-feet.
And remember: although many folks associate Buzzards Bay with the waters from the Cape shoreline out to Cleveland Ledge when it comes to funny fish, the reality is that it extends well west and some of the best bonito fishing, and fishing overall for that matter, can be had by boaters willing to travel well west. This site might be called Salty Cape, but the stretch from Marion to Westport is where some of the smartest anglers from this peninsula find the best action right now in the bay.