Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- October 6, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Sometimes I can’t decide if it’s best to start with the best part of my report or save it for the end.

In this case, however, since it includes Capt. Mike, first mate Jack Pinard, and Hogy videographer extraordinaire Dante Borgese, I’m going to highlight it.

First off, Mike had wanted to do some video up around the west entrance to the Canal; given that he was driving down from Boston in the early AM and would have to go to Falmouth, load his boat, and then run through the Hole and up the bay, I offered to take the crew out in my boat since I live around upper Buzzards Bay and dropping my boat in the water is a snap. 

Of course, I assumed I was free, but I forgot that I had morning dog duty and had very limited time to be on the water and, therefore, didn’t want to rush what Mike wanted to get done. 

So I begged out, which in turn proved to be very fortuitous given what they experienced after they cleared Penzance and found birds working – or actually milling and dipping around on the surface, Mike said – in 30 to 40-feet of water. There were bass rolling on the surface, some of them pretty large, but Mike believes they were feeding on krill or some other kind of hatch and refused all types of lures.

After playing with the bass for about a half hour, Mike started to move slowly away towards another group of birds that were just sitting on the surface and when they took a look at their electronics, they saw that the bottom was paved with fish. At first, Mike thought they might be sea bass since they had caught two big ones earlier, but the marks just looked different. After trying a couple of different Hogy jigs, including Epoxy Jigs and Slow Tails, they finally “cracked the code,” as Capt. Mike likes to say with the Surface Eraser.

One of the primary features of the Surface Eraser is its heavy tail weight in a small plug that allows for long casts, but one of its best features is its versatility; it can be worked on top like a pencil popper or let drop to get down pretty deep. As Jack explained, “The fish we were marking were from about 20 feet down to the bottom, so we were able to reach them without scoping too much. If we had been in 60-feet of water, it would have been a different story.

Using the pink and olive colors, they began to get hits on every drop and started catching – weakfish! In fact, they caught squeteague for about an hour, some of them up to an estimated six-pound plus pounds, with the smallest less than a foot. Mike managed a single small bluefish on a Pop-and-Fly rig, but other than that, it was all weakfish. They were spitting up large sand eels, similar to what folks see offshore, and the shape of the Surface Eraser and its wobbling action on the drop are perfect imitations of this slender baitfish. 

In retrospect, it proved to be a good thing that I dropped the ball as they got some great video that I’m sure Dante will edit into one of his masterpieces.

Jack said they saw a few boats running around in search of albies and there were no signs of working bass or bluefish in Woods Hole; given reports from other areas about how the slick calm and high sunshine really quieted fish activity down, 

I did find it humorous that a few boats were following Mike and kept on charging up the bay, paying no attention to the subtle bird activity that clued the Hogy’s into something special.

There are still good numbers of albies around, but unlike earlier in the week when they were aggressively hitting a wide range of lures according to Jay Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay, other folks I spoke to said today and yesterday they were up-and-down quickly and very fussy. On the other hand, Jay said there were plenty of small bluefish around when he fished on Wednesday.

Now, one of the most overlooked aspects of striper behaviour – and this includes really big bass – is that they can be found in super skinny water. Obviously, one wouldn’t know this if they haven’t experienced finding them in the shallows, which are most often fished by anglers in the know, especially folks who fish on foot and are tuned into what is going on around them. 

Two reports from local anglers emphasized this; on Monday, Mark Tenerowicz called from his kayak while fishing inside Megansett. He had been catching small stripers that were pushing peanut bunker right up on to a marsh bank, but as the tide dropped, he moved out to the edge of deeper water and began tossing a topwater plug – which a 40+-inch fish blew up on. Mark likes nothing more than catching fish on the surface and he said it was extra exciting to catch sight of this big bass as it came up from what he estimated was less than ten feet of water.

A couple of days later, I heard from Ken Shwartz, who just happens to live in Mattapoisett, the same town that Mark does. With an outgoing tide and a fair amount of wind, Ken expected to find bass inside a river near his house or at least in the open harbor, especially with so much bait around and fish pretty regularly blowing up on it. But after coming up empty tossing plugs in likely spots, Ken ran his boat back to the dock at his house, at which point he saw a suspicious swirl in just a couple of feet of water and put a cast on it – and was rewarded with a fish in the 40-inch range.

On Wednesday, I stopped at Monument Beach and was chatting with Steve Drake; there were peanut bunker swirling everywhere and right there mid-morning, a school of bass just started some impressive feeding activity. There have also been albies right up around the docks in this area, with Connor Swartz from Red Top laughing as he recounted a day earlier this week when guys were catching albies right from the shore. 

If you have a plan to fish and the weather is suitable for heading out, I suggest you don’t hesitate; that said, if this kind of summery weather hangs around and the bait keeps flushing, we may be lucky and enjoy some excellent late season action right into November.

And with tautog action only getting better as the water cools and the fish continue to concentrate on hard bottom structure both out in deeper water in areas such as Cleveland Ledge as well as move more inshore all along the shoreline of B-Bay, there will be a lot of green crabs sold and some excellent eating to be had, like Steve enjoyed after someone gave him some tog fillets.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

The word from Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs is that folks fishing the Derby by boat have told him that there are good numbers of albies down the islands, along with some albies. The consensus is that many of the leading fish have come from Nantucket waters, but with over a week left in the Derby, our local archipelago is still a good spot to catching a winning funny fish. Robinson’s Hole is one spot that seems to continually produce solid action, especially during the early stages of both tides, but there are myriad locations where the bait can get trapped against the rocks or circled up in open water, making them sitting ducks for albies that will charge into them at a moment’s notice. And remember that the folks who continually catch albies and bones understand that studying and learning areas where these fish habitually show is key – as is the patience to hang there as opposed to rocketing to a new horizon is hopes of finding the pot of gold.

Bass fishing is also improving along the islands, especially on the entrances to the cuts between the islands where the current is flowing towards. Schoolies usually produce most of the happy surface action you will find, but any larger resident fish and those migrating from other locations will still relate to specific pieces of structure, especially those where schools of larger baitfish such as pogies might be found. It’s hard to argue with the notion that topwater strikes are best, but subsurface presentation with traditional offerings such metal lips or bucktails will still be rewarded. And other than staunch -r or should I say stubborn – traditionalists will turn their noses up at new-fangled swimbaits, twitchbaits, and slider that have proven their worth.

And while live eels will surely catch big fish right through the fall and rigged eels can be tough to beat, I will stick with my tandem rigged Hogy’s as a suitable alternative, especially at false dawn and dusk.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- September 29, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

There’s nothing like an up to the minute report like the one I got yesterday from Mark Tenerowicz; a dedicated kayak angler who understands that the advantage of this type of craft is the ability to fish skinny water in spots where shore access is impossible as opposed to thinking it’s a vessel that can tangle with stinkpots and heavy seas that would convince many boaters to stay home. So it was cool to get Mark’s call as he was into bass around Megansett that were feeding right on shore, often pushing bait into the marsh grass; Mark’s preferred method of targeting fish is with topwater plugs and he caught a number on small bone spooks, but he also recognizes the value of a soft plastic subsurface presentation – which produced a 40+-inch bass that came rocketing up from water about 10-feet deep as Mark following the dropping tide and the fish moved away from the shore. 

He also told me that the bass fishing has been great around Mattapoisett, another sign that the fish are on the feed in preparation for their migrations south and west. On my AM drive today, there were boats working schools of albies from the Maritime Academy down to Wing’s Neck and I have seen birds going crazy over bait and fish in numerous protected water locations from Phinney’s Harbor to Quisset, with the action literally right at the edge of the sand, marshes, and rocks. No doubt, this is no time to hesitate if you have the time to get out on the water. One advantage that B-Bay has for shore anglers in a northeast/east wind is that the wind will be behind you for casting purposes, which is more important for a flyrodder. Experienced sand-and-rock people know that an onshore wind is often more productive as it drives bait and gamefish up inside, but at this time of year, fish need to feed heavily to provide the needed energy stores for the incredible journeys they undertake and if they find bait, they will be there no matter the wind direction and even its intensity.

The west entrance to the Canal has been alive with a mix of bass, blues, and albies, with the latter also driving anglers nuts all the way down the entrance to Woods Hole. Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth ventured up into B-Bay on Wednesday with his dad, Chuck; given the heavy seas, they opted for Chuck’s larger boat, a Sabre, and this kind of craft presents a whole new set of challenges in terms of maneuverability and windage. Trying to drift with a boat with a larger cabin like a Sabre is going to be a challenge, just as T-tops often act like a sail when the wind is really honking. Then again, having been caught in deluges before in my open center console, as well as having my face and hands frozen during early and late season runs, I know that there is no such thing as a perfect boat and have often thought that having a warm spot, whether in a cabin or an enclosed T-top, would be pretty nice.

Evan said they were into albies for quite a while south of West Falmouth and they had their shots, but controlling casts and getting the retrieve right can be really tough when the boat is drifting in such a way that you’re pretty much running over the line. 

For flyrodders, this is even more of an issue; in those circumstances, finding a lee is critical – assuming the fish are there. In the Eastman’s case, the fish were well off shore, eliminating the potential advantage of the shoreline in an east/northeast wind. Frankly, even if know the fish are out there, I will still tuck in closer to the beach and simply blindcast a lure like the Hogy Surface Eraser or a larger Epoxy Jig. Although not the most aerodynamic offering, skipping a soft plastic across the surface if the water isn’t too rough can be the ticket. 

Speaking of long wanders, when seas are rough, a full sink line is typically a better option in terms of casting and maintaining contact with your fly. Overcast, stormy conditions are often best for chasing funny fish as they lose their persnickety attitudes and will eat anything – as long as you can get it to them. 

Green crab sales have been steady according to most shops, but as the folks at Maco’s said, given the conditions this week, most toggers have been opting for near shore locations such as Wing’s Neck, Scraggy Neck, and West Falmouth as opposed to open locations such as Cleveland Ledge, Bird Island, and Dry Ledge where it is rougher and harder to anchor up and even hold bottom with your jigs and rigs, with more lead called for.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

Given the weather, reports from boaters seeking bass around the islands have been “pretty scarce,” acknowledged Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, across from McDonald’s. There are typically larger bass caught inside Woods Hole and our local archipelago, but setting up the proper drift and avoiding a lift-and-slide into the rocks from a sudden sled makes casting pretty challenging. For that reason, Jack noted that the few people who have been out and managed to catch fish have been trolling, jigging wire or dragging umbrella rigs. 

There are definitely still albies and bonito around, but it’s defimitely a patience game – meaning understand your tide and hang in there, as opposed to running all over God’s creation in hopes of finding active, topwater fish. That is, unless you have an unlimited gas budget. Concentrating on the tide changes is a good plan.

The next several weeks should also see more and more bass and blues working down the islands, driven by concentrations of peanut bunker, sea herring, silversides, and other small bait. But what I will really be looking for is schools of adult pogies that often gather in sheltered coves and shorelines, drawing big fish like they did last year. For the most part, they were being herded by monster bluefish, but I’ve yet to meet a big bass that will turn its nose up at one of these protein packed baitfish.

As Evan Easatman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth has pointed out all season long, there is a handful of folks who keep their boats in Woods Hole and fish live eels regularly down the islands and this is prime time for this type of activity. I originally established my guiding business in a partnership with Mr. Wiggly and many of my regulars still want to cast snakes, but fooling 10-inch Hogy Originals is a whole lot more rewarding and challenging, especially with the dwindling number of bigger resident fish.

Plug fishing – both with classic wood and new fangled plastic versions – still works, but you need to work at it and keep – well, plugging. Know your tides and take the time to understand how bass set up in certain boulder fields and even relate to a single rock and it will help you become a better angler as you will learn how to effectively fish unfamiliar water because you can break it down. For many anglers, fishing is a numbers game – meaning how many and how big – but the reward in going old school with artificials is something that can’t be explained. Give it a try.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- September 22, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

If there is one fish that you can target in our local waters that you will drive you nuts due to their refusal to play nice, it’s the false albacore. On one tide, they will hit everything including the kitchen sink and the next they will turn their noses up at even the most perfectly tied fly that the baitfish it is designed to imitate are trying to mount it. 

Jay Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach has been one of the lucky folks who has found them to be in their happy place, catching them on small jighead/soft plastic combinations, plastic lipped swimmers, and even fluke jigs. He has been catching most of his fish blindcasting – where have you heard that before? – as there have often been large schools with no birds working them and they have been active throughout the day. Finally, Jay said color doesn’t seem to make a difference; just keep casting. 

I saw the Army Corps boat headed out towards the west entrance this morning, no doubt intent on moving boats out from the marked channel where the albies – and bass and blues – often are actively feeding. I know it’s tempting to play hide-and-seek with the authorities, but it really is unsafe to fish in waters where so many pleasure boaters – many in large boats going very fast – are running as well as tugs-and-barges and other commercial traffic.

Capt. Ray Jarvis of Salt of the Earth Sportfishing can’t keep the Albies off the Hogy Surface Eraser.

On a positive note, Jay did say that for the most part, everyone has been behaving themselves; clearly, they have found an antidote for the Albie Fever that has folks elsewhere acting like idiots.

Be assured that you will find plenty of albies elsewhere in B-Bay; Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, the Falmouth village where you will find the shop across from McDonald’s, spoke to an angler this week who had a really good day off Old Silver while Wing’s Neck, Scraggy Neck, Meganset, and West Falmouth are popular with the fish and the fishermen when the funnies are around. Then again, some of the best fishing has been out in open water around Cleveland Light, where blindcasting is highly recommended, especially in an area after a school stops tearing up the surface; pay attention to nervous water as well. The “skippy cast” with an Epoxy Jig is a great presentation when the fish aren’t showing, as well as ripping a bone or amber seven-inch Original across the surface or a small surface plug in white, clear amber, or pink. 

Both Jack C. and Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay heard from folks about the albies being really pick at times; that usually is the case when they are on really small bait like bay anchovies, juvenile silversides, and really small peanut bunker. Find them feeding on larger stuff, which Jack said should start happening now that the bait is flushing out of the backwaters and getting larger due to the cooler water, and they should really go crazy. Be advised that there are also plenty of bluefish, including some really big ones, feeding in the same areas as the funny fish, so before tossing your lure into the fray, take a second and see if you can identify what is making the ruckus. Now, I love bluefish, but light leaders and chopper dentures are a great combination if your goal is to help your local tackle shop’s bottom line.

If you’re like me and don’t really want to deal with the albie scene that sometimes just seems to appear out of nowhere just when you have the fish to yourself, there are ever increasing numbers of bass feeding on all of that bait in pretty much any bay, harbor, or cove from Bourne to Falmouth.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I can tell you firsthand that if you would rather target bass along our local archipelago, especially on surface plugs, then you’re in luck. I can’t say if it is just the significant drop in water temperatures from 71-degrees last week to 65 in the same locations I have targeting, but Keith Ashmus from Ohio, along with his lady friend, Mary, and his nephew, Elliot, found pretty much fish-on-every-cast fish on bone spooks and poppers on Wednesday. It took some time and patience working a number of spots that have been good to me in the past, but unlike so many folks who do more bird watching rather than fishing, if you focus on tide and structure, along with making changes in what you are throwing in terms of size, style, and where in the water column they are designed to work, you can be rewarded.

Of course, it’s always better to be like friends of Jack Collins over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in Teaticket across from McDonald’s, who enjoyed good surface schoolie action on Wednesday while looking for albies, most likely.

Speaking of albies, you can take two approaches, one which I highly recommend and the other I despise. 

In the first case, do what one of Evan Eastman’s regular customers at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth does: focus on a specific stretch of the islands that have been good to you in the past and you are confident fish will show. Set up a drift and keep casting; in this individual’s case, he was rewarded with a bonito and an albie fishing along the sound side of Naushon earlier this week. 

Or you can run up and down the islands, waking the crap out of other boats as you race in to see what they are doing, and then charge off without even taking a cast.

Matt Rissell had a great solo trip chasing albies earlier this week!

Now, I will acknowledge I am more sensitive to this lack of common courtesy and lack of common sense on the water, but I hate to see folks like the individual mentioned above have to deal with the conduct associated with Albie Fever. It sounds like he has a good handle on things and I admire his patience and ability to get it done.

But on the two days I fished the islands this week, I saw so many boats so close to each other that I don’t know how they could cast without hitting each other, never mind if they hooked up and the fish went screaming off in any direction. It actually was kind of funny when my friend, Gerry Fine, and I went by Tarpaulin yesterday and people were right on top of each other, with my plan to run well down the islands to avoid the Madding Crowd. The funniest part, however, was looking back in the direction of the cove a half hour later as the tide slacked and see the fleet charging towards the holes, again piling up on top of each other. We were picking at fish close to the rocks on plugs and Hogy Slowtails and more than a few boats slowed down to see what we were up to after throwing so much wake that we couldn’t work our spooks effectively. I simply waved them on and explained that they would be better off spending more time fishing than looking for other boats that were doing just that.

Some days, however, folks can be truly civilized, I must admit, and Charlie Richmond reminded me of that. On Wednesday, he invited fellow Osterville Anglers’ Club member Bruce Cunningham to make a run to Cuttyhunk to check up on Capt. George Isabel. Charlie had sent a copy of Bill Sisson’s new book on striped bass fishing to George, but no matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t get ahold of George, whom Charlie has been fishing with for years and is now the only charter captain out of what was once considered the striped bass capital of the world. When they arrived at Cuttyhunk, Charlie and Bruce found it like a ghost town; they did, however, run into Capt. Duane Lynch, who gave up chartering several years back, and he told them that George had suffered a health scare just a couple of days after Charlie’s trip with him back in June. They were told that George was on island and as they walked up towards his home, the good captain was headed towards them in his “buggy,” which I suspect was one of the golf carts that are used for transportation for the most part on the island.

With all the bay anchovies around, the Shrimp color Hogy Epoxy Jig has been many anglers go-to!

They caught up for a while and George explained that he couldn’t write to thank Charlie because he still doesn’t have use of his arm and hand; personally, I wish Capt. Isabel a complete recovery since he truly is a reminder of the glory that was once Cuttyhunk fishing. 

On the way down to Cuttyhunk, Charlie said there were boats spread out fishing for albies and on the way back from about Tarpaulin to a half mile before Woods Hole, there are five good sized schools of fish breaking and plenty of boats on them and everyone was behaving, giving each other room. 

Oh, and the other thing Charlie emphasized: he did not see one fish caught.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- September 15, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

And then they were there; after a quiet season so far in B-Bay when it comes to funny fish, last weekend saw a massive push of albies, especially in the area of Cleveland Ledge. Billy Nealon told me that a friend of his caught a dozen on one trip. He was using what sounded like the Hogy Shrimp color, which you can find in the Hogy Epoxy Jig lineup or the new Hogy ‘Chovy Micro Bait Jig.

Capt. Ray Jarvis of Salt of the Earth Sportfishing has been raving about the new Hogy Surface Eraser. His new favorite inshore lure!

 Other folks had equally good success, with large schools erupting everywhere and they were willing to eat, especially on the incoming tide, noted Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket, across from McDonald’s. 

On the other hand, at times there was so much small bait that it was difficult to get a grab, leading to what I call the “Albie Shuffle” as folks starting reaching for different sizes and colors of lures, frantically trying to re-rig with shaking hands. 

And when a hastily tied knot fails on the cast or, even worse, when a fish hits the new offering, the reaction from the unlucky angler can be priceless.

Anyway, Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that along with the schools of surface feeding fish out in deeper water, there have also been albies and some Spanish mackerel caught from West Falmouth up to Onset. In shallower water, they have often been much pickier as they have generally been feeding on smaller bait, while when they are on schools of 3 to 4-inch peanut bunker, they have been happy to bite.

Based on intel about this feed in the bay, Evan and Chuck Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth headed up towards Cleveland’s on Tuesday and they caught four albies in a relatively short time; the first three fish came on a 7/8-ounce Hogy Albie Crack Epoxy Jig, a lure that another angler recommended to Evan, with the final fish coming on the same size EJ but in Silverside.

Did we mention Capt. Ray Jarvis is a fan of the Hogy Surface Eraser?

The word from Jay Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach is that many folks have opted for smaller, amber colored jigs when the albies are finicky, while Spanish mackerel are very fond of shiny, chrome jigs. 

There have been some small bluefish mixed in with the albies at times, but generally the word is that the 3 to 4-pound blues have been sticking either to themselves closer to shore or mixed in an increasing number of schoolie bass. There are some gator blues mixed in with their smaller cousins; one trick is to try and drop a jig below the commotion made by the smaller fish on top.

Phinney’s Harbor is one spot in the upper bay that has had some good feeds of all three species, both early in the morning and again in the evening. Jay H. said that more bass from schoolies to slot-sized are being caught from Stony Point Dike up to the Maritime Academy.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I fished the islands yesterday with Dan Robertson and his friends Eric, Phil and Tom, with the primary target stripers on topwater. Despite the unseasonably warm water – 71-degrees as opposed to what it should be, around the mid-60’s – finding schoolies shouldn’t have been an issue, right? After all, there was excellent white water created by the early morning winds and T-storms. 

Nope. Just one swirl on a small bone Heddon Spook; even when I convinced everyone to give bone Hogy’s a try, I could not find a fish, not even bluefish.

As the trip neared the end, we opted to try for albies, but Quick’s and Robinson’s were surprisingly dead and it wasn’t until we reached Tarpaulin that we saw fish – and a dozen or so boats surrounding a couple of pods of Fat Alberts.

The Hogy Surface Eraser isn’t just for albies… Capt. Eric Kulin of Snapshot Charters has been using it to target large striped bass too!

I opted to go to the other end of the cove and blindcast and even then somebody roared in, pulled back, and idled by us on the port side of my boat – which is where we were casting. And then he had the audacity to comment, “Nice boat” as he had the larger, tricked out version from the same boat company that I run – and then turned around and passed within 20 feet of us to ask what model by boat was.

At that point, I knew it was going to be a tough day; we did have some good feeds to ourselves as we drifted east of Tarpaulin, but even then somebody felt the need to come racing down from about four hundred yards away and pull up short as the lady angler in the bow began to flip some casts halfheartedly, obviously unaware that their wake had driven the fish down. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth reported once again that a couple of island regulars who keep their boats in Woods Hole are picking at fish on live eels, but he added that Phil Stanton told him that on his last trip, there were no fish to be found, the first time that has happened in a long while.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- September 8, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I couldn’t tell you what the lag in fishing action in the bay is all about, but it seems that some bass are moving out into the west entrance down to as far as a line from the Mashnee Flats over to Stony Point Dike for a brief time before they make a brief surface appearance before heading back into the land cut. 

Late last week, I was expecting a good show in this area and there were some fish bouncing around on top that took small spooks, but it was nothing like I was experiencing at this time of year last season. In fact, there were more small blues in the mix in places like Phinney’s Harbor, Pocasset.

Eric Kulin had a banner week chasing False Albacore with the new Hogy Surface Eraser.

A number of boats continue to jig deeper water from Mashnee to Hog Island, as well as over by the Onset rip, but from what I gather, this has been a real pick in the morning. If it were me, I would look to the evening/night hours.

Kayak angler Mark Tenerowicz said that unlike last week, when he picked up some bass both up inside Mattapoisett and near the entrance to the harbor, as well as over at Fairhaven, this week things have been dead, with one schoolie to show for his efforts.

On the other hand, Christian Giardini over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, was waiting in Megansett for some friends who had seen a few isolated pods of either albies or bonito up around West Falmouth the night before, and he picked up some really small bass around the docks in the area.

Other than his news about funny fish in B-Bay, the best I can say is that nobody has been talking about albies, bonito or even Spanish mackerel; as the old saying goes, “There’s mighty little to eat on a rumor fish.”

Now Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay has caught a few albies fishing the bay entrance to Woods Hole, but there must be something in the water because they just won’t head up the bay. Of course, the heat and warm water can’t be helping and all we might need is a good cold snap to kick the bait out of the backwaters

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

Josh Lorenzo found some albies on a greasy calm morning earlier this week.

Labor Day weekend was a mixed bag around our local archipelago, starting with a good bite pretty much up and down the islands on both tides on Saturday. For example, Bob Lewis told me that Capt. Warren Marshall and his granddaughter caught seven on the fly and I spoke with a charter captain at the ramp in Falmouth Harbor on Sunday morning and his charter caught 33 on the spin the day before.

I typically avoid the holiday weekend albie madness, but I elected to give it a go with my cousin Cathy’s husband, Frank Manville, and his buddy Dan, who boat was dealing with gremlins. It was still pretty rough from the ocean swell, but we found a school of albies up inside Robinson’s that was working a rip line pretty happily and Dan landed his first of the year on a 3/8th-ounce Hogy Epoxy Jig in the shrimp color. Later on, when the tide turned incoming, we found fish working from Nashawena to Naushon and Dan managed another Fat Albert, but despite a number of good shots with the EJ’s and some blindcasting with pink Hogy Surface Erasers, we had a tough day. The water had calmed down mid-morning and the number of boats increased – along with some more running-and-gunning – and there were plenty of small bluefish around as well, which you had to pick through to get at the funny fish.

On Monday, Bob Lewis took a pre-sunrise ride to Cuttyhunk where apparently there had been a good bite the previous two days, but he told me he saw absolutely no life. Now, a widely held belief is that the early morning hours are best for a solid funny fish bite, but some folks have told me that they haven’t found consistent action on many days until mid-morning.

No doubt this has to be chalked up to some degree to the stage of the tide, but when I spoke to Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth, his personal fishing report got me thinking – which these days gets harder and harder. On Monday, he didn’t get out until 2-ish with his dad, Chuck, and after checking out Nobska where there were more boats than albies, they headed towards Tarpaulin Cove where early on there were a few more schools working. But around 4 PM and lasting until 6, the waters erupted with big, happy schools of little tunny. They stayed up so long at times that the Eastman’s hooked up and landed a fish and the school was still going off. They managed four albies in under an hour, with one key being a switch from the 7/8th silverside Epoxy Jig to the 58th size.

The following day, with conditions switching over to very little wind, high sunshine, and calm seas, any fish they saw were focused in on small bait and they couldn’t get them to eat. I believe the bait was the same combination of tiny bay anchovies and perhaps some very small peanut bunker as over the weekend, but the kind of conditions they faced on Tuesday are some of the most challenging you can deal with when it comes to sipping, cruising funny fish.

The rockpyle fishing crew had a few awesome trips chasing albies along the islands.

As I mentioned earlier, there is no lack of small bluefish willing to lop off your casting jigs, shred any small plastics you might favor, or mangle a selection of your perfectly tied flies, but that’s the price to pay when you have schools of mixed species. Still, if you take a moment, you can often tell what type of fish are ripping up the surface before you toss a lure or fly into the fray.

Quite frankly, I am not an albie addict; they are certainly fun fish, but it’s tough as a guide when you find fish and your folks cast at them for hours with no results, even after switching sizes, colors, and types of casting jigs and plastics and switching leader or tippet strength. One piece of advice I have for both spin and fly anglers is to get your offering into the fish; some anglers are convinced that you need to nibble around the edges of working schools, but I prefer to get right into the school. Another issue is casting beyond the school and then working it back through where they are or had been actively feeding. Bait doesn’t generally run at a gamefish and taking the time to get your lure into a school can often result in it disappearing before you are able. It obviously helps if the fish are happy and stay on the feed, but if you take a brief moment and determine which was they might be moving – and watching birds can help in this area – you will sometimes be rewarded with a hook up off a blind cast.

For the flyrodders and spin folks alike, a ripping retrieve might be rigeur for some, but at times, a slow or even a swinging retrieve will keep your lure or fly in the strike zone. 

At this point in the season, one would hope that more bass would be moving down along the islands, but according to Evan, the only people he has been hearing from regarding stripers are a few dedicated eel slingers who want nothing to do with albies – making them some of the sanest people on the water. Woods Hole has reportedly been holding some small bass around the ledges, but again, these have generally been rumor fish. Overall, your best bet is to fish from dusk to dawn and be home before the funny fish hordes descend on you. 

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- September 1, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

My trip loops along the west entrance to the Canal showed good numbers of birds working over breaking fish in the early morning and again at dusk, especially on the dropping tide and the first stages of the turn to incoming. I can’t tell you whether they were bass or blues since I wasn’t fishing, but flyrodders or light tackle folks using single hook options like jigs or soft plastics rigged weighted or unweighted would have a blast like the few boats I saw working the area.

The interesting thing I have noticed is that while the waters between Hog Island and Gray Gables on the Canal side often has plenty of bird and fish commotion, the waters inside Phinney’s Harbor, Pocasset, and other spots where I would expect to see at least some level of surface activity have been far quieter. It’s almost as if someone put a gate between the landward end of Stony Point Dike and the corner of Mashnee Island, allowing the bass to only go so far at the moment. 

A much smaller group of boats were working the rips at the entrance to Onset as well as between Mashnee and Hog Islands; they seemed to be drifting for the most part, bouncing jigs on the bottom in search of a larger resident fish that hang deep around structure. 

I did speak with Mark Tenerowicz who fishes the Mattapoisett area regularly out of his kayak and he has picked up a couple of schoolies on each trip, but well up inside as well more towards the entrance to the harbor. This is certainly a good sign of the water starting to cool in areas where it typically can get overly warm and lacking in oxygen in the summer, making it tough on even small bass that are typically hardier and more willing to deal with these kinds of conditions if there is food around.

One positive bit of news I received about BBay is that the fluke fishing has picked up over the last couple of weeks; we’re not talking about doormat action, but far more fish over 20-inches, especially on the deeper edges of the Mashnee Flats. Squid strips and scented, infused soft plastic grubtails and mullets continue to be favored by plenty of summer flattie finatics, but with reports of large schools of silversides and peanut bunker in the area, these will make great baits as well. Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach has returned to college for his final year, but his advice about picking up a package or two of frozen sperling or spearing – other common names for silversides – from the shop resulted in his best fluke fishing of the season. I also know folks who target really big fluke with pogy fillets and snapper bluefish, so going with an uncommon approach can often pay big dividends, as can the simplest rig of a small bucktail attached to a dropper loop above the appropriate weight sinker for the depth or current you are fishing; obviously, there is no problem with substituting another bucktail jig or even a heavier model of a casting or vertical jig such as a Hogy Sand Eel, Heavy Metal, or even Epoxy Jig, adding some increased fish attracting attention. 

No matter how you rig up, remember to keep tapping that rod tip and deadsticking one rod is always a good idea, as long as it doesn’t keep tangling up with other lines in the water. Typically, tangles are a result of using too little weight to hold bottom, allowing a line to “scope” out away from the boat, thereby collecting other lines that are being fished. 

As far as funny fish go, Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards said that the albies seem to be holding inside Woods Hole and have only made sporadic appearances off Penzance. Of course, nobody can say with absolute certainly how and why fish move, but so far there hasn’t been a push of albies or Spanish mackerel up into the waters to the north of the Hole; both of the shops in Falmouth had nothing to report from any of the usual funny fish hotspots, including the Cape Codder condos; West Falmouth; Old Silver Beach; Megansett; or Stony Point Dike over to Marion and beyond. 

The tautog bite is also picking up steam, with the largest fish yet to show, but enough legal ones in the mix to coax people into picking up a quart or two of crabs. One of my favorite talks with Morgan concerned his plans to return in October to take part in one of his favorite fishing activities: targeting big tautog in Buzzards Bay, especially when the bag limit increases to five fish on October 15.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

There’s no doubt what all the boat activity is down the islands if you’re wondering what the fleets are about: albies. As seems to have been the case the last several years, the Elizabeths starting in August and running through a good portion of the fall have become a magnet for anglers suffering from albie fever.

Last Sunday, however, I decided to tempt the Curse of Capt. Mike by taking a bucket of eels down towards Nashawena and Cuttyhunk at 3:30 AM with Frank Manville and Paul Jalbert, the husbands of two of my first cousins, Cathy and Cindy, whose mom, Marlene, is my dad’s only sibling and my godmother. The reason I mention this family connection is that along with a good tide, the reason I was up so early is because that week the boat ramp on Falmouth Harbor had filled up so early in the morning, even during the week, that I was certain the weekend would be worse.

I didn’t necessarily expect them to join me at 3:30 when I was going to launch, but they opted to give fishing in the dark a go, along with Frank’s friend, Vince, and agreed to meet me at that hour.

Now, when I first starting guiding, all of my trips were down the Elizabeths simply because to catch bass, there was no better place – and the numbers of big fish was a given. Add in eels and it was, almost literally, like shooting fish in the barrel.

Despite a few attempts, I was never able to get any of my folks to share my interest in wooden plugs, especially metal lip swimmers, and I have myself to blame since once introduced to the kind of action that slinging snakes produced, why would anyone who had a day or even two to fish the next season opt for a method that required a real learning curve. Big wood is not necessarily a numbers game like it was back in the day, but it still harkens back to the essence of what our local archipelago is all about for a handful of hardcores.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth has repeatedly mentioned that a few of his customers have been regularly catching some quality bass down the islands, but the one constant has been their use of Mr. Wiggly.

So, I was pretty confident that we could pick a few decent fish, adding the early hour and continued low light, overcast conditions even after the sun came up, with some fog to boot; a good turning tide that brings cooler water; and plenty of white water from the remnants of Franklin.

Obviously, my failure to fish the Elizabeths regularly this season came back to haunt me as we managed only two big bass – black sea bass, that is. We found some good concentrations of small bait on both sides of the islands, but the only other action we had was from a blue that lopped the tail off one of my eels. 

I have been fishing a fairly long time and, therefore, know that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to fishing, but eels and the Elizabeths produced plenty of really nice bass over the years. 

I eventually started to gain confidence in large Hogy Originals as substitutes for live bait; more importantly, folks who fished with me got the hang of them pretty quickly, as well, leading to some great trips. At the beginning, I used both seven and ten-inch Originals, either tandem rigged or with big Owner offset worm hooks before Mike put a show on with the soft circle hook approach. 

But on so many occasions, if we were experiencing slow fishing for larger bass, I would hear: “Can we try an eel?” It was simple: folks with no or limited experience with Mr. Wiggly were catching big stripers because this baitfish is tough to beat. In fact, the only time I have seen fish turn their collective noses up at a live eel is when I was fishing the same general area where someone was chumming-and-chunking or livelining pogies.

Obviously, I was down in the dumps at my inability to find bass for my trio of anglers; confidence is a big part of fishing and I was convinced that if we caught even just one schoolies that the switch would flip on. To be honest with you, even the dozen or so spots where I could pretty much call up a few small fish on plugs, plastics, or flies during daylight hours have been depressingly slow. 

In retrospect, changing over to a different approach would have made sense – and it might have gotten Capt. Mike’s snake eye off my boat, but I just couldn’t believe that eels would let me down.

Fortunately, after coming up empty one last time on the sound side of Nashawena and having more than a dozen seals follow us in hopes that we would hook up and they could, in turn, get an easy meal, we turned our attention to some gatherings of terns. Paul and Frank said they saw green on the breaking fish in the area, giving us hope that these were albies or bonito. Ultimately, they proved to be small bluefish feeding on micro-bay anchovies that they spit up boatside, along with some small squid. 

We began to poke our way back to Falmouth and that’s when we came upon a fleet of boats the likes of I can’t remember seeing from the corner of Robinson’s down towards Cobbly Beach. I elected to hang back, but it became pretty obvious that it was some big schools of albies that had folks bunched up so tightly.

And, unfortunately, it was clear that some of these folks were determined to run every school down, thereby ruining the chances for other anglers who were being patient and should have been rewarded with some quality shots. One of my goals the last several years has been to avoid confronting clueless, inconsiderate miscreants, but I just couldn’t help yelling at one boat that blew between us and another vessel, scattering the bait and fish while the two clowns in the bow got off casts and starting reeling like maniacs – at which point they were left with blank stares, wondering why they came up empty.

Even better was that another boat, that had been slowly positioned by its skipper to intercept a school, managed to hook up and land a nice fat albie.

To sum it all up, I made the decision to simply drift with the ebbing current away from other boats and Frank picked up a trio of albies on 3/8th-ounce Shrimp Hogy Epoxy Jigs, while Paul and Vince had their shots. One of the challenges when fishing for funny fish is not falling victim to the notion that since albies and bones swim really fast, you have to reel just as quickly. It should be a simple concept, but if you toss a lure into breaking fish and then rip it away, you have limited the time it is in the strike zone. Any fish worth its fins wants an easy meal, whether injured and tumbling through the water column or as part of a tight baitball. One of the advantages of the EJ is that because of its construction, it won’t plummet to the bottom if allowed to sink slowly or reeled very slowly; instead, it tumbles and wobbles like an injured baitfish. 

Fly fishermen catch plenty of albies and I guarantee you that even those that can strip a line at impressive speeds still move a fly way slower than someone winding a spinning reel at a moderate pace, never mind breakneck speed. In many cases, they will even let a fly tumble through the water column, electing to go with what I like to call “the no retrieve retrieve.”

That’s what makes soft plastics and even plugs such good offerings for funny fish that not enough people use: plastics float or sink slowly and produce great action on a slow retrieve and you can walk plugs like the new Hogy Surface Eraser high in the water column at moderate speeds even though it is heavily weighted to cast far and sink.

There will be times when a lure, whether casting jig, soft plastic, or plug, will blow up fish as it is burned across at the surface or just below it. But I prefer a more seductive, subtle approach when either blindcasting or dealing with fish actively feeding on top. At the very least, I’m smart enough to change it up when one method or speed isn’t working.

By the way, I spoke to three people today who mentioned that they were hoping to get into some albies this weekend and they all mentioned that they heard that the Elizabeths were the place to be for Fat Alberts.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- August 25, 2023

New Salty Cape T.V Episode!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

One of my typical routines when I don’t have a trip is to drive up and around the area of the Canal to see what’s up. I cleaned up my binoculars since my eyes aren’t quiet as good at picking up details from a distance; I often sense movement out there, but having a spy glass helps to bring things into focus.

After a disappointing Monomoy trip earlier in the week and after seeing lots of terns working over bait and active fish in Phinney’s Harbor and along pilings and along the stretch of the Canal between Mashnee and Hog Islands, I decided that this was the place on Wednesday to take Jason DeVito and his daughter Ellie to get into the first leg of the fall run. When we left the mooring field, there were fish rising everywhere and I was proud of myself; unfortunately, they were small bluefish, and it’s not like I don’t appreciate blues of any size, but they made short work of my small soft plastics and eighth ounce jigheads on light leaders that I find great fun when fishing for schoolies on up to slot sized fish.

We moved around inside Monument Beach for a while and tried small, single tail hook spooks which I was sure would do a job on the blues, but we managed only a couple of half-hearted swirls. It was at that point I remembered that Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach had told me he did well with small twitchbaits on small bass and bluefish last week; these are subsurface lures and great peanut bunker imitations, which I was certain these fish were keyed in on.

I learned later on how wrong I was.

So, we went out towards Wing’s Neck along the edges of the flats where small groups of terns would gather and an occasional fish would splash, but there was no intensity to the life we saw. From there, we bounced between Stony Point Dike and the Maritime Academy and the pilings, trying a variety of lures, including my old standby, the olive Hogy Epoxy Jig. I was using the 5/8th and 7/8th ounce sizes based on water depth, but I was drawing a big blank. 

Heck, we even ran around Stony Point Dike deep into Wareham and once again only saw sporadic life – and we weren’t just looking to cast at birds. We spent plenty of time working structure with Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and Dogwalkers, as well as seven-inch Originals, but couldn’t draw any interest. 

Yesterday, I learned from Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay that these fish around the west entrance and in the backwaters like Phinney’s have been feeding on juvenile butterfish and really small spearing. I have to admit that I didn’t really pay enough attention to the type of bait that was around, being way too confident that it must have been peanuts since the bluefish were active just after first light and they lopped off our plastics. Clearly, there must have been bass there as well – and we did encounter some incredible surface feeds of bass in Phinney’s when we returned towards the end of the current after our fruitless wanderings around the west entrance – but we couldn’t crack the code. Connor did make one suggestion that will make Capt. Mike happy and put egg on my face: in the kind of situations that I faced, he likes to use what he called “the baby Slowtail”, obviously the smallest in the Hogy lineup of this split tail soft plastic jig. I can’t tell you how many times that Mike has extolled the benefits of this lure since it produces lots of action without a lot of forward speed. Small, juvenile baitfish are not typically strong swimmers, so a slow, wobbly presentation just might be the ticket. 

Morgan also told me that on Monday and Tuesday, he was jigging for larger bass in the west entrance, but instead had incredible action on big, female black sea bass. He also had his paddletails ripped up by bluefish; when he ran out of green mackerel, his favorite color, he switched over to purple and even what he called a multi-color tail, which I suspect might have been a wacky mack. The sea bass didn’t seem to care; they just kept grabbing the jigs. 

Contrary to my experience, on both Monday and Tuesday, Morgan had good luck on schoolie bass and small bluefish using a small bone spook. Now, I am a huge fan of this plug in the 4.5-inch/half ounce version, but when I asked Morgan which size he was using, it sounded like he might have been tossing the smaller 3.5-inch/3/8th ounce model. 

This might have been the time to break out the Pop ‘n Fly rig, but I also haven’t taken the time to rig some up. 

Finally, Morgan has been focusing on fluke as much, but he hasn’t been skunked on any of this trips this week, with more small ones, but at least a handful of legal fish each time out as well.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

From everyone I spoke to this week about fishing for bass along the islands – including Woods Hole – the recommendation has been to use live eels, Period.

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth; the same regulars come in two or three times a week and pick up four to six eels to fish around our local archipelago. They are catching fish, but as should be the case, Evan doesn’t try to pry out any information from them. Odds are they are fishing at night or at least in low light conditions; clearly, they are putting in their time, which is key to consistent success and something I totally applaud. 

Over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket, across from McDonald’s, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matthew Resnick for the first time. He introduced himself as “the young guy” on the staff, but he sure provided plenty of good information. The only news he had regarding any slot or larger bass was from the Hole where eels are your ticket, but he shared some other striper info that I will share with you in the Sounds report. 

Evan spoke with Capt. John Galvin who ventured out from Megansett earlier this week with the express goal of helping a young lady catch an albie. It was pretty snotty in Buzzards Bay and there have been no reliable reports of funny fish there, so they went into the Hole where they hooked up five times using the shrimp 3/8th ounce Hogy Epoxy Jig. 

This info continued a trend of reports about the false albacore and bonito feeding on really small bait or “snot bait”; the first time I heard this term was down in Montauk or North Carolina believe, but it is an apt name for small, translucent bait that looks like – well, you get it. Fly fishermen clearly have the advantage of being able to cast small flies that imitate this tiny bait, but the Hogy Pop ‘n Fly technique is something to keep in mind when faced with fussy fish on teeny, tiny bait. 

Come to think of it, Capt. Doug Jowett from Maine used to visit the Cape in the spring for bass and fall for funny fish and had a really small white fly he called “The Monkey Brain.” I always wondered about that appellation since I have never seen a monkey brain and fly tiers often come up with farfetched names for their bugs; what I do know is that I have to dig out the one I got from Doug and study it a bit more carefully.

The best part of my week came yesterday as Ruth Anderson and Michael Beebe were joined by Ruth’s friend from California, Miho Hatfield, for some bottom fishing. The day was absolutely perfect weatherwise and the fish cooperated, providing dinner with scup and even a small bluefish that grabbed the bucktail that Michael was using for weight on his Hogy Jig-Biki rig; later on, another cocktail blue removed one of the teasers. It really is absolutely amazing to see how many juvenile sea bass there are, from fish that are barely two-inches to ones in the foot long category. 

For me, the most fun was watching the boats racing up and down the Vineyard Sound of the island looking for funny fish. In almost every case, they slowed down when they saw us fishing close to shore and in some cases came over to investigate, but when they saw we were fishing for scup, they wanted nothing to do with us – nor us with them. 

By the way, Ruth and Miho have now officially formed Team Scup Queens, having proven very adept at catching them right in the corner of their mouths. I have been using FishBites for a couple of years and I will say it is a heck of a lot easier to use than squid and the fish can’t steal it – plus I can carry a couple of bags with me at all time. I also learned that there is a difference in scup or porgy rigs, especially with the type and size of hook used.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- August 18, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I never fear being called a broken record if I keep repeating the same “tune,” so I’ll say it again: it is not a good thing that we aren’t seeing enough small bass. Putting aside the joke from some of my “friends” who laugh that I worry about small fish so much because that’s all I catch – which carries some truth to it, I’ll admit – the reality is that we should all be concerned especially because there are more people in Massachusetts than you think and plenty in other states, especially Delaware, New Jersey, and those surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, who believe we aren’t killing enough bass. 

So, I definitely was heartened to hear from Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach that the west entrance to the Canal erupted with smaller bass between, say 20 and 26-inches, this week. As is common for this time of year, the peanut bunker and baby river herring are pouring out of the backwaters where they grow during the early months of life before they face the perils of life in open water. Combine them with silversides and sand eels and you now are truly in the first stages of the fall run.

You might wonder, “Fall run? It’s only August!” but plenty of experienced anglers agree that the push of fish that folks long ago associated with late September and into October is now happening earlier. That doesn’t mean we won’t see some good bites in that time frame, but you can’t count on the epic blitzes of bass that were just so common. There’s a reason that the premier fishing event on the east coast, the Martha’s Vineyard Derby, continues to keep bass out of the mix of eligible species – and remember that it was built on the backs of stripers when it was started post World War II. As with any location, the sharpies will be able to find big fish, but a new conservation ethic seems to be taking hold among some of the fishing community, resulting in a distaste for hanging a big, breeding fish on the scale for money and “glory.”

Of course, it helps to qualify things a bit when it comes to bass, with the key being the size of the fish. The Cape has seen an impressive number of fish in the high 20 to mid-30-inch class, which makes perfect sense because they represent the 2015 year class, the last truly well above average spawn, the kind that fisheries managers typically depend on to keep the stock strong. 2017 and 2018 were slightly above average, but from 2019 to 2022, the spawns were, frankly, terrible; given that the average since the survey was started in 1954 is 11.3, numbers in the 3’s, which is where the last four years have been, should have been enough for the managers to take emergency action. Of course, they dragged their feet, as they did at their last meeting when it came to making decisions for 2024, such as adjusting the slot limit for recreational anglers and, most controversially, making the commercial sector share the pain as they were exempted from any changes to their 2023 quotas. 

What should really concern recreational anglers is the board’s consideration of upping the slot next season, which will still target that 2015 class. The only option should have been was to push the recreational limit to one fish at 36-inches or even higher. The commercial fishery in our state targets only large breeding females; on the DMF website this morning, the state has registered 669,337 pounds of bass out of a quota of 700,379 or 95.6%. Given their snail like record keeping, the real numbers probably won’t be available for at least a couple of weeks, but rest assured, given past history, if they determine that they haven’t filled the quota entirely, the DMF just might reopen the fishery to kill every last one they are allowed, the health and future of the striped bass be damned. 

In other area reports, there is also some good news about smaller stripers, but the vast majority of these are not from the last four years, and with the word leaking out that the Maryland’s numbers for this year are apparently worse than those, the future looks dim unless Mother Nature throws us a couple of bones with several great spawns and we protect the 2015 and any of those year classes, allowing them to reach breeding size and then keep everyone from harvesting them for several years after that. 

Since there is so much small bait around that the size bass that Morgan was catching were feeding on, this is a perfect situation for single hook lures; he was using a small twitchbait and most manufacturers supply plugs with trebles, anywhere from a single to three sets, but as Capt. Mike has shown in numerous Hogy videos, it is no problem removing all put one set of trebles or even changing out to a single inline hook. 

Even better is using soft plastics that are designed to be rigged with a single hook, whether unweighted with an offset worm hook or a swimbait hook, or if you need a little heft, simply go with a jighead or a weighted swimbait hook.

Fly anglers obviously don’t have to worry since other than old school salmon flies, 99.9% of the bugs used in saltwater are tied on single hooks. But the long wand community has another issue that too many of them don’t want to face – and it applies to spin and conventional anglers as well. Simply put, learn to stop fishing after a few fish; I know numerous anglers who can tell me how many bass they have caught in a season, which is mind boggling to me; catch-and-release mortality is a reality across all types of fishing and it can only increase if we insist on catching fish-after-fish when the bite is on. 

And let me be the first one to raise his hand as a guilty party in the early years of my guiding career when I would have flyrodders and light tackle anglers catch high double and even low triple digit numbers of schoolies. They were paying me to help them catch fish, but I kept my mouth shut even as I was wondering how this could be enjoyable since it was literally like “shooting fish in a barrel.”

Morgan added that there were some eight to ten-pound bluefish mixed in and offered up an interesting observation; most of the activity included both bass and blues and when he cast into the middle of the melee, he caught a lot more blues. On the other hand, when he worked the edges, he caught mainly bass. 

Paul Seriac told me that last weekend, he saw schools of similar size fish moving east in the Canal, clearly indicating that we are in the run and spots from Phinney’s Harbor all the way down to Penzance will be seeing happy, surface feeding fish.

Of course, what a lot of fly and light tackle anglers are hoping for is a good show of albies, bonito, and Spanish mackerel this year in Buzzards Bay; generally the crowds are lighter, making fishing for them more enjoyable since very few boats that launch out of southside ports are willing to venture through Woods Hole and up B-Bay, especially when they funny fish closer to home. So far, I cannot confirm any catches of these h tell his friend(s) with the proviso “to keep it to yourself” and it will, instead, spread across social media like wildfire.

Finally, the fluke bite remains solid off the Mashnee Flats and over towards Stony Point Dike, with fish in the 20-inch class being caught with enough regularity that a bag limit of this size summer flatties isn’t out of the question if you are willing to put in the time and keep your jig moving, perhaps even deadsticking one rod on the boat as this sometimes catches the largest fish. Squid and scented soft plastics fished on jigs are methods that are tough to beat, but Morgan and other Hopwood family members always make sure to take along a bag of frozen silversides – or spearing or sperling, whatever name you prefer.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I couldn’t place a year or even a more general time period when it happened, but starting in August, our local archipelago has become more and more about funny fish that striped bass, the fish that made these waters famous. 

Don’t get me wrong; there is still a hardcore group, like what I call “the Falmouth Fishing Doctors,” who have dedicated themselves to making, tuning, and fishing wooden plugs; sometimes it’s topwaters, but catching bass, especially big bass, on metal lip swimmers is a passion. Nowadays you will hear some young – or even not so young – plug builder talk about “his Danny plug,” trying to convince others that some tweak makes his better. The reality, though, is the classic Pichney version is tough to beat, as is the case with most of his designs; it’s the same case with Musso wood – and his plastic needlefish and darters, as well. Folks like Art and Numbskull can be found many, many days tossing that latter’s custom wood together or in their own boats, while Professor M. has gifted me some of his work and he fished the islands with Numbskull at times – although he drives the good doctor crazy by using one of those plastic double jointed swimbaits and crushing the fish.

And they all make fun of Sauerkraut for using live eels.

Now, I haven’t used an eel yet this year, probably because I don’t want to take anymore grief from Capt. Mike and I’m hoping to do some playing with the really big Hogy Originals soon – and, yes, I’ve been saying that for three years now. 

There is a limit to being a purist, however, and Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth continues to hear from a handful of regulars who come in for live eels that they are picking up some better fish in Woods Hole and all along the islands. It has definitely been a night bite, but the crappy weather the last couple of days with plenty of white water and a new moon last night are often marked in the sharpies’ calendars. 

I can say that after three skunks in a row down the islands, I elected to take a few days off. Last Saturday, Deb Hogan and family joined me for a trip to Cuttyhunk, where they explored the island and enjoyed breakfast at the Bass Club. I especially appreciated her husband, George O’Toole’s, comment that “everyone is so friendly.” We did some fishing on the way back and found terns working over breaking fish towards Penikese; the way they were moving, they could have been small bonito; we threw poppers and jigs at them with no love. Despite not hooking up, I’m not convinced they weren’t small bluefish since I refuse to be part of that “I know they were bones – or albies – because I didn’t hook up.” Show me a fish and I’ll believe you know what you were casting at.

Other folks, however, did catch some albies along the island this week, with a few from Lackey’s, once the site of an incredible stretch of years when bonito filled the place. Neither my trips this week with Michael Beebe nor my excursion with Gerry Fine produced a single fish of any kind down the islands and we fished hard. Woods Hole has been filled with tons of small bait, including shoals of peanut bunker, but other than rumor fish, I haven’t seen even small bluefish harassing it. 

It is helpful to have a friend like Gerry who lives on Little Harbor and keeps an eye out for me; he said there is finally a lot of life in the form of bait, but no signs of fish that would make him take any casts.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- August 11, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Sometimes, what a gamefish spits up when it is landed can be even more important than the larger fish itself. Similar to the way trout anglers will study the stomach of a trout they keep for dinner to see what it has been feeding on or even use some form of a stomach pump to achieve the same goal while apparently being able to release the fish alive, saltwater anglers should pay close attention to these signs. 

A perfect example was offered up by Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach this week; while larger bass have been tough to come by recently around the west entrance, he had a blast tossing plugs at big bluefish working between the Maritime Academy and Mashnee Island. It was a matter of finding some working birds – although Morgan added that at times they were blindcasting likely looking structure and spots that no longer had visible signs of fish and still raising blues – and getting a plug into the melee.

But what I found most exciting about Morgan’s news was that the bluefish were spitting up – peanut bunker! Anybody who has spent time fishing around the Cape from mid-August through the fall knows that these juvenile menhaden play as important a role in the quality of our fishing as do their larger relatives. At times, it seems like everything feeds on peanuts, from albies, bass, and bluefish to small tuna, fluke, and even sea bass. 

I had been looking for and asking about peanut bunker for at least a week now, fully well acknowledging that I was probably early, but given the lack of adult pogies in so many spots around the Cape this summer, I was wondering if the baby pogy population would be impacted. Last week, Ian Lumsden from Red Top in Buzzards Bay noted that while earlier in the season, especially in June, there were some schools of pogies around the rivers in Wareham and local inshore spots along the B-Bay Cape shoreline, including Phinney’s Harbor, Red Brook Harbor, Megansett Harbor, Wild Harbor, West Falmouth, and Quissett, and nearby locations easily accessible by boat, such as Marion, Mattapoisett, Westport, and beyond to the west, lately the schools of these baitfish have been concentrated in deeper water in B-Bay – as well as in the sounds. 

And, as anyone can tell you from what we are experiencing with striped bass right now, if you don’t leave enough big fish in a spawning stock alive, then you won’t have small fish AND if you don’t have enough small fish, ultimately you won’t have enough big fish. Fortunately, unlike bass, which spawn in rivers and other inshore areas, the life cycle of Atlantic menhaden follows a different pattern: Eggs hatch at sea. Larvae spend about two months there before drifting into estuaries and other protected waters. Larvae eventually move into brackish waters, where they grow rapidly throughout the summer. Menhaden can live 10 to 12 years.

Morgan said there were some schoolies mixed in with the bluefish, but when dealing with large bluefish of the kind he was catching, small bass become equal opportunity targets for Mr. Chopper, so these bass must have not been the little 14 to 20-inch fish that I have been looking for and rarely seeing.

Ultimately, Morgan explained that he was concentrating on fluke fishing this week and he caught the two largest fish from the waters he has been working this season: the deeper edges over by Stony Point Dike and the drop-offs near the Mashnee Flats. One fish was 26-inches and the other 22 and were thick, a good sign that they had been feeding well and they certainly liked the spearing or silversides bait that Morgan has been using this season, sometimes in combination with squid but more often on its own.

Folks are also seeing more schools of tailor bluefish or small ones in the two to four-pound range; it isn’t uncommon for people to call fish of this size “snappers” when in fact that name refers to the young-of-the-year fish that can be measured in the single digit inches and should be showing up soon. By the way, snapper blues make awesome baits for doormat fluke; that said, remember that even though you can keep any size bluefish, the bag limit is three fish per person whether fishing from shore or boat. 

Oh, and small bluefish make great impostors when it comes to convincing people they are seeing funny fish, which hopefully will make a grand performance in B-Bay this year; I heard they were over in Newport and even as close as Westport, so hopefully they will make a beeline east.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

After a couple of weeks of tough fishing, the word from Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth is that things picked up starting last weekend. He has a few folks who come in every week to pick up live eels, a sign of their dedication to pitching Mr. Wiggly along our local archipelago and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who spends more time committed to targeting large fish thereabouts than Phil Stanton. Last Sunday, Evan said, Phil told him that after a prolonged stretch of “picky” fishing, the day before they caught 15 nice bass, including two in the 30-pound range, which he proudly produced photos of. All of them were caught on eels and they were in re-supplying for a trip later that day.

The other eel men that frequent Evan’s shop also said they have seen a recent uptick in activity.

Last weekend, I fished with Ruth Anderson and Michael Beebe after their long fly cross country from Portland, Oregon and a couple of days of settling in. We always schedule a couple of scup trips to provide food for the table; I know plenty of people who turn their noses up at these fish because of all of the bones, but their meat is as sweet as your will find. Plus they hold a special place in my heart since they, along with winter flounder, were the first fish I had success with as a kid angling on my own. 

We picked at some fish in my favorite scup spots in the Hole, but I stubbornly held to these areas and should have moved sooner because when I did and focused on a favorite location down off Naushon, it was fish city. There were, of course, plenty of baby sea bass in the mix, but we also had a couple that were approaching the legal limit. Honestly, there isn’t much to a 16.5-inch BSB – which is the legal minimum length – if you fillet it, but I suppose if you broiled, steamed, or baked it whole and enjoyed picking at the meat, you could make a meal. I just know that most of my friends who like black sea bass don’t even bother keeping them until they reach at least 18-inches, with 20 even a better starting point. 

Deeper water is definitely the place to be if for larger bottom fish, both sea bass and fluke, with many people targeting depths between 50 and 90-feet; holding bottom in these areas, especially if you are fishing at times when the current is really going, can require a minimum of six ounces. Holding bottom and avoiding too much scope in your line – that is, the angle it makes between the tip of the rod and where it enters the water – are keys to successful bottom fishing, as is paying attention for any taps or more subtle signs of a fish taking your bait, such as sudden slack occurring which you can’t attribute to your rig coming off the bottom. Keep things as vertical as possible, especially when you are drifting, will catch you more and larger fish. 

There are also reports of plenty of schools of bluefish ripping up small bait, which will surely increase felonious funny fish sightings, including my favorite: “I know it was a bonito (or albie), but I didn’t land it. But it definitely ran like one.”

Nuff said on that end; from fish size to fish identification, a lost fish would leave a hole in any police line-up of suspects.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- August 4, 2023

Tagging False Albacore From Last Fall

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I elected on Wednesday to make the long meandering drive in my truck along Buzzards Bay from the west entrance to the Canal down to Woods Hole from just before false dawn to when the sun was just above the horizon; I poked into every little nook and cranny where I could get a look at the water, although I wish I had brought my binoculars along. 

From what I could see midweek and again the next day up by the Canal, there were five or six boats working the Onset Rip and along the Mashnee Island to Hog Island stretch. According to Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach, a few decent fish were caught on double jointed swimbait plugs while other members of the boat crew opted for paddletail jigs with the same result. Coming off the moon and with some good early morning tides shaping up, Morgan is expecting an uptick in the coming days into next week.

While I like to call those fish that hold in these waters “resident fish” that move with the tides, to produce consistent topwater action on larger bass, it typically takes a push of bait that is often spurred by water temperature; in some cases, the stripers and blues will actually push the bait out into the west entrance. By looking at the current change and paying attention to what is happening in parts of the land cut, it is possible to time these feeds. 

At the moment, Morgan noted that along with fluke fishing, he has been having fun tossing plugs at schoolies and small bluefish that are working under flocks of terns. He has been finding them up around the Maritime Academy flats and noted that there were fish and birds making a ruckus up inside Widow’s Cove. During my travels, I witnessed similar scenarios along the Mashnee Island Dike, while up inside Pocasset there was some small bait and a few schoolies showing from time-to-time.

One of the reasons for my scouting is my belief that what was for years called “the fall run” shape up much earlier in upper Buzzards Bay; a good sign that things are going to happen is the appearance of schools of peanut bunker. Not only will bass and blues feed on these smaller morsels of fishy protein, but their numbers, along with sand eels and silversides, will often determine what kind of bonito and false albacore season we are going to have in Buzzards Bay. I did not see any telltale signs of pogy fry or terns working on other small bait up inside Hen’s Cove, Red Brook Harbor, Meganset, West Falmouth, or Wood Neck, but my next search will be my boat since a truck has certain limitations when it comes to checking out what is happening on the water. 

Morgan went on to report that after catching a number of small bass and bluefish, he then turned to his original plan: targeting fluke. Sunday it was kind of rough, so it was a challenge to set up the right drifts, but on Monday he caught 17 summer flounder. The only problem was that not one of them met the 16.5-inch minimum, so for Tuesday’s trip he enlisted a young angler from the shop and found a pile of larger fish, up to 20-inches, when they concentrated on slightly deeper water, both along the drop-offs on the Stony Point Dike side and the Mashnee flats stretch. Unlike the typical artificial bait like Gulp! or natural offerings such as squid strips, they were using sperling – or silversides or spearing, as this baitfish is often called in these parts – on a two jig set-up, a heavier one on the bottom of the leader for weight and a smaller leadhead on a dropper loop up above.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

There isn’t honestly much that I can offer on our local archipelago as most folks leaving local ports have tuna on the brain or they are heading east to Monomoy or resting up for funny fish fun.

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth once again spoke of a regular who has dialed in trolling bunker spoons around slack tide in the Woods Hole area; this technique continues to account for some bigger bass. In fact, this fellow shared his secret with a friend, who came in to see Evan to get set up and he apparently found similar results. 

Otherwise, Joe Barresi from Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the Teaticket section of town across from McDonald’s, emphasized that for the last three weeks or so, a few hardcore island folks have been picking up mainly schoolies and an occasional slot bass tossing eels in the dark, while daytime anglers have concentrated on the tube-and-worm if their target are striped bass. 

It’s hard to believe, but the old chum-and-chunk days along the Elizabeths seem like ancient history; I have no doubt a few folks are catching bass this way, but you have to be really committed to finding bait since any concentrations of pogies, bunker, or menhaden – call them what you will – are scarce in local waters. 

I should mention that at the tail end of my trip on Wednesday, I played tourist – or maybe it was scientist? – in the Hole and drank a cup of coffee I brought with me on the grass next to the MBL club. I emphasized that I came with my own Joe since the lines at the local coffee emporiums can be daunting; I’m glad to see they are doing well, but avoiding people I don’t know – especially crowds of them on vacation – is my new favorite pastime. Anyway, there were plenty of terns buzzing in the Hole and my plan for today (Friday) is to join up with my nephew Frank for a 4 to 6 AM poke around to see if there are any bass under those birds feeding on baby squid or silversides, as well as drop down a Slappy Eel on a jighead to see if anything is holding deep in the channels between the islands.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- July 28, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

The concentration of bait from the mid to the east end of the Canal has definitely impacted the fishing around the west entrance to the Canal for the boat crew; the schools of mackerel that were driving most of the action there have most likely moved back into the land cut. Tony at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach said he went fishing with Morgan Hopwood on Monday and they got chopped off by bluefish rather than getting hooked up with bass. 

There are still some small schools of pogies, especially inside Phinney’s Harbor, Red Brook Harbor, and North Falmouth, but the odds of any of them holding bass like they were a month or so ago is way down. If you are determined to give it a go with artificial offerings and have intel about where these schools are, then a dusk to dawn approach with surface waking swimmers like Danny’s or subsurface sliders/gliders is one approach, along with slowly walked spooks. One of the issues with the pogies right now is that the water quality and water temperatures in shallow areas where they hold earlier in the season are not amenable to their staying there; they can be found in deeper water, but keeping track of their whereabouts can be a challenge if you are only occasionally on the water. 

On a positive note, looking at the long range wind forecast, winds are expected to shift to the north-ish through next Wednesday, which combined with a significant drop in the dew point to the high 50’s and air temperatures from the low to mid-70’s, could very well stir things up in a good way. 

As is typical when July runs into August, there are schools of small bluefish all along B-Bay’s Cape shoreline, as well as in open water on a line from Woods Hole over to Westport; for shore anglers looking for schoolies, think small plastics and flies, as well as fishing in the dark.

Tony said the fluke fishing remains steady, if not spectacular; you’re going to want to stay on the drop-offs into deeper water rather than hanging on top of the Mashnee Flats, for example, or any other shoal area. Jigheads and scented soft plastic grubs are popular, whether fished single or as part of a tandem rig, with a smaller, lighter jig on a dropper loop and a heavier one on the bottom. Some folks don’t even bother with the bottom jig, opting for a bank sinker of sufficient weight to handle the depths and currents where they are. Along with the soft plastic teasers, natural options such as squid strips, mummichogs/chubs, silversides/spearing, and sand eels are good alternatives. 

The other day while I was fishing in Woods Hole, the Miss Chris out of Onset steamed through, giving you an idea of what the bottom fishing for sea bass and scup is like in the bay; I guarantee that the Chris Whitton, owner/skipper of this partyboat would appreciate burning less fuel if the fish were closer to home, but like any good captain, he will go where he has to to find fish for his customers.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I was pleased to find lots of surface feeding bass, mixed in with a few bluefish who had an annoying habit of chopping the tails off our bone seven-inch Original Hogy’s, inside Woods Hole this week. While the soft plastics definitely worked, small white squiddy patterns on the fly rod ruled the day on Tuesday for Gerry Fine who was hooked up pretty much the four hours of the tide that we worked. 

The water temperature was a bit higher on Wednesday, but the fish were still working under flocks of terns and we managed a few bass on Hogy’s, the smaller Hogy Charter Grade Poppers (Albie Crack), and small spooks. The challenge in Woods Hole is always about casting distance and line/lure control due to the currents; I completely understand the for inexperienced folks that it makes perfect sense to concentrate on reeling the lure back to the boat or where you are standing. 

That said, one of the benefits of being a flyrodder is learning to read currents and allowing them to present a fly in the most natural way; in some cases, as it does in the Hole, you can anticipate based on what you are seeing that a fly or lure will swing a certain, almost linear way, but instead it goes at an angle or sweeps through an eddy or seam in a manner you didn’t expect. But it’s that natural presentation, often involving just enough reeling to maintain line contact without dragging the plastic or plug unnaturally. A couple of weeks ago, I was fishing with Deb Hogan – sister of Capt. Mike – and her family and her husband George stated that this was his favorite type of fishing. He definitely has a feel for it, something you garner with experience, in some cases allowing his offering to swim within a couple of feet from a rock where a bass is waiting. 

Of course, this is light tackle angling and since I use light monofilament between 8 and 17-pound maximum, it’s key that you learn to apply pressure properly with side angles of the rod and adding drag by feathering the spool with your hand, which you can release if a fish surges, thereby avoiding a breakoff – which is what you do with a fly rod. My eight-pound test rods, in fact, are what I call “fly rods for people who don’t fly fish” since we throw ultralight, unweighted soft plastics with them – or a 1/16th to 1/8th ounce jighead – and can apply a good amount of force when a larger fish hits. Then again, this is Woods Hole, where rocks abound and the fish know how to use the currents to their advantage, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get the bite.

Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the town’s village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, said he was in the Hole this week and noted that the fish were feeding on really small bait, most of which looked like baby squid. He noted that one way of matching a flyrodder is to use a dropper rig, where the fly is in front of a hookless, floating plug on a dropper loop, or run a short leader off the tail loop of the same type of hookless plug and then tie on a fly to the other end of the leader. For a plug, you can use a small, floating popper, but I actually prefer a spook since it slides better in the water, if that makes sense; on the other hand, Capt. Mike has a number of videos in which he uses a small Charter Grade Popper with a fly to match-the-hatch when the fish are keyed in on small bait. Looking ahead, you can stick with the plug-and-trailing fly rig during albie season, but it is more common to switch over to a Hogy Epoxy Jig or Heavy Metal Jig to deliver the hot fly when a long wander is kicking a spin angler’s butt.

Both Jack and Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth noted that they are still selling decent numbers of eels to customers who regularly fish the islands; it definitely is not a numbers game on most trips, but their reports include at least one nice, over slot fish per trip. 

This last week or so proved once again – at least to me – the importance of water temperature change, even something as slight as a degree or two. Last week, we were catching bass on poppers and surface swimmers down the islands as late as mid-morning, with water readings in the 67 to 69-range, but this week with the numbers reaching back up into the low 70’s, the fish were either being lazier or more likely staying out from the shallows during the day. As a reference, the current/tide stages were the same, but the impact of the moon phase and the extreme heat this week certainly factors in,

If you get a chance, check out the latest Hogy video in which Jack Pinard joins Capt. Ray Jarvis for some incredible topwater and jigging action around Block Island. I had someone call me about booking a trip to target a 50-pound bass for the brother of his girlfriend. Now this person knows how I fish and he was asking as a favor since there is no doubt that live bait, whether pogies, mackerel, or eels, especially drifting them deep around structure, is the way to go – and I don’t avoid this type of fishing like the plague. But as you will see in the video, under the cover of darkness, Jack and Ray break out the Hogy Slappy Eel Plastics and fish them on 1.5-ounce jigheads, but you can adjust the weight based on depth and current. In their case, they catch some beautiful fish and I am now more determined to give this method a shot down the Elizabeths, as well as over towards Gay Head and Noman’s. I have the Slappy’s and plenty of jigheads, as well as two of Capt. Mike’s new Hybrid spinning sticks which are perfect for this type of fishing, so hopefully I will have something to share in the near future.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- July 21, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Morgan Hopwood has been fishing the west entrance to the Canal this week pretty much every day and he said that on Monday the action was a little better than on Tuesday as a cold shot of water made its way through on the dying west tide. I especially appreciate that Morgan took the time to call me on Thursday to say that the action was even better than earlier this week, with a good number of mackerel moving out of the land cut into the waters from Onset over to deeper water around Mashnee and Hog Islands. At times the fish were pushing bait on the surface and jumping all over themselves to grab a large spook or other topwater lure, but when or if the action on top slows, Morgan emphasized that it’s time to go to paddletail jigs, with white or mackerel patterns – green is always a good place to start – up to five ounces. 

Large jointed swimbaits in either mackerel or ghost were really effective around the Onset rip, Morgan continued; the 228 size was what he was using and unlike the previous manufacturer of Magic Swimmer, the new company that markets them only offers slow sink varieties in this largest size, with smaller versions coming in fast sink or floating models as well. One change that Morgan makes to this plug is to remove the flaptail it comes rigged with, along with the tail hook, opting for a flag – a shank typically dressed with bucktail – that he believes gives the swimmer better action.

When things are a little slower in the early part of the week, there were birds working over mainly smaller bass on the flats up near the Maritime Academy and Morgan enjoyed some consistent action using soft plastics and smaller spooks like the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow. 

It is not uncommon to find bass hanging out around docks that feature cleaning stations or even those where people often dispose of their leftover bait; these can be really big fish, like the couple of cows that Morgan said were the biggest he has seen all season as he was docking his boat at Taylor’s Point. 

There are some schools of pogies moving in and out of Monument Beach at night; whether there are bass hanging around them is anyone’s guess, but odds are that some anglers have been keeping track of these prime baitfish and livelining them when they find any concentrations. Some smaller concentrations of pogies have been reported in open water from outside Bird Island over to Cleveland Ledge, but for the most part these are being harassed by big bluefish.

There’s nothing worse than when someone borrows a piece of equipment that you were hoping; that scenario confronted Morgan this week when he hoped to go fluking and find the conventional outfit he uses when fishing for both summer flounder and sea bass “went missing.”. Like many folks, he prefers a rod with a softer tip that can still handle jigs up to three ounces, which is all he typically needs to use when fishing the deep edges off the Mashnee Flats and over towards Stony Point Dike. There aren’t really any super big fluke being caught, but there are decent numbers of fluke in the 18 to 20-inch range, while there are just incredible numbers of small BSB around.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I honestly have been remiss this season in passing over our local archipelago – other than Woods Hole – for the most part this season in favor of easier fishing elsewhere, but Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street said that regulars like Phil Stanton have been using live eels to catch some quality bass in the Hole and stretches closer to this passage.

After being spooked out by the fog around Monomoy earlier this week, I hooked with Deb Hogan to complete our truncated trip and this time decided to check out the islands instead. We found some healthy schoolies on the dying tide today using bone, seven-inch Hogy Originals; the key is learning how to swing these plastics close to pieces of structure where resident bass hold all summer long, something Deb’s husband, George O’Toole admitted was his favorite type of fishing – perhaps because he has become quite adept at it. There’s a definite feel to it, reeling only enough to keep contact as you work you rod tip in conjunction with the current to produce the kind of action that fish just can’t seem to resist as they are holding in their feeding stations.

I paid special attention to water temperature during out morning trip, noting it was 75-degrees in the sound as I was heading from Falmouth Harbor to the Hole, where it dropped a couple of degrees to about 72. Remember this is surface temperature and water running through the rocks and ledges is more oxygenated than places where the flow is more stagnant, even if the numbers are fairly close.

Eventually, we shot down to Robinson’s to catch the end of the tide and found what looked to be small bluefish or perhaps schoolies banging around on the surface on the sound side of this hole; there were some boats up inside and I suspect that were working a similar scenario that often shapes up where Robinson’s narrows at the site of the old bass club. I elected not to try and “force” my way in among those folks who were already there, opting for throwing Hogy Charter Grade poppers into the rocks on Naushon, where we had some impressive takes and landed some larger schoolies on the Albie Crack color.

I also spied one of the Falmouth fishing doctors tossing his custom plugs thereabouts, and given his prowess for targeting and producing larger fish around the Elizabeths, I imagine he must be finding some larger bass if he’s putting in the effort. Remember, this isn’t a numbers game at this time of year, but learning to fish wooden metal lips and other wooden plug designs can be really rewarding when you do coax an old cow into exploding on your lure, although in the high heat and sun of summer, the take can be more subtle – or even frustrating as a fish follows, but never commits.

Although I am not particularly fond of deep water presentations, especially those that involve trolling such as jigging or the tube-and-worm, I have rigged up some Hogy Slappy plastics on a variety weighted jigheads and plan on giving this approach a shot in the next couple of weeks and promise to report back on my experiences, both those during the day and when I have the chance to fish at night.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- July 14, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

The whole spiel on water temperatures and fish was started yesterday by a discussion I had with Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach. Along with the riprap rats in the land cut, Morgan got into some really good action on similar sized fish around the west entrance. As he explained, when they got out and started their first drifts, the water temperature was in the low 70’s, but as the end of the west current brought water with it from the east end, they registered water in the low 60-degree range as the mackerel pushed out into the waters between the Maritime Academy and Hog/Mashnee Islands. Some folks were livelining mackerel, but Morgan opted for both surface plugs and heavy paddletail jigs, especially green mackerel versions, although he did end up using purple ones when he ran out of the other color. While jigs in the five-ounce range are often required to fish the Canal effectively, Morgan noted that he typically saves the really heavy stuff for when there are smaller fish on top, but he is marking larger bass down below and wants to get down to them. Otherwise, he said that 2.5 to 3-ounce jigs work well during the slower stages of the current. 

Of course, the worst case scenario if you fish the west entrance by boat is when the mackerel and bass never quite make it out of the land cut, which Morgan said was the case later this week when he could only watch birds working and bass boiling up around the railroad bridge. 

Back in the day when Morgan’s grandparents, Dottie and Dick Hopwood, used to run Maco’s, there was a group of guys who would get together each Saturday to tube-and-worm the waters from around the Maritime Academy over to Onset. I believe they called themselves the “The Trash Can Crew” and they had a lot of fun with their weekly competition and caught a lot of fish. Unfortunately, Morgan confirmed that not many folks use this method in that area anymore, but he did say there was a couple of days earlier this week when folks came in looking for tubes and tubing worms as apparently some larger fish had moved back into the stretch from Little Bird Island out to Cleveland Ledge. Now, in the Cape Cod Bay report, I mentioned the recremercial folks who were livelining mackerel or trolling around the east entrance to the Canal and down towards Sandwich one day and then over to that stretch in Buzzards Bay Morgan mentioned the next day if there was a better concentration of larger bass there. 

It was my understanding that the body of larger bass from B-Bay had moved into the Canal on the last moon tides and worked their way east, before gathering up with some big fish that followed the mackerel into the east end. Then again, fish do have tails and perhaps some of the fish that feeding on mackerel at the west entrance followed some bait back out into the open stretches of B-Bay.

I was glad to hear from Morgan that I’m not imagining that there has been a general lack of smaller bass around upper Buzzards Bay this year; he mentioned that when he was younger, he could pretty much guarantee that after work he could go up in the evening and catch a bunch of schoolies up in Buttermilk Bay and that was my experience in Monument Beach, Meganset, Old Silver, and West Falmouth, as well. Fully understanding that I can’t be in all places at all times and I’m sure someone reading this right now is saying, “Peros has lost his mind; there are tons of small bass where I am.”

But I will stand by observations and conversations I have had with folks like Mark Tenerowicz, who fishes in his kayak from his home waters over in Mattapoisett out west towards RI and east along the Cape shoreline, and say that despite a lot of small bait around, things are dead. Other than some really small bluefish – no, they’re not snappers, but would qualify as what some folks call “tailor blues” – and one schoolie that Mark said “must have been confused and not gotten the message that his buddies had left because the water was too warm.”

On the hand, like so many places around the Cape and islands, there are some big bluefish out in deeper water around Cleveland Ledge that they have been catching on chunk bait.

Catching a legal black sea bass might be even more of a challenge than catching a slot size striper – if you believe the charter guys on the latter – in upper Buzzards Bay right now, but Morgan said the fluke fishing has been pretty good for he and his friends. He pointed out that there haven’t been any doormats and it’s taken some “time to get into a groove and find some better fish,” but by working the waters around Stony Point Dike on one side and off the Mashnee Flats and the Canal on the other, they have managed to get into some 18 to 28-inch fish using silversides and sand eels on their jigs. By the way: Maco’s has been getting a limited supply of local sand eels and these just might be some of the best fluke baits around. Morgan did emphasize that they don’t have a steady supply on hand, so when you can get them, do it. The silversides – or sperling, as Morgan calls them, or spearing – are frozen up like the sand eels, but come from elsewhere.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I failed to find the small bluefish – I’m talking four to six-pounds – that Sheila and Frank Carotuenoto were hoping to catch for their smoker in the sound last weekend, so I buzzed over to Woods Hole and we got a number of hits from schoolies before managing two of the feisty crew on unweighted seven-inch Original Hogy’s. I saw one other boat working in the Hole, but he didn’t hang around long, which surprised me because there were terns working around and I had little doubt that we could have found some bass in spots other than where we were fishing. 

If I were looking for any larger bass – or perhaps even one of those big, gnarly resident bluefish you can find in the Hole at times, I would opt for fishing eels at night or perhaps even just around false dawn before the sun starts to bake things and the boat traffic becomes unbearable. 

A couple of years back, Capt. Mike made a video with Capt. Nat Chalkley in which they fished the tube-and-worm in the Hole during the dog days of summer and caught some nice bass; with what seems like exceptionally warm water around these days, it would be interesting to see if we could repeat that feat fishing the same tides and conditions. 

Anyway, the best news I had concerning the Elizabeths this week came courtesy of Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth, who finally managed to get some fishing in on Wednesday after a prolonged stretch of no days off at the shop. We’ll save his fluke report for the sounds section, but after disappointing results, Evan opted to head for Robinson’s and as he approached the Buzzards Bay end of the Hole, there were birds working hard and tons of really big bluefish; opting to use a 1.25-ounce Hogy Silverside Epoxy Jig, it was pretty much a fish on every cast, with most of the choppers 30+-inches. I asked Evan what he was using for leader material, as I have been using 50-pound fluorocarbon for the big fish around Wasque and elsewhere and it still comes back frayed, sometimes with what I can only call “strips” of line curlicued from other fish competing for the plug or running into. Unlike so many other folks who immediately turn to wire when fishing for blues, Evan was only using 30-pound fluoro and he did not get caught off once. 

Although I asked not because it was an issue nor do I bring it up because I want to make it a point, but I asked Evan if he were using the jig rigged with its original treble and he acknowledged that he was. With the barbs crushed down, it was no problem releasing the fish and they were all hooked in the corner of the mouth. Although Capt. Mike will probably be dancing with glee when I have to admit that I learned something from him about fishing, I will admit right up front that I now carry a pair of split ring pliers and an assortment of treble, in line single, and Siwash hooks with me in a waterproof box, based on seeing that Mike does from watching his videos and seeing him swap hooks out as needed. I’m a big fan of having all my bluefish plugs rigged with single hooks, whether they come pre-set up that way like the Hogy Pencil Poppers or Hogy Squid Plugs or I have switched out some of my other favorite bluefish plugs like Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Yo-zuri Hydro Pencils, and Heddon Zara Spooks. On some occasions, I have come upon really fussy bluefish that I need to use certain small poppers or other lures on, but they are rigged with a single belly treble or tail treble and I am glad to follow the Commander’s lead and take the time to switch things out on the spot.

flounder. Evan went on to say that he has not heard of any bass on the shoals and other than some really small bluefish marked by terns as they feed on sand eels and other small baitfish, it is really quiet.

By the way, Evan was good enough to send me a photo that was one of his staff took of the baitfish that the big bluefish were spitting up in Robinson’s, which Evan said was interesting since the ones he caught the day before didn’t upchuck anything. They look like baby sea herring to me, but I hope to get the photo over to someone at MBL to get an official identification.

Evan’s final word was that a few dedicated folks are picking at some larger, resident bass along the islands, either fishing at night or well before first light, when you can start to make out the shapes of the rocks that you knew were there, but couldn’t quite see. Speaking of which, there is nothing worse than fishing the islands at night and having the kind of fog we were experiencing through earlier this week roll in. I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible to lose all sense of spatial awareness and direction in the fog; on at least one occasion, when what had been a clear night turned into a misty morass as I was fishing in tight to shore, I made the decision to move out into “clear” water, but still avoiding any marked channels, and threw out the hook, waiting for the fog to lift, even if it meant waiting until the sun came up to provide some clarity on the situation. Oh, yeah, make sure you call your significant other if you take this tack; I know she or he will appreciate it.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- July 7, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

As I went over in the Cape Cod Bay report, there are still pogies in a multitude of backwater spots from Wareham on west, with some folks even gathering up some of these baits and then transporting them to the west entrance to the Canal if their favorite Cape location isn’t holding a school of bait they can toss a net on. One of the realities of the snag and drop “technique” is that as the water warms to uncomfortable levels for bass, you might find the bait but not the stripers that earlier in the season can be found hovering down deeper. Many folks who liveline pogies or even chunk them do so during the daylight hours, but under the cover of darkness, the water can cool just enough to convince a big bass that it’s worth the effort to get back to patrolling shallow water for something big and oily to eat.

Ian Lumsden from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that some folks are still tossing big topwater plugs around the pogies, but the level of success has tapered off significantly, with the best time as summer progresses to use waking style plugs is from dusk to first light, before increased boat traffic and bathwater temperatures convince big fish it’s time to seek solitude in deeper, cooler water.

The tube-and-worm is also a good option in B-Bay in the summer, especially along the shallower, rocky shoreline that you can find in abundance from Bourne to Falmouth; again, the slower trolling speeds employed with tubes appeal to a larger bass that is in a more torpid state if it has ventured into shallower water where you can use braid or shorter shots of lead core. But don’t overlook the effectiveness of tubes in deeper water; you can simply switch over to wire line and weighted tubes.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth added that tossing live eels at night into the rocks – especially when higher water coaxes them into the shallows.- is a good option. If rocks and darkness are not a combination you feel comfortable with, remember that you can venture out just before first light and have a better view of the nasties that claim props and lower units – along with collecting different colors of gel coat – and that short window will sometimes kick fish into feeding mode since they realize that it is their last chance to fill their bellies before they have to scoot for the protection of deeper and darker – and thereby cooler – water.

It was also good to hear from Evan that a friend of his was anchored up off of the Black Beach area in West Falmouth over the holiday weekend and was surrounded by terns working over breaking bass and bluefish. These were generally smaller fish, but there’s nothing better than topwater action on small surface plugs such as spooks and poppers; of course, if the fish refuse a surface presentation, which can occur when the bait is really small, then switching over to small weighted soft plastics such as the Hogy Protail Paddles or Hogy Slow Tails is a good move. And if you are into mainly bluefish, Hogy Epoxy Jigs and Hogy Heavy Metal Jigs do a great job of mimicking small bait – but you probably want to upsize the test of your leader or perhaps even opt for wire. 

Although Morgan Hopwood wasn’t available to offer up one of his awesome reports since he was out fishing with his dad, Jeff, I did hear from Larry when I called Maco’s in Buzzards Bay that the fluke action on the Mashnee Flats has picked up. And if you aren’t familiar with these waters, when folks refer to the “Mashnee Flats,” they are often speaking of the areas where they drop off into the deeper water along the edges of the new and the old Canal. 

If you are seeking bigger black sea bass, then you want to consider what the headboats and the commercial BSB anglers do at this time of year: head for the deeper waters of Vineyard Sound, sometimes even making the run to Noman’s.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

The word from Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth is that the Hole is still fishing well; as he emphasized once again, one of his customers just might be the only person who fishes bunker spoons in this area and he once again picked up a really nice cow over the holiday weekend, along with a mix of slot sized fish. There has also been some good topwater action with both bass and small bluefish chasing baby squid and other small baitfish; no doubt, it is great fun tossing topwater plugs at breaking fish and watching them bat them all over the place, but remember that a slow, almost no retrieve approach will often work best as opposed to frantically reeling and whipping the tip of the rod around. 

It can also be frustrating for spin anglers to watch flyrodders clean up when the fish are on small bait and won’t hit a plug, but remember that on these occasions the long wanders are often using small white subsurface patterns to imitate squid and that should be a clue that it’s time to change over to small white paddletails or perhaps even other soft plastic designs rigged on weighted or unweighted offset or swimbait hooks. You can swing these plastics just like a flyrodder does with his or her “bugs.”

If trolling is your thing, then a change over to the tube-and-worm is often in order at this time of year, but be advised that you should carry more than enough worms since these waters are filled with scup, small sea bass, and choggies that just might be the best bait stealers known to mankind. I have heard on more than one occasion that some experienced tubers opt for eelskins or even eel  Ttails when the little bottom feeders become a nuisance, although I have to acknowledge that it’s not all small fish that produce that telltale rat-a-tat-tat on the tip of your rod as I have caught some of the biggest scup imaginable when tubing the islands. 

And Christian Giardini over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the Teaticket section of town across from McDonald’s, emphasized that casting eels into the rocks anywhere along the rocky shoreline of our local archipelago can produce bass, but the sound side of Naushon is always popular, mainly because it’s a short hop and features a number of spots where you can get in to areas where the rocks don’t bite as often and on days when the water conditions are a bit stormy, you are protected by the Vineyard from the swell that builds and breaks ominously the farther you go down towards Cuttyhunk.

While eels are like plugs to me – they’re made for casting – one way of targeting larger fish and avoiding areas where interactions with rocks abound is to drift eels in the deeper water in Robinson’s and Quick’s using a three-way rig. 

And although it isn’t the virtually guaranteed big bass producer that it once way along the islands, if you can procure iced, fresh pogies from a shop such as Maco’s that still carries them – and remember that they also have a shop on this side of the bridge in Monument Beach – or gather them up yourself, then anchoring up around your favorite boulder field or point, setting up a consistent chum slick, and then sliding a delectable chunk into the slick will still produce quality bass throughout the summer months. Then again, you need to pay attention to the tides and moon phases to determine the best times when the current is moving and the water is even just a few degrees cooler.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- June 30, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I heard from a southside tackle shop owner that a guy came into his shop claiming that he has caught over 40 bass over 40-pounds casting Docs and livelining pogies around the west entrance to the Canal and over towards Wareham already this season. Now, I know the fishing has been good thereabouts and if you said you had that many stripers over 40-inches, I might even consider you credible, but I often wonder what drives someone to offer up this kind of BS in view of the number of cows of that caliber which have been reported so far this season. Then again, I wonder how many people have ever seen a 40-pound bass?

That crankiness on my part aside, I do know that there are still good numbers of pogies in the protected waters from Wareham over to Mattapoisett and beyond, and most of these schools have an entourage of big stripers tracking their every movement. You always hear about casters picking some big fish out of these stalkers using big spooks and soft plastics, but snagging-and-livelining continues to be the most popular and productive method. Water temperatures are definitely on the rise in areas where these baitfish are hanging and one angler I speak to on a regular basis who loves livelining pogies, Ken Shwartz, noted that the decreased oxygen in spots like the Wareham River or Marion Harbor is resulting in what I sense are “stressed” pogies; in many locations, it is not uncommon to have fish kills involving pogies, which makes for a smell that you won’t soon forget. 

While I could waste a lot of energy talking about the failure of the state fisheries’ cops in regard to monitoring and prosecuting the outlawed practice of snagging-and-dropping, the reality is that far too many anglers employ it and a treble snag hook in the gut and gills is a death sentence for any fish. But an interesting question was posed to me this week regarding what to do when you are transferring your pogies to a circle hook and still get it lodged deep inside a big bass that you intend to release.

I will let better minds – here’s looking at you, Capt. Mike – about the logic of catch-and-release live bait fishing, but I do know this person and believe him when he said he made a good faith effort at getting the hook out. Typically, he leaves a bass in the water and pops the circle hook right out of the corner of the mouth where it has usually gained its purchase, but there was no way he could do that with a gut hooked fish and, therefore, brought the fish on board to try and get the hook out. Despite his best efforts with a long needle nosed pliers, he couldn’t, so he cut the leader off close to the hook, returned it to the water, and proceeded to try and revive it. It did finally kick and swim off, but in retrospect, I believe the best play would have been to leave the fish in the water, but again cut the leader as close to the hook, take the time to revive the fish, and then hope for the best. I clearly have no idea about the math, but by taking the fish out of the water and laying it on the deck to work the hook out, I have no reason to doubt that the odds of this fishing dying have increased exponentially.

And before all of your livelining lovers get on my case, a couple of weeks ago I took the founder of a fly fishing site to task for displaying a big fish on the deck of his boat for a photo; his response was that they only took the cow out of the water to get the hook out and take a photo – and after all, it was cloudy and cool . . . and they wet the deck down. This kind of holier than though BS that fly anglers profess drives me crazy; I asked him if he had ever heard of programs like Keep Fish Wet and he emphasized that he had helped this organization produce video on best catch-and-release practices – which led me to wondering about what those folks would say about his actions in this case?

But you know what, I decided it wasn’t worth wasting my time to find out what they thought, deciding instead to remember that every angler out there, including yours truly, has killed fish accidentally no matter how careful he or she is. If we can reduce post release mortality by being a little more aware of what we can do to improve a fish’s odds of survival – well, that’s the best any of us can do, including a who lot let grip-and-grins and lip gripper devices to hang a fish by. 

Now, according to Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore, not only are there big bass up inside the rivers, harbors, and bays that empty into the upper stretches of Buzzards Bay, but there are also some schools of quality fish in open water between Bird Island Cleveland Ledge. Could these fish be following pogies? Perhaps, but Bruce emphasized that folks trolling red tubes tipped with seaworms have been doing well, at times in pretty shallow water. When I asked about whether they were using lead core, he said some were, but others were doing well with braided line and a topshot of mono or fluorocarbon leader. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Bait & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth knows of at least one angler who has been cast netting pogies in the Bourne/North Falmouth area and turning them into bass; it certainly is easier when you the bass and bait are together, but Evan acknowledged that in many cases, this guy has been transporting his pogies, menhaden, or bunker – call them what you will – elsewhere to an awaiting school of bass. Come to think of it, why would someone net bait if they could just snag it and right there catch the kind and size of fish they were hoping for? Amazing how the obvious is right at the tip of your nose and you look right past it – or maybe that’s just me. I do know, that when it comes to fishing success, paying attention to what is happening right around me has often led to some of my best days rather than making a complicated calculus out of things. 

There are some schools of small bluefish showing in the waters outside of Woods Hole and up towards Quisset and West Falmouth, but it seems like we are definitely getting into the resident bass part of the season, with fish settling into their summer haunts. No doubt, dusk to dawn is the best time for finding stripers from boat or shore up inside the bays and harbors, along with concentrating on spots with some white, moving water and rocky structure.

Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay explained that he didn’t get out as much this week after bass due to the generally “crappy weather” earlier in the week; instead, he worked on some fluke. One day, he managed four fish up to 20-inches and another he picked up three summer flatties in the same size range, clearly not doormats but enough quality fish for a nice meal. He was working in about 19 to 25-feet of water in more protected waters as opposed to the deeper edges of the Canal. Morgan’s grandmother, Dottie Hopwood, used to emphasize to me how the best fluke anglers used a variety of bait on their hooks, including what I recall her calling a “fluke sandwich”: a mummichog/killifish, a piece of squid, and a sand eel. Morgan wished he had been able to get some sand eels, but he settled for squid and frozen silversides/sperling that the shop carries and are also known as a good fluke bait. Along with the small fluke they had to pick through, there were also plenty of small sea bass around, with a typical season seeing headboats, commercial, and recreational anglers heading for deeper water in Vineyard Sound.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

The word from Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth is that there has been a good bass bite in Robinson’s and Quick’s, with solid topwater action around the turn of the tide in both directions. There are some bluefish mixed in as well, which is not a good thing for folks casting live eels into the rocks.

Evan Eastman took some time out from helping customers at his shop, Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth, to tell me that a friend of his has been wire line jigging in Quick’s with good results, while a few folks are turning to dragging the tube-and-worm.

A few folks continue to liveline scup in the Hole, seeking any larger fish in the area, but Evan added that drifting eels has become more popular and productive lately, especially at night.  

The full moon is on Monday and although there are plenty of legends about phenomenal catches of big bass during the bright moon phase at night, a lot of sharpies I know believe that while the bright conditions at night, combined with increased currents and tides night might produce increased action in those hours, the opposite is true during the day as the fish are lazy and digesting whatever they munched on previously. What I am hoping for, alternatively, is the krill hatches to spark up; call me a glutton for punishment, but this is some of the most challenging fishing I know of. As a flyrodder, I really enjoy trying to match the hatch with tiny shrimp and crab patterns on floating lines and super light tippets, a nice change from slapping or mooching big squid patterns on heavy sinking lines in the rips. It’s not better and no doubt the fish are much smaller, but it’s just fun to kind of “dry fly” fish in the salt.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- June 23, 2023


In this video, Capt. Mike joins Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters for a day of fluke fishing out in Nantucket Sound. This video was filmed in early June and the Fluke fishing was still heating up, but the crew still managed to have a successful day on the water. From locating fish to proper gear and technique, Capt. Mike walks through everything you need to know for your next trip to the fluke grounds!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

It’s kind of cool to see a younger angler get into his fishing in a big way; although Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach comes from a fishing family, including his grandparents Dottie and Dick Hopwood who started Maco’s back in the day and his dad, Jeff, who now runs the business, and no doubt was into the sport in a big way before I had the chance to talk with him this season, it has been a breath of fresh air talking with him weekly. He has even taught this old dog some new tricks! Well, along with the Canal turning on with early morning east tides, the west entrance was apparently just as good; in fact, midweek Morgan said he had his best day of the season, with a dozen fish over 35-inches, with the largest 41-inches, all on plugs. He was using both the big jointed lipless swimmers in white or macllkerel, as well as big spooks, right around the turn of the tide; it was a relatively quick bite, lasting about 1.5 to 2 hours before the fish moved into the land cut or went deep; as he noted, guys were trolling deep water swimmers in white or green mackerel, either on lead core or braid with a top shot of mono, all around him while he was calling fish up from the bottom with his plugs or dropping his hard plastic offerings right on their head when they pushed mackerel to the surface, along with smaller pogies and even some squid. 

One thing that disappointed me this week was my attempt to find what I call “resident” fish around upper Buzzards Bay in view of all the hateful east/northeast winds that made the sounds a mess. When I used to fish for myself from shore, I typically had a couple of spots in mind and would stick it out right through the tides or perhaps make a move here and there; I kept that same practice when I made the switch to boat fishing as well. That kind of changed when I began guiding and succumbed to the pressure of having people on fish the entire time and that led me to what I call “scrambling” or relying on the “freedom” of having a boat and the option of running somewhere else when things were slow or taking too long to shape up. I did that on Wednesday and shot up the bay after finding some very fussy bass on the shoals; suffice it to say that we did not raise a single bass – including the schoolies that I count on like pets in at least a dozen spots – using everything from plugs to plastics to flies. We had a few half-hearted follows on the Mashnee Flats, but I was really surprised that there weren’t the “resident” fish that I have come to rely on, especially the smaller stuff. I offered up this observation to Morgan and he agreed that there seems to be less consistent fishing for smaller bass inside Phinney’s Harbor, Pocasset, and the like. Then again, my friends would be quick to point out that I would be worrying about small fish when the big bass bite has been extra good. Then again, maybe they’re not here in any numbers yet and soon Buttermilk Bay, Onset, and the waters near the Maritime Academy will be crawling with schoolies. 

The other day I was driving from my house and saw a truck coming from the Barlow’s Landing area towing a small Carolina Skiff clearly set up for tube-and-worm fishing, the giveaway being the T-rod holders attached to the gunwales. These devices allow the rods to extend out pretty much perpendicular to the hull, keep the lines spread farther apart when slow trolling, especially when making turns. They also absolutely essential when dragging bunker spoons, which swing back-and-forth in wide sweeps that can cause they to tangle up. Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore laughed since he had a pretty good idea whose boat it was and confirmed that he was most likely commercial bass fishing with tubes around the Wareham and Marion area as opposed to pretty much everyone else looking to make a buck off of bass who have been fishing live bait. 

Mark Tenerowicz fished with a buddy in the Marion/Mattapoisett area this week and stuck with his plugs and plastics, picking up a few smaller bass, while his friend caught some “really big” fish on live pogies. 

And Bull MacKinnon from Red Top in Buzzards Bay added that most of the recremercial folks have been working on a school or two of larger bass between the Maritime Academy and Cleveland Ledge, either livelining pogies or even some mackerel, with the latter much tougher to find on a consistent basis. I have always found it interesting that nobody really talks about using live scup in the upper Buzzards Bay area while they are very popular baits when targeting bigger bass around Woods Hole, the Elizabeths, and Vineyard Sound. I do know that when the fish are on pogies, they become pretty “stupid” when it comes to anything else, including live eels as I have found out on more than a few frustrating occasions. 

The black sea bass action has slowed somewhat in the bay; I did spy the fleet working deeper water south/southwest of Cleveland Light this week, perhaps a sign that they are moving down the bay and towards their summering grounds down off Noman’s. Morgan managed a few short fluke fishing for sea bass on the edges of the Canal, but it doesn’t seem like people are really targeting them right now, perhaps because the striper fishing is so good. Scup are also smaller on average, but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of legal sized fish; it’s just the jumbos aren’t quite as common.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

There is an incredible amount of life in the Hole if you fish the right tide and stick with it. There is everything from schoolies to over slot bass pushing small squid, some as small as an inch or two, and the fish definitely seem less inclined to hit poppers when they were focused on the small Loligo. In fact, it seems like the Hogy Charter Grade Poppers, whether we were using amber, Albie Crack, or even either the clear or translucent white in both the medium and small sizes, worked best when the fish weren’t really actively feeding. The key was to target structure and keep moving the plug around it, changing speed and cadence; one trick that these Hogy poppers allow because they float is to cast it on structure and let it just sit and wobble. This can piss a fish off, I suppose because they are territorial, and more than a few of the largest bass we have caught in the Hole or along the Elizabeths have come when doing as little as possible with a plug. As I like to say, “A big bass is no bluefish; they are lazy and prefer to have their meal brought to them, rather than having to chase it.”

That’s what makes livelining scup or pogies so effective around the Elizabeths; you’re presentfling an injured, struggling bait that a big old striper can target with the least amount of energy used up. Perhaps the most common method of hooking a live bait – and remember that whether you snag a bait; sabiki or jig it up; land it on bait; use a cast net, or go the laziest method of buying live eels at your local tackle shop you have to change it over to a circle hook if you are fishing for bass. 

You won’t find many people trolling bunker spoons in this area, but there is one guy who comes into Evan’s shop who does just that in Woods Hole, from about the mid-point of Broadway out towards Buzzards Bay and he apparently does quite well on larger fish. I honestly have seen nary a soul when I have been fishing for bass in the Hole through Thursday this week, perhaps because of the weather, but I would have thought a few folks would have been jigging wire since it isn’t uncommon for bass – especially the larger ones – to hunker down on the bottom even more than they usually due during a prolonged stretch of east/northeast winds.

As much as I like topwater fishing, there are times when the bass are making a nuisance of themselves by pushing squid and refusing any surface offering, as has been the case at times this week – and that’s when I switch over to unweighted or lightly weighted soft plastics. The bone Hogy seven-inch Original was a godsend at times, while at others I had to go to even smaller versions from other makers – like Zoom – on what I call my “baby rods.” These are seven-foot, ultralight rods paired with 2500 to 3000 size Shimano spinning reels and eight pound test/15 to 20-pound fluorocarbon leaders; now before you go howling about how these combos would result in prolonged fights and more stressed or dead fish, the reality is they are needed for casting such as small plastics and they really are no different than using a fly rod. In fact, I often resort to them when a flyrodder on my boat is the only one catching fish because he can present small “bugs” that match the bait. This week, that meant small white, pale pink or light tan bunny fly squids; Silicone Squids; and PVEP’s, a small Loligo imitation made with EP fibers and brightly colored Sili Legs  – especially orange and fire tip -that Paul Valint created just for fishing the holes and shoals this time of year. 

Earlier I mentioned using live eels and Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth reported that one of his customers caught a 45-inch bass down around Quick’s Hole by casting Mr. Wiggly into shallow water, rocky structure, something that the Elizabeths have plenty of. People are often surprised by how tight bass – including really big ones – will get to shore around our local archipelago, but quite often that’s where the food is, from baitfish such as pogies to crustaceans including crabs and lobsters, and fare such as choggies, scup, and baby sea bass or tautog than any sizeable striper can get its maw around. Overcast rainy days are a good substitute for fishing in the dark – for anglers, that is, as the fish don’t care when or where they are swimming, but humans worry about things like gelcoat and lower units. Personally, breaking swells and heavy seas with their attendant white water can make for great fishing as well – if you keep someone at the helm and know where the sticky situations are that you can access safely and those that you want to avoid, no matter how many fish may be holding there. 

I was disappointed to hear that Charlie Richmond’s trip to Cuttyhunk last weekend failed to produce any larger fish on the troll; in fact, they didn’t catch many bass of any size to speak of. Obviously, anyone who was on the water Saturday remembers the rain that wouldn’t let up, but I was sure that the fish would have been happily feeding in between the rain drops. During both his trip down Friday and his return on Sunday, Charlie added that he saw very little in the way of fishy life, including working birds.

Oh, and one last thing: all week long there have been schools of small bluefish marked by swarms of terns between Parker’s Flats and Juniper Point, including the corner leading into Little Harbor. And when I say small, I’m talking about some that the snappers of August and September would challenge. I have no problem sacrificing soft plastics when it means catching fish; white certainly worked, but I had some fluorescent chartreuse jobs that they mini-choppers couldn’t resist and chartreuse was the key in terms of fly selection and it had to be up in the top six inches of the water column, just like the unweighted soft plastics. Several years ago, I was fishing with Falmouth’s Laurie Thwaites down in Montauk when we happened upon a bluefish maelstrom with a few bass mixed in. Laurie is the Queen of Hogy’s and when a sizeable chopper grabbed the seven-inch Original she was using, she did a great job of getting it to the boat for a clean release, but the amber plastic was mangled. Not to be deterred, Laurie took to what she called “nubbing” as she cast the remnants of the Hogy to see how many fish she could catch on it as it shrank in size and if I recall correctly, I believe she caught a half dozen blues before the hook was stripped clean. And the little blues this week like our chartreuse nubs just fine, thank you very much.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- June 16, 2023

Open Water Trolling for Big Striped Bass!

The Salty Cape crew joined Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters. The crew steams out from Sandwich Marina into Cape Cod Bay in hopes of finding big Striped Bass in open water. The goal was to put the new Hogy Charter Grade Swimming Plugs to the test in an open water trolling scenario for big Striped Bass. The name of the game was utilizing the RayMarine radar to locate flocks of birds diving on bait with the big Striped Bass holding beneath. If you like big Striped Bass then you’re in for a treat with this video. Enjoy!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I received a much appreciated report from Ken Swartz about the pogy schools and big bass that he and his friends ran into on Thursday in the Marion area; given how tired Ken sounded, it was pretty obvious that they were into big fish in a big way.

I can pretty much could guarantee that the state did not charge a single angler with violating the anti-snag and drop provision currently in place and I certainly don’t expect anything different this year. It’s kind of funny when people think you are dumb enough to believe them when they explain that they snagged a pogy with a weighted treble hook and couldn’t get it back to the boat expeditiously enough to transfer the bait to a circle hook as everyone is required to do by law, including so-called commercial or recremercial bassers and for hire operations. So kudos to folks like Ken and his crew who adhere to the rule strictly and without exception. 

There are also schools of pogies around the Wareham area – and Ken acknowledged that he was originally headed there before he happened upon the several hour long action that he did – and Ian Lumsden from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that some quality bass are staged there as well, perhaps in preparation for a move into the Canal with the upcoming new moon tides. The consensus is that if you prefer to target these fish by casting artificials rather than the real thing, then big plugs and soft plastic paddletails is the way to go. 

On the other hand, Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore has spoken to some sharpies who are going in a different direction and trolling the tube-and-worm. Quite honestly, I don’t know if they are using this technique in the same area where the stripers are holding on pogies, but I suspect not. Then again, who knows since I also heard some scuttlebutt that tubes were doing the trick in the Weweantic and Agawam/Wareham Rivers, which is where you expect the pogies, bunker, menhaden, or whatever you want to call them like to hang.

So far, there have been limited reports of bluefish in upper Buzzards Bay, explained Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay. For a couple of weeks, I have heard about schools of big bluefish on the Buzzards Bay side of the Elizabeths, but nobody seems to have located them in the upper reaches, if they are there.

According to Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s, a few boaters have been jigging up some quality bass in the deeper water between West Falmouth and Nye’s Neck, while inside spots like Megansett and Sippewissett, there are mainly schoolies that are providing a lot of fun for fly rod and light tackle anglers at the moment, with a few slot and above fish around to keep things interesting. Soft plastics are definitely an excellent choice to imitate the variety of small baitfish they are feeding on, but small spooks and poppers provide lots of visual thrills as the smaller bass knock them around. 

If you have been looking for some larger sea bass, Morgan Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay had some good news; he managed to get into fish up to the 20-inch class off of Wing’s Neck and added that the waters around the Old Canal are worth checking out. Jigs – both bucktails tipped with scented soft plastics and Hogy Epoxy, Heavy Metal, and Squinnow Jigs – are often best a targeting bigger BSB as they are an aggressive fish, to the point where they are occasionally found on the surface imitating a rampaging school of bluefish.

Fluke are starting to show on both edges of the Mashnee Flats, Morgan added, and the scup bite remains strong as well.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

I am going to hate myself for doing this, but over the years people have asked me why I don’t say where I am fishing, but I report where others are. Well, I will tell you that this week Woods Hole provided as much topwater action as I can remember – and most of it was visual. In other words, even I couldn’t miss it. Capt. Mike and I years ago used to do short trips in the Hole to “experiment” with his Original Hogy’s in the early AM and we were never disappointed, with quality fish – many, many over 40-inches – crushing the soft plastic. We did see these fish pushing large squid, but just as often Mike would make a perfect cast into quiet, holding water and a fish would erupt on his Hogy.

This week, we certainly had fun raising fish on the amber Charter Grade Popper, as well as swinging bone and amber seven-inch Originals, but the amount of tiny, baby squid built to such a crescendo by Wednesday that at times I just had to watch and appreciate the scene. We’re talking about a fly rod/light tackle dream; I have little doubt that any number of small, light colored squid flies would have worked – I love a white bunny squid as well as Alan Caolo’s Magic Squid – but we were focused on dead drifting small white soft plastics. The water was so clear and there were so many fish that you could see the flash of their sides and bellies as they competed for the lure. 

On at least one trip, I saw one boat jigging across the main channel just outside Penzance all the way over to ferry channel, but it didn’t seem like he was catching any larger fish than we were. I do know the scup bite over towards Hadley’s and in the deeper water towards Timmy Point, as well as the holes off of Sheep’s Pen, Pine Island, and the main ferry channel. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth told me he has been selling 20 or so pounds of eels each weekend, which is usually a pretty good sign that folks are slinging snakes around our local archipelago. I have been meaning to experiment with the Hogy Slappy Eel around the islands, but when people are paying you to go fishing, you really shouldn’t be using them as guinea pigs. What I would like to see if Capt. Mike hook up with Eric Harrison aka as Slappy to give the islands a night go with his namesake lure; I am familiar with Eric’s big bass exploits in Boston Harbor and elsewhere, but I’m not sure what type of structure he is targeting. I suspect it is a bit “sticky” and if that is the case, the Elizabeths have plenty of that. 

Last I heard, the schools of big bluefish are still around, but I would be remiss if I pinpointed a given area since fish have tails, you know, and they swim; one good bet is they have been flowing into Quick’s on the east tide, along with some schools of bass pushing smaller bait. The really cool thing right now is amount of life and fishy activity around the islands; as I was writing this, it was so good to feel the cool, clean air in the house, but I am also aware that things can turn to a sweaty, hot mess anytime soon, pushing the bass into a deep, dark summer pattern, so enjoy the action while you can.

Evan also mentioned that there are some larger sea bass in the deeper water outside the Weepeckets and some fluke being caught down around Lucas Shoal.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- June 9, 2023

Help us conserve striped bass!

We joined The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to take part in their Striped Bass Citizen Science Study. Check out the video above to receive a breakdown of the study and how you can help! Want to become a DMF Citizen Scientist? Sign up HERE.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

OK, so let’s get to Maco’s in Buzzards Bay west entrance to the Canal report from Morgan Hopwood who said he really didn’t stray much from the waters around Hog and Mashnee Islands as opposed to running over towards Wareham like so many folks do. On Monday and Tuesday, that had big bass busting on big spooks like the Hogy XL Dog Walker; bone definitely seemed to work better than white, including with smaller spooks. As far what they were feeding on, Morgan recognized tinker mackerel, but they were also feeding on a small, broad profile white baitfish that he said looked like peanut bunker or baby butterfish; I’m often wrong, but I will bet on the latter. On Wednesday, the topwater action never shaped up, so Morgan and his friend switched over to fishing deep with paddletails and bunker spoons. Morgan explained that he has been experimenting with the bunker spoons, generally going with 9.5-inch in three and four-ounce sizes that he has had success with dropping down to the bottom on braid and conventional gear. He did say that one key to successfully dropping these wide spoons is to let them down on a tight line, helping avoid their tendency to plane off in the upper part of the water column. Morgan caught a number of stripers on the spoon, as well as a sea bass, while his buddy Tony managed bass – both striped and sea – along with a fluke and a tautog. The largest bass they had caught through Thursday was 43-inches.

Capt. Diogo of Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing has been finding great success on the Hogy XL Dog Walker.

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore said that some really nice bass have been caught on the tube-and-worm out Wareham way, while Morgan said that while he hasn’t seen any schools of pogies out around Bourne, over in the Wareham rivers and in the bay itself there had been some bigger fish following those schools of baitfish. This week, however, the ranks of these bass have been thinning somewhat.

Although the numbers of sea bass are strong this season, even in areas known for their larger specimens, such as Cleveland Ledge and Wing’s Neck, as well as spots in Wareham, Marion, and Mattapoisett, there has been a lack of really big fish. In fact, on some days, folks have been challenged to find fish that meet the 16.5-inch legal minimum, never mind those big, bright spawning males. When I returned to Falmouth Harbor, I spoke to an angler who had fished B-Bay that morning and he couldn’t find any sea bass, he said. Morgan did pick up a sea bass on a weighted soft plastic paddle while fishing for stripers along the edge of the Canal and when he switched over to more of a sea bass jig and a scented soft plastic, he did manage some decent fish. 

The big scup, however, are still around, including one that hit Morgan’s bunker spoon and that he thought was a really small striper.

Not many people are targeting fluke, but a few legal fish have been caught on rigs intended for sea bass.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

Woods Hole has been insane this week, fortunately with plenty of bass and very few boats as a bonus. I fished the early morning tide with Bob Lewis, Charlie Richmond, and Ken Cirillo on Wednesday and they did a job tossing the 5″ Hogy Charter Grade Popper in Amber. It was clear the fish were feeding on a combination on really small squid that were white in color and some medium Loligo that also appeared light as well, but logic says that the amber works best when the squid are being harassed and they can change to bright colors quickly. I typically don’t throw the ¾-ounce Charter Grade Poppers, but at times they actually produced more hits than larger ones. Bob also had fun at my expense discussing the merits of my co-polymer rubber band line vs. his braid and I lost a plug to a pig tail knot, but it really was fun watching three guys cast who knew how to rotate around from the boat along the port side to the stern as they worked their plugs and then back up the starboard way to start the casting again.

On Thursday, Barney Keezell and Dana Wilson got a much more leisurely start to the morning tide, but the fishing might have been even better as there were some really nice bass blowing up on the ledges as well as in the open water between them as the tide died. It was so cool to dead stick the plug in the slacking current and watch a big fish rocket up and just blow it out of the water. I can tell you that anyone who doesn’t believe stripers can jump would be disavowed of that notion as on numerous occasions a bass would come clear out of the water and do a somersault over the plug. Barney also had good results with a small bone spook that worked both on the walk-the-dog and a simply dead drift with no added action.

Perhaps the best news from this area came from Capt. John Galvin who informed Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street that the father-son team of Art and Ben Crago, along with a couple of other relatives, simply had a ball on the fly targeting bass in Quick’s Hole and up the Buzzards Bay side of the islands from there to the Hole. There were birds working over surface feeding fish and no other boats in sight; obviously, it doesn’t get any better than that.

@chiptheripp8 on IG found good fishing under blue bird skys earlier in the week.

On another note, I spoke to a fellow boat angler at his slip in Falmouth Harbor on Thursday and he said that after last week’s insane livelining action in the Hole with scup, he came up empty on that morning’s tide. On the other hand, Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s told me that a younger angler he knows continues to pick up big bass on scup; in fact, on Tuesday afternoon with all of those thunderstorms around, he picked up what looked to be a fish in the 50-pound class according to photos of it. Of course, he released it to abide by the current regulations, but I had an interesting talk this week with Fran Keough of North Chatham Outfitters regarding the concept of a trophy tag that someone could purchase in case they catch a fish of a lifetime. We also discussed what I thought was my idea alone, but Fran explained that he had also brought up the idea of a set number of tags being allotted to a license owner for the season; these would allow for the retention of a bass of any size, but once you tagged a fish, you were done fishing for the day. Being the law-and-order guy I am, one of my points of emphasis would be throwing the book at someone with an untagged fish in their possession, including loss of license/fishing rights for a set period of time; SUBSTANTIAL FINES; and the loss of boat and other equipment. And please establish a fish-and-wildlife court with a judge dedicated to adjudicating cases involving who break these laws and make it only one in a location that would require some traveling for pretty much everyone in the state.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- June 2, 2023

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Kind of an interesting scenario on black sea bass in Buzzards Bay; Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s, said they are all over the place, but there don’t seem to be the same number of large spawning males as in the past.


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Striped Bass Citizen Science Kit Breakdown

I found it interesting that Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis reported that two of her regulars who are straight shooters had diametrically opposed reports about their trips to B-Bay; one got skunked and one found good numbers of quality fish. Now that may be a matter of where they were fishing, but typically one the BSB season gets going, you can hardly keep them off the line. 

Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay managed to pick up his limit on a trip this week, but he did say that there were a lot of shorts around. Now, folks like Morgan who are experienced with catching and cleaning seas bass often have a different perspective on what constitutes a good catch. While the book says you can keep four fish at a minimum of 16.5-inches, the reality is that if you want fish that provide a reasonable fillet, you are looking at something at least 18-inches and fish 20 and over are even more desirable. That certainly is common sense, but targeting larger BSB takes time and energy to scope out prime locations. One practice is to use brightly colored jigs with one of those scented soft plastics.

As Amy jokingly pointed out, some folks swear that only a certain color of these plastics or even style – of which there are two primary ones (swimming mullet and the grub) that BSB anglers like.

@rockpylefishing with a nice mid 30″ Striped Bass.

Frankly, I feel that one of the keys to finding bigger sea bass is to use a multi-teaser lure like the Hogy Jig-Biki Rigs with a bucktail/scented plastic combination or even one of the many Hogy jig styles as opposed to just a simple bottom weight. Sea bass are aggressive fish and having a multitude of items involved in your bottom rig often pays big dividends – and you can almost count of catching some jumbo scup. 

The big bass bite around the west entrance has slowed significantly this week, Morgan said, mostly because of the tides this week and the mackerel that were trapped there last week have most likely moved back into the Canal. There are schools of pogies around and big spook style plugs like the Hogy XL Dogwalker have been effective around the bait concentrations if you can find them. 

Morgan believes that the tail end of the incoming or east tide around the west entrance – in other words, from Wing’s Neck and especially Mashnee Island through Hog Island and up by the Maritime Academy – in the early morning and again in the evening is a key situation and that is shaping up this weekend while this week it was off rhythm. 

One area where there has been a good bite on big bass and blues is around Marion, according to Bull MacKinnon at Red Top in Buzzards Bay. Folks he knows have been fishing pogies at night in this area with big returns. This is generally a livelining thing, but fresh dead chunks are another effective option.

Although there hasn’t been much attention paid to fluke just yet, Morgan did say that a friend caught a couple of legal ones while targeting sea bass.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

Last Saturday I had a good day in Woods Hole tossing the amber Hogy Charter Grade Poppers with Ali Salehpour and crew after a phenomenal morning on the shoals. I really like zipping in there when waiting for the tide to make up after slack water in the rips and there were bass everywhere pushing smaller squid.

@fishinglifehd has been finding success on the fly using the Hogy Protail Fly.

The only issue I had – and this seems to be more common with every passing season – is that folks refuse to accept that if they are late to a location that can only handle one boat or at best two boats fishing at opposite ends of a piece of structure with significant room between them, then that’s tough luck. That’s why I get up at 2:30 to 3 AM to hit the most productive locations given the tide and typically I stem the tide to keep my boat in the best angle. 

But on Saturday, I had one guy place his boat right where my anglers were casting and he was trying to set up his boat uptide of a gnarly piece of structure and cast a plug – all by himself and at the bow, away from the helm. Of course, he kept drifting back into the rocks and race back to the wheel and ram the throttle to avoid crunch time, which is never good for fishing when the bass are hanging in shallow water. When he did finally hook a fish, he again was in peril and hit the gas, dragging the fish across the surface until he was in less current and clear water where he could release it. It was definitely a good example of how to handle and release a fish correctly.

And if that wasn’t enough, towards the end of the tide, I looked towards the bow when I heard a splash. Since I was stemming the tide with the stern towards where the fish were active, I was only stealing an occasional glance in the other direction. I was surprised to see that the splash was from a plug cast off another boat who basically was drifting down on me. I am sure that this boat operator didn’t give one thought to the predicament he put me in. Had I drifted too close to the rocks and needed to throttle up again the current, he would have had me pinned in with no good option: either drift into the rocks and destroy my lower unit if I tried to maneuver with my motor or before that happened, I could hit the throttle and run into him. 

Unlike the shoals where you for the most part can drift or run through the rough stuff if someone is inconsiderate and fails to allow you to move away to reposition yourself – assuming if you are correctly set up on the uptide side of the white water – when you’re fishing up against a shoreline there is quite often no good or safe way to get out if another boat pins you in. This is especially true around the Elizabeths with its multitude of boulder fields, currents, and other nasties that can eat you up.

Of course, I realize I could just get up even earlier or simply avoid the islands – and especially the Hole – any time after the first hour past right light, which is when so much of the fishing world seems to awaken and get moving. I guess I still believe in the old maxim about “First come, first served” and I can’t tell you how many times I was late to the party – or in other words arrived to find someone else in a spot I wanted to fish – and simply had to head elsewhere. 

Well, enough for that complaint department file, so let’s talk some more about the fishing. I did see some folks jigging in the Hole the last week or so and they picked up some decent bass; I didn’t see anything huge, but I guess they were big enough to smile for the camera in some cases. 

I was disappointed to find no major activity at the turn of the tides, with some explosions on poppers while blind casting, but no real sustained activity. 

Now I do know that folks like Phil Stanton plugs Woods Hole and the islands with bucktails and Finnish style plastic swimmers and they catch fish, most likely because they are wise enough to target deeper water where the fish are holding either in high sunshine conditions or the stronger stages of the current. 

Relevant Links

Bluefish are once again sparse at the moment around the islands – and on the shoals as well – but we did manage to land one of those big, gnarly Elizabeth’s choppers in the Hole, which was quite a feat given we were using 14-pound test and a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader.

Since it is impossible to know what is going on anywhere at all times, I was thinking about the live bait fishing in the Hole, i.e., scup, and I was super glad that Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle told me that some regulars from his shop have been fishing live bait this week around the islands and doing well. We’re talking early AM fishing for fish up to the 40-pound class, but they told Christian that the bite on anything that size is over by about 7 to 7:30 AM, at which point it seems that the largest fish around have dropped to 30-inches or so.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- May 26, 2023

Check out the latest Salty Cape T.V episode! In this video, Capt Mike steams out to Nobska Point aboard his 28′ Contender to do some rip fishing for striped bass. Capt. Mike goes deep into the proper approach for rip fishing for striped bass at Nobska Point, such as boat positioning and the art of fishing “the swing” of the rips. From a deep dive on his fishing outfit, to the proper retrieve of the swimbaits, no stone is left unturned. You’ll also see some awesome striped bass action too. Enjoy!”

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Sometimes as we age, it’s convenient to lament the failings of the younger generation and that holds true when it comes to fishing. One of my favorite b _ _ _ _ _ session subjects concerns how today’s anglers are wrapped up in electronics and the latest and greatest in tackle while they spend more time on their computers watching YouTube videos to learn how to fish as opposed to putting in the time on the water like I did. 

Well, I was super glad to be swayed from this view – even if it only lasts a short while – by my conversation with Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay. Not only was he super personable and helpful, but his story about big fish he and his friend caught earlier this week proves that some of these young-un’s get it. 

Fishing the west entrance to the Canal by boat, Morgan managed a 43-inch bass, his personal best, while his buddy outdid that with a 48-inch cow. 

Emergency Action

Division of Marine Fisheries has announced that starting Friday, May 26, the new slot limit of 28 to less than 31-inches will be implemented in Massachusetts, as well as all other Coastal States. The ASMFC’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board took this action to alter the slot limit based on a large increase in recreational catch mortality in 2022 in comparison to the 2021 figures, mainly because a large percentage of the 2015 year class – which represents at the moment the best hope for a recovery of the stock by 2029, the date established by the bass board – entered the slot and suffered extensive mortality. Only time will tell if the new slot reduces the pressure on the 2015’s, but as with plenty of things in life, only time will tell.

Apparently, a concentration of mackerel was pushed out of the west end of the land cut by a big school of bass and word is that it has remained that way through midweek. Now, it would only make perfect sense to snag some of these macks and turn them into bass, but Morgan and company went the artificial route – both with bunker spoons on the bottom and paddletail jigs. 

In years past, I have heard from folks like Bruce Miller about dropping a tube-and-worm right down on the fish when a concentration is encountered. Typically, one slow trolls this rig, but the idea of letting weighted versions down to where the fish are holding makes perfect sense, especially when employing them on lead core line. Bunker spoons are much heavier than a tube and so Morgan was using braided line rather than the lead stuff. Morgan added that at times there were mackerel, mainly smaller versions, being pushed to the surface, making for good plugging and soft plastic casting action.

Word is that there are plenty of bass up inside the rivers, bays, and harbors on the B-Bay Cape shoreline. Most might be smaller fish, but Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle on Route 28 in the Teaticket section of Falmouth said that someone he knows was fishing seaworms up inside the North Falmouth/Old Silver Beach area, hoping for a bass in the slot, when he hooked up with something much larger – a big old cow in the 40-pound class. 

There are also more bluefish showing in the bay, especially around Wareham, and Mark Tenerowicz found good numbers of them inside Mattpoisett earlier this week, although they were very finicky. 

Another of Mark’s kayak trips this week found he and a buddy surrounded by big, uncooperative bass around Fairhaven, but Wednesday’s trip to Megansett with his daughter Gates and her boyfriend proved more fruitful, albeit on smaller fish. Some were actually caught casting while at least one was taken on a soft plastic that was, as Mark likes to say, “while casting with his feet.” In other words, trolling from a Hobie!

Pretty much everyone who has tried has managed to pick up his or her limit of sea bass, but many of the inshore locations are holding smaller fish, perhaps to 18-inches, with the larger purple/bumpheads still in deeper water. Scup fishing is excellent on big fish and remember that on June 1 and running through July 31, the tautog bag limit switches to one fish per day per angler, with the same size limit of a 16-inch minimum and a maximum of 21-inches for only one fish in your legal limit for that time period.

Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report

Charlie Richmond is itching to get down Cuttyhunk way for his annual Father’s Day weekend trip and he told me in his conversations with Capt. George Isabel – sad to say the last remaining skipper who bases his operation on this storied island – that the good captain advised that he has a good spring and early summer season. Now, all Charlie can do is cross his fingers that the weather will hold out so that they can get at those fish unlike last year when it blew and rained, keeping them pinned to the dock.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth spoke to Phil Stanton this week and his news was that they are picking up plenty of fish in Woods Hole on Wonderbread or clown colored plastic lipped swimmers. 

Other folks are picking at some nice fish on parachute jigs and wire, but a couple of hours either side of slack tide is prime time right now for casting topwater plugs and soft plastics. In other words, that means Hogy Original seven and 10-inch in amber, bubblegum, and bone along with Charter Grade Poppers and the new XL Dogwalker. My friend Gerry Fine and I found Monday to be less than accommodating to a flyrodder, but Gerry did perk up a few fish on the amber Dogwalker, especially when he held it in the prime water long enough without retrieving it to quickly to avoid a hang up.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- May 18, 2023

Check out the latest Hogy Lures video. In this video, Capt. Mike joins Capt. Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters aboard his beautiful 33′ Conch. There’s been a consistent topwater striper bite at the West End of the Cape Cod Canal, with lots of fish in the 40″+ range. This gave us a perfect opportunity to fish the new Charter Grade XL DogWalkers paired with the Hogy Hybrid Spinning Rod!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

It was interesting to talk with Connor Swartz at Red Top about the big spook bite that has gotten everyone’s attention in recent years; I imagine the sharpies have known about these fish staging in Wareham Bay on structure for a good long while and kept it quiet, but like pretty much everything else in fishing – including how that large musky spook drove big bass crazy – the word got out and the hordes descended on this fishery.

Large spook style plugs, like the Hogy XL Dog Walker, are the ticket to targeting big fish in Buzzards Bay {PC: Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing}

According to Connor, if you get there early enough before the crowd, you can still pick at a fish or two, but generally the fish have gotten wise to this big plastic spook and you will be much better served in these areas if you can get some pogies. 

I was surprised to hear Connor say that many folks have been having difficulty finding schools of pogies – the local name for what anglers in other areas call bunker or menhaden – up in shallower, backwater areas. He explained that the fish are hanging in deeper water where they are more difficult to net, although he did say that if you snag enough and keep them alive in a well aerated livewell, you will be in business. 

Along the Cape shoreline, it is not uncommon this time of year to find pogies up inside areas like Red Brook Harbor, Wild Harbor, etc., and in those scenarios, large spooks like the new Hogy XL Dogwalker work really well. This is often best around first light and again at dusk. 

If you haven’t checked out the video of Capt. Mike’s trip with Capt. Cullen Lundholm where they introduce the XL Dogwalker while fishing the west entrance to the Canal, it is definitely worth a look. WATCH HERE. While spooks are known for their walk-the-dog performance in calm conditions with less current and wave action, they are actually a pretty versatile lure that can be fished in rips, including swinging them just like a soft plastic. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth heard from Capt. John Galvin that bass in Woods Hole were feeding on smaller squid this week. John was fishing some larger squid imitations with no success, but he then switched over to the 5-inch Hogy Squid Plug and he was in business.

Black Seabass opens this Saturday. @yahhn_nooo on IG did a bit of pre-season scouting and found plenty of fish!

There are also good numbers of bass down the Elizabeths as well; in many cases, they are feeding on smaller baits, so consider downsizing your offerings if the fish are showing no interest in big plugs or plastics. 

Shore anglers have been doing well this week as well. Evan said he was fishing West Falmouth earlier this week and came upon a good number of noisy, slurping bass up inside the harbor. Once he cracked the code with the smaller Hogy Charter Grade Popper in Albie Crack, the stripers were all over it. He thought maybe the fish were on a worm spawn, but in those scenarios most folks picture finicky fish and cinder worm flies. Who knows? Whatever they were on, Evan caught fish up to 29-inches and he said he was surprised to find fish of that size way up inside. 

Boaters continue to do well on tautog, but remember that on June 1, the bag limit drops down to one fish. Tommy at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay said there are big scup mixing in around the bay and there are plenty of nice sea bass “hopefully being released” since the season doesn’t open until tomorrow. Opening day Saturday is supposed to be wet and windy, but I imagine at the first sign of decent weather, the crowds will be out in force. For the latest and greatest in Hogy sea bass fishing tips and suggestions on how to use Hogy’s many lure options for targeting BSB, check out these videos from Capt. Mike.


Shore anglers are also still catching tautog and can get in on the scup bite as well, but Tommy said that the tog will soon be heading back out to open water after their spawning visits well up inside local rivers such as Agawam/Wareham, where the Narrows close by Tobey Hospital are well-known for producing big fish. Of course, please take care in releasing any fish over the 21-inch maximum since these larger, long lived tog are critical to the species long term health. 

Tommy added that bluefish – and he emphasized “big bluefish” – have shown up in the Weweantic, perhaps drawn in by schools of pogies. And I learned that Tommy shares my affinity for large choppers; which would make any bass pale in comparison.


Capt. Dave’s Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports- May 11, 2023

Welcome back to our annual Cape Cod Fishing Reports! We greatly appreciate all of our readers and wish everyone a “fishy” 2023 season! {PC: Matt Rissell}

It seems odd to even register any concern about the present fishing here on the Cape, but I kind of agree with Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore who opined, “This is definitely not normal.” Of course, what Bruce was referring to was fish to the upper 40-pound class being caught in the Canal already, while the south-side shoals are filled with quality bass and the bluefish bite started to turn on last week. Buzzards Bay is no slouch either, with big bass around and a solid tautog bite. Meanwhile, Cape Cod Bay is producing plenty of stripers as well for the shore crew for the most part – mainly because there aren’t a lot of boats in the water.

As I far too often do, I can’t just focus on the quality of the fishing and have been wondering where all these big fish are coming from. Was it a cold, wet winter in the Chesapeake, which typically results in an early spawning season and thereby an earlier departure from the bay for parts north? Or are these Hudson fish; from what I have gathered, that river system has enjoyed some solid spawning classes over the last decade that has resulted in excellent fishing in the bays and backwaters of New Jersey and New York.

With the new coast wide slot limit of 28 to 31-inches, there are going to be even more size-able fish that are going to have to be released and how that is handled – pun intended – is critically important to how successful any rebuilding program from the ASMFC is going to be.

Then again, I can already hear the voices of the charter fleets up and down the east coast proclaiming, “See there are plenty of fish; they didn’t need to change the slot. It’s going to put me out of business. My customers want to take fish home.” And on and on. Hey, it must be tough seeing all these big bass around and not being able to kill them. I guess they’ll have to settle with photos of a dock load of dead slot fish like they did last season as opposed to the real ego boost of stacking cows.

Meanwhile, I am also wondering where the schoolies, you know the little guys, are. It would be interesting to ask a bunch of anglers what length(s) constitutes a schoolie; I suspect over the years it has changed. Then again, my friends would say that I worry about small bass because that’s all I catch – if I catch anything. Talk about an Ouch!

Well, on to the reports. Be safe, courteous, and conservation minded out there and here’s to hoping that 2023 is a great season for you.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

My buddy Barney Keezell fished the Weweantic this week – I think it was his first time, although his buddy Dana Wilson who was with him has done so a number of times. Barney said there were big fish swirling all around the kayaks, most likely concentrating on the pogy schools in the area. He did managed to hook up with a mid-30-inch bass on a bone colored spook style plug that managed to release itself from the barbless hook as he drew it alongside, not such a bad thing given that dragging a larger fish out of the water for a photo – not saying Barney was going to do that – is something to be avoided at all costs. 

If those fish are in the Weweantic, then be assured they are out at Little Bird Island and other pieces of structure in Wareham Bay. That means the big spook crew is out there, but keeping it quiet. I could just resort to using the name of the musky plug that started this craze, but so many folks are producing quality versions that no doubt that folks have developed an affinity for one version over another.

The new Hogy XL DogWalker is a perfect topwater “walk the dog” style plug for fishing around schools of bunker. This 9″ topwater plug draws strikes from fish when they won’t touch many other offerings. {PC: Capt. Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters}

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth added that folks fishing the West Falmouth and North Falmouth areas from shore have been catching plenty of bass on plastics and plugs. He added that the tautog bite has been so good in B-Bay that boaters launching from the south-side have been more than willing to make the run through the Hole to get there.

Speaking of tautog, I got to speak with Tommy over at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay; anyone who is anyone in the tog world know Tommy since he is the master at potting green crabs for a number of shops, including Maco’s, of course. He laughed that he has managed to shake off his winter hibernation and it finding plenty of crabs for both boaters and shore folks who live for tog season. I haven’t had the chance to check it out, but Tommy said that Mass. Maritime has a live cam feed where you can watch folks catching fish in the Canal, including tautog. Before leaving, Tommy added that the big scup are in from down Marion way all the way over to the Cape. 

With fishing regulations changing all the time, it’s important to note what they are currently.

  • For tautog, the bag limit changes several times during the year (4/1 to 5/3 – 3 fish; 6/1 to 7/31 – 1 fish; 8/1 to 10/14 – 3 fish; 10/15-12/31 – 5 fish),, but no matter what it is given the time period you are fishing, the minimum size is 16.5- inches but only one fish over 21-inches can be kept since protecting the larger, spawning fish is critical.
  • When it comes to scup, there is a new size regulation for shore based anglers this year, which is pretty cool. From 5/1 to 12/31, they may take 30 fish at a minimum length of 9.5-inches, while boaters have the same open season and bag limit, but their fish must be a minimum of 10.5-inches. 
  • The black sea bass season doesn’t open until 5/20 and runs through 9/7, with 4 fish bag limit and a minimum length of 16.5-inches.
  • Finally, fluke opens up 5/21 and closes 9/29, with a 5 fish bag limit and a minimum length of 16.5-inches.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Typically, in past years I splash the boat on April 15, but my first time this year will be May 11. From what I have heard, there are plenty of bass on the shoals and I am pretty confident that I will scare up a few fish in the Hole. If I do, you will hear it here first.

When small baitfish are prevalent, the Hogy Epoxy Jig is many anglers #1 choice in “Matching the Hatch”

Otherwise, the only news I can offer comes courtesy of Capt. Mike who fished earlier this week down the islands. They saw birds and life, but couldn’t confirm what the bait was and whether there were fish pushing it. Given what has been happening in the sounds and Buzzards Bay, odds are that there are or have been fish, but given that we are in the midst of it.

Relevant Links

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- September 30, 2022

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I realize that when it comes to striper fishing, for many folks it’s all about size, plain and simple, but it was cool to hear from Christian Giardini, owner of Falmouth Bait & Tackle, who really enjoyed getting into an evening blitz of schoolies from outside of Onset earlier this week. Small, single hook rigged – with barbs crushed down – are the way to go when the fish are running on the small side, but don’t be surprised if a larger bass or two muscles its way in, testing your light tackle and knot tying skills.

striped bass
Riptide Charters finding some quality bass earlier this week.

Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards said there are bass moving into the Canal from the west entrance on the east tide and the out again on the west, but at the moment these are mostly smaller bass; over the next couple of weeks, however, bigger bass should start to migrate through and down Buzzards Bay – that is, unless they make a run for it out the east end and through Cape Cod Bay, around Provincetown, and down the backside. Pay attention to wind direction because it will often impact the bait movement, with the stripers right on their tails. Connor added that there were some larger bass hanging farther down the west entrance, more towards Wareham, but those fish seem to have already pushed on to the next phase of their migration west, producing some good action on big stripers from Fairhaven to New Bedford, along with some big blues. 

Shore anglers should take advantage of any legal access they have over the next couple of weeks as there is still plenty of small bait, especially peanut bunker along with a smattering of bay anchovies and silversides; the Monument Beach area and Monk’s Park hold bass well into October, as do Red Brook Harbor, Megansett, and the North Falmouth/West Falmouth area. Unweighted soft plastics like the Hogy seven-inch Original is one of my favorite fall lures; while the light (bone) during the day and dark (black) at night mantra has proven itself over the years, I never go without some amber versions since they work so well day or night. 

Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle told me a couple of divers who work on the shellfish grants along the Falmouth shoreline told him that they have encountered schools of bonito – and Christian emphasized that they know what these fish look like. There are still some albies being picked at from North Falmouth/Old Silver Beach down Megansett and West Falmouth, although their whereabouts changes as often as what color Hogy Epoxy Jig they prefer on any given day. That said, don’t leave home with EJ’s in silverside, rainbait, and anchovy!

Looking to stretches of western B-Bay, Mark Tenerowicz said he has been having good success on surface feeding fish in open water using the white Hogy Charter Grade popper; the key has been finding the bait balls as the bass and blues are moving from one to another on a regular basis. Targeting shore structure with topwaters hasn’t been especially productive; in those case, Mark has been switching to jointed lipless swimmers/sliders/crankbaits.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

The albie bite today was absolutely incredible today as the northeast wind and colder air/water temperatures got the funnies really chewing. There was the usual cluster of boats from Lackey’s to Tarpaulin and around French Watering Place, but a little searching can have you into your own schools of albies and bass, oftentimes with them pinning the bait right up against the shoreline. Tuesday Mark Roberts and I found bass right in the rocks on the Buzzards Bay side and he picked at them with a peanut bunker fly on a full sink line, while the following day the foursome on board managed a boat slam, including albies, bass, and blues, all on the Anchovy Hogy Epoxy Jig and the Albie Crack Hogy Charter Grade Popper.

A big albie caught by @chiptheripp8 on Instagram.

Yesterday, I got an albie lesson from master fly angler and custom tyer Scott Hamilton, who was in town to speak and give a tying demonstration for the Cape Cod Flyrodders. Bob Lewis, who has fished with Capt. Hamilton numerous times in West Palm Beach for albies, mahi, blackfin tuna, jacks, and grouper, arranged the presentation and joined us on the boat. Suffice it to say, when someone catches three albies in a 20 minute span on a popper that he created and tops it off with one on a three-weight – yes, you read that correctly – that he landed within five minutes, you have to admit that you are in the presence of greatness. After watching Scott catch those three fish while a popper designed by a now deceased Cape fly angler produced no interest and then a baitfish pattern crafted by another flyrodder who still resides on our fair peninsula produced only a boil or refusal, Bob went to Scott’s fly box, put on one of his poppers, and was hooked up within a couple of casts. At one point, Bob had an albie hit his fly six times before making a connection, and while he was hooked up, he managed to get out his phone to take a picture of Scott with a nice bass on his Eat Me Fly and then get back to successfully landing his fish. From what I heard, other folks have been doing well all week down the islands on false albacore, using a variety of soft plastics in white, pink, and amber as well as an assortment of casting jigs, with the Hogy Epoxy Jig still the top dog despite attempts by others to pirate the idea. 

I know that albie mania is in full force, but nothing says fall to me than boiling bass and screaming birds, just as Gerry Fine and I found last Sunday along the islands; there were surface feeds all along the Buzzards Bay side from Robinson’s to Cuttyhunk, with albies in the mix as well and so many black sea bass that kept grabbing our Hogy Epoxy Jigs that we thought they might be auditioning for the part of funny fish. Albie Crack, Anchovy, Olive, and Silverside patterns all worked well. Gerry also reported that there were fish attacking shoals of baitfish – what he believes are peanut bunker – between the Hole and Nobska Point; I found scattered schools of albies there from the boat, as well as plenty of bass, but it was great to hear that shore anglers are getting into the mix as well. Speaking of which: boaters please give the shorebound crew a break and stay well off where their casts are reaching. I have seen some boats right up against the stone pier and even the dock nearby when they can pretty much go anywhere they want and fish.

 Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- September 23, 2022

The Fall Run is Underway!

It’s a magical time on Cape Cod right now. The fall run is in full swing, and the options for anglers are endless. Jump into an older video highlighting the excitement of the fall run here on Cape Cod!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

One of the advantages of the Cape shoreline facing the bay is that even with winds blowing out of the northeast, you can tuck into some of the harbors and bays; on the other hand, with the forecast for west and northwest directions, it’s going to be pretty nasty even inside, which is too bad since the fishing for bass, blues, and albies has been pretty darn good this week.

PSA please don’t let your ballons fly away!

In fact, Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle reported that there had been a good albie bite off of North Falmouth and up towards Wing’s Neck, while some folks told him that they have been catching Spanish mackerel mixed in with albies and bluefish around West Falmouth. Some of the Spanish have been good-sized and Christian said they might be king mackerel, but not having seen any photos so he can make a positive ID, he couldn’t say for sure what they were.

There are plenty of bass moving in and out of the Canal land cut on the tide, with larger fish being caught by folks trolling deep diving swimming plugs; at the moment, it almost seems like some of these schools of fish are moving down Buzzards Bay once move out of the Canal and follow the bait, with good action reported from spots like Phinney’s Harbor, Meganset, Wild Harbor, and between West Falmouth and Penzance Point. In many cases, this hasn’t been prolonged action, sometimes lasting only a tide or two as these fish are clearly in the early stages of their migration, but these early morning or evening topwater events can be fantastic; switching over to soft plastics or swimmers at night can keep you in the game, especially if you are a shorebound angler who can’t reach the breaking fish that boaters can. 

Mark Tenerowicz hit a number of spots in western Buzzards Bay in his kayak this week, with a particularly great day on Wednesday as he visited Fairhaven in hopes of finding some of the big bluefish that he has been catching on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers between his home waters of Mattapoisett over to Westport. What he found, along with the blues, were some really nice schoolie bass and ultimately an albie that crushed a soft plastic. Overall, Mark said the amount of bait everywhere is off the charts and he is hopeful that things will only get better. 

The water temperatures are clearly on the drop and the tautog are clearly happy, with shops like Red Top in Buzzards Bay carrying green crabs, but A.J. Coots told me this morning that they got a bushel in last week and still had some left over from that bunch as of this AM. As he said, the weather has been pretty crappy this week so not many people have managed to get out, but once things settle, the tog bite should be happening.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

No question that our local archipelago is coming alive, with everything from bass to blues to albies. Matt Rissell told me that on Monday morning he caught a number of slot sized bass on spook style plugs in the Hole, but by late morning, when Davis Yetman and I visited there, they had morphed into albies for the most part. I tried an early morning visit on Wednesday, but despite a ton of bait, we had no love on bass, but did manage a big, gnarly bluefish on a bone Hogy Dog Walker

A good tip came courtesy of Ken Shwartz who ran into albies down the islands that had bait pinned right up against the shoreline, but they weren’t ripping it up in open water like they often do. In this case, they were frothing right in among the rocks and at other times just cruising and feeding – for over two hours!

Riptide Charters had some great days albie fishing this week!

My buddy Gerry Fine texted me later on to say they he enjoyed a Nantucket Sleigh Ride in his kayak as he has been watching massive schools of bait near his home in the Hole and elected to give plugging a go. Some big bass had the bait, which I suspect was peanut bunker, pinned up against a seawall and just erupted on Gerry’s topwater plug, one of which hit right as he was getting to lift it out of the water, pulling the kayak right around and giving him a nice soaking. 

Later on, Wednesday produced a tautog on a small unweighted soft plastic tossed right into the shoreline where a school of small bass was making a ruckus; we managed a hook up on a couple of schoolies and picked up another big bluefish on a Hogy Epoxy Jig, but after fooling around with finicky, sipping albies, the guys hit it big when they erupted later on and managed three hook ups on epoxies, including silverside, olive, and bay anchovy colorations between 3/8 and 5/8-ounces. Frank and Mike got theirs to the boat, but Pete hooked what was clearly a bigger fish that ultimately parted the leader with its tail as he reported feeling some strong raps on the line before losing the fish. 

But what really amazed me was when a school of albies blew up and I saw a black sea bass coming rocketing out as if it were auditioning to be a funny fish or it was caught in the melee and took to the air to escape; to make things better, the fourth member of our crew Paul, cast into the fish and ended up hooking – you guessed it – a black sea bass. 

Amy Wrightson at The Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville also sent in some photos and a report from “Customers Clark and Natalie who had an incredible day out by the Elizabeth Island and Falmouth with false albacore, striped bass, big bluefish, and big seabass (but that one had to go back since they are out of season.”

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- September 16, 2022

Finicky Albies

Reports of finicky albies on Cape Cod have been abundant this year. In this video, Capt. Mike shares a deadly technique to fool these finicky fish!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Definitely plenty of action in Buzzards Bay; the question is where it is today and going to be tomorrow.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters has been hot on the albie bite!

There are still good numbers of smaller bass and some large bluefish moving in and out of the west entrance of the Canal, generally feeding on peanut bunker as well as some silversides. Phinney’s Harbor has been active in the early morning and again the evening, and it’s the same story from the Maritime Academy to Wing’s Neck.I also got a report of albies off Wing’s Neck from Ken Swartz earlier this week and he had a good story about a kayaker who was out fishing for bass and landed his first two albies – using 30-pound leaders! He was expecting to catch some bass – which he did –  and was surprised to encounter the funny fish – and Ken was good enough to record the event and sent along the video. Ken also managed some albies and really enjoyed the peace and quiet with nobody else around. 

By the way, the young man was using a black over silver Hogy Epoxy Jig, a great reminder that folks have good results with both bass and blues, as well as hardtails. 

There have been reports of scattered albies all along the Cape shoreline, including Megansett, Old Silver Beach, West Falmouth, and the old Cape Codder; a few Spanish mackerel have also been caught, along with some chub mackerel. 

The word from Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle is that there has been a good striped bass bite around North Falmouth, especially in the morning, on plug, with some slot fish in the mix. 

Mark Tenerowicz called with a couple of reports, the first concerning big bluefish around Mattapoisett and then this morning he found really big feeds of schoolie bass and big bluefish down Fairhaven way. In both cases he was using Hogy Charter Grade Poppers – what Capt. Mike calls the white color, but I refer to as cloudy – but on the first trip he managed to call up the blues, which this plug is really good at due to the sound its internal rattles make. 

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

I joked with Mike about his cursing the eels I have been using this season as once again one of my local archipelago trips came up empty with Mr. Wiggly. We managed the obligatory sea bass, but other than a few taps, only had one real hook up. It’s interesting to watch freshwater anglers, especially those that fish for bass, struggle with the circle hook since it is so hard to break the habit of rearing back and trying to blast the hook home, something that you do with so many of the artificial rigs and lures used in sweetwater. What really proved that Mike has put the whammy on me is that towards the end of the trip – which started at 4:30 AM and featured cloudy weather throughout – was that we finally found fish on one of the corners of Nashawena – and they climbed all over the Hogy Charter Grade Poppers

There is a ton of peanut bunker around the islands and scattered schools of albies up and down both sides, but as Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said, the key has been bypassing the hordes that descend on a location with obvious schools and find your own, with some decent schools from Quick’s to Cuttyhunk. 

After my eel failure, as we ran our way back to Falmouth Harbor as some nasty storms followed, we ran into some good schools of albies blowing up in Woods Hole, but a bolt of lightning convinced me that it was time to go.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- September 9, 2022

Filmed Recently!

In this video, Capt. Mike walks through everything you need to know when fishing for false albacore.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I received a call this morning from Mark Tenerowicz, a dedicated kayak angler who travels far and wide to find fish; in this case, he was in Megansett and ran into some schools of albies, but hadn’t gotten any on the line by the time he left his message. He did pick up some nice stripers up inside Squeteague on topwater plugs, but they were pretty fussy. He said that even what he calls “trolling with his feet” didn’t produce on the soft plastics that always serve him well.

Apparently, the West Falmouth area had some good action yesterday; Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth heard from some folks who got into them, as well as schools of smaller bluefish. Word is that the funny fish also showing up in good numbers around Wareham Bay and Marion, but as of yet, other than some scattered rumors, the west entrance to the Canal and the Big Ditch have been quiet so far this season.

On the other hand, the waters of the west entrance and from Phinney’s Harbor to Quissett have been loaded with bass, mostly schoolies, but early mornings and dusk have seen some larger fish caught on big topwater plugs fished tight to the rocks, particularly around high tide. 

Bottom Fishing Report

With recreational black sea bass season closed as of last Sunday, September 4, more folks targeting bottom fish will be looking for tautog which have started moving inshore. The recreational limit from August 1 to October 14 is three fish per person with a 16-inch minimum length and the bag limit increases on October 15 to five fish, with the same size limit. There are still good numbers of scup around, but expect to be covered up by small sea bass if you go.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Although I have been enjoying some decent fly rod and light tackle action in the Hole and on the Buzzards Bay side of our local archipelago, and according to Phil Stanton, the number of larger bass being caught on live eels and plugs has slowed recently. Of course, that might be the result of all of the boats buzzing around right over their heads as albie mania is in full swing. Connor Swartz went through the Hole last weekend and ran right into the fleet of boats drifting off of the sound side of Nonamesset. I can’t imagine how anyone could even get a cast into breaking fish with everyone so close, but I guess there’s company in crowds.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth acknowledged that there were far fewer boats around this week, even around the islands; he picked up three albies fishing off of Falmouth and eventually ended up the aforementioned corner of Nonamesset, where they picked up another. He also spied about a half dozen boats down Lackey’s Bay and assumed that they might have been on fish as well. 

In speaking with Ken Swartz, who spend a good amount of time fishing for funny fish around the islands, he offered up a scenario from last weekend that contained a piece of wisdom that more people should heed. He was in Tarpaulin Cove, a spot that has really attracted lots of boats chasing albies over the last several years, and when things died down, everybody else sped off for who knows where. But Ken and his buddies hung out and a little while later were rewarded with really nice schools of breaking little tunny that were more than willing to eat. If you don’t get what I mean, I’ll sum it up in one word: patience. Even if the bonito, albies, or whatever seem to have disappeared, odds are that the bait they were feeding on, typically peanut bunker and bay anchovies which are notoriously poor swimmers and hang in tight schools for protection, will still be around and available for another feeding frenzy. 

Playing the tides and familiarizing yourself with the numerous edges and drop-offs where funny fish can trap bait and how they move with the tides will pay off, as will cruising past the hordes to find your own fish.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- September 2, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt Mike is joined by Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters as they target deepwater bluefin tuna on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Jeff Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach is incredibly adept at keeping multiple balls in the air at one time without dropping a one, but he still took the time to send me a report: “Loads of bait in and around the Buzzards Bay harbors and folks are getting their limits on fluke by fishing around the bait schools. Look for the cormorants and drift around where they are fishing. 14-18 feet is the sweet spot. Folks are finding albies on the Wareham/Marion side of the Stony Point Dike. Also, The tog bite is just starting; the tail end of the outgoing tide when the cooler water is coming out of the Canal from Cape Cod Bay has been best.”

There are also plenty of smaller bass around the west entrance; the outgoing tide has seen the most prolonged activity with flocks of birds and surface feeding stripers everywhere; it would be pointless to suggest any location, but I can say that my experience has shown that after the hubbub settles down and folks stop chasing breaking fish, the bass are still around, often milling and swirling on the Mashnee Flats or among the myriad rocky locations from Bourne to Falmouth. Spin anglers know the fun of tossing topwater plugs – hopefully rigged for clean, simple release when fishing around schoolies that will need to be set free – a majority of Cape saltwater flyrodders are used to fishing subsurface with sinking lines. If you’re one of them, this is a great time to try a floating line with some sort of a surface fly, whether it is a Gurgler, popper, or even a Crease Fly

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing tagged this albie as part of a scientific study going on by the ASGA.

Along with schools of small bluefish racing up and down just out of reach of shore anglers, Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that there have been smaller schools of albies working pretty much every day in the North Falmouth/West Falmouth area; silver Hogy Epoxy Jigs and white soft plastics have been working best for his dad, who likes to target funny fish. 

With all of the small bait around, the albie action should only get better as the water cools and hopefully we get some good funny fish weather – you know, rough and windy to get them to chew with abandon.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Schools of bass definitely keep appearing and then disappearing in the Hole, perhaps a sign that the push of fish down Buzzards Bay has already started; I have encountered smaller, most likely resident schoolies on a regular basis recently, but any larger bass around the islands have been caught at night or during the day with live eels. Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth reported that Phil Stanton continues to pick up, on average, a half dozen quality fish on his daylight eeling trips. Phil is a big proponent of fishing high tide around the rocks when the larger bass are typically more inclined to be on the hunt for a meal even when the sun shines. 

As the water cools and more fish hopefully more migratory fish begin to move down Buzzards Bay, the plugging action should also pick up; metal lip swimmers are popular among the few folks who adhere to this classic style of fishing, but if I had to pick one artificial lure to use in the fall it would be large soft plastics, such as the Hogy 10-inch Original in bone or bubblegum during the day and black at night. I still have a stash of the super-sized 14 and 18-inch Hogy’s that I plan on using this fall if I get some time to fish on my own. Phil also told me that one of his young angler friends has been picking up some Atlantic chub mackerel around our local archipelago. These members of the tuna and mackerel family are sometimes confused with albies due to coloration and markings, but they are generally much smaller and easier to catch. Frigate mackerel and bullet mackerel are two other members of this clan that are sometimes confused with little tunny, with the former most closely resembling their larger cousins.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters has been finding lots of albies this season.

With all of the small bait around the islands, I am a little surprised to have not heard of many reports of blitzing schoolies and small bluefish, but in reality all everyone seems interested in right now is albies. I would add bonito, but their absence so far this season has been particularly disappointing. 

Evan said that earlier this week on one of his albie gambits, he ended up at Lackey’s Bay where he found some small schools of fish and a number of boats trying to get at them with no success. He offered up a suggestion to one boat about using caution around all of the rocks where they were fishing and he was surprised to hear that they were relying on their GPS to identify the position of the rocks. In point of fact, all charts often identify a sticky spot with the term “foul” and they do not give exact positions of individual rocks and ledges. This can lead to lower unit and hull damage when someone assumes that they are clear of prop eaters when in fact they sometimes fall outside of what is indicated on electronics and paper charts. Only experience can teach you where it is safe to go at different stages of the tide and failure to heed this advice is never a good thing, but especially during funny fish season when people so often seem to lose their minds. 

Speaking of which, I saw some schools of albies in Woods Hole today, but any breaks or bird activity resulted in a half dozen or so boats surrounding it, with no hook ups resulting. It was the same thing off Nobska and from Nonamesset to Job’s Neck. Generally speaking, the albies have been really picky so far, with only foul weather and rough seas really turning them on and getting them in a happy place.

The Hogy Epoxy Jig continues to be deadly for albies this season
{@the_quabbin_angler on Instagram}

Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that some folks who frequent his shop take the smart route and just pass on by any fleets of boat harassing a school of albies and they have managed to find some decent action on more cooperative fish. Tarpaulin Cove and Quick’s Hole are popular areas if the albie season really gets going, but they also draw crowds. Personally, some of my best days have been on the Buzzards Bay side of the islands, including in the evening when everyone has gone home.


Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- August 26, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt. Mike is joined by renowned angler Eric Harrison as they target bluefin tuna on Hogy Sand Eel Jigs.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Once again, there is a ton of life in B-Bay, from schoolies to mid-sized slot fish up around the west entrance to the Canal, both around Onset and the pilings, up inside Monument Beach and on the Mashnee Flats, from Wing’s Neck to Stony Point Dike and Wareham – well, you get the idea. According to the folks at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach, topwater plugs like small spooks and poppers will work in the magic false dawn period. The one issue that you should be prepared for is that in most cases these bass are feeding on really small peanut bunker, sand eels, and silversides and are, therefore, highly selective once the sun is up. Small soft plastic paddles like the Hogy Pro Tail Paddles and even the Hogy Slow Tail are good options, with pearl or the bunker option a good place to start, but sometimes there is so much of the real thing that going with a color like chartreuse will draw more attention. Another great option is the smaller Hogy Epoxy Jigs, which can be cast or dropped below the surface fray where any larger fish may be lurking.

Kayak Albie
Jack Pinard of Hogy Lure Company got out on the kayak and was chasing albie feeds earlier this week.

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth offered up a great story about a father and son team who came into his shop asking for advice about what to use while fishing around Megansett; Evan’s suggestion of a small, pearl paddletail did the trick as the son managed a legal sized bass and some smaller fish as well, all of which were released. 

A number of folks have mentioned to me that they have seen good sized schools actively feeding in the early morning and again in the evening in spots such as Old Silver Beach, West Falmouth, and between the old Cape Codder and Racing Beach as they were taking a walk or even driving along the shoreline and then spotting birds and breaking fish. They could have been funny fish for sure, but odds are that they were part of what seems like a big push of bass down the bay or even schools of small bluefish. Mark Tenerowicz has been giving it heck out towards Fairhaven and Westport, but has been dealing with frustrating schools of finicky small stripers, with some bluefish mixed in.

But while these species aren’t that uncommon at this point in the season in B-Bay, what Matt Anderson, owner of Kiwi Signs in Bourne, caught on Thursday morning certainly was. Matt has been so busy that he hasn’t had much, if any, time to fish, but he managed to get out and was prepared with not only a rod set up for albies, but also one for plugging for bass or blues. What he caught, however, was certainly not expected at all: a 25-pound cobia. After sharing the photo of his catch with Evan, Matt added that there were other cobia with this one, but his fish was clearly the largest. Cobia are typically a fish you will encounter from the mid-Atlantic states down through Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico; they are great sport fish, often caught by sight fishing when they are cruising on the surface, and they are delicious as well. 

I can say without any qualms that there isn’t anybody that I could be happier for than Matt, who is not only a good angler, but the best boat graphics person I know – but then again, I am biased since he did my boat.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

I couldn’t have asked for a better morning on Wednesday as I was joined by Ruth Anderson and Michael Beebe; it was still overcast in the Hole, but as the false dawn broke, there was life everywhere. Terns and gulls were first on the scene, picking at schools of peanut bunker and bay anchovies, but soon there were happy bass everywhere. Some of these fish were clearly in the 30+ inch range, with Ruth managing a lower slot fish that absolutely blasted the small soft plastic she was throwing on one of my ultralight outfits. Once again, similar to my story from last week, this fished ripped off a substantial amount of eight-pound test and ended up in a rock pile; this story, however, had a happier ending as we maneuvered about, opened the bail to give the fish slack, and eventually it cleared into open water where we were able to land it. 

A good portion of the rest of our morning was spent marveling at – and catching – bass that were just boiling on small bait, at times offering up the illusion that they were albies. Michael did well with the fly rod using small white patterns and we even got a good laugh at a couple of spunky pre-schoolies that took swipes at the Gurgler that he was tossing into the rocky Nonamesset shoreline, as well as a shallow spot where the bass were herding the bait up against the shoreline.And there were albies around, as a number of boat were working small schools around the Buzzards Bay entrance to the Hole and along Hadley’s Harbor, but the one hook up we saw jumped clear of the water, far more typical of a bluefish than a false albacore.

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing found lots of willing to eat albies earlier this week.

The word from Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle is that a handful of hardcore funny fish hunters have been working down the Elizabeths and encountering some decent feeds of albies, picking up multiple fish on a variety of Hogy Epoxy Jigs and soft plastics. Although I still like to be on the water early before the sun is up when getting a funny fish trip started, Christian emphasized that the mid-morning bite has been pretty darn good. 

Gerry Fine, who resides on the shores of Little Harbor, said there have been schools of fish busting up the waters in this area and on Thursday he was out kayaking off of Nobska Beach, where he was surrounded by bait and birds and some kind of larger fish that he couldn’t identify definitively– nor catch, since he didn’t have a rod with him. The next couple of weeks should see an uptick in bass and bluefish action along our local archipelago, both on the B-Bay and Vineyard Sound sides; the water is starting to cool a bit and there is just an ever increasing amount of small bait. 

Personally, I intend to take some time off after Labor Day from guiding to toss metal lip swimmers, big tandem rigged Hogy’s, and some oversized flat wings I have been working on – all the while avoiding eye contact with the flotillas of albie obsessives that are sure to pop up anywhere there are – as Jim Young laughingly says – “slashing fish.”

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- August 19, 2022

Check out the all new CLEAR Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach was pinch hitting for his dad, Jeff, having been, as of Thursday, out three of the last four mornings. His original goal was to fish for fluke, but what he discovered were smaller sea bass paving the lower part of the water column from the Maritime Academy all the way down to Wing’s Neck; at times, the BSB were also feeding on top, especially around the latter. There were so many sea bass that it was literally impossible to get a jig down to the bottom without hooking up. The one area where Morgan has been having success catching fluke on a regular basis has been in shallow water inside Phinney’s Harbor; he was talking about water in the eight to ten foot range, where he has regularly caught fish in the high teen to low 20-inch range regularly, along with a good number of shorts. Morgan’s favorite rig is a jig on the bottom tipped with a Gulp! Grub, especially a chartreuse one, with a smaller hook tied up above as a teaser with a four-inch Gulp! Swimming Mullet in pink/white, pink, or chartreuse.

First albie of the season aboard Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing.

There is a ton of small bait and an incredible number of birds working from the Maritime Academy down to Wing’s Neck and beyond, Morgan said, and he has been using smaller spook style plugs with good results. Even though he was doing well with one particular color, he emphasized that the key is most likely the lighter colored belly, which other plugs have as well.  I fished that area on Sunday and Tuesday and we did well on a variety of soft plastics, including the small Hogy Pro Tail, as well as spooks and a variety of small fly patterns, including my buddy Capt. Warren Marshall’s Blue Slammer that he ties for funny fish. Tuesday, we were throwing small unweighted soft plastics on eight-pound test, ultralight outfits when Frank Mainville hooked up with a bigger fish that ran out a lot of line and went around a lobster pot warp; we managed to get it free, but the line must have been weakened and it popped just as I suggested that Frank try and put a little more pressure on the fish. He got a good look at it and said it was the largest bass he had ever hooked; so much for my advice! We did also pick up a 29-inch bass amongst all of the fat schoolies that were slurping peanut bunker. 

What was most interesting to me was a surface water temperature reading of 63-degrees up around the Maritime Academy on Tuesday, clearly a push of colder water on the west tide from Cape Cod Bay; otherwise, most of the water was in the low 70-range. I know over the last month that there have been reports of slugs of colder water in Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay that have significantly impacted fish movement and feeding; perhaps more attention needs to be paid to these shifts, similar to the way offshore anglers use temperature maps to locate temperature breaks. We also found an impressive surface feed up inside Wareham on Sunday; early on there were bass in the area, but then the water erupted with blues of all sizes that kept us busy with the fly rod. As my friend Gerry Fine said, “I don’t know why so many people look down on bluefish.” Amen to that. 

I know that Capt. Mike has referred to bluefish as “my partners” in the soft plastic business and Buzzards Bay is filled with his executive board, but what got him all jazzed up last Sunday was what he believes was a school of albies working bait around Wood Neck Beach; of course, he was on the beach and had no way of confirming his observation that he was looking at funny fish, but I am convinced that with all the albies that have showed up this week, there is a very good chance that he was looking at the real thing. 

Finally, an interesting note from Morgan Hopwood, who said that he spoke to someone earlier this week who said he believes he saw albies breaking in the Wing’s Neck area. While at this point in the season, that is definitely a possibility, Morgan told me that sometimes black sea will come to the surface and push water in a similar way to albies or bonito, making for some false ID.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

 I have little doubt that the Nobska Point fleet will be in full force this weekend once the albie word gets out and Phil Stanton told me he saw a number of boats sporting rods tipped with Hogy Epoxy Jigs, a good sign that the funny fish reconnaissance is in full swing. Phil saw what he believes was a school of albies working the Buzzards Bay side of Naushon earlier this week; they were moving quickly, stopping every so often and feeding in the explosive way that we most often associate with funny fish. But adhering to the belief that you can never be sure unless you hook one, Phil acknowledged that they could have been small bass or even bluefish.

Amande Grueter submitted this photo of an early season albie.

On Monday, Phil fished with his friend Matt, tossing eels in all of his usual spots from Naushon to Cuttyhunk and back again with nothing to show for their efforts; the following day, they tried some other locations, especially around Nashawena, and picked up a couple of over slot fish and a solitary schoolie, noting that his totals on an average trip have dropped a bit to 3 to 5 nice fish. Overall, there has been a lack of numbers all August long, with very little in the way of actively feeding bass or bluefish, and Phil also said that the number of boats fishing along our local archipelago has been way down.

But that should change real quick now that it’s ALBIE SEASON!

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- August 12, 2022

Take a look into Capt. Mike’s inshore fishing tackle, featuring the Hogy Mesh Crate Storage System.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

When I hear that the peanut bunker are starting to show in big numbers throughout the bay, I can’t help thinking about the incredible fishing we enjoyed in the fall last year. 

Of course, I have become more and more convinced that what was once the highlight of the season, the legendary “fall run” is no more or, to try and put it more optimistically, an event that just might be starting earlier and earlier and not lasting as long, either. Well, Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore reported that once the wind died down earlier this week, one of his regulars went out and found bass feeding throughout the west entrance to the Canal, including outside Onset, from Hog Island to Mashnee, and around Phinney’s Harbor. He was trolling umbrella rigs – white, of course – and tubes and there were enough slot size fish in the mix to make things interesting. This activity took place in the evening right through the fall of darkness, but day time should see increasing activity as well, making upper Buzzards Bay the second area where you can reasonably anticipate catching stripers. 

Sure enough, I heard from Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach that the day before he had returned to the Vineyard – where he had just finished a little vacation time – to gather up his boat as he wisely decided against beating himself up on Monday and took the ferry home since work beckoned.  The most important part of the story – along with Jeff’s good sense and seamanship – was that as he made the turn at Wing’s Neck Tuesday morning, there were birds working and fish breaking, clearly feeding on peanuts. Jeff didn’t have a rod with him, but he believes this was a mix of bass and blues – although he did admit that he was kind of hoping that they might have been bonito or even false albacore. Speaking of which, there have been no reports of funny fish in B-Bay yet, but if the bait is thick enough to produce a good surface feed the second week of August, a little drop in water temperature and they could show on the next tide change. 

Mark Tenerowicz, after spending some vacation time up in Maine chasing smallmouth and pike, returned to the salty scene and filed this report: “Went out in Fairhaven on my first day back from chasing smallies and pike in the northwoods. Was planning to run out to Ram Island to scout for birds and blues on the flats but just off the launch on Sconticut Neck there was a roving band of decent sized schoolies feeding on top. They were up and down, but when up they put on a good show. Not sure what the bait was.  Water was cooler than I expected.” Translucent amber has been the top producing color when it comes to soft plastics, Mark added, and he looks forward to putting a few in front of some albies or even bonito in the next month or so.

The fluke bite remains solid, with the kayak crew picking up some nice fish working under the schools of pogies from Monument Beach to Megansett. 

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

I can offer up my own report from Tuesday and it isn’t promising. After the storm blew through on Tuesday night and with a wind shift and slightly cooler water temperatures – I crossed my fingers – and in anticipation of some good white water crashing the shoreline and overcast conditions and drizzle in the morning, I had high hopes that there might be a few bass holding in the rocks and invited my good friend Capt. Warren Marshall along to sling eels. In actuality, Warren should have stayed in bed since after five hours of tossing Mr. Wiggly, all he had to show for his efforts was one big seabass and a sore shoulder. We did get an eel chopped up just on the edge of the rip that forms up on the sound side of Robinson’s on an incoming tide, but that was a highlight. We even tried tossing a Hogy Charter Grade Popper as the tide slacked in Woods Hole, something that has worked every time I have tried it this year, but other than one half-hearted swirl, it was nothing doing. 

There is some small bait around, although it wasn’t as thick down the islands as it has been elsewhere – yet. We did see some small groupings of terns picking here and there, but hopefully a bit of a cold snap will get some funny fish moving around to give those poor birds something to really get excited about

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- August 5, 2022

Filmed Last Week

Despite being in the “Dog Days” of summer, Capt. Mike found some hot and heavy topwater bluefish action at Hedgefence.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

The most consistent bite in the bay has been on small bluefish harassing both small bait and the pogy schools that are still present around Monument Beach, Pocasset, Megansett, North Falmouth, and Quissett, as well as from Wareham to New Bedford. There are mainly schoolies under the pogies, but there are a handful of hardcores who continue to shadow these schools from dusk to dawn, working spooks, big paddletails, and jointed swimmers in hopes of finding something larger. Fluke fishing remains a solid option off of Wing’s Neck, the Mashnee Flats, and the edges of the Canal; apparently, the ratio of legal fish to throwbacks is better than many of the typical hotspots in the sounds. Too many folks associate summer flatties with sand bottom, but they really congregate on irregular, broken bottom of gravel, shells, and the like. I haven’t heard of any snapper blues showing yet, but they make an excellent bait for big fluke and Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach is also a fan of big baits such as pogy fillets.

No word on any bonito or other funny fish in B-Bay yet, with folks in particular hoping for a good mackerel season – kings and Spanish, that is.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

 The reality is that the good old days of summer along the islands is apparently long gone, but there are still some quality fish to be had if you put in your time and work the entire stretch from Naushon to Cuttyhunk. Phil Stanton said they have been managing between five and eight nice bass on eels, but it has been a hunt, with no one area holding multiple fish for the most part. 

The challenge right now is two fold from what I can tell. First, the stock of resident fish has been severely depleted, from schoolies to the cows that once made our local archipelago such a legendary striper haunt. Second, the water is incredibly warm, with folks like Phil saying that they have never seen it like this and I wonder what that means for the lobsters, crabs, and other crustaceans that attract big fish on a more consistent basis than people realize. Sure, stripers will take eels and they typically will not pass up a chum slick-and-chunk pogy buffet, but when you think about it, these are “artificial” opportunities that anglers create, as opposed to what Mother Nature provides as a regular source of protein amongst the boulders and reefs.  If there was ever a time to concentrate on high water, which typically brings even a slight change in water temperatures, this season would be it. Combine incoming water with the wee, wee hours of the morning – that means at least an hour before first light – or again after dusk will at least move fish in tight if you prefer to cast to shoreline structure. And while I wince at the thought of wire line, jigging is a sound option in the dog days of summer, as is dragging tubes on lead core if you like to fish the close in contours or stainless if you are fishing the deeper channels in the holes. 

On my last trip to Woods Hole, there were still some small bass willing to take topwater plugs and flies, but these were really early morning trips and very tide specific. I did see terns working the shoreline between the entrance to Hadley’s and Sheep’s Pen in one direction and Timmy’s Point in the other, a stretch that often produces the first bones of the season in this area.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- July 29, 2022

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Pogies are the number one baitfish driving any bass or bluefish action in Buzzards Bay, said A.J. Coots at Red Top in B-Bay, but unlike the spring and early summer, there aren’t the numbers of huge fish on them; instead, as some of the folks who work in the shop told him, they are generally finding school bass in the 20 to 26-inch range following the pogies, with the occasional slot sized fish in the mix. High water temperatures might be why there are mainly smaller fish around since they typically are more tolerant of warm water, with bigger bass tending to drop deep in the water column in the height of summer, preferring to cool their bellies on the bottom and expend less energy. 

Jeff Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach said that even with all of this heat, stripers are still being caught up inside Onset, Buttermilk Bay, and the rivers over Wareham Way. Of course, he went on to say, your best option is to fish these areas from dusk to dawn as opposed to the middle of the day when the waters are like a sauna and bait typically outfishes lures when fish are lazy. If you are strictly a user of artificial options, take note of how freshwater bass anglers change over to lures that can be worked with a slower cadence and deeper in the water column when the mercury rises. If your preference is topwater plugging, go low light and plugs such as the Hogy Dog Walker which create wakes and other sure signs of a struggling, easy target baitfish, along with sonic cues. 

Ground Fishing Report

With sea bass of any real size – meaning legal – having moved into deeper water and out of the range of most small boat operators who in year’s past didn’t want to run that far because of inconvenience, but this year they also have the issue of higher fuel prices to consider. The scup fishing, however, remains strong, albeit with fewer dinner plate sized fish in the mix, and the fluke bite has definitely been better this season, both around the Mashnee Flats and the deeper edges of the Canal.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

It was another discouraging trip on Tuesday as flyrodder Jon Kolb joined me for what I hoped would be better conditions with early morning tides drawing colder – or at least cooler – water in from Buzzards Bay and through the Holes in the island. Unfortunately, what I found was 75-degree water in Woods Hole and nothing lower than 71 all the way down to Cuttyhunk. Now, I believe that most boat electronic units register water temps close to the surface as opposed to closer to the bottom, but I can’t remember conditions being like this throughout our local archipelago at any point in season’s past. Along with the steam bath, the only signs of life Jon and I saw were some terns on the Buzzards Bay side of the islands working over what appeared to be small bluefish or perhaps a few schoolies, but they wouldn’t stay up long and we weren’t set up for deep dredging – a technique I am not a fan of with a fly rod anyway – the deeper water where these fish were popping up.

Matt T. found plenty of striped bass while kayak fishing earlier this week.

When I managed to get Phil Stanton on the phone yesterday, he was out seabassing with some friends in the Hole and he agreed that other than in spots such as Hadley’s, he hasn’t seen water temperatures like this around the islands – well, he said, perhaps never. Phil is a big fan of fishing around high water and said they have managed to pick up a few better fish on eels, but I heard that even the boats that jig wire down around Cuttyhunk and Quick’s have been struggling. When Jon and I were out, we had a dying swell creating beautiful white water shoreward and I kept thinking that slinging snakes might have been rewarded, but there was no way I was going in to play tag with my rocky friends given the limitations of distance that hampers the long wand, even in the hands of folks like distance champion Steve Rajeff.

Over at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth, Evan Eastman said that eel sales have slowed, a pretty good sign that casting around the Elizabeths is off since most folks prefer Mr. Wiggly to plugs, plastics, or flies if they are tossing line rather than dragging it. I have a few eels still swimming around in my backyard tank and if I can get the motivation, I may sneak out super early this weekend and give them their “freedom” before hustling home to help out with the houseful of hounds we have on hand – and, yes, I used to teach English and still love alliteration!

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- July 22, 2022

Latest Video

In our latest video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads offshore targeting bluefin tuna on spinning gear using a combination of the Hogy Harness Jigs and Hogy Charter Grade Sliders.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

The word from Jeff Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach is that the fluke fishing has been really solid so far this season, with fish being caught in the shallower waters around the Mashnee Flats and on the edges of the Canal and off Wings Neck, with the deeper water generally holding larger fish. If you are looking for larger sea bass in upper Buzzards Bay, you are out of luck, with mostly smaller fish around; look for deeper water if you just. Have to enjoy a nice BSB dinner, but at this time of year, the best fishing is a long run down Buzzards Bay and over into Vineyard Sound. 

Jeff added that there are definitely bluefish around the west entrance to the Canal and around the Mashnee Flats down to West Falmouth, while the striper fishing in Onset, Buttermilk Bay, and Wareham River is still good; in fact, Jeff said last Saturday the Cohasset Narrows Bridge over the entrance to Buttermilk Bay was filled with people. 

Kayak angler Mark Tenerowicz chimed in with a report from his home port of Mattapoisett and also sent me a video of bluefish hitting topwater plugs that looked more like bluefin exploding on his lures: “Have found medium to large blues on the flats between Mattapoisett Neck and Ram Island on juvenile sand eels. No stripers to be found in Fairhaven or Mattapoisett.   Went to east branch of the Westport and had fun with schoolies on Mike’s new colors of the Hogy Charter Grade Popper. Inner harbor temperatures around here are “bathwateresque”.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Unlike on land, sometimes it’s a real challenge to decide when deciding where to file a report since one body of water spills into another and there aren’t such specific boundaries and that is especially the case when one creates their own as I do in these reports. Anyway, the reason I mention this is Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth told me of a guy who has been doing well trolling bunker spoons in the channel into Woods Hole from Nobska to Little Harbor and beyond. He showed Evan a photo of a 50+-inch fish he caught using this method and he has caught a number of other big fish as well. Now, this piqued my interested, of course, since bunker spoons have always been a perfect example of what I call a “specialized, localized lure;” for years, Eastman’s carried bunker spoons and all they did was gather dust. In talking to Phil Stanton about his fishing around the islands this week, I mentioned Evan’s news and he immediately mentioned how bunker spoons are a Long Island mainstay and he has a collection of them that he has tried over the years around the Cape with very little to show. 

Up at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore, Bruce Miller has always been an advocate of bunker spoons, which some sharpies use up in Cape Cod Bay when the fish are on mackerel in the spring and early summer. These lures require heavy rods that can stand up to the strain they put on the line and the folks I know who use them typically employ outrigger rod holders that go in the gunwale rod holders and extend the rod out away from the boat perpendicularly. This spaces the bunker spoons farther away from each other since them make a wide, erratic swimming motion that can lead to tangles if they are run too close to each other. But they have never caught on around the sounds and truly this is the first time I have heard of a report of fish being caught on them around these parts in over 30 years of scribbling fishing columns. 

On the other hand, the tube-and-worm is a popular local archipelago technique and one that Capt. Mike tried on Wednesday during this week’s Salty Cape film session: “We decided to take some time off from the incredible offshore action and take a sniff around Vineyard Sound. We trolled tube and worm in a handful of places down along the Elizabeth Islands all the way to Nashawena. The water was dirty, I think from the strong moon tides. We picked up a lot of weed and a couple of gorilla bluefish.”

Hogy Surface Pencils are perfect bluefish plugs. The single hook makes for easy releases.

Speaking of gorilla bluefish, on Monday I fished with George Noonan, his niece Britney, and her husband Kyle and amongst all of the bass we caught on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and bubblegum 7-inch Hogy Originals, Kyle hooked up with one of those big, gnarly bluefish that we often catch while casting eels along the islands. I saw this fish hit the soft plastic and then come back for what remained, something that my good friend Laurie Thwaites calls “nubbing;” she gets a kick out of using the remnants of a Hogy soft plastic and seeing how many fish – usually bluefish – that she can catch on one. In this case, Kyle’s blue refused to give up and finally cut through the 20-pound fluoro leader we were using, but not before a number of impressive jumps and a clear side shot that showed its all of its girth and gnarliness. 

Now, despite the wind this week, Phil went out  with his friend Matt on the same day Mike was out there; Phil has put away the jigging outfits for the season and turned to slinging eels and they managed five nice bass up to the high 30-inch range. Despite the warmth and high sunshine, the wind made for rough conditions and that kind of white water is perfect for slinging snakes.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- July 15th, 2022

Latest Video

The schoolie size bluefin tuna bite off of Cape Cod has been one of the best we’ve seen in years! Here’s a look into our latest video, trolling for bluefin tuna just east of Chatham!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and
Monument Beach and his son took advantage of the latter stages of a
recent first light west tide around the west entrance to the Canal and
had a blast tossing big white/bone colored spooks at slot sized and
above bass. Jeff mentioned that it has been a long time since he has

fished surface options and it was cool to experience once again how fun
this can be.
Additionally, Jeff pointed out that once the tide went east, they
continued to enjoy solid surface action, but not from fish that were on
top. Instead, they were drawing fish up with their plugs in water that
showed no signs of feeding; if you’ve never had a big fish blow up on a
popper or spook with no warning, then you haven’t lived.
Jeff said these fish were feeding on squid, but there are also the
remnants of the push of early season big bass shadowing the schools of
pogies throughout the bay, especially the upper stretches from
Monument Beach and Red Brook Harbor over to Wareham, Marion,
and beyond. First light and dusk plugging the rocks, both along the
shoreline as well as the reefs and boulder fields in open water, is key to
getting the attention of the resident fish that hold around this structure
in the summer.

Big bass caught aboard Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing.

The schoolie bite remains strong up inside Buttermilk Bay, with an
occasional slot fish taken on bait from the bridge that oversees the
entrance to this area. It’s the same story for both boat and shore
anglers throughout the bay, but this is a low light fishery at the
Schools of bluefish continue to pop up throughout the bay, but while
many folks only associate them with surface blitzes in open water, they
also orient themselves to shoreline structure, making for some exciting
topwater plugging target practice.
While the black sea bass bite has slowed, with mainly smaller fish
around as the largest fish have moved out into deeper water, the scup
bite remains strong with plenty of quality fish around, Jeff said. Of
course, this time of year, looking to do some ground fishing turn to
fluke and Jeff and others have had little trouble catching their limits,
mainly on fish in the 18 to 20-inch range although he did hear of a 28-
inch fish, which is huge. Jeff has been enjoying most of his success in
deeper water along the Canal edges, but he has spoken to folks who
have been doing well in spots as shallow as 16 feet or so.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

In an attempt to target a larger striper – or perhaps
even more than one – given the tales of success from folks who have
been regularly tossing live eels along our local archipelago, Evan
Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth took a pail of
snakes to French Water Place after work recently. He was marking fish,
but got no love as he worked tight to the rocky shoreline in this area.
Now, I suspect that the individuals that Evan mentioned have been
fishing at night or perhaps well before sun up, but they also may have
many more years of isolating stretches where the water is perhaps
cooler and deeper at certain stages of the tide, a key to catching fish
consistently along the islands.
When I first started fishing the islands with Bill Nealon, we often
dragged tubes with the tide in areas you would never think of in Woods
Hole and you can watch Capt. Mike employ the same rig in one of his
videos during the dog days of summer and he and Capt. Nat Chalkley
pick up some nice fish. In fact, I was guiding a fly rodder that morning
and we did fine targeting smaller fish pushing baby squid, but what I
witnessed from Mike proved the benefits of getting deep when water
temperatures spike if daytime fishing is your preferred option.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- July 8th, 2022

Coming Soon…

Here’s a sneak peek into Capt. Mike’s latest offshore tuna trip. Stay tuned for the full length version!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

A good number of the bigger bass that had been
shadowing the pogy schools throughout upper Buzzards Bay have
apparently moved into and through the Canal as the plug and livelining
activity has slowed said Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay; that
doesn’t mean there aren’t fish around, but you’re going to have to
work for them. There is nothing more rewarding that fishing around the
myriad pieces of rocky shoreline in these waters and drawing surface
action from bass of any kind, but especially bigger fish; be advised,
however, that with the water warming, this is becoming an early
morning activity as opposed to the spring when you can go pretty much
any time of day.

Snapshot Charters with a beautiful bass caught on a Hogy Popper.

Drifting chunks, again at night or really early in the morning, is again
effective this time of year, with some folks using the tube-and-worm to
target fish that are holding deeper in the water column.

There are schools of bluefish spread throughout the bay, making for
great topwater action and they can be found throughout the day, which
is good news for folks who cringe at the thought of getting up early
enough to be on the water at first light.
The sea bass bite has definitely moved into deeper water, especially if
you are looking for sizeable fish, while the fluke action on the Mashnee
Flats has improved this season.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Around Woods Hole, the fishing for bigger bass has
been solid, noted Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in
Falmouth, with jigging wire or drifting live bait deep the way to go.
There are smaller fish on top for light tackle and fly rod anglers and
they have been feeding mainly on baby squid, which means small,
lighter colored soft plastics are effective. That said, around slack tide,
we had some fun topwater action this week using the Hogy Charter
Grade Poppers around the ledges and rock piles.
Evan added that he is selling more live eels, usually a sign of what folks
who fish the Elizabeths are doing, but I would suspect that if jigging is
working in the Hole, that approach might be an even better choice
along our local archipelago, along with the tube-and-worm.
There has been some good topwater activity in the early morning and
again in the evening, especially in Robinson’s and Quick’s, with some
chunking activity as well.
What should be interesting, as Phil Stanton pointed out, is whether the
incredible numbers of bass that are being caught in the vicinity of the
Hole continues as the water warms. Are these fish part of the migration
that are lingering in our local waters because of all the bait and soon to
head elsewhere, leaving us with only resident bass? Or has the
declining population of bass from Naushon to Cuttyhunk somehow
been replenished? Stay tuned.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- July 1st, 2022

Trolling for Blues

Skipping plugs across the surface isn’t the only way to target bluefish here on Cape Cod. Sometimes the blues aren’t willing to hit a topwater plug, that’s where trolling for them can come into play.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I continue to get word from a variety of sources like
Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth that boat
anglers continue to pick up some bigger bass that are following the
schools of pogies that can be found up inside areas like Quissett, Red
Brook Harbor, and Monument Beach. Of course, livelining is tough to
beat, but these fish ae also being targeting with big topwater plugs.
It’s the same story from Wareham west; Mark Tenerowicz said that
guys livelining out his way around Mattapoisett have been picking up
bass in the 30 to 40+-inch range with some big bluefish ruining their
baits at times.

Gator bluefish caught aboard Riptide Charters.









Warming waters typically means slower day time activity as we get into
summer, so early risers will do better if they prefer to use topwater
plugs or soft plastics around the myriad pieces of rocky structure that
characterize the Buzzards Bay fishery.
The black sea bass fishing remains steady, but you are better off looking
for them – especially larger ones – in deeper water and the same is true
if your goal is catching numbers of larger scup.
And the fluke bite around the Mashnee Flats continues to get a good
amount of attention, with Evan hearing from a number of folks who are
seeing a far better ratio of legal to throwbacks than those boaters
fishing for summer flatties in the sounds

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Woods Hole is holding steady with both a live bait and
a jigging scenario at the moment; there is still some good topwater
activity with mainly smaller bass chasing baby squid, but these fish can
be pretty finicky. Swinging small white soft plastics like the Hogy Slow
Tail is one option, but at times you have to go the unweighted direction
to keep a plastic closer to the surface without any real retrieve of any
kind. That makes this fishery a lot of fun for flyrodders, but be advised
that you either have to be able to throw a long line and get the right

angle if you are going to fish it by yourself or have someone else run
the boat.

Big bass remain can be found anywhere around the islands. Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing showing his clients a good time!















Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth has been selling
lots of eels, with some folks dropping them down on fish in Woods Hole
while others have been casting them along the islands with varying
degrees of success.
A recurring theme has been people encountering surface feeding bass
at all times of the day around our local archipelago, some of the schools
comprised of fish in the 30+-inch range. Understanding and timing the
turn of the current/tide is often key to targeting this activity, with more
and more bluefish on the scene as summer warms the water, but they
are super fun on light tackle and surface plugs – as long as they have
single tail hooks. The Hogy Pencil Popper and Squid Plug both make
great baits for blues and they work really well on bass as well. Many
folks associate bluefish as being super easy to catch, but I can tell you
that at times you have to keep switching colors until you get things
dialed in.
You will also encounter more people trolling the tube-and-worm,
fishing the deeper edges where the cooler water is.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- June 24th, 2022

 Jigging for Black Seabass

In this video Capt. Mike Hogan shows us one of his favorite ways for targeting BSB here on Cape Cod, using the Hogy Squinnow Jig with a Hogy Teaser Assist Hook.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I had a nice talk with Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay
and. Monument Beach earlier this week and he said the fishing remains steady in
Buzzards Bay, especially when it comes to black sea bass. He hosted former Bruin
defenseman Hal Gil and his fishing obsessed young son, who managed to start the
day by rapidly outfishing everyone. Jeff was a little surprised to find that the BSB
were tough to come by in some of his favorite shallow water spots, along with a
tough scup bite; moving around towards deeper water helped and although they
didn’t catch any monsters, they managed a good pick of legal and slightly above
fish. They also caught some fluke and Jeff admitted that the bite was better on
flatties in shallower water closer in on the Mashnee Flats as opposed to the
deeper edges around the Canal.

Gorilla Tactics Sportfishing breaking on the fly rod on some large stripers.

The sea bass bite is also very strong around the deeper edges of Cleveland Ledge.
Jeff added that there are still some slot sized stripers being caught in spots such
as Buttermilk Bay, where one young angler managed a 30-in fish while his parents
were enjoying dinner right next door. Monument Beach, Red Brook Harbor, and
West Falmouth are all spots still worth checking out, especially around the pogy
schools that are definitely the primary forage for big fish this season. The
Mashnee Flats are also a good spot for targeting stripers.
Still a good number of schoolies in the mix, making for good fishing for flyrodders
and light tackle anglers; the kayak crew in particular is having a ball in the
numerous protected bodies of water that dot the upper Buzzards Bay shoreline,
as well as down Falmouth way.
Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay advised that while folks are still picking
at some bigger fish from Wareham over to New Bedford, again using big spooks
and livelining pogies, there are bluefish – and some really big bluefish – that are
driving bait anglers crazy as they just ruin prime bass baits.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

It was definitely a transition day for Gerry Fine and I on Thursday
as Woods Hole was filled with small schoolies absolutely going crazy on baby
squid, making for a perfect fly rod scenario. The fish were active on both tides,
with terns all over the place.

John Burns dropping Hogy Flutter Pitch Jigs for keeper BSB.

The only real challenge was the wind, which made

getting a proper presentation tough without sticking a fly in your head. The spin
anglers were picking at some fish as well, although I did see a number of them
having trouble getting bit since they were definitely retrieving their lures way too
fast, as if they were targeting bluefish.
Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth did say that a couple of
hard core Elizabeth regulars, Capt. John Christian and Phil Stanton, came in to pick
up eels, a pretty good sign that casting snakes in on the docket. Prior to this, both
of these stalwarts were either primarily jigging wire or tossing plugs/jigs, which
still remain best bets when targeting big fish as the water starts to warm.

Capt. Dave’s Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands Fishing Report- June 17th, 2022

Filmed Last Monday!

In this video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads out to the rips off of Monomoy targeting striped bass.Hogy Poppers in translucent pink and amber color were the ticket to success in imitating the squid these bass were feeding on!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Good sea bass fishing can be had throughout the bay,
whether you choose to join the fleet in well known areas such as
Cleveland Ledge, Bird Island, or Southwest Ledge or prefer to fish areas
that don’t draw such attention. No matter where you fish, remember
that larger baits attract larger fish, especially when it comes to tipping
your jigs with scented soft plastics. Cole Freeman said his favorite
colors are white or bright pink, while rigs that feature dressed hooks
above the jig or other weighted lure can make a difference in terms of
the quality of the fish you catch.

Capt. Eric Stapelfeld of Hairball Charters found some quality fish in the Bay.

The bigger bass that draw so much attention from anglers throwing big
topwater plugs around structure in Wareham Bay and along the rocky
shoreline of Bourne and Falmouth apparently haven’t moved into the
Canal in force; in fact, Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore
said that there are reports of big fish still being caught to the west
around Fairhaven, New Bedford and Westport.
Along with the stripers, folks are encountering big bluefish in upper
Buzzards Bay, some of them clearly double digit fish as opposed to
smaller fish that people overestimate because blues just fight so darn

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Woods Hole continues to give up some truly big bass in
the 30 to 40-pound class, mainly on live bait. Dunking scup is a tradition
this time of year in the Hole and all along the Elizabeths for that matter,
but the big fish that Phil Stanton and his fishing partner Matt landed on
Wednesday was taken on a live eel. As Phil explained, they went down
the islands as sort of an experiment, tossing eels in their favorite spots.
They came up empty until their returned to the Hole and on one of
their first casts with an eel fished deep in the water column, Matt
landed a fish in the 30-pound class.
Phil also mentioned the schools of pogies that have been reported
inside Hadley’s Harbor and in areas of quieter water in the Hole, with
some folks opting to liveline them as opposed to scup. I ran into one
angler who said they fished live pogies in the Hole recently and only

managed a single lower slot bass, along with numerous throwbacks. I
guess to each his own, but I don’t know why someone would waste
their time fishing live bait when it became apparent that the vast
majority of fish were too small to keep.

Eric Harrison found plenty of BSB on the Hogy Slowtail.

In fact, I fished the Hole numerous times this week with both flyrodders
and light tackle anglers; at times, the fish made their presence known
chasing squid, while at others we raised fish by swinging small squid
flies and Gurglers, along with pink or amber unweighted Hogy seven-
inch originals and Dogwalkers. We caught mostly schoolies, but
managed a couple of bass that were clearly out of the slot limit.

Capt. Dave’s 6/10/22 Cape Cod Fishing Report: Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

There are still some big bass lurking around the pieces of structure in Wareham,
noted Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay, but you are going to have to work a bit
harder as they are starting to move and stage for a push into the Canal, most likely. Topwater
plugs are still most popular for daytime fishing, but a few folks continue to do well at night
using big soft plastics, especially unweighted ones.
Fishing around schools of pogies continues to be one of the most popular ways of finding larger
fish, even up inside Phinney’s Harbor, for example; Connor said the fish aren’t necessarily
monsters there, but it is pretty cool to catch slot sized bass up inside a marina. Early morning or
evening/night plugging is an alternative to dealing with finding and catching bait and there are
numerous spots all along the Cape B-Bay shoreline just like Phinney’s.
Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore said the fish that were holding around Hog
Island and other spots around the west entrance that feature rocky structure and strong
currents have mainly moved into the Canal, but Rory Edwards from Falmouth Bait & Tackle
emphasized that were are still in the midst of the migration and that a new school of fish can
move in on the next tide, as was the case this week when the Mashnee Flats paid host to some
quality stripers.

John Burns caught this good size bass on a small Epoxy jig.

There are plenty of schoolies and bluefish in the five-pound range throughout the bay, but
there is plenty of talk of really big double digit blues feeding on schools of silversides, sand eels
and other small bait.

Ground Fishing:

Black sea bass action continues to be very good, with larger humpheads out in deeper water up
to 80-feet or so, while the spawning females are moving into shallower areas.
As for fluke, there has been no word of any catches just yet.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

It’s tradition this time of year to target bigger bass all along
our local archipelago using live scup. Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth
reported that one of his customers reported using a foot long scup at night to catch a bass they
said was 60-inches, with other big fish taken from Robinson’s back to Woods Hole on scup.
While the topwater bite in Woods Hole remains good on everything from poppers like the Hogy
Charter Grade in amber or Albie Crack (yellow/white) to spooks such as Hogy Dog Walker,
remember that generally surface plugs often work best on the slower stages of the current; I
know many folks who switch over to subsurface swimmers when the water is really working,
while I have discovered that the larger, heavier Hogy Slider does a good job of getting down to
where the fish are holding, using structure to help them expend less energy while they wait for
dinner to be swept by.
Of course, when dealing with the force of the currents in the Hole and along the Elizabeths,
jigging wire is a tradition that is tough to beat and Evan advised that it is producing some of the
biggest fish, some in the 40-pound class.

Capt. Eric Stapelfeld of Hairball Charters put his clients on a quick limit of BSB.

On the other hand, Evan is selling more eels and has heard that some quality fish are being
caught in the dark by folks drifting them around the islands.
Given Capt. Mike’s experience with sipping bass on small bait down off Gay Head yesterday, I
suspect that anyone willing to make the run to Cuttyhunk will find a similar scenario. In many
cases, these fish are feeding on krill or perhaps even a crab hatch and can be really tough, but
experience has shown me light tippets on the fly rod with really small shrimp patterns similar to
what are used on bonefish can often make the difference. Spin fishermen would be advised to
go slow and small as well; I haven’t had the chance to fish them in one of these scenarios, but a
Hogy Slow Tail, which produces plenty of action without a lot of forward movement, could be
worth a shot, along with slow dropping small Epoxy Jigs.
Oh, and I shouldn’t forget the schools of big blues on the bay side of the islands. Ken Swartz
said they have been finding really large schools of double digit blues feeding on small baitfish,
including silversides and sand eels. Ken said he hasn’t experienced surface action like this in a
long time, to the point where it can just be fun to toss a hookless plug and watch the fish fall all
over themselves to get at it. Obviously, if you are going to use hooks, make it a single Siwash or
in line with the barb crushed down. Last year, Capt. Mike filmed fishing for blues using the Hogy
Pencil Popper, which is a great topwater plug for both bass and blues; he was at another spot,
but his tips and suggestions will come in handy no matter where you are fishing on surface
feeding blues.
Jack Pinard reported that he and Capt. Mike found schools of pogies on the backside of the
Elizabeths on Monday and managed to troll up a decent bluefish on a Hogy Slider, but what was
really cool was watching a 40+-inch bass on the surface following a school of these striper

 Capt. Dave’s 6/3/22 Cape Cod Fishing Report: Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Schools of pogies are still hanging around Hog Island and both
livelining and casting big topwater plugs are effective, but Bruce Miller at Canal
Bait and Tackle said that lighter colored paddletail jigs have been working as well.
As with many things in and around the Canal, water temperature plays a large
part in the quality of the fishing and that means keeping tabs on tide/current
Cole at Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that there are still some really big bass
hanging around structure throughout the west entrance; many folks focus their
attention on the Wareham Bay area using big walk-the-dog plugs, but a
concentration of boats in any one area can make the fish uncomfortable and
pretty spooky. We’re often talking about a half dozen large fish working a school
of pogies or other bait and there are a multitude of spots during each tide stage
when they will be feeding.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters putting his clients on big bass using the Hogy Slider.

For example, Jeff Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay told me that while he was
looking for sea bass around the Scraggy Neck area, he saw a boat tossing big
spooks into the rocks with good results on some impressive fish. In some cases,
anglers have familiarized themselves with the rhythms of the movements of big
fish around structure and have a plan in mind of when and where to be, while on
the other hand, some folks just bounce around and take a few casts in hopes of
locating some fish. The former clearly requires more time spent on the water aka
experience, but no matter what approach you take, always be prepared for an
explosive strike – but not too reactive. Way too many big fish are lost when
anglers see white water and rip the plug away by jumping the gun, as opposed to
waiting for the weight of the fish on the line to let them know the bass has their
While all the rage is tossing big spooks these days, before I became more
dedicated to tossing flies, I was a big fan of working floating poppers, often

casting them into and around structure and letting them sit before an initial pop
followed by an erratic retrieve. I haven’t had the chance to try one yet, but Capt.
Mike has introduced a new line of extra big Charter Grade Poppers that look to
me to be the right ticket to draw out bigger fish hanging around structure and/or
schools of pogies.

Capt. Mike Hogan with a slot sized bass on the all new Hogy 7inch Popper.

Most of the open water action on stripers consists of schoolies and just enough
slot fish to make things interesting; terns working over baitfish, bass, and often
blues can be rewarding. It’s also a lot more dependable if your time on the water
is limited as opposed to hunting water where there are no visible signs of fish.
And remember that if you are into generally smaller fish, letting a heavier waited
jig drop below the activity is a traditional way of targeting any larger fish that may
be hanging below the fray up on top.
Big bluefish continue to be reported throughout the bay, not necessarily in huge
schools. In fact, some of the largest fish have been caught blindcasting around

Ground Fishing:

Jeff Hopwood confirmed that the black sea bass bite is in full swing; he took a
crew of friends out last weekend and they limited out on quality fish in less than
two hours – and these weren’t really anglers, mind you. BSB are aggressive and
will generally eat anything you drop down once you locate a concentration, but if
you want them big, then go big in terms of the scented plastics that most anglers
tip their bucktail jigs with.
When I asked about tautog, Jeff explained that with so much attention being paid
to sea bass, only a handful of folks are targeting tog for two main reasons. First
off, the recreational limit went to one fish per day starting June 1 and running
through July 31 and most folks aren’t going to be bothered. And secondly, if you
were so determined that you wanted a tautog for your fish chowder and tried
around areas that are now holding acres of sea bass, good luck getting your crabs
down through the latter. And, yes, BSB eat crabs; heck, they eat anything. Jeff’s
recommendation if you must have that tautog is to move in closer to shore where
a combination of shallower water and rocky structure just might do the trick.
Jeff added that the scup fishing is very good, with some real monsters around, like
the 20-inch specimens that he took home for his father-in-law who knows some
good eating when he sees it.

Finally, Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth said he
encountered a worm hatch last Sunday, but conditions this week haven’t exactly
been optimal for this type of activity. What I found especially interesting about
Evan’s experience is that he wasn’t fly fishing or set up with a casting bubble on

his spinning outfit, which is typically the way a non-fly angler presents one of the
bugs that are used to imitate spawning portions of cinder worms. Instead, he
tossed a small walk-the-dog plug and caught fish.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

There are certain boats that you become
familiar with if you are a dedicated targeter of fish along our local archipelago,
especially a very few who elect to cast plugs into the ledges and boulder fields
that this area is famous for.
That’s why I found it interesting that I spied a few of these vessels fishing the
shoals this week, but I know I would probably be mistaken if I took this as a sign of
the quality of the fishing in the Hole and down the islands.
In fact, I have heard of some bigger bass being taken on surface plugs in the Hole
this week, including a fish that Phil Stanton sent me a photo of that he estimated
to be in the 30-pound class, and a few boats are turning to jigging wire with mixed
results. June is also a prime month for livelining scup in the Hole.
What I imagine is happening is that the fishing in the sounds is so darn good that
even the most dedicated rock worshipper is at times committing the sacrilege of
falling victim to the siren’s call of the shoals.

Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters showing us that Hogy Poppers are kid friendly!

Capt. Dave’s 5/27/22 Cape Cod Fishing Report: Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands

Filmed last Monday!

Stripers have arrived full force in the rips feeding on squid. In this video Capt. Mike shares his favorite technique using Amber Charter Grade Poppers to imitate squid for exciting topwater striper action.

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Plenty of action throughout the bay and some great
stories to highlight the incredible variety.
Amy Wrightson from The Sports Port in Hyannis told me that one of her
employees, Ben Sussman, took his kayak over to what she believes was
the Megansett area earlier this week and there were plenty of bluefish
around – as well as some big bass, including a 40+-inch fish that Ben
caught on a topwater plug.
Connor Swartz over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay continued the big bass on plugs
theme, as big walk-the-dogs and pencil poppers have been taking good
numbers of fish in the 20 to 30-pound class, with a few 40’s and even
50’s in the mix. Apparently, this isn’t necessarily a first light bite, but
the key is targeting the pieces of rocky structure throughout the
Wareham Bay area. Schools of pogies are driving this action, so some
folks are opting to liveline as opposed to using artificials.
Mark Tenerowicz has been fishing protected waters close to home from
Mattapoisett to Fairhaven from his kayak where there are have been
plenty of very spooky bass; at times, he has thrown everything at them
with no results. I was wondering if he was fishing on a worm spawn in
the afternoon, but he saw no signs of worms when he was fishing at
that time of day and he saw them acting the same way in the morning
as well. On a more positive note, there are some big bluefish around –
and in this case we are talking about double digit choppers.

Bob from Falmouth released this big bass caught on a 7″ Hogy Charter Grade Popper yesterday afternoon in Buzzard’s bay while “working remotely”.

It sounds a little too easy, but folks have been reporting that there are
terns working over surface feeding fish all over the bay as they work
with the tide, typically chowing down on small bait. Topwater plugs will
work at times, but at others matching the hatch has been pretty
important, both in terms of size and color. While soft plastics, both
weighted and unweighted, often get the nod as the first option folks
reach for, the Hogy Epoxy Jig has proven to be the solution to finicky
fish in open water.

Black Sea Bass Fishing:

With more people concentrating on black sea bass, there isn’t as much
attention being paid to tautog, although the latter are still hanging
around their favorite haunts and shops are selling good numbers of
crabs. No need for bait, though, with BSB as they seem to hit everything
including the kitchen sink. Bucktail jigs tipped with scented soft plastic
grubtails are an excellent choice, but you can’t beat jigging with a
selection from Hogy’s wide assortment of Inshore Jigs for a clean,
simple, and incredibly productive way to catch dinner.
I did hear that the BSB are still in deeper water and haven’t moved into
inshore spots such as the Canal markers and in tight to the Necks; in
fact, Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that last Sunday
friends of his went up into Buzzards Bay while he stayed closer to home
in the sounds and he actually found more and larger fish.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

Somebody asked me the other day about fishing the
Elizabeths and I had to admit that other than Woods Hole, I didn’t hear
much since so many boats have been concentrating on the shoals that
have really lit up.
I did fish the Hole with Bob Lewis on Monday with his daughter,
Caroline, and her boyfriend Colin and had a great topwater trip. On the
turn of the tide and the early stages of the current, there were terns
and swirling fish everywhere that were plenty happy with the Hogy
Charter Grade poppers we were using. As seems to be the case in so
many areas, most of the fish were in the just below to right at the slot
limit, with a few 30+inchers mixed in. Later in the tide, the squid

arrived, making for some great visuals, although they were a bit more
finicky on the plug and a common play as the current picks up is to
switch to vertical jigging or casting bucktails or weighted soft plastics as
the fish drop down in the water column in certain areas and/or use
structure to their advantage throughout the Hole.
As with pretty much everything in life, timing is everything and on
Wednesday I ran back across the sound after a good morning at Middle
Ground, but missed the tide for the topwater bite and the Hole looked
dead. We managed to get a few slaps at our poppers, but none of the
aggressive, hellbent activity we had on Monday.

Capt. Dave’s 5/19/22 Cape Cod Fishing Report: Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands

Backwater Stripers

Don’t overlook the backwaters here on Cape Cod!


Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

I spoke to Phil Stanton, a reliable source of info who
typically fishes Woods Hole and the Elizabeths on a daily basis, but his

excitement this week was over what he called the best early season
striper fishing in B-Bay that he has experienced in over 30-years. From
the Weepeckets to the waters on the bay side entrance to the Hole, he
has been enjoying two to three hour trips where folks have been
catching bass one after another. Phil is a big fan of what he calls a
“clown” colored plastic Finnish style minnow swimmer, while others
refer to this pattern as “Wonderbread” or Mother of Pearl, although
the latter is a bit different, but still features splotches of “faded” pink,
yellow, and blue. They also been using bucktail or soft plastic jigs, with
the latter often tipped with a teaser such as a pork rind.
There have been a good number of slot sized fish amongst the
schoolies, but Phil and his guests also caught a couple of bass in the 20-
pound class yesterday.
This spring run is typically driven by concentrations of squid and Phil
added that there have been bass feeding on this food source off the
beaches between West Falmouth and Bourne; in fact, Rich Caruso told
me of a big fish that was caught by a friend off the Black Beach area.
This was a boat fish, but shore anglers who are diligent – and a bit
determined and secretive – have been known to take advantage of the
fewer folks who are determined to protect every piece of shore
property in their area.
Some bigger bass are also being caught amongst all of the schoolies
that can be found in the Cape backwaters that empty into the bay, as
well as the protected waters from Wareham over to Dartmouth. Bass
up to the 40+-inch class are being reported for boat anglers who prefer
the open waters of Buzzards Bay; at times, these fish are following
schools of pogies, but there are also pieces of rocky structure that hold
big bass this time of year. Flyrodders using big pogy/herring patterns or
even oversized Gurglers or poppers get into the action along with spin
or conventional anglers who used big soft plastics, both weighted and
I couldn’t tell you how long folks have been tossing big walk-the-dog
plugs in some inshore locations, but it has become kind of an obsession

from what I can gather. Many lure companies, including Hogy with their
Dog Walker series, make this style of plug and at times the fish can
seem totally locked into one particular model. It could be the
movement of one lure brand or even the sound of the internal weights
that almost all of this plug style feature, but the one constant is the
effectiveness of one color: bone or off white.
No matter your favorite, please replace treble hooks with singles,
especially in line, or limit your rigging to one treble.

Tautog Fishing:

The tautog bite remains solid in the bay, and while many folks associate
this fishery with boats, the reality is that shore folks also manage to
catch their share of tog – or blackfish as they are often called in the
waters from Rhode Island west and south. Green crabs are associated
with togging like – well, you name anything where two items
traditionally go hand and hand. I have heard of some people gathering
fiddler crabs or potting their own green crabs as opposed to buying
them from local tackle shops. That may be, but unless you have the
time, knowledge and techniques down for gathering them on a
consistent basis, letting someone else put in the leg work so you can
pick up a quart or two is a smart play.Tautog are as structure oriented a fish as you can imagine and for the
last decade or so – or at least as far as my failing memory can recall –
many tackle makers have been touting the efficacy of their line of tog
jigs. Fetching up in the sticky environs that these fish love has always
been an annoyance when using traditional tautog rigs, but the unique
design of a good tog jig will help you limit this frustration – but
remember that you still have to tip any one of these leadheads with
some portion of a crab.

Scup Fishing:

The scup bite is picking up, but I haven’t heard anyone speak of the run
of monsters that takes place in May. The word is that there is no
problem catching your limit (30 fish at a 10-inch minimum if you are
fishing from a private boat, but you can bump the bag limit to 50 from a
head or party boat).

Black Sea Bass Fishing:

Of all the inshore groundfish species, however, nothing seems to get
folks jazzed up like black sea bass and the recreational season opens
this Saturday, May 21. This year, the daily recreational limit is four fish
per person with a minimum length of 16-inches – and that number
does not include the long tail filament this species is known for.
Some anglers continue to use bait when fishing for sea bass, but
experience has shown that nothing is more effective than jigs at
targeting the big males, which feature a characteristic bump on their
heads and a dazzling blue or purple coloration during spawning season.
You can add some natural or artificial bait to the jig’s hook and many
sharpies include “feathers” or hooks dressed with nylon crinkle hair and
flash material above the main attraction on their rigs.
Heck, BSB are so accommodating that I have been fooled into believing
I was casting at surface feeding bluefish only to have them hit my
surface plugs. There are also too many examples of folks trolling for
bass and blues, only to have sea bass hit their spoons or plugs. And over
the last decade or so, the biggest BSB I catch each season have been
taken on live eels whose intended targets were big stripers along the Elizabeths.


The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

After writing last week about the cold, lifeless water in the Hole, I knew someone was probably going to catch
fish on the next tide and sure enough that was the case as I received
pictorial confirmation of stripers thereabouts.
These early season fish most often target squid around the ledges and
rips that the Hole is famous for, making for some great topwater action
with plugs such as the Hogy Charter Grade poppers, especially in the
clear amber or Albie Crack – or as I call it, yellow.
And although I know that Capt. Mike created his original 7 and 10-inch
soft plastics with versatility in mind and the ability to catch fish in
numerous environs, I still like to imagine that he had the squid run bass
in mind when he created these pink, bone, and amber staples that I
would never be without. Swinging one of these into the face of a rip

and watching a number of bass charge after it to see which one can be
hooked first is one of my favorite visuals ever in fishing.

Capt. Dave’s May 13th, 2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report: Buzzards’ Bay + Elizabeth Islands


Fish are moving in daily! A search won’t take you long to find them… But a heads up, there’s some micro silversides around, so be ready to downsize you leaders and baits to crack the code if they are cranky!

Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

This region continued to produce some good fishing
from shore this week, as much of its shoreline lies in the less of a
northeast blow. Amongst the myriad number of schoolies that continue
to provide solid action for light tackle anglers, there are also increasing
numbers slot sized bass. Many of the reports I gathered suggested that
as good as the action has been around Monument Beach, Red Brook
Harbor, Megansett, West Falmouth, and Sippewissett, the action just
might be better if you venture west of Stony Point Dike if your goal is to
find the first push of larger bass.
The bigger bass in B-Bay are apparently feeding on the schools of
pogies that can be found in pretty much any protected body of water,
including rivers, bays, and harbors.

For example, Capt. Mike offered by this report concerning Ian Conway,
“who snuck out of Sippican Harbor during a brief break in the wind
earlier this week and caught over a half dozen stripers including this
bigger schoolie in about thirty minutes, some on big plugs (Hogy Slider)
and some on a bunker fly using the fly rod.”
There is no doubt in my mind that the getting bass, especially some
with a little more length and girth on them, to whack a surface plug
can’t be beat; poppers can be used, but I suspect that many pluggers
would opt more often for the sexy walk of a big WTD style plug or a
classic wake of a properly retrieved Danny metal lip.
Another option is the use of big, eel style soft plastics; Andy Little from
The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that a couple of his friends went out
Wednesday evening as the winds died down and did very well on larger
plastics in the 10-inch range, with bone and amber very effective colors.
They caught fish well into the dark by boat, fishing mainly in the rivers
and quieter backwaters, but Wareham Bay, Marion, and Mattapoisett
all hold pieces of structure in more open water where big fish can be
targeted with big plastics as well.
Of course, the vast majority of these fish we are seeing at the moment
are migratory and they will be feeding and then moving onto what I like
to call their “resident” waters. That makes May and June good months
to seek out schools of fish in open water throughout Buzzards Bay.
Typically, these schools can be located by finding birds working over
them; over the years, I have encountered bass feeding on a variety of
small baitfish at this time of year, including sand eels and silversides,
and they can be pretty picky at times. Small soft plastics like the Hogy
Pro Tails and Slow Tails are good options, but I also like to rig small eel
style plastics on jigheads when they are on sand eels or even use Hogy
Epoxy Jigs.
The tautog bite remains strong throughout the bay, although you will
find concentrations of boats around the typical tog hotspots such as
Cleveland’s Ledge, Dry Ledge, Southwest Ledge, the old Canal markers,
and any of the necks jutting out from the Cape shoreline. Finding a

steady, reliable source of green crabs has been a challenge at times, so
it’s always a good idea to check in with your favorite shop ahead of
time to see what they have on hand before a scheduled trip.

Buzzard’s Bay Striper Fishing Tip:

As Capt. Mike points out in his video from last week, at this time of year with fish clearly on the move throughout the bay, where they were yesterday might be dead the next if you are looking for them
in open water. In this scenario, it really helps if you know that a
“partner” boat is also on the water in another location and can share
intel and save some running around in trying to locate actively feeding
fish. If that isn’t the case, take into consideration current direction and
how it will impact where fish will most likely be actively feeding.

Conservation Tip:

Using proper catch-and-release techniques will help
increase the odds of a fish’s survival and you can find materials on the
subject through the state Division of Marine Fisheries as well as
organizations such as Keep ‘Em Wet. I have become an ardent advocate
of leaving fish in the water during release and avoiding unnecessary
photos such as people sitting with a fish in their lap or hanging it from a
release tool. If you need to use the former, remember that they are
best used to control a fish in the water while removing a hook, not
yanking it into the boat. Folks who still insist on fishing plugs adorned
with multiple sets of trebles often use them for safety reasons, but by
re-rigging a plug with an inline single or even using just one set of
trebles, you will not only make it easier and less dangerous for you to
let a fish go, but the fish will thank you as well.

The Elizabeths Islands Fishing Report

This report will be short and sweet: I made my first trip
of the year yesterday with my friend Gerry Fine and we checked out
numerous locations, including Woods Hole. On the current direction
that typically brings warmer water temperatures, we couldn’t find any
location where the numbers went above 49-degrees, with no signs of
bait or bass. Hopefully, the warmer weather this weekend will help,
although the latest forecast suggests that things are going to be cloudy,
reducing the impact of warmer air temperatures.

Tog Tip:

Whether from boat or shore, a key to being a successful
tautog angler is to get your offering right onto the structure. When
working from a boat, managing to anchor over prime territory is critical
since this species does not like to roam far from its lair. I have heard of
some folks using those new (er) fangled spot lock trolling motors to
hold position as opposed to anchors. This is obviously a more expensive
technique than anchoring, but anything that would help me from
having to do with anchor lines and anchor retrieval sounds like a good
idea to me.

UPDATE: 5/11/2022

Ian Conway snuck out of Sippican Harbor during a brief break in the wind earlier this week and caught over 1/2dozen stripers including this bigger schoolie in about 30 mins, some on big plugs (Hogy Slider) and some on a bunker fly using the fly rod