Buzzards Bay and Elizabeth Islands Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s May 19th, 2022 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
unweighted.
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

FILMED LAST FRIDAY!!!

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