The word from Bruce Miller is that there has been no real slow down in the bass bite from Old Harbor down to Sandy Neck. The fleet of eel slingers continues to work the night hours with good results, but Bruce added that folks trolling red or orange tubes, both day and night, have also been picking up a good number of sizeable bass. Apparently, these fish have moved into this section of the bay in large numbers for several years and Bruce said that they are following schools of squid, which is no surprise to me since on many occasions I have had squid chase my flies and small soft plastics when working the flats from Barnstable to Brewster.
Mike Thomas added that his buddy picked up his 15 fish early this morning in about two hours or so; his screen was lit up with fish, so with the “recremercial” season expected to close today, everyone else should have a shot at some of these better quality bass without having to deal with getting screamed at and threatened. The average bass is around the mid-20-pound class, and along with squid, Mike said they have been feeding on sand eels and northern kingfish.
Shore anglers from Town Neck to Scorton Creek and Sandy Neck have also been picking up bass at night, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise as the boats are sometimes close enough to be hit with a moderate length cast. Live or rigged eels will work, but Bruce said that Magic Swimmers would also work. Daiwa SP Minnows have become a top plug for many shore anglers and if I had the time, it would be interesting to experiment with large Hogy’s, which in the hands of an experienced angler can sometimes outfish eels.
At the moment, the water there are more bluefish than bass on the flats due to the warm water; your best bet at finding any action would be to target an early morning incoming tide or to fish at night. When I say early morning, I am speaking of being there well before first light, with medium pink and white soft plastics, such as the Hogy Skinny six-inch and Original seven-inch models good options. Although these two colors at typically what produces, I wouldn’t hesitate to try amber, as it is a classic squid imitation color.
There are still good numbers of small bass around the dropoffs where east and west bars meet the main channel in Barnstable, and they can also be found up inside the harbor around similar structure, particularly around first light and again at dusk. These schoolies are much more aggressive then their larger, more experienced brethren and tolerate warmer water better.
From Rock Harbor to Wellfleet and over around Billingsgate, most folks are catching bluefish, some of them quite large. Given the warm water, this should come as no surprise. Paul Newmier did say that folks trolling in the deeper water outside the north edge have been picking up big bluefish and some smaller bass, especially with the tube-and-worm, based on how many worms he has been selling. Some boaters still troll umbrella rigs, which isn’t a problem if you don’t mind reeling in three 12-pound blues at a time. And folks continue to come in looking for Hootchies, the precursor to Hogy’s premium version, the Perfect Squid.