Capt. Alex Gottlieb of North Side Charters (northsidecharters.com) and Black Eel Outfitters in Dennisport called to offer his report on what he has been up to this week. Alex specializes in fishing the flats of Cape Cod Bay and he told me that on Tuesday he found a number of bass up on the Brewster Flats; he explained that while crab patterns are definitely productive there, the reality is that tossing them on a fly rod is tough for inexperienced anglers, so he typically sticks with sand eel selections that will still work at this time of year.
Alex also told of schools of small fish up around Billingsgate and over towards Wellfleet; when a change of current brings a shot of cooler water, these bass will surface and make their presence known for anyone to see. Overall, however, the key is knowing the holes and depressions where the stripers hang out and their movements from shallow to deep, and vice versa, according to the tide/currents and time of day and conditions; there are also grass patches that provide cover where bass often hold during the midday sun.
John Waring, who works at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth, launched a small inflatable with two of his buddies on Monday around Bass Hole in hopes of finding some bass or even a few small bluefish for dinner. They fished a likely looking rip on the edge of East Bar with no success, but then noticed terns working over small bait up inside the flats and followed schools of small stripers all the way towards Bone Hill Road. The bass were feeding on one to two-inch sand eels and John and friends did well with a variety of lures, including casting a small Hopkins and one of Charlie Cinto’s metal lures, as well as just dragging a small spoon similar to a Phoebe behind the boat. John emphasized that as the tide peaked at high water, the surface and active feeding died.
Despite a few folks still jigging up some mackerel and then livelining them around the deeper water in the harbor, the better option at this point in the season is drifting eels at night or casting them around the dropoffs and grass patches off of Sandy Neck.
Rob LaBranche is filling in for Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham and he has spoken to a number of folks who provided some good intel. He had some bass fillets in the fridge that a local charter captain dropped off, along with explaining that there has been a pretty good early morning bite dragging Hootchies, with a changeover to wire line and bucktails keeping the action going once the sun is well up in the sky. The north edge of Billingsgate, the Brewster Flats, and the deeper water from Wellfleet to Truro are all fishing well, Rob said, but when he asked a charter guy out of Rock Harbor if he had caught any bluefish, his reply was, “Yeah, I caught one about a month ago.” The largest number that any boat has caught that Rob has heard of is six.
Some recreational and charter guys are buying worms, an obvious sign that they are trolling tubes; from Sesuit to Brewster are areas where this technique is popular this time of year, while Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore told me that both orange and red tubes are working in the stretch from the parking lot to Scorton Ledge. That said, most of the boats appear to be jammed up outside the east end of the Canal, livelining mackerel and bouncing paddletail jigs – and sneaking into the land cut when they think nobody is looking.
Shore anglers are picking up small bass around Scorton and Old Harbor, according to Jeff Clabault at Forestdale Bait & Tackle on Route 130, but he hasn’t spoken to anyone who has caught a sizeable striper as was the case a couple of weeks ago when chunk mackerel and eels produced an occasional 40+-inch fish at night.