Cape Cod Bay Fishing Report – August 23, 2018

A week of winds primarily out a northerly quadrant kept many boats from venturing out in the bay and those that did found it tough to locate fish on a consistent basis.

That said, even with a stiff northwest wind today, boats working the east end did well today; Mike Thomas at M & D’s in Wareham reported that his buddy got his 15 commercially legal fish in short order this morning using live eels.

Skinny stripers like this one are the norm in Cape Cod bay right now.

Bruce Miller from Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore pointed out that a few more boats have been fishing the Scorton Ledge area with the tube-and-worm. This technique also typically improves as a new or full moon approaches, sometimes bringing with them a worm hatch or spawn, making a nice, fat juicy seaworm an even more irresistible target. At the moment, red or wine colored tubes have been working best.

The waters around Scorton Ledge are also filled with sand eels at the moment; I tried to dig up some information about their spawning habits and time of year, but there wasn’t much definitive information. I have always wondered why there is such a wide variety in sizes in different parts of the bay. Bass typically pay a lot of attention to sand eels because they are such a prevalent bait source in the bay and I have picked up some nice fish around the ledge on flies, metal jigs, Epoxy Jigs, and soft plastic/leadhead combinations such as the Hogy Pro Tail Eel and the SE Barbarian Jigs. This is especially true when the bass are concentrated as opposed to those moments when trolling is best since they are more spread out.

Elise Costa at The Powderhorn in Hyannis reported that some bass are being caught out at the Fingers by anglers jigging wire; there is a very good chance that these are the same fish that are around Scorton Ledge and move back and forth with the tide. Remember that in Cape Cod Bay, traditional bucktail jigs such as those tied by Fire Fox are preferred over parachute jigs, with green, red, chartreuse/black, and chartreuse/dark red good colors.
At night, there are a few boats drifting between the east end of the Canal and Scorton Creek and using live eels with some success, according to Bruce. Overall, this crew has been keeping it quiet this season as there aren’t a ton of fish as there have been in past years when anyone could easily come up with 15 sellable bass as they were jumping all over the eels.

Inside and out front of Scorton Creek and Old Harbor, as well as around Barnstable Harbor, there are mainly schoolies being caught by folks tossing an assortment of sand eel imitations, including flies, surface plugs and unweighted soft plastics, pointed out Jeff Clabault at Forestdale Bait & Tackle on Route 130 in Sandwich. At times, these fish are very spooky in skinny water, making long casts with Epoxy and Heavy Minnow Jigs very effective.

Billingsgate, particularly the northern edge, up to the Path is producing bass one day, then very little the next, advised Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham; the charter fleet is resorting to switching between wire line jigging, umbrella rigs set up with red or silver tubes, swimming plugs, and the tube-and-worm. As far as latter goes, Paul sold worms to a number of captains, but they didn’t come back to replenish their supply, so take that for what it’s worth.

As far as the bayside beaches go, some small bass are being caught from Eastham to Truro, with some small bluefish mixed in up around Provincetown.
There are also some reports of a vertical jig bite up off of P’town, but these are mainly those 28 to low 30-inch class bass that are just fine for the recreational crew.