Although the commercial bass season is over, there is still plenty of pressure from recreational anglers on the schools of bass that are located between Town Neck and Barnstable Harbor. Jeff Miller reported that there have been some good schools of bass stacked up against West Bar and around the parking lot. Many folks are using eels, both night and day, with the fish sometimes right on the beach and at others in deeper water around Scorton Ledge.
Bruce Miller added that boats trolling the tube-and-worm are also catching good numbers of fish, particularly on red tubes in the morning before they switch to orange when the bite slows. Trolling lead core is preferred, but if you need to get down on the bottom in 50 to 60-feet of water where the fish are holding at times, adding a trolling weight in front of your tubes is preferred as opposed to using wire line.
Some of the charterboats are trolling Hootchies at higher speeds while their clients are jigging and they are doing OK as well.
Oddly, with the bass at times close in to reach with a reasonable cast from shore, folks fishing from the beaches haven’t been reporting much action on these larger stripers. Ben Clabault has tried himself and noted that he found that the boats were working anywhere from three or more casts from the shore as opposed to in super tight, but that might have been just where he was. As he went on to say, he knows of some shore anglers who were catching fish pretty consistently around Town Neck during commercial season, but that was because their buddies who were out fishing in boats called to tell them where the bass were. That makes sense, because there is a lot of beach between the east end of the Canal and Barnstable and shore anglers aren’t able to cover ground like boaters.
Jeff Miller did say that if you are limited to shore fishing, he would focus on the beaches more towards Sandwich, explaining that at night around high water, the big fish occasionally move in right up against the sand. Eels have been the top choice and he advised not charging into the water before making a few casts from the sand because the bass are sometimes right at your feet.
Ben added that folks fishing around and in the Sandwich creeks are catching schoolies, both day and night, with sand eel imitations such as soft plastics and thinner profile plugs doing well. There are also mainly smaller bass up inside Barnstable Harbor, with some topwater activity around daybreak, while night fishing with plugs and eels is also producing a few larger bass.
Trollers are working the edges of the dropoffs from the flats and bars with tube-and-worm rigs around Barnstable and from Sesuit to the Brewster Flats, although they are encountering more bluefish than bass. Rob LaBranche added that early mornings are when most folks are seeking fish around the Brewster Flats if they prefer to cast, with white/bone or Arkansas Shiner soft plastics a good choice, along with sand eel or crab patterns for flyrodders. Kayakers have the advantage of being able to troll the bars and troughs without spooking the fish as they look to cover more territory than boats that are anchored up or wade anglers.
Rob said that there are mainly bluefish from Billingsgate over to Wellfleet, some of them pretty large, with any legal sized bass that are caught generally in the 28 to low 30-inch class. Hootchies are particularly popular in the deeper water around the north edge of the shoals, with tube-rigged umbrella rigs another good choice this time of year.