As far as what is going on around the east entrance to the Canal, Jeff Miller at Canal Bait & Tackle in Sagamore said that there is a good amount of bait out there, but the fish are pretty much all in the land cut itself. Schools of mackerel are feeding on peanut bunker, with some bass following the schools. In general, there are fish in the 26 to low-30-inch class with some larger stripers underneath them – if you can get to them. Pretty much every boat that is working this area is livelining mackerel, which apparently are incredibly easy to get. One boater said that you drop your sabiki rig over the side and you come up with four or five macks each time.
Scorton Ledge is producing some bass, especially for recreational anglers who find the technique both effective and relaxing. Red is typically a good place to start when selecting a color, but orange and motor oil are alternatives that you must have in this area to consistently catch fish as their preferences can change with just one tide, reminded Jeff Miller.
Some boaters are also livelining mackerel in the deeper water off Sandy Neck down to Scorton, noted Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis. A buddy of his caught a 60-pounder using this technique earlier this week from this stretch of water.
Shore anglers around Old Harbor/Town Neck and Scorton Creek are also using chunk mackerel and catching mainly smaller fish, but there are enough larger bass around, especially at night, to make things interesting. Early morning plug fishing has also been working, particularly on days with winds out of the north that push the bait and the predators that feed on them closer to shore.
There are plenty of bass around Barnstable Harbor, explained Andy. Boaters are livelining and chunking fresh mackerel both up inside the harbor and outside in the holes and humps that are fairly common in the entrance channel from Beach Point out to deeper water outside of both East and West Bar. Early mornings continue to be the best time for topwater activity with mainly schoolies and the occasional 28 to 30-inch bass; spook style plugs and small pencil poppers can be productive, but day in and day out, a sand eel profile soft plastic such as the Hogy Skinny or Hogy Sand Eel Soft Bait is a top producer, whether rigged unweighted or with a jighead of appropriate weight to get down to where the fish are holding. Although many people associate the Epoxy Jig as a funny fish and tuna lure, they also work really well when you are marking bass that are holding deep in the water column and feeding on sand eels and other small bait.
Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham said that the boats out of Sesuit and Rock Harbor are picking at some bass north of Billingsgate, but overall it has been a tough go lately. Most of them have been jigging wire with bucktails, but I was surprised when Paul said he hadn’t heard much about anyone trolling the tube-and-worm; it’s typically a productive method this time of year in the stretch from Brewster down to Barnstable, particularly in on the edges of flats and shallows.
There are some big bluefish around Truro, however, and Paul provided a good example of how big. A friend of his who charters out of Wellfleet called to ask him if he wanted some blues and later in the day delivered two five-gallon buckets that were filled with iced and bagged fillets – from just five bluefish. In fact, Paul weighed one of the bags and it weighed eight-pounds, from the two fillets from one fish. Despite this activity, Paul admitted that the bluefish action has been very sporadic all season long in the bay.