Cape Cod Bay Fishing Report – July 20, 2017

The word I got firsthand from a reliable source on Monday is that Barnstable Harbor is full of schoolies, but not much else. They are feeding heavily on sand eels and according to what tide you fish, they are either spread out on the flats and in the channel (high water) or on top (end of the outgoing and turn to incoming). A few people are trolling the tube-and-worm, but again, they are picking up mainly small bass.

To the east, the charter fleet out of Rock Harbor and boats from Sesuit and even a few from Barnstable have been trolling the tube-and-worm or umbrella rigs. Rob LaBranche from Blackbeard’s in Eastham said that they are fishing in as little as eight feet of water at times and most trips have produced enough legal bass that everyone on board has had one to take home. Rob also emphasized that fishing in the bay has been anything but consistent, including around Billingsgate Shoal, where jigging along the deep edges to the north and south of the shallows themselves has been where it’s at. The water up on the shoals has been really warm on this recent stretch of hot, calm weather, meaning that any topwater activity has either been early, early in the morning or at dusk.

The general consensus towards the east entrance to the Canal is that a good number of the big fish that were in the land cut last week have followed the schools of pogies up towards Plymouth. The snag-and-drop method is always popular when the bass are on pogies, but the word is out that the Doc, a large walk-the-dog style plug that was originally created for Midwest musky fishing, is actually outfishing even live pogies when the stripers have found the schools of bait. This plug is especially productive in the wee hours of the morning before the sun, heat, and increased boat traffic cause them to sulk and go off their feed.

There were a number of bass holding in the east entrance and driving the shorebound crew in the Canal crazy as they couldn’t reach them, but the boats had no such problem, doing well with everything from plugs, both topwaters and Magic Swimmers/Stick Shadds, to livelined mackerel.

Most shops have reported an increase in eel sales this week, but there is no word that the craziness between Sandy Neck and Scorton Ledge and the Parking Lot has taken off. The odds are that the snakes are being used in the Big Ditch.

Bluefishing is slow in the bay as it is pretty much everywhere but Nantucket, with some schools of larger fish located off Wellfleet, but as Rob said, the biggest challenge may not be hooking one, but getting it to the boat before a great white decides it will make an easy meal. Hootchies are a traditional Cape Cod Bay favorite when it comes to trolling for blues, but the recreational crew sometimes favors Yo-zuri Deep Diving Crystal Minnows or Bombers.