Unfortunately, the big bass that have been running in and out of the Canal are now being fished heavily by the commercial crew, from Town Neck to Sandy Neck and even inside Barnstable Harbor. Jeff Miller at Canal Bait & Tackle in Sagamore said that when the wind is out of the north/northeast, the fish have been in close to the beach and on a southwest wind they move into deeper water.
Jeff added that he sold out of worms before he did eels, a pretty good sign that folks have been doing well on the tube-and-worm. In fact, he believes that they are buying eels just in case during the day. At night, eels have been working OK, but some anglers are doing well using Savage Sand Eels and other jigs; green mackerel and white have been the two top producing colors for the last couple of weeks and nothing has changed.
Mackerel are clearly driving this boat action and there are two schools around, Jeff explained, one containing big mackerel and the other comprised of much smaller fish. At the moment, it’s the smaller fish that have been more prevalent and responsible for the level of activity.
Shore folks have also been getting their shots from the beaches between Town Neck and Scorton Creek; pencil poppers have been working especially well when a long cast is needed, but at times during periods of high surf and wind, the bass have been right in the wash.
Paul Newmier from Blackbeard’s in Eastham said the charter boats out of Rock Harbor and Sesuit have been moving around as the fish are definitely not staying in any one place for long. Some of them elected to use the tube-and-worm in shallow water around the Brewster flats, but that didn’t last for long as they spooked the bass and they became very finicky, if they stuck around at all.
One of the best reports I received concerned local flyrodders who wade the flats rather than rely on some kind of boat. Crab patterns are working really well, with at least two bass over 40-inches caught on them. The outer bar has been popular with kayakers who paddle out and then wade the bars in search of fish in the troughs; at times, there have been large numbers of 24 to 28-inch stripers, perfect for flyrodders throwing sand eel patterns and spin anglers who like to use soft plastics both day and night.
The deeper edges of Billingsgate are fishing OK, with many boats still using wire to drag jigs on the bottom. Paul said he has sold more jigs this year than in the past several seasons, with red, black, dark green, and orange good colors, as well as some combinations of these tints. Umbrella rigs have been picking up mainly smaller fish, with some good-sized bluefish still being caught on Hootchies outside of Wellfleet Harbor and up to the Pamet.