Perhaps Elise Costa from The Powderhorn in Hyannis put it best: lots of bass between 30 and 32-inches, but not enough over 34-inches to keep the recremercial crew happy. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a lot of floaters, especially around Provincetown and the backside to Truro, as reported to me by a young angler who plays around selling bass. It has gotten so bad, with guys “gaffing and releasing” or livelining mackerel and letting fish guthook themselves with J-hooks or trebles that he has vowed not to fish there again.
Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham spoke to one boater who was dragging wire up around P’town while other folks were vertical jigging and he was picking up bass while the others weren’t doing very well. It might just be that they weren’t using heavier enough jigs or the parachutes presented a more attractive option.
If you haven’t pumped wire in Cape Cod Bay, Paul reminded me that the primary colors are red/black, dark green, or rust, as opposed to the chartreuse, white, or red/white that are preferred in the sounds. Perhaps it has something to do with the clarity of the water or it just might be a matter of what the fish are feeding on, which could be crabs or other crustaceans in the bay.
Overall, Paul said the fishing between Wellfleet and Billingsgate has been good, again with primarily smaller legal bass being caught on a multitude of techniques, from trolling wire and parachutes; umbrella rigs; plugs such as Rapala Magnums and Bombers; vertical jigging; and casting soft plastics, both unweighted and weighted, such as Hogy Originals, SE Jigs, and Pro Tails. Of course, there is always a chance of running into something larger, like charterboat captain who told Paul that one of his anglers tossed a big plastic spook, which have become all the rage, in the waters of the gut in Wellfleet and had a big bass come up and snap it right off.
The shore fishing on the bay side beaches from Orleans up to Provincetown has produced mainly smaller bass, with anything larger coming in the dark on bait such as sand eels or mackerel, or plugs such as Bombers and SP Minnows. At this time of year, Paul told me he would have expected to hear of some bluefish being caught by shore anglers around Sunken Meadow, Wellfleet, and the beaches either side of the Pamet, but other than a rare occasion, there haven’t been any choppers around.
Warming water and additional pressure have made for warier fish on the Brewster Flats, with more fish caught from dusk to dawn than during the daylight hours, when far too many boats are trying to sight fish to make the bass comfortable. In fact, anchoring up your boat or kayak and wade fishing is a better choice, as is using crab, shrimp, and generic crustacean patterns; a common thread that runs through most of these patterns is the use of rubber legs and material such as bunny fur/strips and marabou, materials that provide plenty of movement without having to do much stripping.
The livelining activity in the channels and holes around Barnstable Harbor has slowed significantly, reported Andy Little at The Powderhorn, and folks have had to travel a bit farther than just going out to the bell and sabikiing them up. A few boats are trolling wire and umbrellas and parachutes with some success, but again they are having to fish through a lot of small bass to catch anything they can take home.
Around the flats and weed patches between East Bar and Chapin’s, as well as up off the creeks such as Bass Hole, Chase Garden, and Mill on an incoming tide and right after the turn, some boaters are trolling the tube-and-worm, picking up mostly small bass. But all of those small fish are providing a lot of fun for flyrodders using sand eel patterns, and poppers and light tackle anglers tossing small profile plastics such as Skinny’s and walk-the-dog plugs such as Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Heddon Zara Spooks (the clear ones are underrated and underutilized), MirrOlures, and Rapala’s.
Bait anglers using chunk mackerel or sand eels continue to pick up the occasional larger fish at night from Calves Pasture to Scudder Lane and around Blish Point, as well as off of Sandy Neck.
There has been some talk about bass being caught on live eels at night between the parking lot and West Bar, which might explain the increase in snake sales at local tackle shops.
Overall, Bruce Miller explained, bunker spoons have been picking up some really big fish, with at least one 50 and a number of 40-pound bass being caught between the Double Humps and the Dump over the Fingers. The key has been locating the schools of mackerel that the larger fish are holding under.
A few boats have also started dragging the tube-and-worm, with red and orange typically top colors at this of year around Scorton Ledge and the parking lot.