According to Jeff Miller, there are some schools of big bass hanging off the east entrance to the Canal; he mentioned the stretch from the CC Buoy out to Barry’s Hole as holding the most fish, with only a few as far over as the Fingers. Livelining, as expected, has been the top tactic, but trolling bunker spoons (white or chrome) as well as vertical jigging with green or blue mackerel jighead/soft plastic combinations and larger butterfly jigs is taking some fish as well.
There hasn’t been much word about tube-and-worm fishing or drifting live eels in around Scorton Ledge and from Old Harbor to Barnstable – yet. The mackerel are drying up around Barnstable Harbor, with most boaters determined to use them having to travel a bit to jig some up and put them in their livewell. There are still some smaller legal fish being caught on dark green hair jigs – not parachutes. Drifting the channel and bouncing sand eel imitation plastics on leadheads is very productive on both sides of the tide; using your sonar to mark schools holding in deeper holes is a good idea, especially on incoming water and the turn to outgoing, with some topwater activity if the drop coincides with early, early morning before boat traffic stirs things up.
The shallows to the east and west of the harbor and down off Chapin’s are still holding good numbers of small bass on both tides; at times there are birds working over breaking fish, but working the edges where the flats drop off into the deeper channels that fish follow in and out can produce a few larger fish if you can get your fly or soft plastic to them before a youngster jumps in first. Tossing spook style plugs or popper on fly gear from first light to sun up is another way to coax a big bass into blowing up on an artificial, as is switching over to larger soft plastics, such as the 10-inch Original Hogy, which can be effective when ripped across just under the surface of the water rather than using the typical twitch-and-go retrieve.
Elise Costa reported that the Brewster Flats area has been quiet during the day due to warming water temperatures; your best bets here would be to fish from dusk to dawn using plugs such as Daiwa SP Minnows, Red Fins, and Bombers, as well as needlefish.
Billingsgate is definitely fishing better for those boats working the deeper edges to the north and south; the Barnstable Rock Harbor and Wellfleet boats are still picking up enough bass to limit out for their customers.
With bluefish in increasing numbers from Sunken Meadow up to the Path, the best option for trollers has been trolling Hootchies, a favorite of captains seeking these fish, explained Rob LaBranche. The single Siwash hook makes releasing them easier by keeping fingers away from those teeth as well as avoiding trebles on plugs or multiple hooks flying around on umbrella rigs. Huntington Drone Spoons are popular as well; Tony Accetta Pet Spoons used to be the ticket, but the new manufacturer has dropped the quality, while Huntington’s spoons are solidly made and feature quality hooks.
Shore anglers are picking up some blues off Sunken Meadow as well; high water eliminates the need to wade a good distance out around low tide to reach the water. The Line Stretcher Surface Tension is a popular bluefish plug, as are Roberts’ Rangers and some folks are experimenting with Ice Cream plugs, another long distance casting plug that is used for GT’s, jacks, and other aggressive gamefish in different parts of the world.
Although a good number of recreational and recremercial boats are hanging off of Provincetown, including Race Point, there are apparently more small bass there than down the backside towards Truro.