There is nothing better than visual proof for displaying how good the fishing is in the bay, so check out the latest shoot from video man extraordinaire, Matt Rissell, taken on a great day with Capt. Cullen Lundholm.
Many of the flyrodders who have fished Billingsgate Shoals have found the fishing there rather erratic, but Cullen and Matt prove that at times the vast majority of the fish are holding deep, not an ideal scenario for fly fishing.
Since getting down in 40 to 50-feet of water takes specialized fly lines, the right stage of the current (when it is slower), heavy flies, and a lot of patience waiting for the bug to get to where the fish are holding, it definitely is not for everyone. That’s why the waters around Billingsgate are popular since a falling tide and the first couple of hours of the incoming will often have the bass up in the water column right on the shoals or just off the edge.
With the bass moving into the Canal on the west or drop, particularly the latter stages, and then moving back out into the bay on the east as they pursue mackerel and squid, the waters from Scorton Ledge to the Fingers and Fisherman’s Ledge have enjoyed good fishing with everything from bunker spoons, metal jigs, jighead/soft plastic combinations like the Hogy Barbarians and Pro Tail Paddles and Eels, and even topwater plugs.
There are schools of mackerel around the east entrance to the Canal, so there is some livelining going on as well.
That’s the case around Barnstable as well, reported Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, with some fish up to 30-pounds caught. There is no lack of mackerel outside the harbor and locations west, so getting bait isn’t proving to be a problem. Chunking fresh mackerel is also producing some really nice fish, at times outfishing the livies.
Of course, there are plenty of smaller fish up inside Barnstable and east and west of the bars; there has been really good surface activity on both tides, but don’t be surprised that after an hour of birds and bass things just shut off. Anything sand eely will work, making Skinny’s a good choice; if you feel like your plastic is getting lost in the shoals of sand eels, then go with a contrasting color such as bubblegum or chartreuse.
Jeff Clabault at Forestdale Bait & Tackle on Route 130 spoke to a couple of anglers who fished up inside Barnstable at night recently and found some larger bass from shore, but overall you will have to be satisfied with schoolies. Typically, large soft plastics and metal lip swimmers attract larger fish, although walking-the-dog in the wee hours before first light has produced some nice fish from Rendezvous to Scudder Lanes, as well as the bars and dropoffs behind Sandy Neck.
He did talk to some folks who picked up a number of bass while walking and casting plugs, including one legal fish. A spook style plug worked the best, but they were also employing a Daiwa SP Minnow.
Around the Sandwich creeks, there are small, small bass, which isn’t a bad thing if you use lighter weight fly rods and avoid the broomsticks if you spin fishing. Remember that these little fish are very happy to hit bucktail and soft plastic jigs, as well as unweighted soft plastics rigged with offset or swimbait hooks, so put the treble hooked plug away and give them a chance to grow up.
Andy added that unweighted soft plastics, smaller spook style plugs, and minnow style swimmers are working on the Brewster Flats; an incoming tide in the afternoon did well for Jim Logan last Saturday after members of the Cape Cod Flyrodders had a very difficult time finding any fish, never mind something that would have put them on the leaderboard in their annual Asswhacker Tournament.
Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham said that boats out of Rock Harbor and Wellfleet haven’t had much difficult catching limits for their customers around Billingsgate and from the target ship up to Stony Bar. Many of them are running single lures such as Bombers and even Magic Swimmers that do a good job of imitating the mackerel in the area.
Up around Provincetown and down the backside to the Golf Ball, there has been a very good topwater bite, with a number of 30-pound fish landed on spooks and pencils. Early morning and late afternoon have been prime times, but factoring in the dropping tide has also paid off.
Paul spoke to a shore angler who fished Sunken Meadow this week and managed a 35-inch bass before the crabs moved in and raised havoc with his sand eel baits. Paul added that the beaches on either side of the entrance to the Pamet, including Corn Hill, Fisher, and Great Hollow all typically produce bass on bait such as sand eels or chunk mackerel, with shallow swimmers such as the Floating Daiwa SP Minnows good choices, especially in olive/brown over silver, Paul added, and small pencil poppers and spooks also are productive.
Lee Boisvert from Riverview Bait & Tackle in Yarmouth said the flounder bite is still good out of Sesuit, while Twitch from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach confirmed that folks continue to catch some nice winter flatties in the waters from Horizons to Old Harbor.
Paul spoke to a kayaker who said he saw some bluefish, but so far nobody has mentioned any confirmed catches.