As seems to be the case with so many other areas of the Cape and Islands, the bay has been consistently inconsistent.
Folks who have run to Provincetown in anticipation of running into acres of bass from Wood End to Race Point have been disappointed at times, with the locals who fish this area quite often running down Peaked Hill Bar and the Golf Ball and saying they are fishing Provincetown. Generally, there had been a good early morning bite and then more consistent action later in the afternoon.
A few folks I spoke to who fished from Wood End to Race Point this week said the morning bite was definitely the best; most of the bass they caught were in the cookie cutter 24 to 28-inch range with an occasional 30+-incher. At times the fish were on top, but more often sand eel imitations designed to be fished deep in the water column, whether heavily weighted Clousers and Half-and-Half’s for flyrodders or integrated jighead/soft plastic combinations like the Hogy Pre-rigged Barbarian Jig or matching jigheads to the HDUV Eel Tails, have been working really well, especially when allowed to drop and flutter with a slower, injured baitfish retrieve. Epoxy Jigs in weights to handle the depths and strength of the currents you are fishing are excellent choices, as is the Hogy Sand Eel coupled with metal jigs of various types, including the Uber Diamond Jig.
Your bigger fish have definitely been in deeper water, with more than a few folks skirting the EEZ three-mile limit. Remember that you are not allowed to even target bass out of three miles, even if you are practicing catch-and-release.
All of that said, Elise Costa from The Powderhorn said the fish must have known it was commercial season because those guys “did squat.” As is often the case at this time of year, the large biomass of bass that hangs closer in to shore earlier in June moves into deeper water where they are supposed to be untouchable. Whether it’s a matter of bait or water temperature is hard to say.
Of course, we are talking about commercial sized bass, that must be 34-inches or larger; on the other hand, Paul Newmier reported that the commercial guys he spoke to said there were plenty of bass between 26 and 32-inches, taking everything from live eels to umbrella rigs to vertical jigs, and even live mackerel, that the commercials were using.
Billingsgate has been producing some bass for the charter fleet trolling wire, but despite the presence of plenty of bait, mainly sand eels, it has mainly been a pick. The turn of the tide has seen some increased activity, with fish occasionally providing some surface action on the drop.
Shore anglers have been catching the occasional legal bass, especially on chunk mackerel, with the Wellfleet area, particularly Duck Harbor, worth a look.
From Sesuit to Brewster, the flats have been spotty; dusk to dawn fishing is definitely the best, with swimming plugs such as the Daiwa SP Minnow and soft plastics in Arkansas Shiner and black good choices.
Around Barnstable, it is mainly a mackerel bite for larger fish, but once again, it is a matter of a fish here and there. Incoming tide has seen some surface action on mainly small bass, but fishing metal lip swimmers, large soft plastics, and slowly worked spook type lures typically produce some larger bass when fished from a couple of hours before first light up right up to sunrise. High water around the marshes is a big plus.
The Sandwich creeks have fished better this week for flyrodders and light tackle folks, mainly on smaller bass during the end of the incoming and the turn to outgoing. For a shot at a larger bass, drifting live eels is recommended.