Many times I have mentioned in conversations how people on the Cape are so parochial, with folks from the upper Cape towns rarely venturing to the lower or outer Cape. It seems like Hyannis is a central hub where you can find folks from any town on our peninsula, but a local from Bourne or Falmouth down Truro or Wellfleet way? Not very likely.
The reason I mention this is because I suspect the same holds true for anglers; most become familiar with an area and that is where they go. In many ways, this is a wise way of going at fishing, since you develop a solid knowledge base about a general area, which increases your odds of enjoying a successful day of fishing.
But after talking with Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s in Eastham, I realized that I just might be missing something because of my tendency to stick with Buzzards Bay and the sounds in the early spring.
At the moment, there are schools of mackerel in the bay, as well as burgeoning numbers of sand eels. People are always saying how important bait is to fishing, but typically I don’t venture over to Cape Cod Bay until around Memorial Day.
According to Paul, a friend of his who runs a charterboat out of Sesuit Harbor went out last week and ran from there to Duck Harbor up in Wellfleet. Using topwater plugs, he managed to catch a number of 30+-inch bass, which should really be no surprise given the schools of fish that show up around Provincetown and down the backside of Truro.
Paul added that a charter captain he knows had two six-hour trips last Saturday and they did very well fishing the area off of the Brewster Flats out to Billingsgate.
Now Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore has been telling me about all of the bass that come around the hook into the bay at this time of year, where they find plenty to eat. He said that he knows of one angler who jigged up some mackerel and livelined them around Barnstable Harbor; the largest fish he picked up was 27-inches, but this suggests that the potential exists for larger fish to show up with a tide or so.
Mac from Riverview Bait & Tackle in Yarmouth added that one of the folks from the shop fished a Cape Cod Bay beach and managed a number of 30+-inch bass on lures at night this week.
Add to that news of some good fishing up on the Brewster Flats and large numbers of small bass up inside Barnstable and there seem to plenty of reasons to fishing Cape Cod Bay right now.
You can’t go wrong with soft plastics when fishing on schools of bass that are chowing on sand eels. White/bone, Arkansas shiner, and bubblegum are colors that have always worked for me and I make sure to have a multitude of rigging items on board, including unweighted and weighted swimbait and offset worm hooks, as well as jigheads in various weights. Versatility is a major selling point for soft plastics since you can fish them throughout the water column.
As good as soft plastics are, I have learned that not having Epoxy Jigs on hand is a mistake. They work in skinny water since the smaller sizes don’t plummet to the bottom like a metal jig does. In deeper water, try dropping a larger EJ to the bottom and watch how its tumbling motion resembles that of the sand eels that gather in areas such as Herring Cove and Billingsgate Shoal.