The key right now in the bay is finding the schools of mackerel if you are looking for larger fish – either by live-lining them to bass hanging around the schools or by gathering them up and moving to a location such as Barnstable to use them.
The largest fish weighed in so far from the bay has been a 39-pound bass caught just outside the east end of the Canal. Obviously, this fish was large enough to take a big mackerel, but in many cases, the bass have been too small to deal with the size bait that has been prevalent, sometimes in excess of two-pounds.
Not only are fish being taken on mackerel in and around Barnstable, but there are also good numbers of bass being caught on the flats and around the channels on anything that represents a sand eel. At this time of year, larger bass also move well up inside the harbor under the cover of darkness; swimming plugs and large soft plastics work very well on these fish.
From Wellfleet to Provincetown, there are good numbers of bass and mackerel as well, with fish also being taken by boaters vertical jigging. Shore anglers around Provincetown and Truro have been getting into mainly schoolies, with an occasional legal fish caught on metal lures and soft plastics.
Paul Newmier had heard of one boat getting into some bass and birds along the south side of the shoals, but overall it has been pretty quiet, with not many boats on the water. Trolling from Orleans to Brewster has been non-productive, but there have been flounder caught around Brewster and Dennis, as well some tautog around the wreck.