The best sense of how good the fishing is in the bay comes from personal experience this week. On Tuesday, with a perfect early morning high tide, I fished Barnstable Harbor with Jeff Sawyer and his friend Mark and immediately had bass sipping sand eels upon leaving the Blish Point entrance channel; as far as the eye could see, there were schools of actively feeding schoolies, which last for several hours.
In hopes of finding some larger fish, we headed to Billingsgate and it was the same thing: bass everywhere on top, some of them in the 30+-inch class, but all of them larger than what we found inside B-Harbor. We were fly fishing and found that light olive Clousers were particularly effective, but I can only imagine what soft plastics and Epoxy Jigs would have done.
I found out the next day when I fished with Ken Swartz and his friends Jerry and Wayne on Ken’s new boat; the morning activity around Billingsgate was off the charts, and despite the fact that there were fish on everywhere on top, we did best on larger olive Epoxy Jigs. We had occasional success prior to that on smaller olive or silver EJ’s and soft plastics, but there is so much bait on the shoals and in the deeper water to the north and south of the shallows that the key was getting something to stand out to the fish in terms of size and retrieve, which proved to be a bit slower. Fly anglers were doing very well and the long boat that was trolling hooked up quite often; he was definitely not jigging and it was hard to say exactly what he was using. Another boat was tossing Docs, the large musky spook that everyone seems to be using in the bay these days; they managed some smaller fish during the time we were there, but nothing that you would typically hope to catch on such a large offering.
I also received an email from a fly angler who said that the Brewster Flats were on fire, which is no surprise given the body of fish that is in the bay.
When it comes to the bay beaches from Eastham to Provincetown, Sunken Meadow has been fishing well, said Paul Newmier at Blackbeard’s, with fish also being caught near the Pamet.
Up around Provincetown, the jig and topwater bite is very good, with large schools of mackerel and sand eels driving the strong late May/early June bite that those waters are known for.
Finally, the livelining mackerel bite is just starting to pick up said Andy Little at the Powderhorn in Hyannis; a few larger fish have been caught up inside Barnstable, but nothing to write home about.
Bruce Miller had the same news regarding using mackerel off the east entrance to the Canal, with a few folks trying, but not experiencing any real success.
The winter flounder in the bay, however, from just outside the east entrance in Sandwich down to Brewster has been good, with some nice fish caught on seaworms and sea clams. In fact, Lee Boisvert at Riverview Bait and Tackle in Yarmouth called the flounder bite “epic” from off Sesuit Harbor to points east.