There are certainly plenty of fish in the bay, even though there don’t seem to be many people taking advantage of the opportunities.
Bruce Miller at Canal Bait & Tackle in Sagamore told me that folks fishing from the first green can outside the east entrance to the Canal out to about a mile off of Town Neck have been picking up some good-sized bass that are hanging around the schools of mackerel and squid in the area. Obviously, jigging up some macks and livelining them is a productive way to go, but Bruce noted that trolling the tube-and-worm has been very effective as well. If you can’t get worms, Bruce recommended using strips of squid. Some folks are also chunking squid or jigging with mackerel pattern or white paddletails; the Hogy Pro Tail Paddles come in both white and UV green mack, but the larger 6.5-inch model comes in weights from 2 to 6 ounces, allowing you to select the proper weight for the depth and current where you are fishing. Other options include the Hogy Pro Tail Eels in the nine-inch size from 2 to 5 ounces in the UV Glow (bone/white) and the SE Barbarian Jigs which are offered in both seven and nine-inch models, with the former in four weights from ¾ to 2-ounce in tinker mackerel and UV Glow (bone/white) and the latter from 2 to 5-ounces in UV Glow.
Bruce added that shore anglers are doing well on mainly smaller bass from Town Neck to Sandy Neck, especially in the early morning and around dusk on the incoming tide. Topwater plugs such as pencil poppers provide plenty of distance for those times when the schools are hanging a ways off the sand, but in tight flyrodders are using a variety of baitfish patterns, including Clousers when a little more weight is needed to get to the level of the fish, and light tackle folks are having a lot of fun tossing soft plastics, both unweighted and with jigheads, as well as a variety of plugs such as Smack-its, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Heddon Zara Spooks, Rapala X-Raps, which come in three walk-the-dog models, and Saltwater Skitterwalks. Of course, keep in mind that if you choose plugs, most come with treble hooks that do a lot of damage to small fish that you will be releasing, although the X-Raps come with single in-line hooks on the belly and tail.
The one challenge and/or disadvantage of using light tackle, Bruce pointed out, is that there are some larger bass and blues mixed in with the small stuff and they can be quite a handful. He knows of one flyrodder who was surprised by a 36-inch bass that showed him a lot of his backing that he had not seen before.
Andy Little from The Powderhorn in Hyannis reported that there are mostly small bass inside Barnstable and from Chapin’s to Brewster, making flyrodders and light tackle folks very happy. Early mornings have produced the best action.
Bluefin have moved in close to the beaches at times and even into the Canal, feeding on the mackerel and bluefish. Most these fish are really big and tangling with one requires that your equipment be in top shape and up to the task, both in terms of your rod/reel combinations and rigging. The only part of the commercial quota that is still open is the stickboats who are allowed two a day, according to Bruce, and be aware that getting in the way of one of these boats when they are moving on a school of fish is not a good idea.