The action in the bay appears to be concentrated in certain areas of the bay, not an atypical situation over the last several years as there aren’t good numbers of bass throughout the region. In the fall, however, this scenario can become more pronounced.
Bruce Miller has consistently pointing towards Provincetown and Stellwagen as one area that is holding good numbers of larger bass, mainly due to the concentrations of mackerel in the area. As the macks begin to migrate east into deeper water, the stripers will follow and feed on them, as well as sea herring and oceanic sand eels as they move south towards the Chesapeake. There are plenty of reports each year of folks running into bass out east in federal waters while they are jigging for cod.
Along with bass, there are still tuna being caught around Stellwagen; mackerel are obviously a good choice for livelining, but larger fish are often caught on live bluefish. Keeping an eye out for birds concentrating over fish is most often a key to finding tuna feeding close to the surface, but more fish are probably caught by anglers who use various types of jigs to get down to fish that they have marked on their fishfinders. Tuna rigged Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Pro Soft Eels and Harness Jigs are excellent choices when the bluefin are feeding on sand eels or Atlantic sauries/halfbeaks, which have longer, thinner profiles, while Hogy Pro Paddles cover both thinner and wider profile baits, with the paddle tail action creating the illusion of size when added to the broader profile of the baits.
Andy Little reported that Barnstable Harbor is holding plenty of smaller fish during the daylight hours, making Hogy Skinny’s excellent choices rigged in a number of ways when following the birds that typically give away the schools of bass. He added that some larger bass are being caught at night around the creeks and marshes from Dennis to Barnstable on black plugs such as Bombers and larger soft plastics, as well as eels if you can get them. During the day, anglers concentrating around the same waters are using topwater, spook style plugs and surface metal lips that produce a nice wake, especially on overcast days.
Smaller bass are also the name of the game around Sandwich and the east entrance to the Canal, particularly during the morning. The latter stages of the east tide and the turn to west have been mentioned as the best tides, but no matter when you fish, there is far more small bait than anything larger, so choose your offerings accordingly.