It would be hard to pick a superlative to describe what has been going on in the Canal since last Friday; suffice it to say that many people are calling it a once-in-a-lifetime stretch of fishing.
Jeff Miller at Canal Bait & Tackle in Sagamore explained that the schools of bass that were outside the land cut at both ends have moved inside to feed on the large amounts of mackerel that are feeding on small bait, primarily peanut bunker, although there is probably some baby river herring around as well.
In any case, said Mike Thomas at M & D’s in Wareham, the big four plugs for the Canal are catching just ridiculous numbers of bass. Of course, we’re talking about Sebiles and their copies, both Stick Shadds and Magic Swimmers; Daiwa SP Minnows; pencil poppers; and Savage Sand Eels, along with similar paddletails from Gag’s and Bill Hurley. But because green mackerel and white/bone have been the colors that are producing the best by far, keeping them in stock has been challenging. It seems that once the word is out that a shop has them, they just fly out the door.
Over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, A. J. Coots reported that they are weighing in multiple bass each day that exceed the 35-pound minimum required for a state pin, including a 54.5-pound cow earlier this week. There are more people than you can count who have registered their personal best this week. A. J. emphasized that while the stretch from Pole 20 to 50 will always have people lined up big time, the fishing this week has been so good throughout the Big Ditch that you can generally find your own stretch of water and have some good fishing in relative quiet – unless a Canal cruiser happens by and sees you hooked up to a 50.
What is truly amazing about the consistency and quality of fishing is that it hasn’t required the use of the specialized rods and reels that regulars use in many cases to gain more distance and to fight large fish in heavy current. Mike Thomas told me that people with Wal-Mart outfits have been snagging mackerel that are right at their feet and livelining them with the expected result. People are so excited that they are releasing fish without taking the time to revive them – to the point where a recremercial striped bass fisherman told Mike that he got his 15-fish limit yesterday by netting the floaters that made it out of the land cut in the early morning at the west entrance.