Let’s keep this simple: you have a full moon and the east turn edging closer to sunrise this weekend and that adds up to crowds. There typically is a push of new fish entering the west end from Buzzards Bay and that means space will be at a premium from Bell Road to the skating rink on the Cape side and from the campground to the herring run on the Boston side.
Mike Thomas from M & D’s in Wareham explained to me that the last several years has seen an influx of fishermen from New York, New Jersey, and Delaware/Maryland and they are used to fishing pretty darn close to each other. How close? How about a couple of feet. And to avoid any suggestion that I am tossing darts at non-Bay Staters, there are plenty of newcomers to the Big Ditch from here in Mass. who have no respect for boundaries.
When you combine this group with guys who have been fishing the Canal for years and are used to having a stretch of water to themselves, unless they invite someone to join in, and you have a volatile situation – and people have resorted to fists already this season.
Then again, you can simply avoid the Canal on weekends and or when conditions are such that you can expect standing room only crowds.
Bruce Miller at Canal Bait & Tackle emphasized that while the early morning “breaking tides” will get a great deal of attention, the reality is that the dying east current and the turn to the west has brought a good number of bass into the east end. They are following the schools of mackerel, generally as far as the herring run, and then dispersing. The word was that some butterfish were around, as well as the mackerel, and the fish were finicky on top this morning; unlike those days when the fish will pretty much hit anything, Bruce said the Guppy Dirty Mackerel produced bass when others went untouched.
Daytime fishing in the land cut is certainly exciting, but once again, there are probably more fish landed in the dark; that’s when Savage Sand Eels and Gag’s Whip-it Tails have earned their keep. Using the correct weight to feel the bottom and they sliding or jigging your lure across the bottom will put it in front of more fish than pretty much any plug.
As Jacob Dionne from Red Top in Buzzards Bay told me, when fish are feeding on mackerel, it makes sense to use some sort of plug that features the characteristic black squiggles of a mack. That said, he has found that white or bone has outfished any mackerel design; he had fish right in front of him the other day and he got no response to a mackerel Daiwa SP Minnow, but when he switched to bone, they were all over it.
That has also been the case with Magic Swimmers and Stick Shadds, with white or ghostescent good choices.