The word is the west end of the Canal is filled with schoolies, particularly on the east tide when warmer water from Buzzards Bay is drawn in. Bass up to 33 or 34-inches have been caught, but you have to work through good numbers of fish in the 14 to 26-inch class to catch anything at or over the 28-inch minimum length. Fly rodders are doing well around the mud flats by getting their offerings down into the water column and that has been the key for spin anglers as well, with Daiwa SP Minnows and Canal Bait & Tackle’s Perfect Swimmer, a jointed jerk bait, working well.
Due to the lack of sun this week and winds out of the east and northeast, there has been no topwater bite to speak of. A few small fish came up top last week, especially around the herring run, but there has been very little said about the use of surface plugs. Smaller, white or blue over white pencil poppers are good choices when some warmth coaxes them to the surface.
There have been some small bass around the east end, but the key to remember is that these fish are migrating, stopping to feed if there is bait around. Otherwise, their stay in the Canal can be brief. Along with alewives heading for the run, there is a good amount of small sea herring around and they are what most of the smaller fish are feeding on.
The tautog bite has picked up around the Maritime Academy, although the fish have been on the smaller size; a few black sea bass have been mixed in, but remember the season on this species doesn’t open until May 21.