Most of the Canal regulars have been concentrating on the schools of albies that are ranging throughout the land cut, starting at the west end as they follow the east current towards Sagamore and then moving back to the west when the current changes. Mike Thomas emphasized that these are big fish, with stories of anglers unable to handle one while using your typical Canal stick in the 11-foot range and big reel filled with 40 to 50-pound braid. At the moment, there is no need to match the bait that the albies are feeding on, including peanut bunker, baby herring, sand eels, and silversides, as folks are using two to two-and-half ounce metal jigs to reach the fish and they are taking even larger lures with abandon. The case is the same with Canal albies as it is everywhere else: find the concentrations of bait and the odds are the fish will, too; predicting their precise movement based on tides is very tough, although you can get a general sense of where they are going to start.
Bass fishing in the Canal has been OK, with a topwater bite in the morning and then again in the evening, with mobility critical since you never know where they are going to show up on any day. That said, the east end is definitely fish better, with some bass moving up as far as the herring run. There are still schools of mackerel around feeding on all of the small bait, making mackerel pattern and white plugs a good place to start. When the fish are on the few schools of pogies, then switching to yellow or any of the paint jobs out there used to match adult menhaden is the way to go.
Starting this weekend, another set of breaking tides is in the offering, which means that the shores will be crowded with anglers looking to try their luck with what they hope will be another push of bigger fish into the land cut from Cape Cod Bay. Most of the bass caught this week have been from large schoolies to 12 to 15-pounds; low 20-pounds has been a good fish, with Bruce Miller weighing in a 32-pounder earlier in the week.
There are bluefish around, making short order of soft plastics, especially when folks are swimming them rather than letting them go to the bottom where they are jigged like bucktails. Unfortunately, the blues will also make short work of a soft plastic that is combined with a jighead when it is ripped through the water once it has been fished far enough downstream and must be retrieved to avoid hanging up.
Some folks are also still fishing eels around the bridges and the Cribbin’, while others are using unweighted, larger soft plastics in the same way: drifting them in the current unweighted or with a weighted swimbait hook. If you are using the real thing, then having an assortment of rubbercore sinkers is important to deal with different stages of the current.