Cape Cod Canal Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- September 30, 2022

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore had a report that is clear and promising: folks are coming into the shop really happy as the last two weeks has seen the Big Ditch just explode with big bass. Plenty of people are running to the west end and the east end has a crowd as well, but Jeff said there are fish spread throughout. While nobody is putting away their paddletails, the topwater bite, both in the morning and again in the evening, has been fantastic; mackerel and what folks are calling “baby bonito” are driving a lot of the action, making mackerel colored plugs a hit, but white has been working as well. Jeff noted that folks are also enjoying some really good squidding action around the east end. 

Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay was thinking of hitting the outer Cape beaches, but admitted that with the fishing so good in the Canal, he had to stay closer to home. This morning he picked up 10 quality bass, the largest around 35-pounds, while another angler close to him had one in the low to mid-40-pound class; Connor was more towards the east starting around 3 AM fishing the west tide; when it started to slow, he moved west and there were fish still being caught there, with plenty of people on both sides from the Bourne Bridge to the railroad span.. Whenever he caught a fish, someone nearby offered to take a picture of it, but I was glad to hear that Connor demurred, preferring to get it right back into the water to enhance its chances of survival. Although enjoying the topwater action is enticing, Connor explained that he has been sticking with paddletail jigs, especially mackerel or white, since the largest fish have been down deep. 

On Wednesday and Thursday morning, I ran into Joe Keegan of Falmouth at 7-Eleven as he and I were picking up our morning coffee; Joe’s boat is still in New Jersey being rebuilt, so he has dedicated himself to fishing the land cut, including a completely decked out Canal Cruiser. Although fishing jigs has been good to him all season, the last couple of weeks have seen Joe switch back to pencil poppers and other topwater plugs, which is by far the most exciting way to fish the Ditch. He told me that folks using yellow plugs have been connecting with mainly bluefish, but white has been all about bass for him. 

Sales of green crabs have picked up a great deal among the shops that specialize in the Canal, such as Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach, meaning the tautog bite is on, with the shoreline over towards the Maritime Academy known for producing some hefty tog.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- September 23, 2022

The Fall Run is Underway!

It’s a magical time on Cape Cod right now. The fall run is in full swing, and the options for anglers are endless. Jump into an older video highlighting the excitement of the fall run here on Cape Cod!

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Still a good bass bite in the Big Ditch, noted Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore, including some pretty consistent topwater morning activity throughout the land cut. I caught up with Bruce earlier this week at the shop and I mentioned that I have fallen into the trap of talking about east end, west end, east end, west end this season and was wondering if there have been fish anywhere else. Bruce let out one of this famous laughs and advised that there are of course fish being caught everywhere, but folks are finally getting smart and keeping their whereabouts to themselves. That said, Bruce did say there has been some decent action between the high tension lines and the Cribbin’.

Most of the topwater action around the east end has been driven by schools of chub mackerel, making wacky mackerel a popular color since this species of mackerel has a distinctive yellow hue, which the wacky version has amongst its green, blue, pink, and white. Folks have also been doing well with white and even though the bait hasn’t been really big, larger plugs have been the way to go, including the shop’s four ounce Canal long distance pencil. It seems that over the last several years, when I talk about fishing plugs and other artificials in the Canal, it’s some combination of plastic paddletails, pencils, or jointed swimmers; what seems to be missing too often is a mention of one of Stan Gibbs’ greatest creations geared towards fishing the Ditch – you know, the Polaris, which Bruce said is a great plug all season long, but especially in the fall. 

There are still bluefish at both ends of the Canal, with solid bass action at the west end, with many folks waiting until the last hour of the west to even show up. With the New Jersey and New York crowd here this week in combination with the usual crowd and winds that will keep shore anglers from trying other locations, certain areas such as Ding Dong Street and Choo Choo Bridge should have some extra large crowds. Plugs have been working at the west end, but paddletail jigs are the way to go at times since the bait around this area has been on the small side, including peanut bunker and silversides. 

A.J. Coots at Red Top in Buzzards Bay reported that some big bass have been coming out of the west end, including one fish that he saw a picture of that was 53-inches and well over 50-pounds. His buddy has been fishing jigs and managed a good number of bass in the 30-pound class, with green and blue paddletails, along with wacky mack, working really well. When I asked him what I thought would be a logical question – Are there mackerel around? – given the jig color preference, he said not that he’s heard of, with some pogies and squid in the mix for the most part, along with a variety of small bait.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- September 16, 2022

Finicky Albies

Reports of finicky albies on Cape Cod have been abundant this year. In this video, Capt. Mike shares a deadly technique to fool these finicky fish!

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

It was interesting to see so many Facebook posts this week of big bluefish being caught in the Big Ditch since so much attention is typically given to bass in the land cut and far too many people display such disdain for choppers. We’re talking about blues 36-inches and up, fish that will make you think about what it would be like if they got as large as bass. 

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore explained that these fish have been spread throughout the length of the land cut; at times they have been showing on top, but generally it has been a jig bite, with a good number of them hooked by folks targeting bass on soft plastic paddletails. Of course, a blue will make short work of a soft plastic, typically lopping off the paddletail, rendering the lure useless after that. At the moment, as A.J. Coots at Red Top in Buzzards Bay said, if they are into blues, folks would typically toss plugs if they are on top or switch over to metals if they are being caught subsurface, but these fish only want soft plastics, so make sure you carry plenty of extra tails. 

Obviously, if you are fishing paddletails and given a bluefish’s tendency to hit a bait from behind, that creates a challenge since a jig head rigged soft plastic puts the hook up around the head, often causing a missed hit and a severed paddle. One suggestion I saw posted on Facebook by Gary Engbloom, a Canal regular and creative minded angler, was to rig with a fairly long wire leader since his big blue inhaled his soft plastic and he wouldn’t have landed it without the metal tracer. I know that when folks down south are fishing for king mackerel, a fish with dentures at least the equal of a bluefish, is to include a small hook – usually a treble – as a stinger towards the tail end of the bait – typically some form of live baitfish – to deal with short strikes. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this with a soft plastic paddle and this rig might inhibit the action of a soft plastic paddle for all I know. 

On the bass front, Bruce said that there really hadn’t been any real topwater activity as of yesterday, with fish being generally caught jigging around the east end, moving up as far as the fishing pier on the west tide before following the east current out and up towards Scusset. As it usually is, white or pearl has been the go to color for many people, followed by bunker. What I found especially interesting was Bruce’s comment about all the “baby bonito” that folks have been catching around the east end and taking home for dinner. Without a photo, it’s hard to say exactly what these fish are there is even a chart out there that covers commonly confused mackerel and tuna species, including Atlantic mackerel, chub mackerel, frigate mackerel/tuna and bullet mackerel/tuna. While the Atlantic is what we typically associate with bait for bass, the latter three species are all caught in our waters and could easily be mistaken for bonito. Heck, I have even seen people mistake a false albacore with a bone. 

Down around the west end, there are also some 40+-inch fish being jigged up, A.J. said, but generally it has been a schoolie jig bite with a decent number of slot fish mixed in; I would have thought there would be reports of more surface activity given all of the bait around, but as has been the case for most of the season in the Canal, it is soft plastic paddletails and more soft plastic paddletails.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- September 9, 2022

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In this video, Capt. Mike walks through everything you need to know when fishing for false albacore.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

First a word of warning: don’t make the mistake of walking behind the crowds of anglers at Bell Road or the Maritime Academy – or even the east end where Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore said more people are gathering up by the day – as there is too much of a chance that you will get a paddletail or perhaps even a plug buried in your head. There is a video of a guy who had this happen to him last weekend and Jeff emphasized that way too many people don’t bother to look behind them before starting to cast.

Jeff said the fishing has been very good the last couple of weeks, with smaller bass on top, especially around the west end, and larger fish being caught on paddletails. There is a ton of peanut bunker around and some mackerel at the east end as well; white is obviously a good color, along with bunker variations, but he said a lot of folks have been doing well with wacky mackerel even where there is no sign of macks. There is also some squid at the west end. Along with paddletails/shads, loaded Cotton Cordell’s have been catching a lot of fish; clearly pencil poppers in design, they are filled with so much lead to make them drop deep in the water column and then produce their own action as they are retrieved. While it is not uncommon to actually bounce a jig right on the bottom – and that’s why regulars carry a multitude of weights so they can deal with the current and feel when they are in the strike zone – plugs are another matter and will hang up way more easily than a single hook bucktail or soft plastic jig. 

Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay added that there have been some big bluefish in the Canal as well; the east end has probably been more consistent, but folks have run into them throughout the Canal. Although most people associate bluefish with being totally indiscriminate when it comes to what they will hit, Connor said in this case, these Big Ditch brutes have keyed in on soft plastics. Now, that will mean you will go through a good number of baits, but if that’s what it takes to catch fish, that’s what you have to do and that’s why they make replacement tails, he said with a laugh.

Smaller white or yellow pencil poppers have been working best on the smaller bass that have generally been feeding from before first light to an hour or so after sunrise, but there are a number of manufacturers like Hogy, with its Hogy Dogwalker series, that make bigger spook style plugs that cast well and will get you into the action.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- September 2, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt Mike is joined by Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters as they target deepwater bluefin tuna on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

While way too many people have spoken of the demise of the Canal, the reality is that folks who have put in the time understanding how the Big Ditch works have been catching bass all season. At the moment, however, things have switched over to more of the “easy” fishing that the newcomers came to associate with the land cut and that should make for some interesting times this holiday weekend.

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore advised that with a combination of mackerel, peanut bunker, and pogies – with even some squid mixed in at times – the fishing has been good throughout the Canal for the last ten days or so, with both a topwater bite for smaller fish and a strong jig bite for larger bass. At the east end, there has been some surface activity at first light, but it generally remains a jig bite – and in this day and age that means paddletails and more paddletails. Both pogy colorations, mackerel and white remains the top producing colors, with size and weight to be determined by the strength of the current and at what level the fish are hanging, as well as what bait they are feeding on. Bruce said that at times, it has been necessary to go as light and small as one ounce and at the other end experience will tell you that five plus ounces are often needed. 

One of the challenges that folks everywhere will be facing over at least the next month is that at times fish will be incredibly picky when they are on small bait and that means having imitations such as the Hogy Epoxy Jigs and smaller profile metal jigs on hand. When it comes to plugs, Mr. Miller said that yellow seems to be most productive at the moment, but you should never pack a plug bag for the Ditch without some mackerel variations. That said, I have seen a good number of wacky mack plugs on the rods of folks looking to plug up some bass at the moment. There are also good numbers of bluefish at the east end and that would account for the howls of despair and creative cursing that you hear filling the air from the soft plastic crowd.

Epoxy Jig
When small bait is present, The Hogy Epoxy Jig is your best bet for matching the hatch.

Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that he has put his travels to other locations to get his shore bass on hold, now that there is plenty of activity closer to home. He said there are fish being caught everywhere, especially on the dying west current and then the turn to the east. Connor often concentrates on west end locations and emphasized that while there are plenty of smaller fish making a ruckus on top – and he wanted to make it clear that this is a lot of fun and provides plenty of action on plugs – the larger fish in the 20 to 30-pound class and up are for the most part being caught on paddletail jigs. His top color at the moment has been green, most likely a sign that mackerel are once again driving the fishing in the BD, while if he is plugging, he particularly likes a ghost mackerel pattern. 

Some folks are also continuing to chunk mackerel or pogies with some good results around the bridges, but you definitely want to consider the wisdom of trying to work your way into a line of pluggers and then casting out a chunk in their midst. Bruce said there have already been reports of “friendly disagreements” along the riprap and you definitely don’t want to participate or more importantly be the cause of unkind words and unwieldy threats. 

Jeff Hopwood from Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach was at the computer and was good enough to type out a few comments on what has been happening in the Canal: “Actually a decent Canal bite the last week, not huge fish, but lots of action. Mostly on jigs and paddle tails” which it seems like every soft plastic maker is turning out, with brand loyalty as intense as it is when it comes to cars and beer. 

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- August 26, 2022

Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt. Mike is joined by renowned angler Eric Harrison as they target bluefin tuna on Hogy Sand Eel Jigs.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Boy was it good to hear from Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore that this last set of breaking tides has produced some good topwater action the last couple of days, sort of a reward for the regulars who have remained steadfast in their commitment to the Big Ditch and all of its nuances this season. 

On the other hand, the flock of Johnny-come-latelies who were internet heroes when it was dumb-and-easy a couple of years back, gave up when faced with the challenges this season had so far served up and will probably show up in force when word gets out about the bite around the east end. It sounds a little crazy, but paying your dues is a Canal tradition that I hope is never replaced by Go Pro exploits. 

Enough of that preaching and just the facts: Bruce explained that while there are some mackerel around the east end, it is the thick schools of peanut bunker that have been driving this week’s surface bite; smaller yellow pencil poppers have been very effective when the fish are on top, with a switch to smaller, lighter paddletail jigs in the one-ounce range the way to go when things quiet down on top. Pogy colored versions have been tough to beat, followed by white or pearl versions. There are also plenty of bluefish from the fishing pier out to Pip’s Rip and the entrance jetties, leading to lots of paddle less paddle tail jigs; as Bruce noted, while this is good for business, another approach is to switch over to metal casting jigs with wider profiles that are clearly more resistant to a chopper’s dentures. 

Down around the west end, most of the bass have been on the smaller size with a smattering of slot sized fish and even a few over the top around. As Kagan Roper at Red Top in Buzzards Bay noted, while small topwater plugs such as pencil popper and spooks have been a lot of fun, chunking has been the way to go when it comes to larger bass. Mackerel has been the most commonly used bait between the railroad bridge and the Bourne Bridge for the bait contingent, as well as Bell Road and around the Maritime Academy. 

There have been no confirmed reports of albies in the Canal yet, but that could change soon given the vast amount of small bait and increasing numbers of funny fish in Buzzards Bay towards North Falmouth and the entrance to Woods Hole. 

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- August 19, 2022

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Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Whether the push of bass into the Big Ditch is part of the school that had been up around Manomet and White Cliffs or fish somewhere else in Cape Cod Bay, it really doesn’t make any difference to the regulars who are enjoying some more consistent topwater action throughout the Canal this week. 

According to Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle, the fish around the east end have been concentrated on small bait, most likely peanut bunker, and squid; the small schools of tinker mackerel have been sporadic, making white the lure color of choice, although folks keep loading up on mackerel pattern topwaters in a variety of colors. Any topwater action has been best in the early morning, especially if first light coincides with a tide change, but in general smaller (around one ounce) white paddle tail jigs such as the Hogy Pro Tail Paddle are picking up most of the fish. Perhaps the biggest challenge around the east end has been the number of bluefish, which are doing great things for soft plastic sales but not the grousing among folks hoping to coax a larger bass out of the numbers of small fish. 

The word from Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay is that there have been bass and bluefish spread throughout the Canal, mainly feeding on smaller bait; over the years, metals such as Crippled Herrings have been the go to lure when fish are concentrating on small bait, but the Hogy Heavy Metal Jigs have proven their worth when extra casting distance is required along with a smaller profile. Of course, when the fish are in tighter to shore, a Hogy Epoxy Jig is an excellent choice, with a variety of colors and sizes to match the bait profile. 

In many spots, including a number around the west end, after the artificial action is over as the tide slacks and during the early stages of the turn, there are still plenty of folks fishing bait, including mackerel, squid, and pogies; the waters between the Railroad Bridge and Bourne Bridge see a good number of chunkers, but the waters between the fishing pier and the east end jetties are also popular with bait anglers. 

Earlier in the week, Bill Prodouz was good enough to file a report with me, noting that Pip’s Rip had mainly bluefish after first light, with plenty of plastics ripped up, but a few fish were caught. Any bass were on the small side according to the one person he spoke to who was at Pip’s and they were deep. Bill fished the west end himself and had four over slot fish, the largest at 38-inches and fat, in the 20 to 25-pound range, three slot fish, and two 26-inchers. As Bill said, it was good to get “a little mojo back today,” which Morgan Hopwood at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach said has been the feeling of a good number of regulars who have been picking at fish all season long, but not experiencing those mornings with a number of quality fish.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- August 12, 2022

Take a look into Capt. Mike’s inshore fishing tackle, featuring the Hogy Mesh Crate Storage System.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Some good news to share about the Canal from Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore. For over a week now, Bruce has been talking about some spike mackerel showing at the east end and they finally drew some bluefish on the west tide. He believes these are some of the fish that have been over by the Path and they are mixed in size, with a good number of six to eight pounder as well as some in the double digit category. Although some people only get jazzed up a topwater bite when it involves bass, bluefish are made for topwater plugs and their presence is a hopeful sign that if – or when – the huge school of pogies north of the Ditch breaks up, those bass might move into the land cut. There are still bass in the Canal, Bruce emphasized, but if you want to catch one right now, you have to jig.

Now, down around the other end of the land cut, Bruce said the peanut bunker that are starting to dump out into Buzzards Bay are making their way in up as far as the Bourne Bridge and there have been some good feeds going on. Although most everyone is throwing smaller paddletail jigs, metal or Hogy Epoxy Jigs, Bruce is convinced that these fish would hit smaller surface plugs as well.

While white/pearl and bunker/olive are clearly two colors to use when faced with fish feeding on peanut bunker, A.J. Coots from Red Top in Buzzards Bay noted that they have been selling plenty of pink paddletails, a sign that the squid reported around the west end are still around. The chunk bite is still going on, with folks using mackerel, pogies or squid.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- August 5, 2022

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Things have quieted down in the Canal this week, noted Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore, with a return to the jig and bait bite after a brief spurt of topwater activity late last week. White/pearl and pogy imitation soft plastic paddletails continue to work best, especially around the east end on the Cape side. Most of the consistently successful Rats are concentrating on the turn of the tide; early morning has been best when coinciding with the change from the bottom of the west to the east. The west end is where the winning fish came from last weekend during The Fishing For The Mission 22 Canal Tournament sponsored by Skelton’s Lures, Bruce added, with chunking mackerel or squid the way to go. Bruce did offer a ray of hope for the topwater crew as there are some spike mackerel showing up in the east end and it’s this bait that typically generates a surface bite, with squid second on the list. Then again, there should be small bait in the form of peanut bunker around soon and they drive the fish crazy as well, along with small butterfish that Bruce heard are starting to show around the west end.

Over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, A.J. Coots offered up an interesting take on how so many folks are saying the Canal has been dead this year, calling it in many ways a self-fulfilling prophesy. There are fish being caught on a regular basis, but one’s success is predicated on the amount of time he or she puts in and the willingness to learn the subtleties of the Big Ditch. Paddletail jigs are definitely the way to go, along with loaded pencil poppers, when the fish are deep, if you prefer to go the artificial route, but fishing the rips with chunk baits is tops at the moment. 

Of course, I have one question, given that nobody is even talking about them: what happened to eeling at night around the middle of the land cut? Just wondering. 

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- July 29, 2022

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

It sure was good to hear some good news emanating from the Big Ditch this week, certainly not because it might bring the hordes of wannabe rats back, but because the topwater action provided a reward for the regulars who devote themselves to fishing this unique and challenging location no matter what the fishing is like. 

The word from Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore is that a push of bass up to the 40+ inch class moved into the east end and followed the bait up as far as the middle stretches of the land cut until the change from west to east occurred and the fish chased the bait back out into Cape Cod Bay. As I noted in the CC Bay report, Bruce explained that these are most likely the bass that had been on Billingsgate Shoal for over a week as opposed to a portion of the fish that have been chowing on pogies from Scusset up to Plymouth and points north. 

Apparently, there were water temperatures in the vicinity of 60-degrees reported, clearly a stream of cold water that moved in and around the outer Cape. That, in turn, brought in a large concentration of whiting, normally a fish that one associates with deeper, colder water; in fact, folks fishing for giant tuna often jig them up on the grounds where they are targeting tuna and liveline them instead of mackerel or even bluefish if the latter two are scarce. Folks came into the shop starting midweek, asking him what the baitfish were that they could see kind of porpoising on the surface and Bruce knew exactly what they were based on the descriptions of their swimming motion. The Canal hasn’t seen any real concentrations of mackerel this year – perhaps the main baitfish that drives surface activity in the land cut – but the whiting made a great substitute, with the regulars able to finally put away their jigs for a while and get back to tossing white pencil poppers. Bruce also emphasized that there are some squid mixed in with the whiting, which is something to keep in mind when filling your Canal plug bag.

At the other end of the Ditch, A.J. Coots at Red Top in Buzzards Bay had obviously gotten word of the improved bite to the east, but he noted that there are still some good fish being taken around the west end. These fish have been targeting the schools of pogies that keep moving in and out from the west entrance, making jigging with paddletails the way to go during most of the tide. At first light, however, there has been some topwater activity, with pencils and multi-jointed, slow sinking swimmers the way to go.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- July 22, 2022

Latest Video

In our latest video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads offshore targeting bluefin tuna on spinning gear using a combination of the Hogy Harness Jigs and Hogy Charter Grade Sliders.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Jigging is definitely the approach to take so far this season if you want to catch fish in the Big Ditch, explained Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore. The lack of crowds has meant plenty of water to fish for the regulars who been fishing paddletails all season long; white and pogy have been most popular lately, with pink a good option if there have been squid around, but Bruce advised that some small pushes of mackerel are happening around the east end and that means you shouldn’t put away your green, blue, or wacky mackerel paddles just yet. 

The end of one current cycle and the start of the next is typically the time to be on the Canal, with the end of the west and turn to the east, when combined with first light and a full or new moon, known as the “breaking tides,” but any surface activity has been limited to at best a half hour of surface activity. 

Bruce said that the jigging bite is just as tide change specific, but too many people fail to take this into consideration. Of course, mackerel are what generally drive the exceptional topwater bites that have been just memories this season that most of the wannabe Rats assumed is the way the Canal always fishes. Folks out east fishing tuna have been jigging up mackerel with no problem, but overall the population of Atlantic mackerel is in dire straits; in fact, on the website of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council website, the federal agency in charge of managing this species along with butterfish, two species of squid, and chub mackerel, it states – and I quote – “According to the 2021 stock assessment, Atlantic mackerel is overfished and subject to overfishing” and the population is “Significantly below target population levels. A rebuilding plan is in place.”

Perhaps this is only a brief break in the breaking tides cycle, but odds are that this is just a localized example of what happens when fisheries managers and their plans get it really wrong when it comes to controlling commercial harvest. On a hopeful note, Jeff Miller said that with the next moon cycle, in past years chub mackerel have shown up in the Canal in good numbers, drawing in a third wave of bigger bass, and that could perk things up for the traditional pencil-and-Polaris popping gang as well as the Magic Swimmer brigade. 

For those folks, as Connor Swartz at Red Top noted, “it’s been a whole lot of nothing lately,” with jigging and chunk baits the way to go. There have been some bluefish around the west end, but the push of bass in that area a couple of weeks ago seems to have passed, with those fish most likely out in Cape Cod Bay.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- July 15th, 2022

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The schoolie size bluefin tuna bite off of Cape Cod has been one of the best we’ve seen in years! Here’s a look into our latest video, trolling for bluefin tuna just east of Chatham!

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Fishing remains tough in the Big Ditch – there’s no two
ways about it. Up until this season, boat anglers out in Cape Cod Bay
could only watch as the bait held the fish in the land cut, but this year
it’s a different story as there has been no push of food to create a Canal
frenzy. The general lack of mackerel that has plagued plenty of spots in
the bay has wreaked havoc in the Canal as these baitfish are typically
part of the surface activity that takes place during the well-known
“breaking tides,” those periods when the current slows to the west and
turns to the east, especially at first light.
Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore did offer up a brief
glimmer of hope when he said there have been reports of some

mackerel outside the east entrance, but right now the only bait to
speak of are squid and pogies, although the largest body of the latter
are hugging the shoreline from Scusset up to Boston Harbor.
White soft plastic paddletails are the ticket nowadays when the fish are
feeding on squid in the Canal, but I still recall how white bucktails
tipped with red pork rind were the way to go and I know they would
still work. The advantage of the paddles is that they provide build in
action, while the old school option required more knowledge of rigging,
retrieve speed, and rod action.
Bruce said that the east end is holding some bass, but the larger fish are
definitely holding to the west and chowing on squid; Jeff showed me a
photo of a plug – in this case a super heavily weighted pencil popper –
that a big fish ripped the through wire out of when it got close to shore
and started to barrel roll. The tail end of the west and turn to the east
has been best.
Along with the white jig bite at the west end, Howie Keeler at Red Top
in Buzzards Bay said there has been an occasional spurt of topwater
activity around the west end, but we’re talking about the crack of dawn
and then done. White and yellow surface plugs are working best, a
good sign that the fish are feeding on squid (white) and pogies (yellow).
And while plugging and jigging the Ditch are a tradition, Jeff Hopwood
at Maco’s in Buzzards Bay and Monument Beach noted that folks have
been back to more frequently chunking the tides, including using
mackerel, pogies, and squid. I may be showing my age, but I am a little
surprised that I haven’t heard of any nighttime live eel and eel skin
jigging, but that may be a matter of people keeping it quiet.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- July 8th, 2022

Coming Soon…

Here’s a sneak peek into Capt. Mike’s latest offshore tuna trip. Stay tuned for the full length version!

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore had an
interesting observation about how gas prices have impacted the
number of people fishing the Big Ditch this season; with no plugging
activity, especially the craziness that can be the breaking tides, on the
radar this season, folks are thinking twice about driving two or three

hours in hopes of catching some fish. That’s because the Canal has
definitely been on a jig bite this year and the regulars are doing best
since they have an understanding of the currents and where the best
rips are going to set up as opposed to just showing up and throwing
plugs to fish that are determined to get hooked.
Obviously, the lack of mackerel in Cape Cod Bay has impacted the
topwater bite in the land cut because these baitfish are typically what
drives that action; instead, the fish are feeding on some small
concentrations of squid and schools of pogies during the mid tide west
current, Bruce explained. Paddletail soft plastic jigs remain your best
option for lure fishing right now, especially pogy colored ones.
The alternative to the artificial approach, as Connor Swartz at Red Top
in Buzzards Bay observed, has been to drift chunks, whether mackerel
or pogy. At one time, getting fresh pogies was an industry on the Canal
and the scuttlebutt is that folks are leaning in that direction again.
Connor emphasized that there is no specific location that is super hot,
but the east end is producing more bass while there have been some
bluefish around the west end.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- July 1st, 2022

Paddletail Swimbaits

Paddeltail swimbaits are a popular presentation when fishing the Cape Cod Canal. The Hogy Pro Tail Paddle swimbait is a great option when deciding on a paddletail,  just make sure to opt. for the heavier versions (3-6oz) to accompany those strong canal tides.


Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Slow and steady remain the optimal words on the Big Ditch,
according to Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore. Folks
putting in the time – and that typically means “rats” who understand
currents and bait movement – are picking up fish, including a brief
window of topwater activity around the slack turn heading east. This is
a brief window of action, sort of a mini-breaking tides – both in the
morning and again in the evening, with the best bet towards the east
end. When it comes to plug choice, anything yellow was Bruce’s advice,
usually a sign that the fish are feeding on pogies that have driven to the
surface, with no sign of the small mackerel that typically get the surface
action going. And while any kind of surface bite gets folks jazzed around
the Canal, the reality is that jigging has been the ticket this year, Bruce
concluded, with bone, pogy, and even mackerel paddletails tough to
Ian Lumsden at Red Top in Buzzards Bay reported some good bluefish
action around the west end, while there is a lot of chunk fishing going
on in the Canal. Both mackerel and pogies are working and folks are

picking at fish throughout the Canal, working mainly around the slower
stages of the tide.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report- June 24th, 2022

Catch & Release

Here’s a guide to rigging a Hogy Charter Grade Popper for catching and releasing striped bass. This method minimizes damage done to the fish, ensuring a healthy release!


Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Once again, the Big Ditch is consistent, not gangbusters, noted Bruce
Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore. There are bass around the east
entrance, but there just isn’t enough bait to draw them in, especially with all the
pogies up north. No concentrations of mackerel have moved in, limiting the
potential for a topwater bite, and even though folks at times have managed to jig
up some squid at night around the east end, there just aren’t enough around to
incite any solid surface activity.
That means jigging continues to rule the day and brand loyalty very much in play,
with folks sticking by their favorite soft plastic jigs – that is until someone nearby
is tonging fish while their paddletail isn’t even getting a touch, and then all bets
are off. But when it comes to color at the moment, Bruce said that mackerel and
pogy patterns are getting the job done, followed by one of the variations of white
that differs ever so slightly from one maker to the next.
If you just have to plug, then Bruce recommended using slow sinking, jointed
swimmers when the fish are on pogies, which is the main bait right now, and

these can be fished almost as effectively as jigs during the mid-tide west current,
when the dropping tide concentrates what bait is in the area.
Over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, Connor Swartz perhaps put the Canal scene
best: “It’s not something I would drive from a long distance to fish, but if you live
nearby, it definitely is worth fishing.”


Capt. Dave’s 6/17/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Filmed Last Monday!

In this video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads out to the rips off of Monomoy targeting striped bass. Hogy Poppers in translucent pink and amber color were the ticket to success in imitating the squid these bass were feeding on!

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Let me be very clear right from the start: it’s not that the
Big Ditch isn’t fishing well, but it is interesting that there really hasn’t

been any sustained topwater activity, even when there are some of
those renowned breaking tides.
Those folks who insist on using pencil poppers and other surface plugs
have managed to pick a fish here or there, especially on the morning
tides, but overall it has been a jig bite, said Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and
tackle in Sagamore. Some small schools of smaller mackerel have
moved in and out of the east end, but Jeff explained that since the main
bait has been pogies and what herring remain, broader profile
paddletails have been the way to go. Of course, there are numerous
options to choose from and there are plenty of opinions about which
one works best, but Jeff chose to concentrate on color choices, with
bunker tops on the list – or something with a brownish hue – followed
by pearl/white. Pretty much anyone who has fished the Canal knows
the name of the most popular eel style paddletail when the mackerel
bite is on, but as Jeff said, he and others have mackerel colorations in a
more traditional baitfish profile in contrast to the “sand eel” style,
increasing their versatility since eel style soft plastics just don’t have the
bulk that broader baits like pogies or even river herring possess.
And remember: if the fish are holding deep during the stronger mid tide
currents, if you’re using too light a jig, then odds are you’re out of the
Over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, Cole Freeman said that most of the
fish are in the slot range, with the turns of the tides fishing best for
folks who continue to stick to their plugging routine. Swimmers,
especially the larger slow sink jointed style that get their action from
body design as opposed to swimming lips, in natural colors such as
bunker, black/silver, or blue/silver are a better option at the moment as
opposed to classic Canal topwaters.
During the east tides, schools of big bluefish have been encountered,
resulting in increased soft plastic sales – and a good reason to carry a
second rod with a hard bait such as a plug.

Capt. Dave’s 6/10/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore confirmed that jigging with soft
plastic paddletail jigs in wacky mackerel, mackerel, and white/pearl have definitely been the
way to go, with heavier jigs the way to go since you will be fishing the stronger parts of the
flow. The midcurrent fishing has been best, with the bigger fish that were out in Buzzards Bay
moving in and through the land cut. Bruce explained that these aren’t the fish that “reside” in
and around the Canal during the summer, moving in and out with the current and bait
availability. Right now, there isn’t a ton of bait around, with some herring still moving into the
run making the waters between the mussel bed and the herring run where most folks have
been fishing, a change from a week ago when bass were following schools of pogies into the
west end. Hopefully, with an increase in water temperature and some more bait around, a
more consistent topwater bite will develop. At night, the squid bite has been consistent around
the east end.
Folks were coming into Red Top in Buzzards Bay on Thursday morning to restock on soft plastic
paddle jigs, said Connor Swartz, as schools of bluefish were doing a number on them. Connor
said the bass bite has been consistent, if not spectacular, with the regulars picking at what

seems to be the case pretty much elsewhere: a good number of slot sized fish with the
occasional cow in the mix. A few folks are committed to coaxing fish up on pencil poppers or
even dragging jointed plugs across the surface, but I know of three folks who fished the Big
Ditch with plugs this week in hopes of a repeat of the insane bite they experienced in August
three or four years ago and as of midweek they had been skunked every time out.

Capt. Dave’s 6/3/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore confirmed that
paddletail plastics are ruling the day in the land cut at the moment. Big fish are
following the schools of pogies in from Buzzards Bay on the east tide up as far as
the railroad bridge with the bite best around mid current on most days before
working their way back on the change. Pearl or white is always a good starting
point in terms of color, but mackerel or pogy versions are typically in most of the

regulars bags as the bass turn on to certain variations for no apparent reason –
but you better have them when they do.
Down around the east end, there are some smaller mackerel showing up, Bruce
added, and they are drawing fish in from CC Bay at times, but they are hugging
the bottom of the water column and that means jigs are your best bet.
With a set of breaking tides set for next week and hopefully a change to some
sunnier, warmer weather, there should be the first real topwater bite in the big
Ditch as opposed to the pick a fish here or there as the dedicated pluggers have
been experiencing so far this season.

Capt. Dave’s 5/27/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Filmed last Monday!

Stripers have arrived full force in the rips feeding on squid. In this video Capt. Mike shares his favorite technique using Amber Charter Grade Poppers to imitate squid for exciting topwater striper action.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Some mackerel moved into the Big Ditch this week and
mixed in with the herring, pogies, and squid that were already there,
making the fishing even better, if that is possible, noted Bruce Miller at
Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore. Mid-tide has been producing best
and that means it’s jig time; in the old days, that meant bucktails, but
today it’s all about soft plastic paddletails, “which are crushing it,”
Bruce said. Mackerel has been the color this week, but fish are also
being caught on white/pearl and pogy versions. At this point in the
season, Bruce added, there are fish being caught throughout the length
of the land cut; Bell Road obviously gets more than its share of
attention, but the Cribbin’, Herring Run, and even Pip’s Rip are doing
quite well.

Green crab sales are also a good indicator that the tautog bite in the
Canal and elsewhere remains solid, Bruce concluded.
Connor Swartz over at Red Top in Buzzards spoke of a brief topwater bite in
the morning, but they said these were mostly smaller, slot sized fish,
with the larger fish deeper in the water column requiring the use of jigs.
Remember that it is important to match the weight of your jig to the
strength of the current so that you are getting down to where the fish
are holding. Twenty to thirty pound fish are being caught with a fair
amount of regularity, with some 40’s in the mix as well.

Capt. Dave’s 5/19/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

West End Stripers

Every tide presents a new wave of fish! Silversides and herring seem to be the primary forage at the moment, but keep an eye out for a push of mackerel to appear in the Canal. As we know from prior seasons, once the mackerel make their way into the Canal, chaos is likely to ensue!


Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

I decided to take a ride up to Bell Road this morning to see
for myself what is going on – apparently there has been a good slug of
stripers moving back and forth at the moment with the currents – and
there were certainly plenty of people at the west end and a some
impressive fish caught-and-released. It really didn’t seem to matter
what folks were using, with fish caught on white/pearl paddletails,
jointed white swimbaits, and pencil poppers, especially mackerel
patterns – although there haven’t been any macks reported in the Big
Ditch yet.
In fact, Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore said that
there aren’t any mackerel in the Canal that he has heard of and that the
pickings out in Cape Cod Bay are slim as well. Bruce believes the fish are
feeding on herring and silversides at the moment, with some pogies
and squid also being reported. The fish are definitely moving with the
current, as usual, with the end of the west and beginning of the turn to
the east – as it was this morning – producing best around the west end,
followed by action from the Cribbin’ to the herring run around mid-tide
and then the latter stages of the east bringing the bass to spots around
the east end.
Bruce added that while white has certainly been a productive color, he
has been selling a good number of pogy imitation paddletails and black
over silver or mackerel jointed swimbaits.

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Tip:

With many of today’s artificial lures, there is a tendency to
emphasize their productivity by simply casting them out and retrieving
them straight back. In other words, many of them have a “magical”
built-in action. I was reminded of that this morning when I watched
folks casting paddletails and jointed swimbaits and then reeling them in
without any rod action at all. In some cases, they caught fish, but I also
observed that the one angler who was consistently catching on his soft
plastic was subtly employing rod action. Changes in retrieve speed, rod
movement, and angle of attack are always worth taking into
consideration even with today’s lures.

Cape Cod Canal Conservation News:

It was good to see folks walking down the rip rap to the
water’s edge to release their fish while it was still wet and supported by
the water. If a photo was taken, it was by another angler and done
rapidly, as opposed to struggling to get a selfie. Good stuff.

Capt. Dave’s 5/13/2022 Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Filmed last Friday in Buzzard’s Bay

Fish are moving in daily! A search won’t take you long to find them… But a heads up, there’s some micro silversides around, so be ready to downsize you leaders and baits to crack the code if they are cranky!


Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report

Rates 1A this week, mainly it saw the first push of larger
bass this week, with a 43-incher topping the list, according to A.J. Coots
at Red Top in Buzzards Bay. That fish was caught on a larger, bone
colored walk-the-dog plug around the slack tide.
The bite was particularly good this morning, noted Jeff Miller of Canal
Bait and Tackle in Sagamore, with a mix of schoolies, slot fish, and even
a handful above the 28 to less than 35-inch limit. There is a good
amount of sizeable bait in the land cut, including pogies and herring, so
larger, multi-jointed subsurface plugs and paddletail jigs were the best
producers of larger fish. Generally speaking, soft plastics and small
plugs in the five-inch range are working on the schoolies.
The action has been best around the west end, although fish were
caught from there to the middle of the Ditch, which is no surprise,
really, as these fish are moving in from Buzzards Bay, which rates a solid
1B this week as we will discuss next.
The tautog bite also remains very strong in the Canal, with fish up to
the nine-pound class caught so far this season. One of the regulars at
Canal Bait said he was around the fishing pier this week where a trio of
hardy souls had the platform all to themselves in the wind and rain.
They were drifting their crabs right into and among the pilings where
the fish were holding, with a hook up requiring a fast response and strong, steady pull to dislodge the tog from the structure they love so


I will acknowledge right up front that I have been
struggling with this whole catch-and-release, keep ‘em wet ethic; when
I see someone holding a big bass on his or her lap while posing for a
photo, I can’t help thinking about how long that fish was out of the
water and how it was handled to get the proper “pose.” It’s the same
when folks talk about measuring a fish, either from boat or shore,
where dragging it up on the rip rap or up the sand shingle just might
ultimately lead to its demise, despite the old “but it swam right away.”