Cape Cod Weekly Fishing Reports: June 22-28

Cape Cod Weekly Fishing Reports: June 22-28

  1. Podcast
  2. Report Summary
  3. Daily Dispatches Clipped

Salty Cape Podcast:

Catch this weeks episode of The Dave and Mike Show! Dave and Mike discuss fishing reports & dive into techniques, tips, fishing etiquette, walks down memory lane, and a fair amount of chop-busting!

PodCast: Summary

  • 🎣 Fishing Reports: Captain Mike and Captain Dave discuss their fishing activities over the past week, highlighting trips to Monomoy, Nantucket, and Vineyard Sound.
  • 🌊 Windy Conditions: Reports of unexpected strong winds impacting fishing conditions, with advice on handling sporty weather.
  • 🐟 Monomoy Success: Monomoy received high praise for its abundance of life, with sand eels, squid, and striped bass creating a vibrant ecosystem.
  • 🐠 Techniques and Lures: Insights into using surface erasers, slow retrieve techniques, and the versatility of different lures, including soft plastics and topwater plugs.
  • 🔄 Adjusting to Conditions: Emphasis on adapting to environmental factors, including wind, tides, and bait movement to improve fishing success.
  • 🦑 Squid Season: Observations on the abundance of juvenile squid and their impact on the fishing ecosystem.
  • 🚤 Fishing Gear: Discussion on the importance of carrying the right gear, including foul weather gear for open boats, and keeping tackle simple yet effective.
  • 🧪 Scientific Collaboration: Collaboration with scientists from UMass Amherst to gather data and improve fishing practices.
  • 🔁 Catch and Release: Techniques for ensuring healthy fish release, including using single hooks and keeping fish in the water during de-hooking.
  • 💬 Fishing Etiquette and Tips: Tips on fishing etiquette, particularly in crowded areas like the canal, and advice for both novice and experienced anglers.

Listen on Spotify:

Cape Cod Fishing Reports Part 1: The Summary

Monomoy

Fishing in the rips around Monomoy has been productive, despite challenging conditions. The team managed to catch four bass between 28.5 and 34 inches. The key lures were the amber Hogy Charter Grade Popper and the bone/white Dog Walker XL. The wind made the waters rough, but fish were still biting during slack tide, with plenty of birds and bass feeding on sand eels.

Capt. Mike’s trips also reported great results with bass in the high 20 to mid 30-inch range. The Hogy Surface Eraser, introduced last year, proved versatile and effective, particularly in amber color.

Related Video: How-To: Fishing Rips with Big Plugs

Cape Cod Bay

Cape Cod Bay saw good numbers of smaller bass. Reports from Sandy Neck beach indicated success with schoolie stripers using bait like squid, seaworms, and mackerel. Capt. Paul Caruso highlighted a high concentration of smaller bass up to 24 inches in Barnstable Harbor, with soft plastics and small topwater plugs being effective.

Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle mentioned the resurgence of pogy schools, leading to a spike in sales of SNAG Trebles for live-lining. Larger bass have been caught trolling deep diving swimmers in deeper waters.

Related Video: Cape Cod Bay Topwater Stripers with 10″ Hogy Originals

Nantucket Sound

Windy conditions hampered boat fishing reports. Shore anglers, however, had success catching scup and kingfish from Dowses. There were also some reports of brown sharks. Falmouth jetties saw decent fluke fishing, while bluefish sightings were notably scarce.

Evan Eastman reported good fluke fishing from shore and around the jetties at Falmouth Harbor and Menauhant. Anglers were catching bluefish around Mashnee Flats and Monument Beach, feeding heavily on schools of “porgies” about a foot long.

Related Video: How-To: No Bait Fluke Fishing

Martha’s Vineyard

Fishing reports from Martha’s Vineyard were sparse due to wind and seaweed issues. The last significant boat report indicated fewer and smaller fish, with a noticeable uptick in water temperatures and reduced bait availability. Seaweed was a major issue, making fishing difficult for shore anglers.

Doug Asselin from Dick’s Bait & Tackle noted fewer squid in the rips and smaller average fish size at Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, L’Hommedieu, and Wasque. He also reported sightings of needlefish and unusual marine life, such as a humpback whale and a breaching thresher shark.

Related Video: How-To: Casting for Stripers at Wasque Shoal

Buzzards Bay

Mark Tenerowicz noted a decline in bass numbers in shallow waters between Mattapoisett and Westport, likely due to low dissolved oxygen levels and high water temperatures. Upper Buzzards Bay saw an abundance of pogies, providing a good opportunity for anglers targeting bass with live bait.

Nick Santolucito at M & D’s Outfitters highlighted the challenge of finicky bass due to the abundance of pogies. Larger bass are feeding on big baits and retreating to cooler, deeper waters. Bluefish up to 15 pounds have been reported, and sea bass fishing remains mixed, with better results for fluke.

Related Video: Finicky Striped Bass | Micro Bait | Surface Erasers

The Canal

Fishing in the Canal slowed down mid-week after a busy weekend. Jeff Miller reported a drop in surface activity, with heavy jigs being necessary to reach deeper fish. Pogies remain the primary food source, with occasional blueback herring and mackerel mixed in.

The west end of the Canal saw some success with topwater baits like pencil poppers and glide baits. Anglers using live eels and jigging heavy paddletails continued to have some success during night tides.

Related Video: How-To: Casting Big Topwater Plugs for Striped Bass

Nantucket

Capt. Corey Gammill reported productive fishing on the western edges of Tuckernuck and Muskeget rips, with bass feeding on squid. Pencil poppers and ballistic-style lures were effective, though bluefish numbers are only starting to pick up.

Inshore fishing became more challenging due to rising water temperatures, with the best results coming at night along the southside beaches and Eel Point. Shore anglers had varying success, with good nights yielding up to 20 fish.

Related Video: How To: Combo Trip | Jig Seabass | Topwater Stripers

Chatham/Monomoy/Outer Cape

The rips around Monomoy continued to produce quality bass, with notable success using amber Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and Dog Walkers. Shore anglers found smaller fish around Stage Harbor and Morris Island, while larger bass were caught at night around Nauset using needlefish and soft plastics.

Related Video: How To: Topwater Poppers for Stripers Feeding on Squid

Tuna/Offshore

Tuna fishing east of Chatham showed mixed results. Some boats reported good catches trolling bars from Crab Ledge to BB Buoy, while others had slower weeks. Tuna down towards Montauk and at the Claw or the Dump also presented opportunities for anglers willing to venture farther.

Related Video: How-To: School Tuna Trolling | Simple 4-Rod Spread

Additional Notes

  • Weather Impact: Windy conditions throughout the week significantly affected boat fishing, particularly in Nantucket Sound and Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Pogy Abundance: The presence of pogies has provided excellent opportunities for targeting larger bass, though their abundance has made the bass more selective.
  • Bluefish Scarcity: Bluefish sightings were less frequent than usual, creating some frustration among anglers who typically target them.
  • Marine Life Sightings: Interesting marine life encounters included needlefish, a humpback whale, and a breaching thresher shark near Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Fishing Techniques: Anglers found success with a variety of lures, including topwater plugs, soft plastics, and deep diving swimmers, adapting to the changing conditions and fish behavior.

Overall Summary

This week’s fishing was marked by challenging weather conditions and fluctuating water temperatures, impacting fish behavior across regions. However, persistent anglers found success with a variety of lures and baits, from topwater plugs to deep diving swimmers. The presence of pogies provided a significant advantage for those targeting larger bass. Bluefish sightings were sporadic, and sea bass and fluke fishing varied by location. Despite these challenges, the week ended with promising catches and interesting marine sightings.

Product Recommendations from Hogy Lure Company

  1. Hogy Charter Grade Popper
    Reason:
    Effective for topwater action in the rips of Monomoy, as highlighted in multiple reports.
  2. Hogy Charter Grade Dog Walker
    Reason: Recommended for the consistent topwater success in Monomoy and other regions.
  3. Hogy Epoxy Jig
    Reason: Versatile and effective for a variety of species, especially in Buzzards Bay and for finicky bass.
  4. Hogy Sand Eel Jig
    Reason: Mimics sand eels, a key baitfish in several regions like Monomoy and Nantucket.
  5. Hogy Slowtail Swimbait
    Reason:
    Ideal for slow presentations and targeting bass in deeper waters, useful in Cape Cod Bay and the Canal.
  6. Hogy Protail Paddle
    Reason: Effective for a variety of inshore species, useful in regions where anglers are targeting larger, more selective bass.

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Friday June 28, 2024

Long day on the water yesterday had me ready to drop when I got home, so reports had to wait until this AM – 3 AM that is!

MONOMOY

I fished the rips yesterday with the A team from UMass Amherst and we managed to get four bass between 28.5 and 34 inches on the logger, making it 37 bass using this modality.

This is one more than Olivia Dinkelacker had hoped for as part of her PhD research and that Grace Casselberry, who is now doing her post doc work, has been right there all the way.

The wind never laid down and the rips were pretty nasty, but we got fish bass when they were white and foamy as well as during slack tide when there were birds everywhere and bass blowing up on sand eels.

Lures of the day were – what else – the amber Hogy Charter Grade Popper and the bone/white Dog Walker XL.

I do love the amount of life there is everywhere in that area, including all the way up to the backdoor entrance up past Morris Island which saved us from a good pounding.

CAPE COD BAY

Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis checked in to day she had several reports of schoolie stripers being caught from the beach at Sandy Neck. Most success stories have been using bait: squid, seaworms and mackerel.

This echoed what Capt. Paul Caruso told me yesterday; he fished Barnstable Harbor this week and there were plenty of smaller bass up to the 24 inch range as you could want. Soft plastics and small topwater plugs worked well.

Of course, as Paul noted, when you have that many small fish available, that leads to the question of how many do you have to catch before it becomes a problem. That’s something for a discussion in the future, but I have to get ready for a trip.

NANTUCKET SOUND

Amy Wrightson had a common lament: “It’s been so windy, we haven’t had many reports from our boat anglers.”

Folks fishing from shore have been catching lots of scup and kingfish from Dowses, but everyone – both sand and rock anglers and stinkpotters – have been wondering “Where are all the bluefish??!”

Everyone’s still wondering, “Where are the bluefish?!”

And for the adventurous, brown sharks are already being caught.

Over in Falmouth, Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle said there has been some good fluke fishing from shore, including the jetties at the entrance to Falmouth Harbor and the Menauhant area.

Thursday June 27, 2024

Although I consider myself fortunate since I can fish pretty much any time that I want, whether with customers and friends – or even alone if I can handle spending hours with myself!

Of course, the one limiting factor I deal with pretty much every day is the weather and the last two weeks have been very good examples of how my time on the water is impacted by Mother Nature.

First off, the wind has been a major issue no matter where I am – and most likely others – have been planning to fish.

For example, yesterday Capt. Mike left Falmouth Harbor for Monomoy and he was anticipating a “sporty” ride even though the wind direction was in a generally northern direction. It only makes sense that someone would assume that being on the southside of the Cape would have put Mike in the lee and helped smooth out the seas.

The problem was that wind direction is only one factor, with current direction just as critical. If the wind and tide/current are running in the same direction, it can flatten out the water.

Change it up and have “wind against tide” as most people call this scenario and it can get real snotty real fast.

As anglers, we also know that while wind and current going in the same general direction can make for a quieter trip, this combination can actually flatten out a rip, making for less than ideal fishing conditions.

But the lumpy and bumpy ride that we typically will suffer when our prevailing southwest wind butts heads with a falling or west current in Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds, the increased turbulence in the rips will make the bait more vulnerable since they aren’t as strong swimmers as the gamefish they are trying to avoid.

Mike also reminded me that the geography of a land mass can impact the sea state, in this case an increase in the strength and velocity of the wind as he passed the Hyannis area. Given that this section of the Cape faces the opening between the Vineyard and Nantucket, the wind can play games and it’s almost like there is a funnel or wind tunnel effect in this area, no matter which way the wind is blowing.

As we compared notes, my appreciation for Mike’s insights increased even as I realized that we both might be all wet in believing his theory on what causes the wind to “kick” in this part of the sound. I can tell you that when I look at the wind site I subscribe to, the readings from this area – specifically Kalmus Beach – is often significantly higher than other spots that are more exposed to a southwest wind, for example.

With thunderstorms on the way – and, yes, I did just check radar – for later on tonight right through early tomorrow morning and the marine forecast predicting winds gusting to 25 in the AM before laying down in the afternoon, my plans are to delay my trip to Monomoy until the afternoon.

It helped to talk with Bob Lewis who was faced with a similar situation on Tuesday, which started out kind of gnarly and ended that way, but in between Bob noticed a weather window around midday that would allow his to get to Monomoy with his guests. They enjoyed great fishing, although by the time they made the return trip to Cotuit things had kicked up a bit.

As he reported, “2 months ago Harrison Anglers guide Jenny Goodnow got me my first freshwater fish on the fly… some nice rainbow trout! Today was payback and I guided Jenny to her first saltwater fish on the fly… some beautiful striped bass! Amazing artist David Riina was onboard to make for a great afternoon. We hit the jackpot!!”

That said, given that the Canal is fogged in right now, I will have another weather issue to consider since if the high dew point combined with the water temperatures in Bourne and Sandwich is creating a blanket of gauze, I can pretty much guarantee that the shoals around Monomoy will be socked in.

Even though I don’t have radar on my boat, I am confident that I can navigate in limited visibility. But given the over reliance that boaters with this technology have on it, electing to run at speeds well above what would be considered standards of prudent and responsible seamanship, I might have to make other plans.

So, you see, even though I have plenty of time to be on the water, there are plenty of reasons to keep my feet – and my boat – planted on terra firma.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD

Obviously, one of the challenges of providing daily reports is the same as what I spoke about in the introduction above: the weather.

For example, Doug Asselin at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs told me that the last good boat report he could share was from the end of last week. Even then, folks were starting to notice a pretty significant uptick in water temperatures in the rips and less bait – specifically squid. Add in a decrease in the size of the average fish caught in places like Middle Ground, Hedge Fence, L’Hommedieu, and Wasque and it will certainly be interesting to see what folks encounter on their next trips to these areas.

Another issue for both shore and boat folks, Doug said, was the amount of seaweed in the water. In fact, he joked that even if you fished a lure with no hooks or hardware, it would still come back covered in salad.

It’s so bad, he explained, that one of the shop’s regular customers who fishes the Dogfish Bar and Aquinnah area pretty faithfully from shore and boat – which is out of the water at the moment – hasn’t even bothered to hoof it and try the last four days or so.

I really can’t put my finger on it, but so far this season just feels weird to me, with fish showing up earlier in places than they typically did and even the absence of big or even small bait that inshore anglers have traditionally come to count on. On the island, Doug explained, they have not seen any schools of pogies and the shoals of sand eels that islanders counted on to spur the fishing action can’t be counted on.

But Doug did say he saw needlefish in Sengekontacket Pond, which is about two months early, and he had two good stories that are perfect examples of why fishing is more than about fish. About two weeks ago, a humpback whale showed in the West Chop area; Doug saw the video and confirmed the location based on the shoreline in background.

More recently, in the same general area, say between Middle Ground and West Chop, a young couple shot video of a thresher shark breaching, which is definitely not something you will see every day in the sounds.

BUZZARDS BAY

Although his fishing news was disappointing, what Mark Tenerowicz shared about a conversation he had with a member of the Buzzards Bay Coalition bummed me out even more. While water temperatures in Mattapoisett had spike to 72 degrees, what is really concerning for anglers and anyone who cares about the health of our inshore waters is that the dissolved oxygen levels are already very low.

Mark said that the number of bass in the shallow water that he typically fishes between Mattapoisett and Westport has really dropped off starting late last week and there doesn’t seem to be as much small bait as there had been.

On the other hand, there are plenty of pogies around up inside the protected bays, harbors, and rivers in upper B Bay, which really shouldn’t be surprising since if there is species of fish that can thrive in warmer, oxygen depleted – with reason – water, it’s a pogy, bunker, or menhaden, whatever you like to call them. They’re filter feeders as opposed to relying on finfish or shellfish for their survival, creatures that are more likely to be negatively impacted by stagnant, dirty water.

THE CANAL AND CAPE COD BAY

In both areas, the wind has impacted fishing beyond scattering bait, dirtying the water, and disheartening a lot of folks.

As Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore said, a heavy breeze can put a serious belly in a fisherman’s line, making it difficult to keep contact with a lure and thereby detect when a fish has picked it up. This can even be true in the Big Ditch when jigging with heavy paddletails or bucktails.

Only a couple of boats challenged the conditions in Cape Cod Bay, Jeff added, as it was really difficult to locate the schools of pogies if the goal was livelining them. In most cases, folks fishing with live bait want a slower, natural presentation as they keep in contact with the concentrations of bait, something that can be really tough when you are getting blown around.

Under those conditions, it makes sense to turn to trolling as you can not only keep better contact with your lure, but you will still be fishing even as you look for the bait.

Jeff also offered up an interesting story of a recremercial angler who did OK yesterday trolling a deep diving swimmer.

It wasn’t the lure selection that proved surprising as at least one Hogy Pro Staffer, Capt. Terry Nugent, has found the Hogy Charter Grade Swimmer a good option when working around schools of big bait like pogies, mackerel, or squid.

Instead, it was the fact that the hot plug color was blue mackerel – and supposedly the number of mackerel in these waters is way down.

I guess I’ll have to think long and hard on that one, thereby coming up with another explanation that may sense to only one person – me!

Thursday June 27, 2024

CAPE COD BAY

Sometimes you can tell what is going on fishing wise by that is selling big time in local tackle shops and that was the case today when Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore texted to say “Selling a bunch of SNAG Trebles this afternoon.” Personally, I avoid anything to do with livelining, but even I know that Jeff’s. message means people are gearing up for the snag-and-drop pogy show.

Jeff followed up his earlier note by further explaining that the bass that had been up around Manomet moved down off of Sandwich where they trapped a good number of pogies off of Scorton in about 40 feet of water. It’s the same story in the stretch of water they call the Parking Lot due to its connection to that area of Sandy Neck.

Clearly, this sounds similar to the eel bite that has taken place over the last several years, albeit in shallower water close to shore. A couple of years back – although it might be significantly longer than that, come to think of it – folks did some serious damage to the population of big breeding females that were parked between Sandwich and Barnstable.

That level of slaughter hasn’t happened since, with more folks turning to the tube-and-worm, especially as fall approaches, and no doubt there will be some boats that will elect to troll this effective combination as opposed to dealing with the hassle of locating the bait.

Ironically, Capt. Mike and I were talking a couple of hours ago about the popularity of flutter spoons when bass are feeding on pogies. I would be remiss to suggest a timeline when these lures become as popular as they seem to be – with New Jersey and New York regions where they have really caught on – but this specific style and size of spoon does seem to be a relatively recent phenomenon.

I suppose it would be pointless to try and draw a connection to the use of bunker spoons to the surge in the number of flutter spoons on the market and on the end of a lot of anglers’ lines. I can help, however, imagining someone who absolutely hates trolling watching a boat dragging these creations and cleaning up, at which point he or she decided that there had to be a way of getting that fish attracting action from a spoon that was vertically jigged on spinning or casting gear.

In conclusion, Jeff emphasized that a good percentage of the larger bass caught today fell to those trolling bunker spoons in even deeper water, with deep diving swimming plugs – like the Hogy Charter Grade Swimmer – still productive as well.

BUZZARDS BAY

According to Connor Swartz over at Red Top in Buzzards Bay, finding schools of pogies in B Bay isn’t a problem. The challenge, however, is finding ones that are holding bass. In many cases, it is fairly common practice for anglers who have located schools of bass on structure to fill a livewell with pogies or even scup and then transport them to this area. For whatever reason, even if the bass don’t seem to be feeding, a livie just can’t be resisted.

That said, Nick Santolucito at M & D’s Outfitters in Wareham made a couple of good points when it comes to bass and bunker. At the moment, he said “The bass are very well fed with the abundance of pogies around, making them increasingly finicky to commit on anything but.” But Nick added when fish are chowing on big baits, it takes time for them to digest and they become lethargic. Water temperature impacts the rate of digestion, so they will typically seek cooler, deeper water to let their gastric juices do their thing.

Nick added “The spike in temps are pushing most larger fish to deeper water, keeping the shallower haunts on a tide dependent early AM/night bite.” No matter what the head-in-the-sand crew keeps saying about how there isn’t a problem with the bass population, the fact remains that the locations that are holding good numbers of fish are limited. In that scenario, more boats – and more shore anglers – will be drawn to these areas and as Nick shrewdly pointed out, all of that traffic and commotion has to impact the fish.

Both Connor and Nick advised that even with the pogies around, a number of night stalkers have been doing well with live eels. In many cases they are working rocky shoreline and shallow water structure from a boat, most of which is inaccessible to shorebound folks. I am not in any way suggesting that someone trespass, but a truly dedicated shore angler who studies maps and charts just might find that what they thought was a closed area is actually open to the public, with the neighbors playing games to keep fishermen out.

Nick has seen an uptick in the sale of larger, brightly colored Hogy Epoxy Jigs as there are some big bluefish throughout the bay; he has seen photos of fish in the 15 pound range. Even though no shop would turn some extra sales, Nick reminded everyone to watch their soft plastics if they happen upon schools of bluefish, as well as consider the use of heavy – I’m talking 50 to 80 pound test – mono or fluorocarbon leaders if they hate prefer not to use wire.

The reports on sizeable sea bass are still mixed, Nick concluded, with more folks turning to fluke as there definitely seem to a greater number of larger fish in upper Buzzards Bay.

Connor added that the edges of the Mashnee Flats and the deeper channels leading into Phinney’s Harbor and Red Brook Harbor have produced some doormats, although he reminded folks that they are going to have to wade through a good number of small ones. One proven method for targeting larger summer flatties is to go with larger jigs and teasers, whether you use natural items such as squid, sand eels, or mummichogs/chubs or scented soft plastics.

MONOMOY

I’m sure Capt. Mike will file his own report with all the details, but he made the somewhat lumpy right to the rips out east today and had a great day with bass from the high 20 to mid 30 inch class from virtually the first cast.

Although I have been beating the drum all season for the Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and Dog Walkers – mainly in amber – the Hogy Surface Eraser has proven to be an incredibly versatile option since Mike introduced it last year during albie season.

Oh, and this plug also comes in amber, which is what Mike was using today.

Due to its strategic weighting and aerodynamic design, the Surface Eraser casts a mile and can be fished throughout the water column using a variety of retrieves. One of the most productive is an erratic twitch-and-stop/glide approach, similar to the way you would work a soft plastic like the Hogy Original to imitate squid or sand eels. You can also let it drop down into the water column to where you are marking fish and vertically jig it, once again imitating sand eels, silversides, sea herring, or other narrow bodied baitfish.

Once upon a time, one of our favorite techniques for catching albies was skipping a seven inch Original on the surface or putting the rod tip in the water and burning one back so that it runs super shallow. These approaches also work well with the Surface Eraser when targeting funny fish. In fact, my friend Capt. Warren Marshall said a white model was his top lure down in North Carolina last fall.

Tuesday, June 26, 2024

Not a lot to report today as most boat anglers elected to lay low with only a few folks opting to deal with the “sporty” conditions. After a solid weekend, the Canal slowed appreciably this morning, with the crowds at the west end doing a lot more standing around the kibbitzing over where the fish had gone as opposed to putting in the effort to find them in spots other than where their feet happened to be.

Tomorrow should see plenty of boats down Monomoy way for bass and out on the tuna grounds hoping for the action to turn back on after a bit of a slowdown last week.

THE CANAL

Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore reported that there were a lot of long faces in the shop after the early morning west current didn’t produce the same level of activity as on Sunday morning from Gray Gables to the Bourne Bridge. Apparently, there was a decent topwater bite – the first in quite a while in the Big Ditch – with pencil poppers and jointed glide baits both effective. Guys and gals were looking for both green mackerel or white plugs, while a variety of paddletail jigs, including Jeff’s Canal Tackle Canal Shad.

With the currents on average about a knot stronger due to the full moon on Saturday, as the surface activity waned with the rising sun, it was critical to go with heavy jigs to reach the level where the fish were holding. Five ounces might sound like a lot, but when the water is really honking, that much lead just might be the minimum required to catch fish.

Pogies or menhaden remain the primary food source at the west end, with a few mackerel and squid mixed in. Jeff noted that he has heard from a few folks that there are also blueback herring around.

On my way home this afternoon, as I was traveling down Shore Road in Bourne, I saw a young angler – say late junior high/early high school age – pedaling his Canal Cruiser past the Lobster Trap and apparently on his way to Bell Road. His rod was sporting a blue paddletail jig and he had the kind of determined look on his face that indicated he meant business.

I wish I had been able to stop and ask him his name, even perhaps take a photo, but in the end I realize that nobody should keep an angler of any age from his or her appointed rendezvous with a Canal striper.

One thing Jeff reminded me was that after bass feed heavily on big baits – and foot long pogies certainly qualify – they need time to digest what’s in their belly. They typically hang deeper in the water in the land cut or even exit past the Maritime Academy to spots in the west entrance where they can hang low and/or out of the current to finish their digestive process.

In other words, based on how much they ate, the next couple of mornings might see a return of surface feeding fish. But remember that night tides almost always produce fish, both on jigs, swimming plugs, and live eels.

CAPE COD BAY OR BUZZARDS BAY

Jeff had a number of anglers who sell bass come into the shop and pick up seaworms, a pretty good indication that the tube-and-worm continues to work well.

Of course, he did admit that he really didn’t know where they would be fishing come tomorrow. A good guess is in the deeper water from Mashnee to Hog Island, as well as up by the Maritime Academy, if they were going to fish BBay.

If their destination is CCBay, then they once again will most likely head for water in the 30 to 40 foot range rather than, say, Scorton Ledge which features shallower structure surrounded by deeper areas.

In both bays, both recreational and recremercial anglers will be searching for any signs of pogy schools, which are easier to see in shallower, protected waters. But Jeff emphasized that an equal number of boats that identify with one group or another will be happy to troll deep diving swimming plugs and forego the effort of finding live bait. Green or blue mackerel, pogy, and red head/white have been good colors.

Monday June 24, 2024

With gusts to over 30 knots reported from many locations on the Cape and islands, I suspect that boat traffic is light on the water today. Tomorrow, things look even windier and rougher, so I guess it’s time to do some work on the reels – especially the line roller bearings that sound a little crunchy. Perhaps spool some new line, as well as replace leaders and hooks. Speaking of the latter, does it seem to anyone else that they rust a lot faster than they did even a few years ago, especially trebles around the eye?

Hope everyone has a good week, although I still find it hard to believe that the Fourth is less than a couple of weeks away!

Chatham/Monomoy/Outer Cape

Given the news on Capt. Ben Sussman’s trips yesterday, the rips are certainly living up to their billing as perhaps the best location to catch consistent numbers of quality stripers. I remember when I had the kind of energy that Ben possesses as he begins his charter career under the name In The Net Sportfishing Cape Cod LLC.

For example, Ben did a double on Saturday, moving his trip from today to yesterday due to the forecast, fishing both times around Monomoy.

His morning trip found him working a couple of rips out east of the point and they caught a lot of slot sized bass up to the mid-30-inch range. On the flood tide in the AM, the fish were actively feeding on squid, with the amber or white Hogy Charter Grade Poppers and Dog Walkers excellent choices, along with amber or bone Hogy 10-inch Originals. They were pretty much hooked up the entirety of the trip and Ben said there weren’t that many boats on the water – although he couldn’t see many due to the fog and even his radar didn’t display the number of targets you would expect on a weekday.

The afternoon trip started out slower, but a major benefit of having someone like Ben as your captain is that he combines experience, knowledge, and determination to ensure that you have a great trip. In this case, he started out east in the same area where he was in the morning, but the tide had changed and things were a bit of a struggle, as they caught a few smaller bass.

At that point, Ben elected to move to one of his favorite shoals west of the point, but it, too, proved to be kind of spotty with very sporadic action on both an assortment of plugs and the Hogy soft plastics.

So, it was back east to work a different stage of the tide, but the fish really weren’t super active in the white water. But as I have discovered over the years – and which Ben picked up on way faster than that – is that the current started to tail off and right through slack tide, the bass began to push sand eels up to the surface and were just blowing up on them in a very random manner. This almost exclusively happens in the deeper, calmer water off a single rip line or even when there are rip lines fairly close and parallel to each other and you can drift from one flat water section to another.

Now, one course of action that honestly isn’t the best approach is to wait for the fish to erupt and attempt to get a surface plug or a fly right on them. In the long run, this doesn’t result in many hook ups, as you can imagine, as it requires instantaneous response and great casting ability, both in terms of determining distance and placing your offering in an area the size of a Frisbee, as Capt. Mike described it.

What Ben did is put his boat in the general area where it seemed the fish were showing most often and had his customers keep casting surface plugs like the white Hogy Dog Walker XL as well as bone or amber 10 inch Hogy Originals. The result was the largest fish of the day on either trip, including one that measured 43 inches and a handful between 37 and 39, with the biggest one taken on an Original. It was definitely a quality over quantity scenario, but having a big fish just come out of nowhere and blast a surface offering is the best.

Bob Lewis elected to make his run to Monomoy yesterday to catch the late morning tide, but even with radar, the fog proved to be a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, they made it to the rips east of the point without incident and found a good number of happy bass. While Capt. Warren Marshall opted to the amber Hogy Charter Grade Popper from his position in the bow, Bob had Grace Casselberry, Ph.D. casting a Hogy Charter Grade Dog Walker from the stern as this they looked to hook stripers that were at least 30 inches long to assist UMass grad student Olivia Dinkelacker with her work.

And the trip was a huge success, with Olivia and Grace able to use a data logger to gather information from five sizeable stripers as part of Olivia’s catch-and-release research that is the basis of her doctoral thesis.

In addition, Bob – to his credit – managed to come up with a solution to the down time when the fish is swimming with the bridle that contains the logger. Once tests are run and data such as measurements; where the hooks are embedded in the fish; and any injuries/blood that can be seen, the bridle is attached to the fish and it is allowed to swim away, pulling braid line that is free spooled off of a reel.

Of course, during this time, casting stops lest another line tangle the logger connection, so Bob decided that they could bottom fish for fluke and sea bass during this 20 or so minute phase as they drifted through the calmer, deeper water between the rip lines.

Warren said they caught plenty of fluke, including three sizeable ones that went home for dinner, as well as one large black sea bass. He was using a three ounce white bucktail jig for the weight on his rig, which also featured a pink tube on a dropper loop above the jig. Bob had brought some scented grub style soft plastics that were added to both jigs and teasers. Chartreuse or red/pink were the most productive colors, while white didn’t do much.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

NANTUCKET

As he typically is during the season, Capt. Corey Gammill is super busy doing multiple trips a day, but we here at Salty Cape always appreciate his willingness to offer up super detailed reports on what is going on out his way.

With all of the wind last week, Corey emphasized that they were fishing the “western edges” or the rips out around Tuckernuck and Muskeget. They are filled with bass feeding on squid, making for great topwater action, with assorted plugs and plastics in amber, pink, orange and white working well. There have been a few bluefish mixed in, but he explained that this fishery is really just starting to get going. Corey described the action as sort of a yo-yo, with one day or even tide filled with fish while at another time it can be a pick, but no matter when, they are catching fish.

Pencil poppers have been a very productive plug for the bass, but as the bluefish numbers begin to increase, there is typically a move to long cast/ballistic style lures rigged with a single tail hook and the bass will hit these style plugs, especially if they are feeding on squid.

The local boats that fish Monomoy have seen a day-to-day fluctuation, with water temperatures starting to rise a bit, especially on the dropping tide. But out east, the water temperatures have been running between 54 and 58 degrees, so there is still cold water around that often holds the squid around, which at the moment are on the smaller side.

Old Man Shoals has a ton of fish, both bass and some blues, while Great Point has fish feeding mainly on sand eels – and not many people are fishing there, Corey explained. There have been fish on both sides of what is described as a barrier beach by the Trustees of the Reservation, who manage the Great Point Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. You can check out their website for more information on access. Corey advised that this area is well known for its topwater fishing and issues with seals, especially for the shorebound crew.

With the water definitely starting to warm inside the harbors and salt ponds, fishing is getting more challenging for shore anglers in these protected areas.

The best opportunities are definitely as night for folks fishing the southside beaches as well as around Eel Point, but once again Corey used the yo-yo metaphor; some nights, the dedicated shorebound anglers are getting 20 fish and the next they might have to scratch for a couple of even a singleton. The classic “dark at night” approach to lure color is definitely on, with blurple – or black and purple – plugs very effective, but the regulars continue to do well with bucktails.

Overall, the fishing remains very good, but there is definitely a sense that things are starting to shift to more of a summer fishery.

BUZZARDS BAY

Despite all the wind this week, Mark Tenerowicz took advantage of one of the kayak’s strengths and managed to find protected, shallow water that had a few fish in them. He fished Mattapoisett twice, Fairhaven, and Westport, but overall “Things have gone dead. Terns and organized schools of fish from the last weeks are gone. Only getting infrequent small schoolies. Occasionally on topwater. Ton of pogies in all locations but no active feeding on them except osprey and cormorants.”

Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore sent me some texts from a regular customer who reported that he ran into huge bluefish just outside of Monument Beach and they were feeding heavily on schools of “porgies” and added that they were large, around a foot long. I wish I could tell you that the blues were chewing on pogies or menhaden, which would make more sense to me

In any case, there really wasn’t much in the way of bass action, but if they were pogies, there is a good chance that they will move in and out from the west entrance of the Canal, hopefully drawing the bass into some sustained surface activity.

The wind this week put a bit of a damper on the fluke and sea bass action this week, but that might be a function of not as many small boat anglers venturing out. After a number of down years, it’s definitely a positive that the Mashnee Flats are producing better numbers of quality summer flatties.

Saturday June 22, 2024

NANTUCKET

The word from Tim Coggins at Nantucket Tackle Center is the fishing for bass has been very good for boat anglers; he has been doing well around Smith’s Point and the Miacomet Rip and the rips south of Tuckernuck have been filled with slot sized stripers and some bluefish. Although it’s a lot of fun targeting fish with topwater plugs and soft plastics, Tim acknowledged that a good number of the larger bass are being caught on bucktails, weighted soft plastics, and deep diving swimmers. The latter typically feature a longer swimming lip like the Hogy Charter Grade Swimmer and most people think of them in terms of being a trolling lure, but you can cast them – although the larger lip makes them more wind resistant. A better option might be to “load” a shallower running swimmer that falls in the category of what I call a Finnish style; this can be done with BB’s, water, or even oil, with the added weight allowing you to fish deeper in the water column.

Of course, a number of Nantucket boats are opting for the shoals around Monomoy as well as spots to the east of the island. Along with some solid striper fishing, they have been jigging up larger sea bass in the deeper water.

It doesn’t sound like you will have any problem catching fluke on the shoals and in the deeper water surrounding them, but the number of true doormats is definitely down from its peak from a number of years ago when this fishery exploded. I know a lot of people looking for summer flounder in the sounds who would be very happy with a steady stream of 20 to 24 inch fish, so that kind of action is nothing to complain about.

Overall, Tim said the bluefishing is only starting to pick up, with a fair number up around Great Point, where there are also bass being caught on both sides of this area. The Old Man is typically a good spot throughout the season once the bluefish fill in and both old school charterboats and even some recreational anglers opt for jigging wire in this area. That said, there have definitely been a big move towards casting light tackle and fly rods on these shoals as well.

Water in the harbor is up to 72 degrees, which doesn’t help much for shore and boat anglers looking to stay in protected waters and cast for bass; early morning and dusk are definitely the best times to try these kinds of areas. Tim is a big proponent of sand eel and silverside patterns if you like flyfishing.

The flats on the west side of the island are starting to see more stripers and sunny conditions like they had this week make it easier to see the fish, although that also means they can see you and can become spookier with more pressure.

Shore anglers are still catching good numbers of bass all along the southside, as well as around Eel Point, with a good number of the larger fish caught on fresh or frozen squid; Tim said there are still some decent numbers of these cephalods up in the harbor for those who want to jig up their own. No surprise then, that if you want to go the artificial route, then opting for plugs in squid colors is the way to go; transparent amber is high on the list, but pink, white, and orange work well if you are tossing topwater lures.

One of Tim’s friends caught a 28 inch bonito about ten days ago and a few more were caught off the harbor, but since then, he hasn’t heard any word of them.

CHATHAM/MONOMOY/OUTER CAPE

One of the advantages of fishing Monomoy is that on a heavy southwest blow, if you can make it to the east side of the island you will be in a lee shore. Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters said that all of the rips have been holding bass; the challenge is finding where the squid is since that is driving most of the topwater action. Soft plastics are tough to beat in amber, pink or white and the single hook rigging makes for easier, cleaner releases, but the word is that the amber Hogy Charter Grade Dogwalker XL has been driving the fish – including the larger ones – crazy.

Although you will find most of the boats gathered up in the rips east and west of the lower stretches of the island as well as farther south in both directions, there is some good fishing to be had in the moving water more to the north, from the North Cut up to Nauset.

At other times, especially when the current is slower, there are fishing blowing up on sand eels in the deeper, flat water; this can be very frustrating fishery if you are determined to get a lure or fly on these fish when they erupt on the surface. The better play is to get down to the fish with jigs like the Hogy Sand Eel Jig, Heavy Minnow Jig, or Epoxy Jig if you are convinced that they are feeding on these slender baitfish. The varied Hogy eel style soft plastics can also be effective during a sand eel bite.

While most boats are in the thralls of bass fishing, if you take the time you will notice a few boats just drifting from shoal to shoal, bounce jigging their rods, a pretty good sign that they are fluke fishing and they do quite well at it.

Shore anglers – both light tackle and fly – have been picking at smaller fish around the entrance to Stage Harbor as well as Morris Island, but the word is that any larger bass are coming at night in the Nauset area on needlefish, narrow profile swimmers, and soft plastics. It’s the same story on the backside from Wellfleet to Truro, with the fish mainly feeding on sand eels close to shore as larger baitfish like herring, pogies, or even mackerel have been scarce.

TUNA/OFFSHORE

It definitely seems to be a matter of who you talk to and where they were fishing as to what the quality of the tuna bite is east of Chatham. That said, things do seem to have slowed a bit from when they bite got started a couple of weeks ago.

Evan Eastman from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said people have been catching fish up to 60 inches or so trolling bars from Crab Ledge to the BB Buoy, with some jigging action in the mix as well. The Hogy Sand Eel Jigs continue to be a big seller.

The boats from Nantucket that Tim Coggins spoke to had a tough week, with nobody reporting any catching, even with some anglers turning to livelining mackerel when they can find them.

Jake Mandirola said things have been hit or miss this week, with the tuna pretty spread out more, leading to more boats turning to trolling to cover water and locate fish before dropping down the jigs.

Capt. Mike mentioned that he has heard of tuna down towards Montauk and he suspects that anyone willing to put in the time and doing a recon trip to the Claw or the Dump tomorrow just might get into some tuna. That jibes with what Evan reported, as a customer told him that last Friday he fished the Dump and jigged up three tuna in the 50 to 60 inch range.

At about the same time, Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay was on a boat out of Rhode Island that fished Montauk and they did well casting poppers for smaller bluefish. I imagine that any tuna is a blast to catch, but popping for them must be the absolute best. Of course, that is coming from someone who lives for surface action above everything else.

THE CANAL

Jeff Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore sent me a photo of a chub mackerel caught at the east end of the Canal today. I have to do a little more research, but June seems kind of early for this species to be in these waters. They were mixed in with Atlantic mackerel that continue to be jigged up from the bulkhead out to the jetties on both sides of the east entrance.

Again, it’s been pretty quiet at the east end in terms of any significant surface activity at the east end with the presence of mackerel and all; in fact, Jeff noted that all he heard came from the west end and concerned bluefish feeding on scup, with a few bass mixed in as well.

CAPE COD BAY

Although some folks might not find this a terribly exciting report, Capt. Paul Caruso spent some time yesterday in his boat off Sandy Neck and managed some schoolies from the shallows. The northside of the Cape has some of the best sight fishing around Sandwich to Brewster and targeting bass of any size with flies, soft plastics, or plugs over the clear sand bottom is some of the most exciting and interesting fishing to be had.

It’s also one of the most challenging fisheries since staying on top of the fish and bait movements, as well as timing the best tides, is not something that can be learned willy nilly. The best guides, both wade and boat, have put in long hours learning these waters and a trip with someone like Chris Kokorda is an unforgettable experience and will provide the kind of education that opens up a whole new appreciation of this kind of fishing.