I can’t believe it, Memorial Day is already here and it seems that the season is off to a funky start. So far the hottest striper bites have been in the West End of the Canal in upper Buzzards Bay, following shortly thereafter the fish feeding on herring just outside of Barnstable Harbor and now off the Race in P-Town. Unfortunately the bite cooled off on the herring bite off Barnstable (as of this morning) but there were plenty of small fish hooked up on light tackle in the channel as we were on our way in. Meanwhile, the South Side has been a big miss striper wise, other than small fish in the ponds and spillways.
As far as scup and sea bass go, the action has been ON FIRE and Buzzard’s Bay. On my exploratory trip in Vineyard Sound last week, I checked out Half Way Shoal and Middle Ground in Gray Goose. We trolled in each spot and found no fish on the troll other than a rogue school of 32” bass passing through on the surface that stayed just long enough to pop on the cast.
Monday’s Video Report from Vineyard Sound
Weather Analysis as of 12:00pm Courtesy of NOAA Weather
South Side: Saturday looks breezy with 10 to 15kt out of the SW in morning, gusts to 20kt in the afternoon. So if you have the choice, morning is your best bet. The wind should lay down for Sunday which appears to be 5-10kt all day. I generally like fishing the second day of a SW wind on the South Side. It might be a little foggy in the morning so plan accordingly. Monday looks breezy again with a similar wind forecast to Saturday but with showers likely. I think Sunday is your best bet if planning a trip, especially with kiddos on board.
Bay Side: With a similar wind forecast, you should be good to go if you stay in side. It might be a little bumpy if you decide to go the distance to The Race where the big girls are at. Sunday will be the calmest day for that.
For me, (on a happy level) the best part of long holiday weekends is time spent with family and friends, cookouts, lots of food and in my case a few Cisco Whale’s Tales. But on a more thoughtful level, it is very important to me to remember those who have fallen while serving to protect this country. I know Memorial Day is traditionally reserved for military heroes but I also include police, firemen and coastguardsmen and women who have fallen in the line of duty as I express my remembrance and gratitude. I also take my hats off to all those who have and continue to serve us and in the process put your life at risk to keep us safe. THANK YOU. Although we live in tumultuous times, it’s so easy to take for granted how safe and protected we are here at home. My uncle Brian once shared with me the age old saying “the best revenge is living well”, and as I reflect on true heroes that make this important holiday a holiday, I am moved to put an extra emphasis in my forecasts on taking kids fishing. There is nothing better or more “well” than blowing the minds of young kiddos as a “whopper” comes over the side of the boat, jetty or pier. And to that, I say CHEERS!
South Side (Vineyard & Nantucket Sounds and Buzzard’s Bay)
Unless something has changed that I am unaware of, the fishing is still pretty tough going for keeper sized stripers. There have been fish, ON AND OFF in Woods Hole. Ian our web guy got a keeper last night after sending our forecast, but others I have talked to haven’t been so lucky. There is a smattering of fish around, but far from hot and heavy. I will say, is that there is A TON OF BAIT and that the welcome mats are rolled. I would check out all the usual haunts if you are set on a big striper.
Top Spots for the Sounds in May:
NOTE: If you find fish here, we would love to hear about it. We will trade a 2 perfect squids in any size or color for any video report submitted via a short mobile phone video report where you mention SALTY CAPE and the date in the clip. You can pick any size or color and we’ll ship it with a hat for free. The fish must have been caught at any of the spots listed above.
HOT BITE ALERT: If you want to actually catch fish, and most kids I know LOVE TO ACTUALLY CATCH FISH, go sea bass fishing. You almost can’t miss this time of year. Here’s a few screen shots of spots you will do well at courtesy of from screen shots of my Navionics app:
Vineyard Sound: Hit any of the circled spots with squid baited on hooks with a weight it will be a quick hit for fish. There should be a lot of sea bass, some scup and the occasional fluke. Monday’s Video Report can be found here. Any wreck on your Navionics chart will likely be holding some fish, so if you find a spot to be crowded, move around and work your plotter. You will find them!
TIP: If you want to up your game and jig for sea bass, you can see how I do it in this video that we filmed a week or two ago in Buzzard’s Bay. For shallow water, I like the Squinnow as it has a very sexy flutter, for deeper water, I like the sand eel jig as it has more weight and a faster sink rate.
Buzzards Bay : I highlighted a few spots, but use your Navionics chart on your plotter and move around if those spots are crowed. Look for boulders, humps and drop offs. Sometimes you will mark them, sometimes not. Move around. If you don’t get hits right away, pick up and move. I can almost guarantee you will find them!
Cape Cod Bay Side
So I have fished three times this week, two of which were on the Bay Side. I watched the fishing change over the course of the week. The action was hot and heavy off Barnstable with decent fish keyed in on herring, but over the course of the week, the macks seemed to have moved in. I went out this AM with Capt. Shaun Ruge and all we could catch were macks, they were hopping all over the 3oz Epoxy Jigs. Some hungry macks! We were super tight on time (needed to be back at dock by 7:30) so we trucked over to Billingsgate where we found a ton of sand eels with a few smaller fish on them. The race was good on Wednesday. My Guess is the fish will slide back and forth so any of the above spots would be good plays if big stripers were on the docket but the Race would be my top play. If I was focused on ultra light tackle or fly fishing, I would look at schoolie striper fishing in the channel by Barnstable Harbor, where there are many. small jigs, flies and soft plastics will readily get eaten. Also, we saw some live mack guys hooked up on the way in. Also a good play.
Speaking of live mackerel — a great play for kiddos might be to grab ultra light gear and jig for macks off Barnstable Harbor. Look for the birds, find them and locate the macks on your fish finder, drop, jig and high five! Any small jig will get eaten.
Lures used on Wednesday: The key was to match the hatch with large baits on the herring feeds off Barnstable and imitative sand eel imitations on sand eel feed off the Race.
Top Spots for May in Cape Cod Bay: