Capt. Mike’s Weekend Playbook – June 10, 2016

I’m pleased to comment on the fact that Sounds-side fishing has heated up. FINALLY. The Race is continuing to have the best action on all of Cape Cod but stripers have been popping up everywhere and the fishing is really starting to behave like we’re used to in June. AWESOME!

Speaking of June, here are my 6 favorite things about fishing june on Cape Cod:

1. The days are long and the stripers are close. With early mornings and late sunsets, it is very easy to fish around your work schedule. With kids still in school and sports in full crank, easy access is definitely a good thing.

2. Topwater feeds. Squid, herring, macks, pogies, sand eels, it don’t matter. I love them so much my grammar and spelling goes to heel. I have been blessed to be there for all of the above feeds this year, minus the squid. I still have time. Too bad too, squid are my favorite. I love when a bass keys in on one specific squid hopping through the water spraying ink.

3. It’s the best time of year to get a kid hooked on fishing. Hands down the best way to get your kiddo interested in salt-water fishing is to go bottom fishing for scup and sea bass. They are close by, hungry and easy to catch. They are easy to clean and taste great fried for finicky eaters. They are the perfect fish to teach the sportsman’s way.

4. Tuna. I have a serious problem with tuna and I know I am not alone. Years ago a psychologist on my boat told me that serious fishing can be mapped in your brain the same way as an addiction and that’s why fishing can be so hard on people and relationships. -WHATEVER- I prefer the term “PASSION FOR FISHING”. And I have that “passion” each year when the tuna show up. They start with weak rumors and then all of a sudden they are all over Facebook. No one is ever ready. Work get’s called in sick and all hell breaks loose. Man I love tuna in June!

5. Time. We have the whole summer and fall ahead of us. I just love the sense of timelessness of June. There is everything still ahead in terms of the fishing season. The beauty of fishing on Cape Cod is just as you start getting bored with one thing, it ends and new species or technique pops up to take the place of what you were just doing. The variances intra-season forces us to be keen anglers in touch with nature and on top of everything. I love that.

6. Cisco Whale’s Tale. For some reason I love the WTs extra-extra in the summer. My wife starts wearing white after Memorial day and I switch to cans from bottle. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them all year long I just especially enjoy WT in a can while cleaning a tuna. SEE ABOVE. I’m also noticing WT around the Cape on my favorite restaurants on tap. (Thank you Lobster Trap and Quick’s Hole Tavern.) If you have not tried a WT yet, do. It’s for people who like flavor. So if light beers are your bag, don’t try it. WT is beer for beer drinkers. Oh yeah, It’s good luck my boat to bring me a six-pack when fishing with me ☺. Is it noon yet?

Weather Analysis as of 6:28AM Friday

(NOAA by Zone Link)

With SNW winds still blowing Friday, fishing will be doable in the Sounds today if you can sneak out. It may be a little bumpy by midday with gusts up to 25kts. Later, the winds will switch to the South, so it might be a good time to fish after work today. That wind change is often good a time for me for top water stripers. (N to S that is.) Saturday keeps looking like the best day, three weekends in a row now. SW 5 to 10, picking up (as typical) for a SW in the afternoon. SW is my favorite fishing wind, turns fish on. It also looks good enough to sneak offshore if your boat can handle 2 to 3’ seas. I have no idea how the fishing is on the Southside since no one has been in a while with the wind all week – BUT – a SW wind can really heat things up this time of year offshore. There have been big tunas east. In any event, with lousy wind all week, I predict Saturday to be very busy, so get out there early and catch some fish!

1) Southside

I would leave Falmouth Harbor early and start at Halfway shoal (at L’Hommedieu) as I think that will be your best bet for a bigger striper. It’s also close to home, so easiest to hit for sunrise. I would DEFINITELY be there at sunrise if you are keyed in on connecting with a larger striper. Slack high tide is about 4:30 AM, so the tide will be perfect by 5:30 AM. I would stay until about 6:15 before investigating Middle Ground. Maybe leave a few minutes earlier if nothing is going on. You will know quickly if it’s going to happen or not at Middle Ground, the tide will be right at 6:00 AM. My all-time favorite lure there is the 10” Hogy Original in amber, as it best replicates squid and there are still some squid in the area. Rig it weedless with a swim-bait hook if the water is too weedy for anything else. The weighted version will get you more casting distance. If 0 for 2, I would keep trucking toward Devil’s Bridge. Bass have been on and off again here, but some really nice blues were reported here earlier this week before the blow. Pink was the hot color. I would investigate Devil’s Bridge for a bit, then shift gears and go fluking at Lucas Shoal. Sea bass fishing still makes for a great play. 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. Vertically Jigging metals will produce and help cull out smaller fish. Our favorite sea bass jig is the Squinnow.

Update: 9:45AM: Topwater bite in Woods Hole was ON this AM. Many large bass chasing topwater squid. Usually a good sign for Middle Ground as these fish often slide back and forth early in the season. So if one spot is slow check the other. Hopefully it’s hot in both spots!

Update: 12:50PM: Great Point and Sankaty off Nantucket are holding 8-12 pound bluefish feeding on sand eels. Topwater plugs are the way to go.

Resources

Here are the spots I would look at for this weekend on Southside:

L’Hommedieu Shoal Spot Profile
Middle Ground Spot Profile
Lucas Shoal Spot Profile

Vineyard Sound Wrecks & Drifts for Sea Bass:

2) Buzzards Bay

If Buzzard’s Bay is the area you are committed to, I would look at the West End of the Canal as that will be your best bet for big stripers. There have been a few pushes of topwater fish, so that would be great if you were lucky enough to hit those. If you see bass chasing herring, our guys have been doing well with the 2oz epoxy jig. Check out this video from last week:

If no top water bite, not to worry. That area always holds fish. If the top-water bite is not hot and heavy, I would strongly advice shifting gears and trolling the tube and worm with the tide over structure. There’s a nice morning tide here, I think low tide will be around 6:00AM. But part of the charm of tube and worm is that they work at all tide stages. In my opinion, they look like a giant sea worm who has lost it’s way off the bottom. What striper wouldn’t eat that any time or any place! My all time favorite is the 19″ Perfect Tube in Orange in this area for some reason. Don’t know why orange works so well here, but I am 100% confident in that statement. The bottom fishing bite is still good. Use your Navionics chart on your plotter and move around if those spots are crowded. 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!

Update: 9:20 AM: Reports are in that the top water bit in West End has settled down and the fish have seemed to push through the Canal. We predict that these fish will likely show up in the Barnstable Harbor area sometime in the near future.

Update: 9:45AM: Topwater bite in Woods Hole was ON this AM. Many large bass chasing topwater squid. Usually a good sign for Middle Ground as these fish often slide back and forth early in the season. So if one spot is slow check the other. Hopefully it’s hot in both spots!

3) Cape Cod Bay

It’s hard not to head straight for the Race, that’s where the action has been hottest and heaviest. The bass there have been keyed in on sand eels. A lot of anglers troll the edge there, but my all time favorite technique is vertical jigging for stripers. This technique is great as you can pin point target fish on your fish finder. I also like the fact you can use light tackle gear that is easy and enjoyable to use. High tide is about 5:00AM, so a 5:30 arrival would be about right to catch a large portion of the dropping tide. Tip: If the fish are finicky, I would recommend dropping your leader size. I always start with 30lb flouro but will go as low as 15lb if I have to. There are a wide variety of sand eel imitations I use.

Here are my two Race Point favorites:

SI Dancing Diamond Jig. This jig is so dman effective off the Race, especially when the bass have lock jaw. You know… Those times when you mark piles of bass on the edge that just won’t eat? This lure is the remedy for that. The sand eel teaser is so imitative. It is important to note, that in order to fish this lure most effectively, you’ll need to SLOW your jig cadence WAY Down. Most hits will be on the drop and you’ll barely feel this hit.
BEST TIME: Finicky fish

dancingdiamond

Hogy 1.5 – 2oz SE Barbarian Jig. Olive and silver are the two post-popular colors.. They are almost as imitative as the Dancing Diamond, but they more durable. The HDUV tails for these jigs will last for multiple fish. Another plus, these jigs can also be cast to top water fish. So you can switch between casting, jigging and trolling these.
BEST TIME: Aggressive fish that switch between top water and lower water column levels.

sebarbarian-

Resources

Race Point Spot Profile

3) Offshore

If I had a choice between going South or going East this weekend, I would go South this weekend.

South: There is virtually no intel for fishing South due to high winds this week. But this much I know is true:

1. Almost exactly 1 year ago today, we filmed a great feed off The Claw and Coxes Ledge. It’s time, and my confidence level is 100% that this area would be a great play seasonally speaking.

2. Flexi-Bars and Harness Jig sales have been the hook in NY for anglers hitting bluefin tuna before they arrive here. A very good sign that they are keyed in on the sand eels know for early season on the south side.

3. S winds could push fish here. We only need the large body of fish to move north by about 25 miles to get within range of Salty Cape anglers.

4. Some rogue schools with confirmed catches have already blown through. An angler out of New Seabury Marina in Mashpee reported to us that he was marking fish like crazy at Gordon’s Gully. He did not catch, but said another boat next him took one. That makes sense, as the fish can be finicky sometimes when they first show up. If that happens, I recommend lowering your leader size, and smaller lures.

I said this last week and still think it is true: “I would consider it a “SCOUTING” mission and plan on a lot of running to look for life. This time of year, there needs to be a lot of life to get me excited, ideally the mix of bait, birds and whales will get me to stop and stay.”

South of MV Plays

If I were of a West persuasion, I would start at the (A) The Claw and work the area and start heading south toward (B) Coxes Ledge. I would loop toward the east on my way in and span (C) The Fingers if I saw nothing thus far. The Fingers always seems to hold sand eels for some reason. I would troll a spread of large spreader bars with 6inch squids, sand eel imitations on my flat lines, and a small pocket bird bar down the centerline. I would bring casting and jigging gear. There are often times when they show up early but are hard to catch. Spinning gear will help you drop it in front of their nose.

If I were of an East persuasion, I would start at the (A) Gordon’s Gully and work the area and start heading west toward (B) Tyler’s Gap. I would loop southeast on my way in and span (C) The Fingers if I saw nothing.

My South of MV Spread

offshore_troll_copy

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