Capt. Mike’s Weekend Playbook – May 21-22, 2016

This past week was very heartening with large fish really starting to show up. Although there are plenty of big fish in our waters, the name of the game is to be there at the right place and time. For example, our cameraman Matt dialed us in to the stripers in Woods Hole on Thursday night with first-hand reports of large stripers. He took it on the 10” Hogy Original he still had tied onto his rod from last year. I was licking my chops all the way down to Falmouth Inner Harbor with Capt. Shaun Ruge. I even took the time to rig the night before (which for those who know me know that pre-rigging is a rare event for me). BUT, much to my disappointment, we caught only a few schoolies. The same happenstance just occurred this morning, Matt was out last night, same rod, same lure and lit them up. That said, I just got off the phone with Capt. Dave Peros who was coming off the water at 1:06pm and reported Woods Hole was quiet. All in all, it was a good week for me. Tuesday was lights out in upper Buzzard’s Bay and those who had the patience to fish through the schoolies caught some nice fish to 40”.

Another upgrade to the season happens at midnight tonight when the season finally opens for sea bass, which are here in epic numbers. Capt. Shaun noticed sea bass crashing bait near the West End of Canal. And while I am sitting here typing and not fishing, I am getting blown up with a phone call again from Dave Peros reporting sea bass crashing off Popponessett in 15’ of water just off the shallows. Also, texts from John Burns saying it was hard to fish through the 20 sea bass at a time chasing his epoxy jig to get to a bass with stripers at Cleveland Ledge. His buddy did manage to take a 29” fish on the fly. Anyway, enough about this past week, let’s take a look at this weekend!

Weather Analysis NEW!

Saturday looks like the day will start from the SW at around 5 to 10kt, so everybody on the Cape should see smooth boating conditions. Saturday night, it looks like the wind will be shifting to SE before becoming north for Sunday morning. Sunday looks like it will be “SURF’S UP” conditions, especially for the Cape Cod Bay side. 10 to 15 with gusts to 30kt.

If you have one day to fish, absolutely shoot for Sat. In addition to calmer seas, I have 2 reasons: 1) Assuming it’s at a manageable velocity, SW is my favorite wind to fish as I find the fish respond the most in this wind. 2) A north wind is among the least favorite wind directions for fishing, especially after shifting from warmer S winds. The only condition that would be “less fishy” to me would be if the wind was from NE. Luckily it’s not.

Shore anglers might find some good fishing with teeth to the wind as onshore wind often pushes fish ashore. But on Sunday, if heavy wind conditions from the north, The south side of the Cape may be a bit more manageable.

Source: NOAA FORECAST Weather by Zone Link Here:

Top Spots from This Weeks Reports

Play # 1: Upper Buzzards Bay

Best Buzzards Bay Morning Tides Best Incoming Best Outgoing
SAT 5:35AM – 7:35AM 9:35 – 11:35
SUN 6:15AM – 8:00 10:05 – 12:05

There have been numerous top-water striped bass AND sea bass. The sea bass have gone crazy and have been chasing baitfish on the surface. I would bring lightly weighted soft baits, small jig head rigged soft plastics and metal jigs. Sea bass season opens on Saturday, so get to the boat ramps EARLY. It’s a busy day on top of one decent weather day. The action has been too hot and heavy to ignore here. The one caveat is that there will be a ton of boats here with all the fishing pressure this past week.

We filmed this video for Hogy Lures on Tuesday while targeting big scup on the Squinnow Jig.

Play # 2: The Sounds

Best Oak Bluffs Morning Tides Best Incoming Best Outgoing
SAT 6:55AM – 10:35AM 12:55PM – 3:40PM
SUN 7:55AM – 11:35AM 1:55PM – 4:40PM
Best Woods Hole Morning Tides Best Incoming Best Outgoing
SAT 8:26AM – 10:57AM 1:10PM – 3:15PM
SUN 7:18AM – 11:48AM 1:48PM – 4:36PM

I would be rigged an ready to fish for scup, sea bass and stripers. I would put in very early to beat the crowds headed for sea bass fishing. My first stop would be either to cast top water soft baits in the various Holes to see if you can catch one of the tides loaded with big bass. The best bet is to stem the tide parallel to structure and cast up-tide and swing a large soft bait or popper over structure. The water has been relatively clean, so use any lure you want. The bass, when in residence, have been chasing what appear to be very small herring. I would be thinking about throwing my 2oz epoxy jig in silver if I was having trouble getting enough distance to reach the fish.

If casting wasn’t my game, I would hit the various shoals with trolling jigs in 3 to 5oz. It’s that time of year for shoals like Nobska, L’Hommedieu and Succonessett to start holding more fish. I would fish the mooring tide, sliding from spot to spot. Afterward, I would shift gear and focus on jigging for sea bass and scup. I would look at the various wrecks labeled on the Navionics Chart as they all hold fish. Often boats cluster, but you can always find your own fish with a little elbow grease.

Reports from this Week

Play # 3: Cape Cod Bay

Best Billingsgate Morning Tides Best Incoming Best Outgoing
SAT 7:15AM – 10:35AM 1:22PM – 4:10PM
SUN 6:15AM – 10:45AM 1:45PM – 4:40PM

Without a doubt, Cape Cod Bay is only doable on Saturday. (Assuming weather forecast is accurate.) There hasn’t been much reported from Cape Cod Bay other than some schoolies in Barnstable Harbor and some rumors and rumblings on the Outer Cape. It would definitely be worth the recon to start from the Canal and cruising the shoreline. I would look at the various shoals including Billingsgate, which is LOADED with all life, sans stripers. This will change any minute. P-Town will likely go off any day now too.

Reports from This Week


Assuming the weather cooperates, we are shooting the first episode of Salty Cape TV next week. It will be a 6 minute web base episode featuring a particular region on Cape Cod, it’s history, how to fish it and hopefully some hot and heavy action. We will edit the video fast and hard, so it will also be a fishing report of sorts.

I have three choices I am grappling with this week:

Cape Cod Bay: Hitting the various usual springtime haunts including Scortons, Billingsgate and the Race. I would focus on light tackle trolling on Billingsgate, top water soft plastics in Barnstable and vertical jigging the Race. Plan B would be Haddock fishing on Stellwagen.

East of Chatham Cod Fishing: In this play, we would be scouting all my favorite spots with large diamond jigs and drop shot rigs with paddle tails. I would go into detail on various jigging techniques, colors and how to locate codfish in this area. These are handy skills to have after a poor day tuna fishing. In my case, cod fishing is my favorite!

Sounds: I would hit all the typical springtime shoals in the sounds including Nobska, Halfway, Middle Ground, Poppy and others. I would showcase my favorite light tackle trolling and vertical jigging techniques. Later in the day, we would target large scup and sea bass with our custom rigs.

We will be taking a vote on Monday. We will go where you tell us. Stay Tuned!!

Capt Mike

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