Bass, in particular, have been tough to find and what fish they are catching around Billingsgate, the Path, off the Brewster Flats, and pretty much any place east of Barnstable have been on the small side.
Cape Cod Bay
There are all kinds of mixed reports coming in from the bay, with some folks stating that there aren’t many large bass around, while others have mentioned small concentrations of bigger fish. There is a vertical jig bite up off of Provincetown, but again, the fish are mainly smaller legal bass, with many boats opting to move over to the backside if the bite is slow or dominated by small fish.
Last weekend, pogies drew both bluefin tuna and bass close to shore in the bay, creating a frenzy of sorts. Jeff from Forestdale Bait & Tackle advised that the tuna have also been found north of Billingsgate at times recently as well.
Despite a few folks still jigging up some mackerel and then livelining them around the deeper water in the harbor, the better option at this point in the season is drifting eels at night or casting them around the dropoffs and grass patches off of Sandy Neck.
Once again, there are definitely a number of spots in the bay where you can catch bass and a number of ways you can do it.
Billingsgate is fishing well for both charter and recreational boats; there is a lot of bait thereabouts in the form of sand eels. The so-called “heavy hitters” are hanging around the east entrance, where there is plenty of bait in the form of mackerel.
The quality of the fishing in the bay is quite good if you’re a recreational angler, with large numbers of bass in the 28 to 32-inch range being taken in many locations. On the other hand, the “recremercial” sector is struggling to find any significant number of bass over their 34-inch minimum length limit, with most boats catching anywhere from two to four fish per trip.
Lots of bass between 30 and 32-inches have been caught this week, but not enough over 34-inches to keep the recremercial crew happy. The livelining activity in the channels and holes around Barnstable Harbor has slowed significantly, warming water and additional pressure have made for warier fish on the Brewster Flats, and the shore fishing on the bay side beaches from Orleans up to Provincetown has produced mainly smaller bass, with anything larger coming in the dark.
The fishing for bass from Race Point and down the backside to Truro and even beyond at times has been just incredible, with schools of very large fish feeding on sand eels, squid, and mackerel. Everything from vertical jigging to plugging (especially in the morning and on a falling tide) to livelining mackerel, as well as a few folks who continue to jig wire.