Many boats have been struggling to catch bass, with only some low 30-inch fish being caught on wire and jigs. Hedge Fence is filled with small bluefish as well as some bonito. There are still bluefish being caught along the southside beaches from South Cape to Chatham. Ground fishing is slow.
If given the choice, the South Side of Cape Cod is a great early season area to play. You have a lot of options in this area in terms of places to hide from bad weather, various terrains and bait sources and plenty of Plan B opportunities if the striper fishing doesn’t pan out in the form or large scup and sea bass in the surrounding areas.
If the winds keep up as they have recently, the best bet for boaters is to concentrate on the multitude of protected waters along the southside where there are still good numbers of schoolies and enough larger fish to keep things interesting.
There have been numerous reports of big schools of albies off of Stage Harbor, but they apparently have copped an attitude more often than not, perhaps because they were feeding on very small bait. Smaller bass are still around in the estuaries, and the tautog bite is picking up around Bishop and Clerks, Collier’s, and Point Gammon to Squaw Island.
There is still plenty of small bait around and the water is certainly well within the range that albies like, so shore anglers still might get their shots in this weekend. It has also been really common to have bluefish mixed in with the albies in any location where you find the latter, mainly because they are feeding on the same schools of bait.
When false albacore finally show up in numbers to chase peanut bunker and bay anchovies, it’s one of the most visually exciting fisheries Cape Cod has to offer. On a beautiful mid-September day in Vineyard Sound, we joined Capt. Jamie Simmons of Buzzards Bay Outfitters for one of the best days of albie fishing we’ve had all season.
Shore anglers have been doing better than boaters this week, mainly because they have had the opportunity to fish. Shore anglers are focused more on albies than bass or blues from Hyannis to Chatham, but there are schoolie bass up inside most Sound-side estuaries.
The albie fishing has been variable on the south side, with a lot of reports of going hours at a time searching for pods of breaking fish. There has definitely been an uptick in the schoolie activity along the south facing beaches from Falmouth to Chatham, as well as up inside pretty much every protected body of water along the same stretch of shoreline.
There were some schools of bluefish working the rip outside Waquoit, and there might have been a few albies as well, but generally the few boats in the area kept drifting and hoping for something to happen. There were albies from Osterville to Craigville, but the feeds weren’t epic like we would expect right now.
Bonito have been caught at pretty much every hotspot that is mentioned in stories and reports about this species. The reality is if you are there at the right moment, then you will have some good shots. Generally speaking, most of the breaking fish you will find in the sounds are bluefish, with some schools comprised of two to three-pounders and others a mix of six to eight pound fish.