August 15, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5
I know I can rely on my friend Bob Lewis to give me an accurate assessment of what is taking place to the east, and after what he said was a disappointing season last year at the shoals and rips, this season has been really good for him.
His nephews, Hunter and Austin, were in town through earlier this week and that made three trips to Monomoy and all of them were outstanding as they tossed poppers on the fly throughout the trip and were doubled up constantly. The fish weren’t all monsters, but even the schoolies were strong and heavy, with a number of low to mid-30-inch fish caught on each trip.
Bob said that the rips closest to Monomoy didn’t seem to be holding much in the way of squid, but there were shoals of sand eels. Since the bass were perfectly happy to take lobster pot foam poppers, there was no reason to try any other patterns, but sand eel patterns certainly would have worked.
From topwater plugs such as the Charter Grade Popper and Dog Walker, along with an assortment of Hogy Originals and Skinny’s, you will have the water column covered if you encounter fish feeding on sand eels around Monomoy.
Apparently, the recremercial crew has been picking up limits of bass livelining mackerel during the day and live eels at night, which would make Charter Grade Sliders a worthy imitator of the larger baitfish that have been accounting for bass up the low 30-pound class.
There are plenty of bluefish around and some of them are really big, like the 19-pounder that Capt. Austin Proudfoot of North Chatham Outfitters said a friend of his caught.
Some bonito have also been caught and Austin said that the water temperatures and bait concentrations are perfect at this time of year for a multi-species trip.
To add to the fun, Austin said some folks have encountered black sea bass up to 30-inches feeding in the rips and the fluke bite is also strong in the shoals between Monomoy and Nantucket.
Bob Lewis emphasized big time that getting to Monomoy early in the morning has been the key for him, with a number of trips finding him and his crew on site and watching the sun rise.
August 8, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5
I have to give one area the big number for boat fishing and Monomoy is the winner this week. Capt. Austin Proudfoot from North Chatham Outfitters said the bite has remained consistent in the rips, but the bait the fish are feeding on has changed. Most of the squid has moved out into colder, deeper water, with the bass and bluefish feeding primarily on sand eels. That makes smaller soft plastics (typically weighted for increased casting distance), plugs, and jigs the way to go.
Bob Lewis fished Monomoy this morning with his nephews (pictured below) and they had non-stop action tossing orange poppers on the fly rod at Stone Horse. Most of the fish were schoolie size, but they also managed a couple of bass up to the 32-inch range. Given the orange coloration, which is typically used when targeting bass feeding on squid, it sounds like the fish there were feeding on squid that might have moved back in during the colder tide.
There are tons of bluefish around, from smaller ones along the west side shallows/flats to gators in the mid-teen range in the outer rips.
Capt. Austin added that a few boats are working the night tides with live eels around Handkerchief and Great Round Shoal.
Although rolling fresh or even frozen sand eels is a common practice among some of the larger charterboats that fish Monomoy, especially around Bearses, if you prefer to stick with artificials, the Hogy Sand Eel can be used as an effective alternative. Using the same fishfinder rig with a sliding egg sinker that folks use with the real thing, or rigging them on a jighead just heavy enough to get down to the bottom, can produce some nice fish and avoid the hassle of gathering your own bait or hoping to find them at a bait shop. The word this season is that raking sand eels has been very difficult, with most shops relying on frozen ones, which must be thawed properly to keep them on the hook.
August 1, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5
With plenty of bass in the rips as well as bluefish, Monomoy is probably your best bet in terms of consistently catching at least a couple of legal sized bass. The best fishing has been in the early morning, especially when it coincides with the tides that bring colder water with them. There are plenty of schools of small bluefish on the west side of the island and around the point, while the water has warmed up on the flats to the point that fishing is definitely more challenging.
Jim Young at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth told me he heard that there was a push of larger fish that way recently, but the folks who fish that area had a different take.
Capt. Austin Proudfoot of North Chatham Outfitters said that there is a mix of healthy sized schoolies and enough low 30-inch bass to keep people coming back, but the larger bass that slid in from, most likely, federal waters were fished heavily by the recremercial boats that got the word and hit the rips.
The fish are feeding on a mix of sand eels and squid, with some mackerel also reported in the rips that extend more to the east.
The best fishing has been in the early morning, especially when it coincides with the tides that bring colder water with them.
Surface plugs and plastics are both still working, as are rip flies, bulb squids, and an assortment of squid patterns, but folks jigging wire and parachutes in the deeper water have been finding a greater number of big bass.
There are plenty of schools of small bluefish on the west side of the island and around the point, while the water has warmed up on the flats to the point that fishing is definitely more challenging. Schoolies can still be caught in shallow water and there are still sight fishing opportunities, especially on the incoming tide, with crab and other crustacean patterns often getting more bites than sand eel imitations.
It’s basically pretty simple: if you want to do well at Monomoy, get there early and make sure you have the tide cycle dialed in. While topwater fishing (and that includes unweighted soft plastics, in my mind) is great fun, having an assortment of jigs and subsurface plugs is a good idea, especially when the sun is well up, since the stripers in the area often settle into deeper, cooler water off the shoals when things get too warm.
July 25, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The word from Capt. Austin Proudfoot at North Chatham Outfitters is that a new class of stripers has moved into the rips to feed on the squid in the area.
Another source heard from a reliable individual that a 50-pounder was caught in the area recently, which is unusual since bass of that size typically aren’t taken there.
On the other hand, a number of boats in last Saturday’s Osterville Anglers Club Ladies’ Shoal Troll fished the rips, but no legal fish were caught.
Plugs, plastics, and jigging parachutes on wire have all been working, but Austin had no word concerning a night bite on live eels, although it wouldn’t surprise me if that were how that cow bass was caught.
There are plenty of small bluefish in the rips, especially Handkerchief, and Austin answered my queries regarding fluke by mentioning this shoal and Great Round Shoal as areas with deeper water that sometimes give up some quality summer flatties.
Early morning tides that bring colder water are still the key to the best fishing, advised Capt. Proudfoot, and that means being on hand during the end of the dying tide and fishing for blues during slack water before the preferred current gets going. Tossing big pencil poppers has often been good to me as we managed to aggravate a bass or two into trying to knock an intruder out of its territory, if you believe in that sort of action on the part of a striper.
July 18, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The shoals out east are producing plenty of fish, although timing is key.
My buddies Capt. Warren Marshall of Outcast Charters and Bob Lewis had a little competition going on Tuesday to see who could get to the waters that had been fishing best for them this season.
Unfortunately, Warren’s charter was late and Bob was already sending photos on his smart phone as the good captain was making his way east from the launch in Bass River.
Although Warren did manage to get in on the bite, he was faced with mainly smaller bass while Bob and his crew caught fish up to the mid-30-inch class.
Bob noted that the fishing has been much more consistent at Monomoy this year, mainly because there has been more squid around, he believes.
Everything from topwater plugs to shell squids, rip flies to squid patterns, have all been working. When it comes to soft plastics, a number of anglers have told me that the amber color in both the seven-inch and ten-inch Original Hogy’s have been excellent.
When it comes to plugging for bass when squid are in the rips, you can’t beat the clear amber color that Capt. Mike Hogan has replicated in his new plug series, including the Charter Grade Popper, Dog Walker, and Slider.
And take this tip from Capt. Austin Proudfoot from North Chatham Outfitters: get there early. The first light bite has definitely been best, with the afternoon tides much more difficult in terms of finding the fish. That doesn’t mean you can’t, but you are going to have to keep moving around to put together a decent catch.
I have been an advocate of the least amount of hardware possible when fishing soft plastics and a friend of mine provided a great example. They had one rod set up with a Hogy on a loop knot and another rod with a clip attached to a plug. When the soft plastic proved to be the better option, they put the same color and size on the clip – and the fish avoided it like the plague. When they finally took the time to cut the clip off and retie with a loop knot, they caught fish. Coincidence? You tell me.
July 11, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4.5 out of 5
No really big bass, at least in numbers, to report from the rips out east, but there is plenty of topwater activity to make for a fun day.
After hearing all about Monomoy for a couple of years now, my friend Ken Shwartz and crew made the run from Mattapoisett, given the clear weather and wind report.
What they found was classic Monomoy: rips filled with bass feeding on squid and sand eels, as well as some shoals that were riddled with small bluefish.
They fished all of the major rips and caught fish wherever they went, although yesterday they found that Bearses held the largest fish of the day, up to the low 30-inch class.
From amber seven-inch Hogy Originals fished on weighted swimbait hooks to olive Hogy Epoxy Jigs, they had little trouble convincing the fish to eat, but the most fun they had was tossing big topwater plugs, which some of the larger fish seemed to be waiting for as they exploded on them as soon as they hit the water.
On the way home, they ran back through Handkerchief and it was alive with bluefish as far as they could see.
Ken was amazed at the change in water temperature during different stages of both tides, as well as from rip to rip, and paying attention to your gauge is certainly worthwhile because it can help you understand at what stages of the tide certain spots fish better or more consistently.
June 27, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5
Everybody fishing the shoals this week has been wearing smiles for good reason.
Simply put, the fishing is on around Monomoy.
Matt Cody at North Chatham Outfitters told me they have been running charters there since the bass showed up recently and there have been plenty of bass pushing squid in the rips. Soft plastics have been very effective in colors including amber, white, red, and pink; although Matt observed that many of the squid they have observed have been darker colored, white is always a great place to start.
My buddy Capt. Warren Marshall fished there on Wednesday and had a great trip, starting with bass once they hit Stonehorse Shoal. When the tide slacked there, they went through Bearses, which was dead, and tried up against the beach with no luck.
As the tide started to move again at Bearses, they gave this area another shot, to no avail, followed by a couple of passes off the point before heading towards Handkerchief. They never even made it there as they encountered birds working over a big school of bass and were doubled up for the rest of the trip.
I had heard of reports of 30 and 40-pound fish at Monomoy, but Warren said their top fish was 36-inches and Matt Cody advised that most of the bass being caught by casters were in the 26 to 34-inch range.
Bob Lewis fished Stonehorse last weekend and they had lots of 32-34-fish among the many mid to high-20-inch bass they caught, but he added that they marked larger fish down deep so it’s certainly possible that folks jigging wire or those deep bouncing sand eels or vertical jigging were catching larger fish.
June 20, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5
Just like a light switch, the rips turned on this week and a class of big bass moved in to chow on squid.
The word from Capt. Austin Proudfoot at North Chatham Outfitters is the rips came alive in a big way this week. Austin told me last week that with the set of moon tides this week, he expected the fish to show and he was right on target.
Bass in the 20 to 30-pound class, with some 40’s, as well, were chasing squid all over the rips, making for great action for flyrodders and plug/plastic casters. My friend Bob Lewis always puts a rod up in the rocket launcher and attaches a bulb squid that he drifts back into the rip and it gets plenty of attention while they are casting away.
I remember when Capt. Ron Murphy, of Stray Cat Charters in Hyannis, put on a presentation at the Osterville Anglers Club about his “Parachute Squid Fly,” which many folks simply call a “Rip Fly.” It was a unique take on the classic parachute jig that has been used by wire liners for years.
You can certainly cast this creation on a fly rod, but it just might be more effective fished on a conventional or spinning outfit, just pumping it as the captain stems the tide and moves the boat up and down the rip line.
Ron’s creation can be tied in a multitude of colors, but orange, pink, red, purple, and white are typical squid imitation shades.
Next Monday is the opening day of the so-called commercial striped bass season and along with Cape Cod Bay, you can be assured that a fleet of boats will be charging around the rips. It is quite a sight counting the number of ways this crew fishes these waters, often creating some real conflicts when a troller cuts through a rip where another boat is livelining pogies or eels, or perhaps even casting lures. Then you have the larger boats that prefer to drift from rip to rip bouncing sand eels on the bottom. This scene is not for the faint of heart and spending too much time there just might make you want to give up fishing.
If you trailer your boat and plan to fish Monday, be prepared to get up way early to get a parking spot. And early doesn’t mean 5 AM.
June 14, 2019 Weekly Rating: ?
A question mark is all I can offer this week regarding the rips as nobody has been fishing there, as far as I can gather. That could all change this week with the full moon and good tides; if it does, I will be all over it next week.
May 30, 2019 Weekly Rating: No Rating Available
I have not heard of anyone venturing east, but Bob Lewis reminded me that a couple of years ago, he and Ken Cirillo were headed to Nantucket for a tournament and they decided to check out Monomoy on the way over. It turned out to be one of, if not the best, days Bob has enjoyed at Monomoy and he recalls that it was June 1 or 2, something like that. Poppers ruled the day.