The big news is the exceptional tuna bite from Chatham up to the Golf Ball and around the corner off Provincetown and Stellwagen. There are mainly smaller fish down around Chatham and a good number up towards Truro, making them perfect casting targets with everything from surface plugs to Epoxy Jigs and integrated combinations of soft plastics such as Hogy Harness Jigs and Pro Tails/Paddles, with Ron-Z’s another fine tuna lure. Larger fish are typically caught on live bait; there are good schools of mackerel around, but some of the largest fish have been caught on live bluefish. Some boats count on finding blues where they are going to fish, but others take the chance out of the equation by stopping and fishing for them when they see or mark them and then keep them in their livewells.
The vertical jig bite off of Chatham and Nauset also remains steady, mainly on stripers with a few bluefish mixed in. As we progress further into October, these fish often move into deeper water, following schools of oceanic sand eels, sea herring, and even mackerel, at which point they can’t be targeted in federal waters. Many folks believe that catch-and-release is legal outside of three miles, but that is not the case.
What once was a robust fall shore fishery on the outer Cape beaches is pretty much just a memory; a few hardcores still fish eels at night along Nauset and pick up an occasional decent bass, but the precipitous drop in the number of anglers who even bother visiting what once was one of the top surf fishing spots in the northeast has resulted from a lack of anything resembling a consistent fishery. This summer saw some of the best beach fishing from Chatham to Truro, but that was the result of a fortuitous, atypical event as schools of pogies/adult bunker were pushed up against the beaches by schools of big bass and blues. Many people blame the rapid increase of seals for the fishery’s decline and it would be hard to argue with them, but there seems to be more to it, including a lack of bait, especially sand eels, that made needlefish plugs and Finnish style minnow plugs, such as the Red Fin, Rebel, Rapala, Bomber, and Hellcats the kings of lures on the outer Cape.