Sandwich Fishing Locations #602
Drunken Seal Restaurant Beachfront
The reason this area fishes so well will be immediately obvious: only a few hundred yards away is the east entrance of the Cape Cod Canal, the migration route of tens of thousands of striped bass every year. As with all fishing locations of the Cape Cod Bay side, tide is extremely important here. The beach to the north of the parking area down to the canal jetty fished best at high tide; the area behind the restaurant and the rocky bar that extends out form there will hold fish at the top of the tide but can also be productive for the fisherman willing to negotiate the bowling ball sized slippery rocks as the tide drops. The bar is long and the tide drops and rises quickly – it’s important to avoid wading far out and then having to make one’s way back in with a rapidly rising tide. This can be absolutely treacherous. However, fishing along the bar as the tide drops and then casting off the end of it can be extremely rewarding. There is plenty of cover for the fish, strong tidal flow and abundant bait. Cast surface plugs or shallow running swimmers; eels are deadly effective here after dark. Soft plastics are the perfect bait for this area if they are rigged to run a foot or so under the surface – Hogy Original Series plastics or Hogy Sand Eels are an excellent choice.
Location: End of Town Neck Road.
Parking: Free. Large paved lot adjacent to Hemisphere Restaurant.
Access: Easy. Beach borders parking lot.
Town Neck Beach to Old Harbor
A popular swimming beach in the summer (fee charged during the day) this beach front can have excellent striper fishing at times, especially in the fall during a northeast blow. On the north end the bottom changes from rocks to sand and bass frequently move from the rocks and bar off the Hemisphere Restaurant in this direction. A good strategy is to walk and cast along the beach toward the mouth of Old Harbor. Fish may be found anywhere along this stretch; be sure to cast around the short jetties that you’ll see every few hundred yards. Surface lures, swimmers and soft plastics such as the Hogy 10” Original work well here. Bait fishing with chunk baits is also popular and effective.
Location: End of Wood Ave.
Parking: Large paved lot, fee during summer, daytime. Free and open all other times.
Access: Easy. Lot directly behind beach.
The huge marsh and outflow here is one of the best shore fishing locations on the Cape Cod Bay side of Cape Cod but extreme caution must be exercised due to the strong current and slippery, rock covered bottom. Inside the marsh the water splits the marsh in three directions and there is virtually no shore access but some anglers fish along the most northerly of the splits behind Town Neck Beach (at high tide). Kayak anglers can reach all the channels with ease but with a tidal range of about 8 feet, plus the strong flow, the best fishing via kayak will be found during the two-hour period on either side of high tide, and being a strong paddler is essential.
The mouth of Old Harbor is where most of the fishing takes place. The water once ran between the two concrete and rock jetties at the end of the beach but that channel filled in many years ago. Still, school size bass can often be found between the jetties and along them. The best bet is to work the newer channel; some anglers prefer an incoming tide but most prefer the outgoing and wade out as the tide drops. This strong outflow attracts bass and bluefish, often quite large ones, especially after dark but again, extreme caution MUST be exercised while wading in this area. The opposite side of the outflow is difficult to access due to much private property and in recent years beach access has been severely restricted due to nesting shore birds.
All standard striper lures work here, as do live eels. All the Hogy Original Series plus the Sand Eeels and Skinnies are excellent choices here due to the strong current helping to impart even more lifelike action to the Hogys. Regardless of your choice of lures you will find the best action under low light conditions. An onshore breeze can result in great action but the water will fill with weed at those times and keeping lures clean – essential for hits – is very difficult.
Location: Marsh – behind Town Neck Beach; mouth of outflow – eastern end of Town Neck Beach.
Parking: Large town lot at beach, fee charged during the day in the summer, free and open all other times.
Access: Difficult for fishing the marsh, about ¼ mile walk required to reach mouth of outflow.
Special Note: In all cases whether fishing the marsh or the mouth, either on foot or by kayak, always consult tide tables to determine height, direction and force of the tide. This is not a place for the casual or inexperienced wading fisherman.
Scorton Creek (Inside)
This long, winding saltwater creek is well known for both striped bass fishing and as a location to try for the elusive sea-run trout. Parts of the marsh edge are accessible by foot from the state-owned parking area but using a kayak or canoe will allow access to well over a mile of productive water above and below the parking area. Fish during the two-hour period before and after high tide for best results. A tide range of almost 8 feet means the fish will always be on the move and the action can be fast for a few minutes, then stop completely, then begin again as groups of school-sized stripers move in and out of the marsh. The state stocks brown trout here too and while there are very few true sea-run specimens (trout that were spawned in the brackish upper region and migrate to the sea) some of the trout do survive a few years inside Scorton Creek and fish up to five pounds or more are taken here every year.
Some years the creek will host “holdover” schoolie stripers that can be caught throughout the winter. Although few if any of these will be of legal size to keep, local anglers can often be found fishing inside Scorton on warmer days in the dead of winter. At those times flies such as the chartreuse Clouser fished on sinking head lines work well; during the regular, warmer season small soft plastics like the Hogy Skinnies or Sand Eels are excellent choices as are small swimming plugs and metals like Kastmasters or Hopkins.
Beware of the deep ditches that intersect the marsh – do NOT attempt to wade through them as their bottoms are composed of seemingly bottomless, soft mud. Also beware of walking too close to the edges of the marsh as they can collapse into the creek without warning. In the spring and summer be sure to wear a liberal dose of insect repellant to deter the millions of biting flies and gnats that will surely harass you. In spite of these cautions, inside Scorton Creek remains one of the most popular and productive fishing locations on Upper Cape Cod.
Location: Off Route 6A.
Parking: End of dirt road that parallels the creek on the north side of the creek (unmarked but easy to find).
Access: Easy to areas a few hundred yards above and below parking area, difficult to impossible except via small watercraft to the rest of the creek and marsh.
Scorton Creek (mouth)
This outflow is similar to Old Harbor to the north along the same beachfront a few miles away. The primary difference is that there is not as much room for fishermen to spread out and hit the prime water. Some anglers fish the short hundred-yard section just inside the mouth and catch schoolie bass in this narrow area. However, best bet for larger fish is the deeper channel outside. Either the 10” or 7” Hogy Originals will produce here when drifted on the strong outgoing tide. Swimming plugs and live eels are also a good choice. It is thought by most Scorton regulars that the large bass that often populate Scorton Ledge about a mile or so off the creek move in to the shallower water after dark. You can catch fish at the mouth of Scorton throughout the regular striper season but fall is best and fishing under low light conditions will produce.
The opposite side of the outflow is difficult to access as it requires a long walk down a beach and there is no legal parking anywhere nearby. Another option is to launch a kayak and paddle the short distance to the other side, then fish on the east side of the outflow. This is especially attractive if the easier to access west side is crowded with fishermen. Another option is to paddle a short distance up the creek and land on the east side and fish along that side of the marsh. This option is only viable for the hour or so on either side of high tide and is most productive after dark. Some anglers launch kayaks near the top of the tide, drift upstream while casting, all the way to the bridge on Route 6A, then drift and cast their way back to the parking area as the tide drops.
This is another spot where extreme caution must be exercised when wading along the very strong outflow. The bottom varies from soft sand that can be sucked from beneath your feet, to round, slippery rocks. Do not attempt to wade above your knees if creek is dumping hard.
Location: End of Holway Road, East Sandwich.
Parking: Difficult without 4-wheel drive. No fee charged but parking for only a few vehicles in soft sand behind the row of cottages. Park in designated area only; parking for only a half-dozen or so vehicles. Be aware of the high tide line as much of the parking area floods at high tide.
Access: Easy. Short walk on sand around the point to the mouth of the creek.