We go through a lot of gear over the course of the year at Salty Cape. Whether it’s the various lures & tackle we use when exploring all of Cape Cod’s amazing fisheries, beers we drink when we’re back at the dock, or apparel we bring with us when we have no idea what the day’s weather will hold, we pay close attention to what we bring with us out on the boat.
I’ve made this list as a way of recapping some of my favorite gear in 2017, and I hope it helps you for this year’s Christmas shopping, future gift giving, or most importantly, the 2018 fishing season.
Capt. Mike Hogan
Fishing Buzzards Bay with Capt. Dave Peros
This was the first video we filmed for 2017. Fishing with Captain Dave Peros is always a treat. He trailers his boat so we are always very close to the fish when we put in. Somehow Dave and I always find the coldest days to go, but I digress. As I recall, the action this past spring really ramped hard and fast when much larger fish moved in a day or two after filming this.
Video: 64-Pound Striper Caught in Buzzards Bay
Five days after filming with Capt. Dave, local angler Jeff Fortin landed this monster 64-pound striper in near the west end of the Canal. Although we were both fishing Hogy Pro Tails and fishing in similar areas that day, Jeff out-fished me by a lot. Hats off to Jeff.
The Hogy Pro Tail Jeff caught his 64-pound striped bass on
Race Point Striped Bass in June
Well, I have mixed feeling about this trip. The first half and hour of the trip was spent casting to stripers rolling through massive schools of sand eel, basically bucket feeding. We were hoping to get a topwater shoot, but that was not happening! So we switched to plan b which is often necessary when there is too much bait and started targeting the stripers we COULDN’T SEE. We waited until we marked some deeper fish that had been separated from the sand eel bait balls and dropped our jigs right on top of them. We used the 2.5oz sand eel jigs rather than softbait to get the jigs down as fast as we could before we missed the targets. It worked! See it here. The Hogy Sand eel Jigs come stock with treble hooks, but the ones in this kit are rigged with single hooks, the way I fish them! These will make perfect stocking stuffers or make a kit of your own!
Targeting Light Tackle Stripers in the Estuaries of Buzzards Bay in Late June
I am still sore that I wasn’t around for this shoot with Capt. Jaime Simmons where Jaime and his crew found some back water stripers throwing lightly weighted big soft-baits and some very decent stripers. Fishing these baits slow and seductively on the surface near and around structure is still probably my favorite way to fish. This roll up kit is perfect for big June Stripers. We don’t have a kit for these baits per se, but you can piece one together with the baits they used, some hooks and a roll up bag below.
Recommended Lures for Targeting Backwater Striped Bass on Light Tackle
Jigging for Yellowfin Tuna South of Martha’s Vineyard in July
One notable highlight of the 2017 season was the appearance of relatively big yellowfin tuna fairly close to home. On this trip with my buddy John Burns, we came up on a school of tuna relatively first thing. We assumed we were casting to breaking Bluefin, which is pretty par for the course in early July, but much to our surprise it was a 50lb plus yellowfin tuna. We were using heavy ProTail Paddles that we could both cast and convert to jigging baits when necessary. These baits do double duty very well. The 4oz bait is perfect for casting on heavy tuna gear and I like the 6oz version for vertical dropping to targeted fish. The paddle results in turn key action. In any size, these baits feature a crazy strong hook, rated for tuna over 300lbs, so you are goo to go there!
Recommended Lures for Casting to Topwater Yellowfin Tuna South of Martha’s Vineyard
Jigging for Cod East of Chatham in Mid-August
My fishing buddies will tell you how often I extol the virtues of cod AKA “The Brown Bombers” and how they are the most underrated fish on my side of Cape Cod. These fish live in all the same spots that we catch Tuna east of Chatham and for those of us who love tuna fishing will tell you that you get skunked about as many times as you catch a tuna. BUT not if you have a Plan B for cod. For that reason, I always keep this kit on the boat and just pop the jigs on the same gear I jig for tuna with. I am admittedly always the first one on the boat to want to switch over. My inner child comes out when cod fishing and I always win $2 bets from my buddies with these guys including my fishing buddy John Burns who I beat out in the 11th hour to reach high hook status for the day.
Vineyard Sound Albies in September
My last memories of every season are with albies. First, let me begin by saying that this year was AMAZING, probably the best year I have witnessed first hand. The fish showed up early and stayed late. Sometimes they were easy ANS sometimes they were spooky, which had you coming back for them often. I really think we have all situations dialed in with this kit. Pair these lures with the instructions in this video and you can’t miss.
There’s so much cool stuff out there these days, it’s hard to pick just a few items. So I asked my wife, my very very very patient wife, what “things” have I been talking about the most lately? (Apparently I seem repeat myself a lot at home :))
Long story short, this is what I got:
Simms Deck Challenger Boot
These boots are game changers. I know there are a lot of high-end deck boots on the market these days, but Simms took these to the next level. Firstly, I’ll begin by sharing how I size any boot I wear on a boat. For safety’s sake, I always wear a size up. And that is because if I fall in the water, it is easier to kick the boots off which may be prohibitive for treading water. These boots fit true to size. I usually wear a 9.5 sneaker, I ordered a size 10 in these. They seem big enough to kick off in the water but I am not sliding around in them.
And while we are on the subject of boot removal, Simms added oversized toe buckles on the back of the boots making it easier to kick them off, a handy feature both on and off the water. Another thing I like about these boots is what Simms calls the “Right Angle” foot bed that places feet in a comfortable position for all day wearing. They really feel like you are wearing comfortable casual shoes. So far I have only worn them in colder weather but I really like the high-end mesh lining they have for moisture wicking.
If this email somehow got forwarded to you for the Holidays and boot selection is out of your wheelhouse, the 9” size is appropriate for everyday use on the boat recreational fishing. Simms does make the 14” Size that I recently ordered for myself that I plan to wear when trailering boats, messing around in the marsh and fishing from shore when waders aren’t necessary.
A Few of My Favorite Beers
OK, I have a lot of favorite beers and I find new ones everyday which explains why I need a size xl all the time! BUT those who know me, I have a few regular favorites.
Everyone knows that I am a huge Cisco Beer fan. I love the brewery on Nantucket. It’s easily amongst the chillest places to hang in all the Cape and Islands. For many years, it was hard to get off Island. But in the past couple of years you are seeing it pop up all over the place, even in FL which is great news if you love Cisco. I pretty much drink the Whale’s Tale most of the time. I promise you it is a very lucky tuna beer.
That said, this summer I picked up one of their “Beach Boxes” at Falmouth Liquors; which is a 12pack featuring a few of their popular beers including Sankaty (There light beers) Whales Tale (Their Ale) Indie IPA (obvious) and The Flying Cloud (spiced) and was reminded how much I like all their beers. Sankaty is a great beer on the water, it is a little lower alcohol than the Ale. Trust me, any beer drinker would love this 12 pack. I think the Beach Box of beach and boat friendly cans is over for the season, but they still make a mixed pack. By the way, the brewery is open year round with music.
A Few Key Links Regarding Cisco
Hog Island Beer is one that that was turned onto me by my friend Will Tormey who knows more about craft beer than anyone I know. I have only had their IPA so far and it is world class. I think it’s pretty hard to find, so I’m sure your beer drinker would be super happy to get a 4 pack of 16oz pans. It’s very hoppy (which I like) and is après fishing beer. Hint… Hint… Hint… We’ll see if my wife is reading my newsletters ☺
Check them out at HogIslandBeerCo.com
The Yeti Soft Hopper
I stopped into Campbell Boatworks, the new Marine Store in Bourne on MacArthur Boulevard on my way back on Cape, about five minutes over the Bourne bridge. The store is just getting finishing touches but they did find time to stock, what I am certain is the largest inventory of Yeti products on Cape Cod but probably in Massachusetts. Melissa, the owner showed me around.
I resisted the temptation to make an offer on the sweet and vintage Trip Angler in their showroom but I did fall like a hungry striper for a live quid when I saw the new Yeti Soft Hoppers they were stocking when I arrive. I’m told they are very popular this season and quite hard to find. At the time I am writing this, Yeti’s site says they only have 1 left in stock. Campbell Boatworks has about 30 of them in stock.
I got the Hopper 8 which is the small one and I saw it as an over-the-top awesome lunch box but also just the right size to keep (4) 16oz Tall Boys of my favorite IPAs cold to share with a fishing buddy after a morning on the water – cough cough — I MEAN afternoon. The Hopper 12 is designed to keep a 12 pack of cans cold which would it the Cisco Beach Box perfectly and has it’s own perks.
A Few Key Links Regarding the Yeti Soft Hopper
Patagonia Nano Puff
The last on this short list of stuff THAT I CAN’T STOP talking about to my buddies is the Patagona Nano Puff Vest, AKA the best vest. Somehow this vest, of which I own a few colors of, keeps you warm when it’s cold but doesn’t heat you up when it warms up outside. It’s kind of magic. In the winter the Nano Puff makes the perfect base layer but I wear these all year round. They are great at 3:30AM in June when that wet chill is still in the air, or east of Chatham where every morning seems to be cold. I also think these are slimming, which is helpful if you love IPAs like me.
I have been wearing these for more than 10 years. If you review my videos I have hosted over the years, you find I have them on in MANY of the episodes. They are not cheap but they last FOREVER, I can’t ruin these things. (I ruin stuff often) Here’s a tip: If you find a unique color you really-really love, buy two. They switch the colors around from year to year to keep them them fresh. Every so often, I am tormented by a friend of mine who is always rubbing in his gold color version, which I missed out on.
Well, that’s my list.