Vineyard & Nantucket Sound Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s 5/13/2022 Cape Cod Fishing Report for the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds

Filmed Recently in Nantucket Sound

No Problem filling our buckets!

Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds Cape Cod Fishing Report

It was the same news in the sounds
for Gerry and I as we checked out a number of shoals that will
eventually – hopefully – become more active in the next couple of
weeks. All we found was 49-degree water, no signs of fish or bait, and a
variety of birds flying around in search of something.
Oh, and gray seals everywhere: in Woods Hole, off Nobska, at Middle
Ground and Halfway Shoal, and even the entrance to Waquoit Bay;
Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis told me that they are being
seen up inside the Three Bays area and in greater numbers inside
Hyannis Harbor and Lewis Bay . Now, these aren’t your “cute” little
harbor seals that hang out on the rocks throughout the winter and into
the early spring until warming water temperatures and boat traffic
typically send them elsewhere. Nope, these are the critters that can be
found in ever increasing numbers on the outer Cape beaches, around
Great Point on Nantucket, as well as Muskeget and Tuckernuck Islands.
They have been implicated for years by anglers as primary culprits for
the demise of fishing on the outer Cape and for bringing increased
numbers of great white sharks into our waters since seals are one of
their favorite snacks. All I know is I am encountering them with
increased regularity in waters where I would be surprised to find even
one and can’t help wondering if increasing populations and the
resultant competition for food is causing them to become residents in
the sounds.

Cape Cod Backwater Fishing Report

As for the fishing, it’s really good in the backwaters according to
everyone I spoke to, which makes sense for two primary reasons: food
and more agreeable water temperatures. After deciding that we had
enough data in the form of colder water in the sounds and around the
Elizabeths to prove that we most likely weren’t going to find any
actively feeding bass, we headed for the upper reaches of Waquoit Bay.
Given the number of shore anglers and kayakers we encountered, most
of whom were wielding fly rods, it seemed pretty certain that fish had
been caught in this area recently. But even there, when we arrived my electronics were reading 50-degrees and everyone seemed to be
moving around in search of fish. After no fish fishing for a brief period, I
elected to move into a location away from everyone else where I had
typically found slightly warmer water. Sure enough, the gauge read 52
and Gerry started to catch fish. Coincidence? I will never say for sure,
but I have enough evidence over the years to show that even a slight
increase – or decrease in the doldrums of summer – in water temps will
trigger activity.

Rory over at Falmouth Bait And Tackle in the Teaticket section of
Falmouth, across from McDonald’s, told me that he has been doing
very well using the fly rod up inside Waquoit, news that perhaps
explained all the activity there that we saw. In fact, on Wednesday
night, he enjoyed a great trip with actively feeding bass, including some
slot fish. He was using, for the most part, a blue/white Deceiver type of
pattern, although he also mentioned having success with a brown
rabbit strip fly, perhaps one that imitated worms that inhabit the clam
flats in the area.
Speaking of clam flats, Rory added that he and his friend encountered a
worm hatch well up inside Waquoit already this year; it’s been said
many times before, but this isn’t truly a “hatch” in the traditional,
freshwater buggy sense, but rather a spawning activity, with the tail
sections of various species of worms breaking off and rising to the
surface, where they spin and release eggs and sperm, beginning the re-
establishment of their species. Waquoit contains all the elements
required for worm spawning activity, including shallow water over
darker, muddy bottom that warms more quickly and sluggish
currents/tides that keep the temps up.
In Rory’s case, he wasn’t using one of the myriad worm fly patterns that
exist, but a small baitfish imitation. I had one of my best worm hatch –
ah, spawn – trips ever using a chartreuse Deceiver when I couldn’t get
any love on all of my finely crafted worm bugs. Just something to keep
in mind.

I can’t say for sure when Rory found the worms, but I would suspect it
was before the most recent northeast blow we enjoyed, since given
what I have seen and heard, I can’t imagine water temperatures
approaching 60 degrees, which worm event aficionados such as Bob
Rifchin and Page Rogers often cite as the magic number, as Bob Lewis
reminded me. In fact, right before the gale kicked off, Rich Haskell
found a worm event up inside Cotuit and he and a friend managed to
pick up a half dozen fish apiece in water that had warmed to 60
degrees. A couple of days later, Bob went out with Rich and the water
they fished registered only the mid-50’s and not only did they not find
worms doing their spawning dance, but no bass.
With air temps predicted for this weekend in the high 60’s and even
low 70’s tomorrow, I would suspect that worm events might be a real
possibility, especially on Sunday when there is supposed to be some
sun, as opposed to the clouds and fog on Saturday. As Bob emphasized,
all of his best worm fishing trips have been on calmer, sunny days.
Along with Falmouth, which features numerous salt ponds that harbor
good early season spots, Popponesset and Cotuit have also been
enjoying good action, explained Andy Little. On Thursday, shore anglers
found schoolies throughout the Three Bays area, around Dowses, and
the Centerville River. Unfortunately, they all also discovered parking
tickets under their wipers when they returned to their vehicles.
Apparently, it wasn’t like they were taking up spots that residents
would use in local lots this time of year; in fact, they were pretty much
empty, but that didn’t make any difference to the town gendarmes.
This is becoming more of an issues as towns go to no-parking
regulations for non-residents year round, as opposed to the good old
days when regulations were relaxed from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Matt Cardarelli at Riverview Bait and Tackle in South Yarmouth said that
along with the schoolie lures that they have been selling to folks
targeting stripers in all of the rivers down his way over to Harwich, they
continue to sell good numbers of crabs, so the tautog bite must still be
pretty strong. Matt emphasized that most of the better tog spots in the

sound are to the west of their shop, particularly from the waters off
Hyannis to Osterville and Cotuit, which feature more rocky, sticky
structure.

Cape Cod Fishing Report for Scup in the Sound

Scup are being caught in increasing numbers, as well, which is not good
news for folks targeting squid. Combine that with the windy, choppy
conditions earlier this week and odds are that the squid have been
pretty much scattered, making for some tough jigging action. In fact, I
have heard of some folks booking squid trips recently and managing
single digit numbers; the saving grace has been that the ones they
caught were really large. Another sign of the slowing action are the
decreased sales of squid jigs.
And, if you’re like me and eagerly look forward to the arrival of the first
bluefish of the season, no news yet, but hopefully a shift in the wind
direction for a few days to the southwest will bring the choppers in.
Fishing Tip: It’s important to remember that fish can become lethargic
when water temperatures are at the lower range of their preferred
water temperatures, which can sometimes make the best retrieve a
slow one – or no real retrieve at all. When Gerry Fine and I fished
Waquoit, we noticed folks tossing soft plastics and flies followed by
fairly rapid retrieves; it wasn’t until we switched over to letting our
Deceiver style flies just sink through the water towards the bottom with
no or very little retrieve that we picked up fish. For spin anglers, that’s
where the Hogy Slow Tail excels as it vibrates enticingly on a very slow
retrieve or no forward movement at all.

Conservation Tip:

I wanted to say something snarky about one of the
most important conservation issues on the Cape being the protection
of shore anglers, in the wake of Andy Little’s parking ticket news, but I’llstick to what should be the obvious. When fishing involves most
smaller, sublegal fish or you are going to intentionally practice catch-
and-release, your best option is to use single hook lures with the barbs
crushed down. And release fish while keeping them in the water,
whether from shore or boat.

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