We managed quite a few fish in short order this afternoon during torrential rain coupled with a stiff NE breeze.
After 3 epic fishing trips in a row I knew I was due for a slow outing. Well I received that slow outing this morning. We put in a bunch of hours earlier today, and were rewarded with just a couple of keeper bass and bunch of small bluefish.
But things change quickly in the world of Cape Cod fishing, so we headed back out onto the water this evening during a torrential rain storm. The strengthening north east breeze only made conditions that much more un-enjoyable.
However the fish don’t care if its raining and man oh man were they feeding! Miles of ocean that were virtually empty earlier today were chock full of life. It was as if a switch had been flipped and all the bass in the area were now on the hunt.
The fish were big and extremely aggressive. We had no trouble hooking up and managed a handful of 30 pounders and quite a few bass in the 20 pound range.
Dave with one of multiple 40 pound bass caught during this trip.
This morning was absolutely epic!
I had the Adirondack crew of Dave, Robert and newcomer Andy with me today. Dave and Robert were part of last year’s incredible September bite. They were not expecting today’s fishing to equate to last year’s trip, but I’m happy to say that today may have actually surpassed last September’s incredible bite.
We hit the water at 3:30AM and on Andy’s first ever cast on Cape Cod he hooked up with a fat 25 pounder. What a start!
The day only improved as the sun poked its head above the horizon. We found bass in just about every spot we ventured into. Fortunately for the guys the bass were on the feed this morning and were very aggressive.
These were seriously big schools of very aggressive bass which is ideal for pitching live bait with light spinning setups. We could have trolled tubes but I figured we might as well take advantage of the situation and stick with the light tackle.
There were a few cows mixed into the masses today. I know of at least one 50 pounder that was caught.
We did not catch any 50′s today but we did manage at least 3 bass that were over 40 pounds. All in all the final tally was around 30 -40 bass between 15 and 43 pounds.
The guys were even nice enough to let me catch a fish or two!
Hopefully the solid action will continue throughout this coming week. Based on what I’m seeing I think it will – knock on wood.
Click here for more information on this trip and techniques used.
The past 24 hours has been unreal! This was by far the two best striped bass fishing trips I have ever had.
If you haven’t already guessed, in addition to blogging and running charters, I also commercial fish for striped bass. I’ve been fortunate enough to have commercial fished for bass since I was 14.
The fishery has always been a huge help for me and has allowed me to basically do exactly what I love to do most. Any tidbit of knowledge or insight you find here on this blog came as a direct result of the commercial striped bass season.
I understand that some folks aren’t happy with commercial striped bass fishing – which is of course OK with me. Sometimes I’m not thrilled either when folks on big expensive sport fishers are gaffing bass for market.
However for me the fishery has always been a real crutch and something that I have heavily relied upon each summer of my working life. I hope to someday not rely quite as heavily upon the commercial bass season, but for right now I most certainly do.
Aside form the economics I really enjoy the feeling of providing a high quality, locally caught food for families all along the eastern seaboard. There’s something really “Cape Coddish” there.
Honestly I probably should have been born back in 1700′s when Cape Cod fishing was at it’s glory!
So with that in mind it all began yesterday at 4pm with a good friend of mine Brian McCowan. I had high hopes that the onshore breeze of the past day would spark things fish wise. Man did it ever!
I cruised along the beach in just 20 feet of water looking for signs of life. Over the years I’ve noticed that with an onshore breeze, the bait and bass seem to hold tighter to shore. This is not always the case, but more often than not your odds of finding fish in shallow increase with an onshore breeze.
After a few miles of cruising we found our first school. Unfortunately all we could manage were a few small bluefish so we decided to continue down the shoreline.
At around 5pm we hit the mother load! Huge orange arches all over the sonar – we were in business.
Instead of trolling we opted to cast eels. We had the “school of all schools” directly under the Miss Loretta. Fortunately for us they were on the feed big time.
The next 1 hour and 15 minutes was completely insane. It was a constant dance around of doubles and triples. Both Brian and I were sweating profusely trying to keep up with the bent rods.
At the end of the mayhem we had boated 30 bass with the average fish weighing in at 32 pounds. Almost 1,000 pounds of striper, I could not believe it.
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The best technique during this trip was pitching live eels. Perfecting the live eel thing is a little tricky but I’ve put together a few quick videos in the members section that should at least help get you started.
You can click here to check them out.
So yesterday I again had Brian on board. We launched hoping for a repeat of Wednesday and we were not disappointed.
We headed right back to our honey hole and continued pitching live eels left and right. These were some of the most aggressive bass I have seen in a long time.
We would reel one fish to the boat and there would be another 10 bass all in the 30 pound range fighting over the eel which had slid up the braided line. Absolutely unreal.
To make a long story short we boated another 30 bass today averaging 27 pounds. This was one serious school of big fish.
Hopefully these fish stick around for the weekend crowd. Only time will tell I suppose.
Click here for more information on this trip and the techniques used.
I woke up today at 6pm to sunny skies and calm winds. The weather lady said we were in the clear as far as thunder storms were concerned, so my Dad and I made the decision to dunk the boat and see what happens.
Well at that marina we noticed some serious clouds moving in from the northwest. A quick check of the radar spelled it all out -storms on the way.
We chose to wait it out and after 45 minutes we were good to go.
At around 8:30pm I arrived in 38 feet of water and began marking a few small piles here and there. Tubes went in the water and I had high hopes that the fish would be on the feed and not in lockjaw mode.
2 minutes into the troll and the port side clicker starts screaming – fish on!
Thank God! I thought, the bass are not in lockjaw mode. After a nice strong fight we boated the aggressive bass which was pushing the 30 pound mark. Great start!
Unfortunately off in the distance I could not help but notice another thunder storm rolling in. I decided to play it safe and head for the dock and boy am I glad I did.
The lightning, wind and rain of this storm was something serious. We had the boat docked about 15 minutes before the storm hit – good timing to say the least.
With northwest winds of 15-25mph predicted for the rest of tonight I decided to call it quits and start anew tomorrow. Hopefully the winds lay down a bit in the morning and we are able to sneak out again. I think there is a lot of good potential if we are able to get out in the AM.
Boy oh boy, if only 1 out of every 20 bass we marked during this trip bit we would have done incredibly well. Unfortunately the bass had a serious case of lock jaw. We had to work extremely hard for a few bass up to 28 pounds.
I always find it amazing how you can drag a perfectly presented offering right through a school of 10 – 100 bass without even a sniff. Nevertheless this phenomena happens around the Cape each and every summer.
Fortunately we did land some nice healthy fish, and I’d like to thank John C. for putting in a great effort.
Even though it’s only 12:15pm I am heading to bed. Been up for almost 24 hours! Hopefully the bass bite better this evening.
I’m also hoping that the wind backs off a bite and the T-storms move away. Unfortunately I have a feeling that wind and T-storms are in my future. This morning we narrowly missed getting stuck in a serious electrical storm.
Nevertheless we found a bunch of nice fish during this trip and I am eager to get back on them.
The Bay has fished very well for us all year and especially this past week. It’s been basically all tube and worm and believe me I have tried some other techniques. For whatever reason these fish just want to be fed tubes.
I’m not sure exactly what kind of bait I was marking this past week. If I had to guess I would say sea herring and/or sand eels. There are still some mackerel from the East End down towards Scorton Ledge.
If you put your time in this weekend on the Bay, you may hook into a bass in the 20-45 pound range.
Compared to last year the fishing off Chatham is, as of this moment, not quite as incredible. The thing that is still incredible is the amount of boats!
A few of the guys I know who are very skilled fishermen only managed a handful of bass the past few days off the Backside. That’s saying something considering that these guys usually have no trouble at all filling up the boat.
Snapping wire along the bottom has been producing the best. At times there has been a decent vertical jigging bite, but for the most part this has been few and far between.
However Wednesday night’s intense northeast blow may have stirred things up a bit. Yesterday morning there were whales in surprisingly close to shore, which tells you that the bait got pushed in by the breeze.
If the bait continues to get jammed up against the beach things could really turn on again off the Outer Cape.
We got a late start today due to 25mph winds overnight. Nevertheless I had a good feeling about this quick morning trip.
I had my other cousin Kevin with me today. Kev is always good on the boat and has been with me during some of the most epic trips of my life. Basically he is good luck!
We hit up a close to shore spot where the bass have been congregating each morning this week. Sure enough at around 5AM we began marking bass right along the bottom.
I made a quick adjustment to our tube and worm rigs and we soon were able to put a nice bend in the rod. Actually, that first bend turned into 2 bends – doubles! Then those 2 bends turned into 3 bends – triples!
Unfortunately we ended up losing that third bass but luckily were able to boat both the other stripers. The two fish were nearly identical and were obviously part of the same year class.
We continued trolling the tubes down deep right along the bottom. I could see on the sonar that the bass were on the feed. We had big blue masses of bait under us with orange arches zipping through the madness. All fantastic signs.
About 20 minutes or so after tripling up we had that awesome sound of the clicker going off. Fish on!
I hopped on the rod this time and fought hard against a feisty bass. Some fish seem to have a little extra gusto and this was certainly one of them. Luckily I got the best of him and soon had another healthy 25 pounder in the boat.
Kevin and I worked hard and covered a lot of water over the next 3 hours. We boated numerous recreational keepers up to 33 inches and a stray bluefish.
To our dismay we also managed to drop a few nice bass that absolutely ripped drag from the Penn 113′s. One bass in particular hit so hard that the lead core line parted mid way through a color. Obviously there was some sort of defect in the line because I had just respooled with fresh leadcore last night – oh well!
We continued to work the area and were able to put another 25 pounder in the boat. We were marking a stray fish here or there – some of which looked to have had some serious size to them.
And then it happened…
With the sun high in the sky we headed out into deeper water hoping to cap off the trip with one last big fish. We found some bait out deep and then found some of those glorious orange arches darting in and out of the clouds of bait.
Like clockwork the starboard side rod doubled over. I hopped on the rod and fought the fish for a good 5-10 minutes. Man did this guy fight well. Both Kevin and I gasped (yes – gasped!) when we saw the bass surface close to the Miss Loretta.
In the boat I estimated her to be at 40-45 pounds.
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Of course the fish didn’t end up weighing that much. I guess my fish gauge eyes were off today. Either way the bass weighed in at 39 pounds which is fine by me.
I felt like we made the most of an abbreviated outing today. Like always I will be looking forward to getting back out there – hopefully in a few hours if the T-storms hold off.
The key today was getting the tube down to where the bass were at. Most of the bass we caught and marked today came at depths greater than 30 feet. Getting the tubes down that deep can be a challenge, so if you’d like a helping hand please check out the below video.
I forgot to remove the protective casing so you’ll have to turn the volume way up!
Matt with a hefty 40 pound bass that bit a cork screwing tube and worm.
Last night and this morning was absolutely incredible. The midnight bite and early AM bite were awesome. The weather was pretty good too.
I had my cousin Matt with me on this trip. Matt is always good on the boat and rarely takes naps. Although he did clonk out for a couple hours towards the end of today’s trip which is of course A-OK.
We found acres of big bass spread out amongst vast expanses of virtually structureless ocean. No birds or anything to lead the way. Part of today’s trip was luck and the other part was being able to use a half way decent sonar unit correctly. I’m just glad we found them!
Small tubes were the ticket during this trip on bass up to and above the 40 pound mark. Interestingly enough, we had one run where we went 30 pounder, 30 pounder, 30 pounder, 40 pounder, 6 pounder. It was quite the mixed bag this trip, with fish of all sizes included in the mix.
The bass we found were feeding voracious at 15-35 feet beneath the surface. I’m not sure what they were feeding on but I would be willing to guess either sea herring or mackerel based on the marks on the sonar. I would mark clouds of bait with huge orange arches right smack dab in the middle of them.
We were literally on top of a pretty cool and healthy marine ecosystem during this trip.
The key to catching last night and this morning was using “kinky” tubes. What I mean is trolling tubes that are basically all screwed up. These tubes have been used and abused by bluefish and are ripped to shreds – but cork screw like a champ. That awfully weird looking cork screwing motion was the key.
Matt and I enjoyed non-stop action from the time the tubes went in the water until the hour leading up to when we decided to call it quits. Final tally was 35 recreational keeper stripers up to 41 pounds, including a half dozen 30 pounders. We also managed a few monstrous bluefish as well.
Tube and worm caught most of the fish but we put a few bass in the boat using eels. Generally when we hook up with a bass on the tube, we will flick out the eels and try to pick up a bonus fish. It’s a simple technique that you can check out in the below video.
All in all just another awesome trip.
I’m looking forward to getting a few hours of sleep and hitting the water again!
This bass was just one of over 50 fish caught today on Cape Cod Bay.
Today was a phenomenal day with picture perfect weather conditions and excellent fishing. I’m going on my 34th hour without any sleep so I’m just going to cut to the chase with this report so I can hit the hay and get some shut eye.
The bass fishing today was much better than I had envisioned for a hot, flat calm mid-July day. We found bass in all the mid-summer hot spots that we like to fish in the Bay, and fortunately for us they were more than willing to eat.
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It’s always nice when you mark a school of bass, and then a few seconds later a rod doubles over and a drag starts screaming. This was the case today, as the vast majority of marks on the sonar turned into a fish on the rod.
These bass were very aggressive and absolutely inhaled a tube, as long as it was trolled right in front of their faces. This meant getting the tube down to their level. For some reason, maybe water temperature related, most of the bass we caught today were taken deeper than usual.
The stripers today in the Bay ranged from 8 pounds all the way up to 32 pounds. We had numerous instances where we tripled up with one keeper striper, one schoolie striper, and one bluefish. Some of the bluefish were on the small side while others were absolutely enormous.
The choppers ranged from 2 pounds to 15 pounds today on the Bay.
The bluefish would have driven me absolutely bonkers had we been primarily using eels or some other kind of live bait. Fortunately the bass were honed in on the tube and worm, which made dealing with all the bluefish much easier.
All in all we managed over 20 bass (17 of which were keepers) and somewhere in the vicinity of 30 – 40 bluefish.
It was a great day to say the least! I’m looking forward to getting back out there on the water soon.
Click here for more information on today’s fishing, the techniques used, tips for finding big bass in Cape Cod Bay and more specific info on the areas fished.
So far live bait fishing for me this season has been all live mackerel. However with the summer heat now settling in, I’m planning on purchasing dozens of pounds of live eels to cover me for the next few weeks.
In my experience, live eels begin to produce well off Cape Cod beginning in July. This works out well with the departure of most of the mackerel from our area.
Live eels are extremely versatile baits and they work equally well from boat or from shore. During the summer I always have at least a dozen or so live eels with me whenever I go fishing from a boat. I also really enjoy fishing eels from shore, and I routinely bring some live eels along for a surf casting trip-especially if I plan on fishing a creek or boulder field.
Eels are great because they are also extremely easy to keep alive. Eels have to be up there with some of the toughest, hardest to kill species of marine animals.
July is a spectacular month for fishing live eels on Cape Cod. If you’ve never fished with live eels before than maybe consider giving them a shot over the next few weeks.
If you chuck an eel in front of a big bass during July, there is a high likelihood that fish will engulf the snake without thinking twice.
Fishing Eels from Shore
Catching stripers from shore on Cape Cod during July usually equates to fishing during the night. The consistent day time bite of May and early June has petered out in most Cape Cod areas by the first of July. If you want a legitimate chance at catching a nice fish, consider losing a little sleep and hitting the beach.
I enjoy fishing eels in and around boulder fields during the incoming tide. I like the incoming tide when fishing rocks and boulders because I feel as if bass are more apt to hunt in shallow water when they know the tide is coming in. It’s often possible to find nice size stripers in less than 3 feet of water during the incoming. This is especially true if you are fishing after dark.
Boulder fields attract marine life and thus attract striped bass. I usually use Google Earth to zone in on productive boulder fields throughout Cape Cod. You’ll notice that many of the best boulder fields to fish from shore are located in Buzzard’s Bay and along the southwest coastline of the Cape.
To substantially increase your live eel success, focus on boulder fields that are located in close proximity to a harbor, creek or estuary. Often times these areas feature significant current and water flow that further aids to attract marine life to the area.
Fishing a boulder field close to an estuary, at night during the incoming tide is a killer combination. Locate one of these areas and you will increase your chances of catching bass during July from shore with eels.
If you need help finding areas that feature all the above-mentioned conditions be sure to check out:
When fishing boulder fields I would recommend not using any weight with your eel. I would recommend choosing a medium to large eels so you can maximize your casting distance.
Be sure to keep constant tension on the line because the eels natural instinct will be to bury itself into the rocks and vegetation on the bottom. A slow, constant reeling motion is usually all you need to prevent the eel from tangling you up.
Fishing Eels from a Boat
Live eels are extremely versatile. We’ve had good success in the past drifting live eels, 3 way rigging live eels, trolling live eels, trolling dead eels and working eels along the surface like a top water plug.
My favorite method for fishing live eels is to locate a school of striped bass, plop the boat on top of the school and chuck as many live eels directly into the school as I can handle. This often means having 3 or 4 spinning rods rigged up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Often times you only have the bass under the boat for a minute or two before they disappear, so it’s important to make the most of the shots you do get.
I only recommend using weight when drifting with eels if the wind or current is really cranking. Finicky July bass will often times slurp up an eel, feel the added weight, and spit the eel out before you can set the hook. Fishing the eel weightless helps ward against “spit eels.”
But if the wind is blowing you will need to add a sliding weight or rubber core sinker to your leader in order to get the eel down to the fish. Of course if you are fishing water depths less than 20 feet this may not be necessary. However we often fish water depths of up to 80 feet where the bass are suspended, and we therefore have to use maybe a 1/4 – 3/4 ounce rubber core or sliding sinker to put the eel into the strike zone.
When you get a strike resist the urge to immediately set the hook. Instead let the bass slurp down the snake and run with the bait for a couple of seconds. I recommend using a circle hook to help prevent gut hooking the fish. With a circle, all you need to do in order to set the hook is flip the bail or engage the reel and reel the line tight. No massive hook set required.
As mentioned above we will also troll eels, both dead and alive, when the situation presents itself. You can read more about trolling eels by checking out – How to Troll Live Eels.
Have you ever come across a large school of bass on the surface on one of the glass calm mornings? Often times these schools of bass will be “finning” on the surface. During the middle of the day when bass do this they can be rather difficult to catch. I used to call these fish “sleepy stripers” as a kid because it seemed as if they were resting and digesting their morning meal.
Often times these sleepy stripers are tough to catch, especially during the month of July. One way to wake them up is to cast a big eel beyond the school and work it like a popper through the fish. There is just something about the eel dancing on the surface of the water that wakes these bass up from their semi-asleep state.
There’s plenty of great areas to fish eels from a boat around Cape Cod. Eels work exceptionally well all over the Cape in many different environments. From pitching eels into the rocks down along the Elizabeths to working the wide open expanses off the Outer Cape, eels will catch bass just about anywhere stripers swim.
With that said there are a few perennial hot spots where we find fishing eels to be particularly effective during the month of July.
I’ve outlined these areas in a new video report which can be accessed by clicking here.
Good luck this July fishing with live eels. Live eel fishing takes a little getting used to but the rewards are definitely worth the time and effort required to learn how to fish them.
I hope you’re having an awesome Fourth of July week. Be careful out on the water and down at the boat ramp this week. Things can get a little nutty around the Holidays. Stay safe!
The heat is here and with it typically comes a shift in striped bass behavior in Cape Cod Bay. Summer is definitely here, which means you may be able to catch more bass by adjusting your techniques accordingly.
The areas that normally hold bass during the spring don’t always produce come July. Areas that were devoid of any marine life often turn on once July 4th rolls around. Of course it’s pretty much impossible to predict exactly what’s going to happen this summer, but odds are the bass (or at least some of them!) will enter into the same “summer time mode” that we see each summer season on the Bay.
So far this season the Bay has fished pretty well for me, and for many of the folks I’ve been in touch with. I think Cape Cod in general has fished very well this season, and I’m pretty eager to see what the fish have in store for us over the next few weeks.
So how can you cash in on some of the larger stripers that are roaming around Cape Cod Bay at this very moment?
We caught our first bluefish from the boat today on a live tinker mackerel.
Today was a great start to the month of July.
I had Jerry, Jim and Nichole with me this morning. They had been reading all the positive Cape Cod fishing reports of the last few weeks and were hoping that the solid action would continue.
I had to make a last second audible at 3:30AM when I realized that the chosen boat ramp was un-launchable due to the extreme, nearly full moon, low tide. I made a call to Jerry and had the crew meet me at the Sandwich Marina, which is one of the best boat ramps on Cape Cod.
Luckily we had just enough water to work with and were able to squeeze the boat into the ocean. Phew! Obstacle #1 of the day conquered.
The next challenge was to find live mackerel. We could have dragged tubes all day but I had been hearing about a hot mackerel bite going on in certain, relatively small areas throughout Cape Cod Bay. During my last trip we worked very hard to scrounge up just 8 tinker mackerel, so I was really hoping that we would have better luck with the macks during this trip.
Two of my good buddies Jason Mazzola and Todd Baranowski had been on the water since 3AM in Mazzola’s boat. I made a phone call and they filled me in that they had so far not been able to find any mackerel. However they did have tons of small bait fish around their boat.
We decided to wait it out until sunrise and wouldn’t you know, as soon as it started to get bright the tinker mackerel came through in hordes!
We were able to jig up around 50 tinkers in less than 15 minutes. The action was just as fast and furious as it was back in early May. I can’t believe how good the mack bite was this morning – unfortunately the action seems to be concentrated in just a few specific areas instead of throughout the entire Bay as it was a few weeks back.
Big thanks to Mazzola and Todd for helping us load up on the macks.
Can’t beat a live well full of tinker mackerel when fishing Cape Cod Bay.
Click here to check out the areas producing macks right now in Cape Cod Bay.
We now had a chock full live well before sunrise which was awesome. We pulled in the sabiki rigs, made a quick run and broke out the live mackerel spinning gear.
The plan was to drift with the macks as we have been this entire season. The first couple of drifts were a little slow with a few swings and misses but at around 6:00AM the place lit up with striped bass.
Jim was the first to hook up with a healthy 37 incher. The bass inhaled the mack and the hook so the guys figured why not take it home for dinner. Good start!
We continued our drift over a new terrain with an undulated bottom that was holding a lot of life. There were sand eels all over the bottom and I could see the arcs of orange (which were stripers) cruising amongst the sand eels. We had hit the mother load, virtually out of nowhere and completely unexpected.
For the next 40 minutes we danced around the boat with double hook ups, crossed lines and bass flopping around on deck.
Mazzola and Todd were doing the same right next to us (and actually ended up out-fishing us!). We had a nice stretch of water full of fish all to ourselves which was unexpected considering it was a Sunday in July.
Todd battles a nice one aboard Mazzola’s boat the “Sue-Sea-Q”
Mazzola and Todd were fishing the Cape Cod 5000 Tournament and were hoping to snag a couple fat 36 inchers to weigh in. The way the tourney works is the two heaviest fish 36 inches and under win. Their heaviest two fish ended up weighing in at 34.1 pounds, which got them a 3rd place prize-not bad!
Between the two boats we landed close to 40 bass, the vast majority of them keepers in the 32-38 inch range. Nothing ridiculously humongous but good solid action and real fun fishing. I’m really enjoying this live mackerel bite, which is really showing no signs at all of slowing up.
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So far the month of July is off to a phenomenal start. Hopefully you are able to find some nice fish this Fourth of July week as well.