As mentioned in the last article, I really enjoy this time of the year. You just never know what is going to happen when you head out on a boat, or hit the sand.
Autumn Bluefin Tuna Fishing
October is a phenomenal year for tuna fishing off Chatham, on Stellwagen Bank and inside Cape Cod Bay. There will be some seriously big tuna in these areas from now through December. One of the best ways to target these tuna will be using live or fresh dead bait like whiting, mud hake, mackerel and herring. The technique that most folks will be using is to anchor up and start chumming.
For most areas you will need at least 400 feet of anchor line with some chain. I have 20 feet of chain and that has held my 21 foot boat with no problems thus far. Obviously larger boats will have to compensate accordingly.
There will most likely be fleets of boats on the Cape Cod Bay side of Provincetown, the SWC of Stellwagen Bank and various locales off Chatham. I’m not all that familiar with fishing for tuna east of Chatham, so if anybody here has experience I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. Thank you!
For information on anchoring and chumming click here.
For information on how to catch live whiting click here.
During the fall bluefin tuna can show up surprisingly close to shore. In recent years hot spots have included the area 5 or so miles east of Plymouth Bay and the area 3-9 miles north east of the Cape Cod Canal’s east entrance. In both areas we have seen dozens upon dozens of tuna of all shapes and sizes. From 40 pound footballs to 500 plus pound giants.
If we are lucky we will experience another good run of half beaks which can really get the tuna, especially the smaller guys, very active. When tuna are on half beaks they catapult themselves straight clear from the water. I’ve watched in awe as 100-300 pound fish jumped 5 or more feet straight up and out of the ocean. It truly is an unforgettable sight that must be seen to be believed.
Good areas to check out right now include the area west of the Southwest Corner on Stellwagen Bank and the deep water on the Cape Cod Bay side of Provincetown. Of course keep your eyes peeled as you cruise throughout the Bay, as reports of tuna sightings are filtering in. A few guys have reported tuna within just a couple of miles of the Barnstable coastline as well as in the Square off Billingsgate Shoal and just south of the Fishing Ledge.
Fall Bass Action
I would look for bass to begin appearing well within the reach of surf casters from the Cape Cod Canal all the way to Provincetown. There will absolutely be some giant fish in shallow water over the next few weeks and the only determining factor is whether you will happen to be in the right place at the right time.
Throughout October I would recommend working the western shore of Falmouth. I had good success here in the spring on schoolies and small keepers and I would not be surprised if some larger migratory fish appear amongst the same boulder fields this October.
Check out the following posts for more info on fishing Falmouth:
There are also endless amounts of boulder fields to check out along the Plymouth coastline. Migratory bass heading south towards the Canal will sometimes follow the contour of the land and appear amongst these boulders. I remember finding big bass as a kid in the area from Center Hill Point north to Manomet point during this time of the year. Best boat to fish this area in my opinion is a kayak or a small skiff that draws very little water. There are some very big rocks here so be cautious.
The next set of breaking tides at the Canal could be a good one as schools of bass from Cape Cod Bay and beyond filter through the Ditch on their way south (check out Mobile Geographics for accurate Canal current tables). We’ve done particularly well in the past at Pips Rip during October, which is most often fished from the main land side at the Canal’s east end but also can be fished equally well from the Cape side. Usually there is more elbow room on the Cape side jetty, however footing is not quite as good as the main land side’s sand, rock and gravel bank.
The Cape’s southside estuaries and salt ponds come back to life during October after a long summer of extremely warm water. Larger bass will begin to reappear in areas they have not been since May. Popponesset Bay and various other estuaries (in particular the ones in Falmouth) can produce some nice light tackle action especially at night.
The ultimate October surfcasting adventure would be to head to Cuttyhunk Island at the tip of the Elizabeth Island archipelago. I am hoping I can make it over there this year but we’ll see. Huge schools of bass in the 40 pound and up class will on occasion, push in extremely tight to shore here and hang out for a day or two before continuing south. Hitting one of these schools would make for one of the most epic surfcasting trips of all time in one of the most incredible places in all of Cape Cod.
There are countless other fall hot spots and I’ll be sure to keep you posted as often as I can. If you any fall tips of your own I’d love to hear about it in a comment below or in the forum.
Thanks and take care!