With each passing day more bass, and larger bass, are filtering into Cape Cod’s bays, sounds, harbors, estuaries and of course the Canal. Right now is an awesome time to be a striped bass fishermen. It’s an even better time to fish Cape Cod from the surf. We might as well enjoy these near-shore opportunities while we have them, because stripers will be harder to find in these close-to-shore haunts once the heat of July and August settles in.
cape cod canal
I would first like to say thank you for your patience yesterday while the MFCC website was down. Quite a few people emailed me letting me know that something was wrong, which was really great. We should be in the clear now, but of course if you find something that doesn’t seem to be where it should be, please let me know. I appreciate all the help!
Yesterday morning I decided it was finally time for me to make my first early morning fishing trip to the Cape Cod Canal. I woke up to another morning of perfectly flat calm conditions and a little fog. At least for me, no wind and some fog are perfect conditions when it comes to fishing the Cape Cod Canal. My only hope was that the conditions would be perfect for the fish too.
Cape Cod fishing will be in full gear in just a couple of months. If you are like me, then you have a serious case of cabin fever that can only be cured by a day spent on the beach, in the rocks or on the water. Warm weather will be here soon trust me.
I know that once the bass, blues and tuna return I will be hitting the surf and launching the Miss Loretta as often as possible. Considering you are reading a Cape Cod fishing article right now, during winter, I am going to assume that you will most likely be doing the same. With that in mind I am going to divulge 7 secrets to catching a few more fish this spring on Cape Cod.
A lot of folks, myself included, have lost tons of gear to the Canal’s bottom.
In some areas the bottom of the Canal is a jumbled mess of rocks, marine vegetation and who knows what else. I’ve seen pictures of entire tug boats sinking in the Canal, so one can only imagine the strange things that are down there.
The incredibly strong Canal current also makes fishing the Canal difficult for beginners. Without even realizing it a lure or bait can be swept right into the rocks and buried down deep in a crevice. The result is usually the same – a lost plug, rig and sometimes an entire spool of line.
When there is an all-out blitz at the Cape Cod Canal, just about any Cape Cod Canal fishing spot can produce a fish. On certain days things come together perfectly, and just about every Cape Cod Canal fishermen leaves with a bass in hand.
However it’s the slower days that really separate the ones “in the know” from the folks who are just learning how to fish the Cape Cod Canal. One of the best ways to increase your chances of consistently catching fish at the Canal, is to be able to locate the best Cape Cod Canal fishing spots.
The Cape Cod Canal has some of the strongest tides on all of Cape Cod.
During extreme weather situations the current inside the Canal can get cranking to almost scary speeds. It’s always important to remain cautious when moving around on the Canal rocks when the tide is cranking-especially if you are wearing boots or waders.
Earlier last week bass above the 20 pound mark were still being taken at the Cape Cod Canal. While big bass in November are not unheard of, good action on big fish in November off Cape Cod is certainly pretty rare.
Take last year for example. The 2011 season as a whole was much slower than usual for me. On the majority of my 2011 trips, I really had to put some serious time and effort into catching just a handful or so of big bass.
In 2011, it seemed like most of the striped bass had migrated south by around the middle of October. At least that’s what I observed.
However 2012 has been much, much different. This past season was by far the most productive striped bass season I’ve ever had. A lot of folks from various Cape Cod areas all the way out to Nantucket have agreed. 2012 was definitely a good year for Cape Cod striper fishing.
Thus I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that big keepers were being caught in the Canal right up until the middle of last week. Who knows, maybe there are still a few in there, and/or a few more yet to come. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
I do think we may be in for a good winter season of hold over striped bass fishing. Certain years small schools of small stripers decide to spend the winter hunkered down in Cape Cod’s many estuaries. Believe it or not, it is possible to catch 20 or more stripers during January if you happen to hit the right spot at the right time.
I haven’t caught a winter striper on Cape Cod in a few years. With the way the 2012 season has been going, I believe this winter could produce at least a few hold over fish. As mentioned above, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Well here we are 5 days into November and the striped bass fishing is still holding strong-especially at the Cape Cod Canal. Who would have thought?
This past weekend I hit up the Canal with a friend of mine and blog member Andrew Massard. Andrew’s a great guy who has just recently caught “the fishing bug.” Due to work obligations he doesn’t get as much fishing time in as he’d like, which I think you can probably relate to. Like a lot of folks Andrew had logged a good amount of time in at the Cape Cod Canal, but was yet to catch a fish.
To make a not so long story a heck of a lot shorter, I happened to be down at the Canal this weekend when I got a text from Andrew, asking how the fishing has been. Instead of going into detail about the fishing, I just told him I was currently at the Canal and that he could come on down and join me if he wanted.
In true fishing nut fashion Andrew dropped what he was doing and made his way down to the Big Ditch. I was fishing the same holes that the 25 pounder from the previous report came out of-definitely a good area for Andrew to try his luck.
Andrew and I set up shop and got to jigging. I was tossing the same big Slug-go I had been using all week, and Andrew was tossing a Spro jig. Two good offerings that usually have no trouble enticing a late season Canal striper.
October is a pretty wild month here on Cape Cod (and across New England for that matter). Earlier this week while fishing Cape Cod I was freezing my buns off while yesterday I was worried about getting sun burnt.
Last year much of New England experienced a snow storm in late October and this year it looks like we may be hit with some sort of hybrid hurricane/nor’ easter. I checked the marine forecast for Tuesday at Stellwagen Bank and they are predicting seas of 22 – 27 feet!
Well fortunately the seas yesterday at Stellwagen were about 1 inch. It was dead flat calm with crystal clear skies and sun that had me thinking it was June. After yesterday’s summer-like weather I find it difficult to believe that high seas, big winds and torrential rain may be the on way. Yet this is Cape Cod and the weather changes within a heart beat.
Luckily today and Saturday are looking pretty good weather wise. I hope you are able to take advantage of this weather window, because who knows what Sandy is going to bring!
Cape Cod Canal fishing, unlike other areas of Cape Cod, seems to remain strong and steady right to the bitter end of the Cape Cod striped bass fishing season. Last season the Canal had bass right into the month of November. Based on the amount of life I saw in the Canal this past weekend, I would not be surprised if the Canal has fish well past Halloween.
On Friday and Saturday I headed down to the Big Ditch with plans of bouncing rubber (Slug-Go’s, Hogy’s etc.) along the bottom. I chose to fish the west tide, which always seems to produce a little bit better than the east tide for me-at least when jigging rubber.
There’s a whole bunch of great areas to bounce rubber at the Cape Cod Canal, but I chose to go with an old faithful spot that has produced well for me throughout the years. This area is stacked with deep holes and high rocky ledges that will quickly eat up your gear if you aren’t cognizant of where your jig is located along the bottom. The sharp rocks and deep ravines also make it difficult to land a big striped bass when fishing this area.
Tonight was absolutely gorgeous. After the thunderstorms moved through the wind backed right off and the skies cleared. Might as well go fishing.
Instead of targeting big bass on the bottom tonight at the Cape Cod Canal I decided to mix things up and go for numbers instead of size. I rigged up a super light spinning setup with 20 pound braid, grabbed a few super small lures and headed down to the Ditch.
I enjoy targeting the small guys every once in a while, especially considering I’m planning on doing some serious Canal fishing for bigger fish throughout the month of September. If you haven’t heard, the Fisherman Fund tournament begins September 1st.
With $1,000 up for grabs I’ll be logging in at least a few long nights down at the Ditch. All it takes is some good timing and a little bit of luck to make it happen.
If you’d like to learn more about the 2012 Fisherman Fund Tournament you can do so by checking out their webpage – TheFishermanFund.com.
The guys who run the tournament do a lot for the community and for the Canal, which makes signing up for me a no-brainer. Plus there are some pretty spectacular prizes up for grabs just to make things interesting.
Back to the fishing, the Canal is mostly known for bass up to 60 pounds, however during this time of the year there is often a plethora of small fish feeding on the multitude of small bait that inhabits the land cut. Night time is a great time to target these small but extremely aggressive fish.
After a brief walk I scaled the rip-rap and set up shop. As if on cue a small striper broke the surface to my right and another sprayed some bait to my left. Time to start casting, or more appropriately, pitching the small lure 10-20 feet from the rocks.
Cape Cod Canal
The Canal, which had been slow for most of July, turned on big time Thursday morning. With bass up to 40 pounds caught, this weekend could finally produce some nice fish for the weekend warriors.
Click here for more information on targeting big bass at the Cape Cod Canal this weekend.
Cape Cod Bay
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.
Click here for more information on targeting big bass in Cape Cod Bay this weekend.
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.
Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report
Once again the Canal fished well this past weekend. While I was at my buddy’s wedding I received numerous Cape Cod Canal fishing reports from guys who did well Saturday morning at the Ditch.
Thanks guys for the solid intel – if only I was able to make it down there for the bite!
I may have missed out on some nice bass in the 20 and 30 pound class, however the fishing this coming week has arguably even more potential than this past weekend. I’d expect to receive a few more positive Cape Cod Canal fishing reports throughout this week – if you happen to have a great trip, please tell us about it!
I hit up the Ditch this morning at sunrise and was greeted by breaking bass spraying bait all over the surface. I could actually see the action through the trees as I rigged up my gear by my car.
The surface activity was pretty impressive from 5AM – 5:30AM. Bass were spraying small bait fish and slapping their tails from one side of the Cape Cod Canal to the other. Most of the fish looked to be on the small side and were finicky to say the least.
However my big pencil popper did get a few good whacks. Despite all the activity I could not muster a hook up with any of the 30 inch class stripers feeding in front of me. A few guys to the left and right of me did land fish that were on the smaller end of the spectrum.
I had a few hundred tinker mackerel swim by me on a two separate occasions. I’m guessing that the small bass feeding in front of me were chowing down on the same bait fish that the tinkers may have been hunting.
Of course as soon as I had packed it in and called it a morning I got a text about a nice 30 pound bass taken this morning at the Cape Cod Canal, and got word from Bruce over at Canal Bait that a few other 25 pound class fish were also just caught. I suppose I was just not in the right spot at the right time this morning.
Those two promising reports were enough motivation for me to make a quick drive to the Sandwich bulkhead and take a look around. Sure enough there were bass on the surface, however they were smack dab in the middle of the Canal – about 400 feet out which is way out of my casting range.
So I sat there, drank my coffee, chatted a bit with my fishing buddy Jeff and watched the fish hammer bait on the surface.
I think this week could produce some phenomenal Canal fishing for anyone willing to get up early and make the trip down. The three top factors in my book for successful Canal fishing seem to be shaping up nicely for this coming week.
1) Perfect tides
2) Tons of bait
3) Plenty of striped bass
I’ll be out in the boat all day tomorrow so I may not get down to the Canal again until Wednesday. If you are able to make it down there good luck!
So far this spring has been incredible at the Ditch, so cross your fingers that the good fishing picks up once again this week.
Click here for more information on the best times, lures, tides and areas to fish the Canal this week.
And please feel free to post your own Cape Cod Canal fishing report in the members forum or in the comment section.
Tight lines and go get ‘em,
Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report May 4
Sometimes you just have to stay up for 24 hours straight!
Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up at 5am for a meeting on Friday and finally finished filleting and cleaning up just before 5am on Saturday. I guess I better get used to this whacky schedule because I think it’s going to be a very busy and very fun summer.
Also add in the fact that it’s date tonight for this guy tonight – which most likely means I won’t be fishing the Canal from 11:30PM to 1:30AM again. Although Lauren has come withe me on plenty of 14 hour Cape Cod Bay night fishing excursions before, so who knows – maybe I can convince her to head down to the Canal with me.
I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
So with the tides perfect for night fishing I decided that I just had to get down to the Big Ditch last night. I know there are some really big bass around (at least from what I’m hearing) so I figured the Canal was my best shot at one from shore.
I don’t think there is a giant biomass of big fish in the Canal just yet, but I know that could change at virtually any moment. For all I know the Big Ditch could be going off as I sit here on the couch writing this!
The fishing was not “lights out” last night but it was still very good in my book. The weather was absolutely picture perfect too. The air was still a bit nippy but there was no wind and the Canal was as smooth as a pane of glass.
I was quite surprised by the lack of angler activity down there. On such a perfect night I expected to see at least a few hardy souls. For the most part however I had the entire Canal to myself. Just me, a coupe fish and the occasional skunk or two.
It took a little while for me to zone in on some decent action but finally around 12:30AM I had my first real good whack! The current was running full steam, the bass hit hard and I actually ended up in the water! Yep, the fish pulled me right off the rock I was standing on, right into the Canal.
I’m still trying to break in my new pair of boots so I’m going to blame it on that. Luckily I ended up in just a foot or so of water so it wasn’t a big deal. After a few minutes I had the bass on the rocks. A whopping 24 incher!
I must be becoming extra clumsy because I never would have imagined such a small fish causing me to lose my balance and fall into the Canal – eh well I’m not as strong as I thought I was.
I spent the next 30 minutes working that same rip with no action. I was debating whether to move when at around 1:10AM I got a much heavier and powerful take. This fish felt much better than the first bass and put up a great fight in the heavy current.