October 21 2016

Jigging Inlets with Al Gag’s Whip-It-Fish


Ryan Collins

Last night I spent the hours of 7pm-10pm bouncing Al Gag's Whip-It-Fish along the bottom of an inlet.

In inlets on Cape Cod, striped bass often hug tight to the bottom, holding in shallow depressions waiting for a meal to be swept by.

A 1.5 ounce Whip-It-Fish or bucktail jig is the perfect lure for working the bottom of many inlets on Cape Cod and throughout New England.


On my very first cast with the Whip-It-Fish I got hit by a striped bass. Unfortunately I missed the hookset, but at least I knew the bass were around.

Three or four casts later I received another sudden jolt which meant a striper had just sucked down the jig.

The bass was very small but at least it was a fish! I hoped the fish would increase in size and numbers as the tide continued to drop. 

Low tide last night along the southside of Cape Cod was around 10:30pm. So I was fishing the last part of the outgoing tide, which is probably my favorite tide for fishing inlets.

The action never really got crazy, but the bite was consistent enough to keep me interested. I ended the trip with 8 bass with the largest being a 30 inch fish which came off the hook right at my feet.

I was able to pin the 30 incher between my legs for a minute before he scooted off into the darkness. The video below recaps the trip, as well as provides some general information about how to jig inlets.

The only concern I have so far with the 1.5 ounce Whip-It-Fish is the strength of the hook. Unfortunately I feel the hook may bend under the pressure of a really big fish, and I would prefer a much stronger hook.

​After the tide died out I decided to swing by Nobska Light for the start of the incoming. The wind was howling and waves were crashing onto the rocks. Conditions were too uncomfortable for me so I soon left to try some other areas in the town of Falmouth.

I stopped at numerous locations between Woods Hole and Old Silver Beach, fishing an eel among the many rocks and boulders which litter this coastline, without a single bump. 

Apparently the boat guys did very this past Tuesday off Nauset, catching bass well into the 40 inch range right off the beach. ​

Who knows if those fish are still around, but that is by far the most promising striper action I have heard of as of late. 

Of course the canal could turn back on at any moment. There are certainly big fish en route to the Ditch as we speak.

I always remember how my friend Bill (pictured above) caught a 60 pounder from the canal on Halloween night 15 years ago.​

Best of luck if you make it out fishing this weekend!​

Tight lines ?

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  • Enjoyed the post! I just bought a few of Al Gag’s Whip-It-Fish and that’s an interesting comment about the hook. I plan to use this lure for blitzes of fish in Plymouth, as the lure matches the size of the bait. Most of the fish are in the 26″ to 30″ range, so I guess that’s ok. I will look for stronger hooks before next season and perhaps Al can help at one of the many shows this winter? Thanks Ryan!

    • Nice Ron! Have you been encountering a lot of blitzes up your way?

      I think Al makes a version of the whip it fish that has “tuna grade” hooks but I’m not sure. I will have to look into it.

  • Last night I walked out to the popponesset spit at 9pm…to try my luck at night. They say it’s better at night. Fished the bay side, worked the inlet a little and then ocean side on way back. Pitch dark out. Sky opend up around 11:00pm…got soaked. Tons of bait fish in the water. Don’t have the gear yet to get in the water (was fishing the out going tide) so not sure if I was reaching deep enough water. No fish yet…but had fun though!

    • I have a feeling you were probably reaching deep enough water Ric. Definitely be careful when wading around inlets or anywhere with strong current. I never go in deeper than my knees in places where the current is strong.

      I was also out fishing last night and I also got soaked! Despite my best efforts in Buzzard’s Bay and then later in Plymouth, I only caught 1 schoolie and had one other hit. We will get them next time!

  • Hello Ryan…..1st reply from me but I enjoy all your posts I’ve read, as I have learned much from them. I’m going to be on the Cape next Friday thru Monday am. I’m thinking about Harding’s beach for surfcasting. Can you suggest any specific tides that in that area ?
    Thanks in advance for any help

      • Ryan, when you “jig an inlet”, where are you targeting? The narrows between the jetties, or where the inlet opens up, or outside the jetties? What strategy would you use with a wide cut like Bass River?

        Also, I read how folks see “lots of bait” at night … I have trouble seeing bait during the day … how does one do that?

        • Jeff, usually the narrow part right between the jetties. Any fish in the estuary must pass through this bottleneck, so that is typically where I start.

          Then I start branching out and move up or down the inlet 10-20 yards and start jigging again. I try to cover the entire opening until I find a spot where the bass are holding along the bottom.

          Regarding jigging Bass River, check out this quick video when you can > http://quick.as/zZnLIXe4Q

          I was fishing Sunday night on Cape and I saw a TON of bait. It was the most silversides I have seen arguably all season long. All it took to see the bait was a bright light shone on the water’s surface. The silversides would get spooked by the light, and start leaping right out of the water.

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