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Late April Cape Cod Kayak Fishing Report

Ryan Collins

This week I've been kayak fishing from the Hobie and encountering some wild scenes.

From stripers and acres of adult pogies, to seals and even an orphan squirrel!

You just never know what you might encounter when kayak fishing on Cape Cod.​

It's great to see all these micro-size stripers, but what I'm most excited about right now are the thousands of adult pogies which are stacked up in many of the Cape's bays, estuaries and harbors.

Can you imagine the carnage which may unfold if these adult pogies remain here until the really big bass and bluefish arrive? Things could get real interesting, real fast!

More...

Getting Underway

I was blessed with summer-like conditions on the morning of Friday April 22nd. It was the perfect morning to launch the kayak for the first time this season.

The wind had died overnight and the estuary I had chosen to fish was flat calm.

This was great news, because as MFCC contributor Steve O'Malley mentioned in his weekend kayak report, the water is still very cold.

​With pond-like conditions I knew I could sit back and enjoy the warm sunshine, instead of a bitterly cold ocean breeze which is common during April on the Cape.

With Hobie kayaks from Sturgis Boatworks, you use your legs and the pedal drive pictured here, instead of your arms and a paddle, to propel yourself forward.

Conditions were so amazingly calm, that I could clearly see stripers swirling on the surface several hundred yards away. 

The bass were corralling bait ​up against the bank of the marsh. I knew they were small fish based on the size of the swirls, but I was still excited to see them.

Within minutes I had all my fishing gear and equipment stowed on the kayak. I flipped on my GoPro camera and headed straight towards the feeding stripers.​

The fish would pop up here and there, and it was pretty obvious they were micros. A couple casts later I received my first bite, and a couple casts after that, I caught my first fish.

The stripers were super small, but I was not complaining. The fish, coupled with the warm weather and flat calm conditions, reminded me of a cool July morning.

After releasing the second micro I decided to leave the fish behind and explore the lower part of the estuary, closer to the wide open bay. 

I figured I might be able to find some slightly larger schoolies in the 20 inch range. Maybe there were bigger fish in deeper water and in spots with a stronger current.

Acres Of Bunker

​As I rounded the bend and drifted into a deep channel, I noticed fish breaking all over the surface of the water. At first I assumed these were more micro-size striped bass.

However, I would soon discover that these were not stripers at all. I cast my grub into the mess of fish and instantly began feeling thumps and bumps on the line. I set the hook and my light rod bent under the pressure.

I was really surprised to see so many adult pogies, especially during the month of April. The stage was set for larger predators to be around. 

Just then I heard a loud splash and saw bunker boiling. Pogies were leaping straight clear into the air.

A large V-shaped wake cruised like a missile in pursuit of the bunker. I began pedaling as fast as I could, straight towards the commotion.

Just then more bunker leapt wildly into the air, in a last ditch effort to escape being eaten.

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At first I thought big stripers were pursuing the pogies, but I soon realized it was 100-150 pound seal. There were actually two seals working the same school of bait.

​Watching the seals hunt got my adrenaline going. I hope these pogies stick around, because in two weeks there could be 25 pound bass harassing these schools, instead of seals.

The Wide Open Bay

Eventually I left the seals behind and pedaled my way towards the wide open bay. My idea was to check out some bay-facing boulder fields and rocky points.

I figured the long pedal was worth the ride. Any bass over 20 inches would do.

A pleasantly mild two to three mile per hour sea breeze blew over the bay and into my nostrils. I tossed the old reliable 6.5 inch Canal Magic Swimmer behind the boat and began to troll.

I trolled in tight to the rocks and around car-size boulders. My plug swam nicely, cutting through the water at a reasonable clip.

Then something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. Something shiny was glimmering and struggling on the surface. I wasn't sure exactly what it was so I pedaled over for a closer look.

I was amazed at what I found.

The pogies could not catch a break!

The further I pedaled the more jellyfish I saw in the water. It seemed as if both the seals and the jellyfish had gathered to feed on the shoals of pogie.

​By now the temperature was getting hot, as the bright sun beamed down on the calm bay. I decided to turn around and troll back to where I had launched the yak.

​I trolled the Canal Magic Swimmer and a white curly tail grub all the way through the lower part of the estuary without a nibble. It appeared that all the stripers were holding in the estuary's upper reaches.

​Upon reaching the upper estuary, the micro striper action was still good. Fish were jumping and bass were stacked up heavily along the edge of a channel.

Heading Home

The micros were biting on every cast. I caught three or four in a row and was able to quickly release each one of them without even touching the fish.

​Since I had crushed the barbs on my hook, the fish popped off easily, and there was virtually no damage done to the fish at all.​

Soon I was back at the launch, ready to haul the kayak. It had been a great morning and I was very content with the trip.

​I was also planning to meet my friend and MFCC contributor Jason Mazzola. Jason was going to help remedy some wiring issues with my boat trailer. I also needed to connect with Kevin and publish our latest podcast.

However, Mother Nature would intervene with my plans. When I arrived at home, I found an orphaned squirrel sitting on the back deck.​

Without my provoking, the squirrel crawled over to me and into my arms. Soon he would be shuffling up my legs, arms and even onto my shoulder.​

When Jay arrived the squirrel also began climbing all over him, even as he tried to rewire the lights on my trailer. No matter where we went, the little squirrel followed closely behind.

​Soon it began getting dark and I wondered what to do with the little guy. I decided to put two towels into a cat crate, thinking it could act as a good "nest" for the squirrel.

To my astonishment the squirrel voluntarily walked into the crate, cuddled himself among the towels and fell asleep. I closed the cage door to keep him safe from predators, and there he remained until the next morning.

The Next Day

​Saturday morning I woke up just after sunrise and opened the cage door. The squirrel was still curled up in a ball and he remained snoozing until 7:30am. At that time he exited the crate and ran over to my foot.

It was raining now and the squirrel proceeded to take a drink from a small nearby puddle. Thinking he may be hungry I found some pecans in the cabinet and shared one with the squirrel.

The squirrel explored around on the deck for the rest of the morning. I would check on him occasionally, and the squirrel would always run over to my foot when he saw me.

Then at around noontime I heard the squirrel chirping outside the window. I looked down at the squirrel and he gazed back at me. Then he turned and ran off down the deck.

I figured he would return ​to the crate, but that would be the last time I would see the squirrel. I will probably never know what became of him, but I like to think he's been reunited with his family.

What a wild world!​

What do you think?​

Let me know
by commenting below 

  1. Ryan: I am not able to afford a membership at this time and going through a very heated difficult divorce, etc. However, I have fished the canal for many years, and lived in Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod reaches. I almost saw you in Hanover but my 10 yr old son was with me that weekend and he and my other children are my duty. I was apolice office rin Brookline for many years and I was in several accidents leaving me disabled w/ prosthetic knees and a hip and I’m working on it. You have such passion for nature and a love of fishing and the outdoors and I love watching your little videos from your trips. You also have a great little MFCC business and I hope you have much success. A friend of mine Kenny Abrames who I have fly fished with is of the same yolk as you. He has a great website called StriperMoon.com.I live on the south shore and I fish the canal when I can. My oldest son Jesses and I have some great pics in the archives of OnTHeWater.com. One night fishing eels we caught 26 bass, the smallest was 36 inches and the largest was 49inches. I caught a big female a few years ago that was 54 inches and those pics can be seen. I love my small native Cherokee roots and the medicine of the human spirit and mother earth. You are a great man and a good soul and I wish you well. Thank you for all you share. If you would like my original music for free you can get it at http://www.rickbarronandthequavers.bandcamp.com. God Bless you and stay safe out on the water. I used to scuba dive a lot all over Mass and Florida and the under sea world is truly an amazing place. Tight lines fishing.Thanks. PS I used to have pet squirrels myself that I nursed, They are so fragile and agile. Babies love peanut butter and sardines.

    Reply
    1. Thank you for commenting Rick! I’m sorry I missed you in Hanover but perhaps we can connect at another event sometime this season.

      I admire your willingness to “get out there” despite the knees and hip. It seems like you are not letting injuries prevent you from casting the occasional line.

      Pumped to hear you are enjoying MFCC and let your friend Kenny know I would be happy to publish any of his fly fishing content here on MFCC. We have a strong following and perhaps the exposure could help him in some way.

      A 54 incher is immense. I can only imagine. I am yet to break the 50 inch mark myself, but maybe it will happen this season.

      PS – I’m listening to your music now as I answer email/messages. Thanks for the link!

      Reply
  2. Thanks Ryan. After a lift time of driving trucks getting back to fishing. your videos are a dream come true. they helped me a lot. never did a lot of salt but now go when i can. Thanks

    Reply
    1. That is great to hear Thomas!

      Definitely keep me posted on how your season goes.

      Reply
  3. An interesting, enjoyable way to share your experience, while sitting at my desk, at work. Thanks Ryan!

    Reply
    1. Glad you enjoyed Ron.

      Almost time to splash the boat!

      Reply
  4. My family adopted an orphan newborn squirrel when our cat deposited him on our front porch one night. We raised “Peetie”, as he came to be called, for about a month until he grew big enough to be on his own. We gave him cut grapes, shelled sunflower seeds and fed him water from a dolls baby bottle. He would run after me in the yard, climb up me like a tree, and sit on top of my head. It was quite the experience! They are very cute when they’re little.

    Reply
    1. Dex, that could be the plot of a great children’s book!

      On another note, thanks for sharing the details of your kayak trip with me. Glad you and Betsy had a fun time exploring, and real nice job with the Google maps.

      Good luck out there this week!

      Reply
  5. I think we should try to find the squirrel and get him into some MFCC gear so he can be our mascot.

    Reply
    1. Well I am about to order a bunch of MFCC baseball caps…

      Reply
  6. Ahh! Those boulders out by the mouth I’ve always wondered about! my house is right around the corner in m—- cove. I’m about a 5 minuet paddle from that Boulder field. Also if u paddle out of the river and turn left staying along the shore you’ll come to a sandy point with a small jetty in the middle of two sandy beaches. On Google earth you can see a sand flat around that jetty and a big drop off into the channel. Lots of cross current on an out going tide. Good spot for bass, scup and sea bass. Great report, thanks!…did u name your new squirrel?

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the tips Brian! Hopefully your area will fish pretty well the next few weeks. Amazing amount of menhaden out there.

      I personally did not name the squirrel, however my friend Jason started calling him “Oliver” about midway through completing the wiring work on the trailer.

      Reply
  7. Stripers, seals, squirrels…sounds like a pretty interesting day!

    Reply
    1. It was wild!

      Reply

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