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Scorton Creek Fluke and Old Harbor Stripers

 

Click here for the latest Cape Cod Bay fishing report

Last night was absolutely incredible.  The weather was out of this world perfect.  It was so clear and calm that I could see the stars reflecting off the water's surface in every direction all around me.  If only the weather could be like this more often!

This is a fantastic time of the year for fishing Cape Cod.  The nights are crisp and cool, the days are still perfect for the beach, and Cape traffic is starting to ease off.  Once Labor Day passes, shore access will open up a little more, and the fishing should start to pick up big time for the surfcasting crowd.

A couple of weeks ago I fished the tidal pools of Old Harbor in Sandwich, MA.  That night the bass were everywhere, chomping down on small minnows, sand eels and mummichogs in waist deep water.  I had bass after bass whack, and follow my live eel right to my toes, but I couldn't hook a thing.  Even though I didn't hook up, it was awesome watching schoolies and small keepers in such skinny water.  Definitely an evening to remember.

The tide was again perfect last night for this spot, so I decided to give it another go.  But before heading to Old Harbor, I thought it'd be smart to give Scorton Creek a try during the outgoing tide.

I've managed some nice bass fishing from shore at Scorton in years past.  During September there are usually a lot of big bass sitting just offshore on or around Scorton Ledge.  Sometimes these vast schools of 20 plus pound bass push right up onto the beach-most often during the night.  I wasn't expecting this to happen yesterday evening, however I always like to fish the mouth of Scorton during the last part of the outgoing tide, especially when it coincides with a sunset or sunrise.

Scorton Creek

I was suprised to catch fluke instead of bass at Scorton-but hey I'll take what I can get!

You definitely want to be cautious wading around the mouth of Scorton.  For starters, the current is extremely strong.  The mouth of the creek is definitely not a good spot for very young fishermen (aka small children).    You may even want to leave your waders in the truck if it's warm enough.  It's very easy, especially during less than ideal conditions, to step off the creek bed into deeper water.

In fact, the best place to cast during the last part of the outgoing is right along the drop off which runs in an easterly direction away from the shore line.  The weather was perfect yesterday and the water was clear, making it easy to walk along this drop off towards the standing waves at the mouth of the creek.  This would be a different, and much more dangerous spot if a heavy north wind was blowing.

So with all that in mind, I always wear a bathing suit when fishing the mouth and never venture into the water during rough conditions.  It's never worth taking the risk, especially for a fish.

There was not much action in the form of stripers yesterday at Scorton, however the fluke were hitting pretty well.  My 6 inch Slug-Go rigged up on a 1 ounce lead head was the ticket to 2 keeper fluke, one of which I brought home for the frying pan.  To be honest, I think these were the first fluke I had ever caught from the beach.

I had a couple more fluke hits before the action died around 6:30pm.  No signs of life from bass so I decided to move to Old Harbor for slack water and the start of the incoming.

I could see bass popping on the surface as soon as I arrived at my favorite Old Harbor tidal pool.  In fact, my first cast with a weightless Slug-Go landed directly on top of a small school of stripers, spooking them and causing them to scatter.  The tidal pool was again loaded with bass!

A few casts later and WHACK!  Fish on!  Finally I was hooked up with a tidal pool bass.  After an extremely quick battle I had the striper up onto the sand.  This was the epitome of a micro-striped bass and was easily the smallest fish I have caught this entire season!  The fish might of tapped out at a whopping 18 inches.

Old Harbor

A micro striped bass caught from a tidal pool at Old Harbor in Sandwich, MA.

I didn't care though, the monkey was off my back and I avoided the striper skunk.  A few casts later I had another swirl on the Slug-Go.  It was obvious that these bass were not actively feeding.  I was actually spooking more fish than I was enticing with the soft plastic.  After about 20 casts, I had spooked a dozen or so stripers.

It was getting dark when the tide slowly began to turn.  Figuring I had a better chance at bigger fish using live eels, I decided to make the change to a snake.  On my third cast with the eel I had a take, and a drop.  A few more casts later I had another big take, and another drop.  I assumed these were small bass just playing with the eel.

After about 20 minutes I had my first real solid take.  The bass ran with the eel, and after counting to five I set up on him.  The bass started peeling 40 pound Power-Pro from my reel.   This was a much nicer fish.  After a few minutes I had the bass right in front of me.  This was not a huge bass, but definitely a keeper.  Then, as has been my luck fishing eels from shore recently, the hook popped and the fish calmly swam away.  What a bummer.

A few more casts with the eel resulted in a few more bumps and takes without a hook up.  It was time to make another change, this time to the Yo-Zuri swimmer.

A dozen or so casts later with the swimmer and I was on again.  Again not a huge bass, but not bad either considering I was fishing in a tidal pool.  The bass put up a nice little fight before getting him up onto the sandbar.  A nice plump 30 incher.  I'll take it!

Old Harbor Sandwich

A rather crappy picture of the keeper fluke and striped bass taken last night from shore.

I fished a while longer and caught another micro-schoolie before packing it in.  All in all a great night, and I can finally check Sandwich off my list of Cape Cod towns in which I need to catch a striper from shore.  One town down, 13 more to go.

Aside from the fishing, I have to comment on the Pterodactyl noises coming from the birds last night.  It sounded like someone was strangling these birds.  Man oh man are they loud when they want to be.

If anyone knows of any surfcasting spots you think I should check out down Cape I'd definitely appreciate an email at misslorettafishing@gmail.com, or just leave a comment below.

 

Thanks and tight lines!

Ryan

 

A view of Scorton Creek during the last part of the outgoing tide

Let’s Hear from You!

How's it going?  Did you survive the storm?

Thankfully Irene lost some steam before hitting Cape Cod, but she still did pack a punch with some serious wind and waves.  I hope all you ladies and gents are OK, and didn't suffer too much damage to your property. I heard there are some serious power outages to south of Cape Cod, so lets hope those folks get their electricity back sooner than later!

Aside from the hurricane, I've been receiving a lot of emails recently which is awesome.  It's great receiving emails from you guys and gals, and I encourage everyone to leave comments at the end of blog posts.  You're insight and perspective on fishing Cape Cod is much more valuable than anything I have to say believe me!

I wanted to share with you guys an email that I think a lot of us can relate to.  It's from a gentlemen who loves fishing, and now finally has some time to pursue his passion-but doesn't really know where to start, which is A-OK!

 

Hey Ryan , hows it going?

I read a lot of your articles on line from time to time. I have a summer place in East Dennis and used to fish from shore when time permitted and always came up with squat. Granted it was usually spur of the moment fishing - I have 2 small kids and duty calls. I always use lures - slugos and swim baits with no success.....For years I stared from the beach while boaters a few hundred yards out would be catching fish and I was building sand castles and changing diapers .....

Well those days are over  - I saved my loot and I just bought a 2006 parker 1801 cc and I seek advice on how to catch some fish and where to find them . I just got the boat and have had it in the bay getting used to it . I've fished only a few times for short durations because of time or I had my wife and kids on board. I've been afraid to go out far because the gps was broken and weather hasnt been great the few times I had the chance. I tried around quivet neck and over by sandy neck - saw alot of guys out there - I just replaced the gps/ff with an hds 7 and can't wait for good weather to install it.

Any advice for a beginner boat fisherman ? I'd be willing to come out on one of your charters even ....I fished fresh water my whole young life and did well, but the sea is another animal with a lot to learn . I appreciate any info .

Thank you,

Eric

 

Eric brings up a lot of good points in his email.  It's tough to find the time to get on the water, and when we finally do, where do we start?  Fishing in a boat on the ocean for the first time can definitely be nerve wrecking.  How can we do it safely?

These are all concerns that I initially had getting into the sport too.

After sitting on his email for an afternoon, this is what I came up with for a response.

 

Hey Eric,

It's going great!  Thanks for the email, it's always great to hear from blog readers.  Thanks a lot for checking out the blog-much appreciated.

Nice to hear you have a place in East Dennis.  What a great area.  Fishing from shore can be tough at times, I can certainly empathize with you on that one.

Sounds like you've gotten yourself a nice boat-congrats!  18 feet is all you really need for fishing the Dennis, Barnstable, Sandwich area.  Of course with a boat that size weather is the dominant factor.  The good thing on the Bay is that most days the breeze is offshore, making it possible to at least fish some near-shore areas when the wind picks up.  Of course anything out of the North can get a bit hairy.

Did you purchase the Lowrance HDS-7?  If so, great purchase.  The sooner you get that installed and functioning the better.  Make sure whoever installs the unit knows what they are doing.  Transducer placement is crucially important.  If it is the unit I am thinking of you should have no problem marking bass while cruising at speeds of up to 25 mph, which is very important when fishing Cape Cod Bay.

I'd be happy to provide you with as much free advice as you would like.  I love helping guys get involved in the sport.  We have quite the fishery on Cape Cod Bay.  There is a learning curve to it, but it is well worth the time and effort.

I'd say the most important thing you can do right now is get your sonar installed.  Big bass will be around in the Bay for the next 2 months.  The best Cape Cod Bay fishing happens during September and October.  You definitely do not want to miss out on it!

I'd also be happy to have you onboard the Miss Loretta sometime if you'd like.  No worries either way. 

When you get the chance, let me know what type of gear you have, whether or not the sonar is installed, and what your fishing goals are.

I don't see any reason why you can't catch some nice bass before this season is over.  The fish are out there.

Keep me posted, thanks for the email, and take care,

Ryan

 

So far Eric and I have been going back and forth, talking fishing and strategies.  I see no reason why he won't get into the fish before this season is over, as long as he finds the time to get on the water!

What questions do you guys have?  I certainly do not have all the answers, but I'll do my absolute best to get you up off the ground and running.  The best months of the year are ahead of us, how do you plan on taking advantage of them?

So send me an email at MissLorettaFishing@gmail.com or even easier, just leave a comment at the end articles and fishing reports.

Thanks for everything!

 

 

The Calm Before the Storm Fishing Report August 27

Last night and early this morning it was difficult to believe that hurricane force winds are expected for tonight and tomorrow.  Cape Cod Bay looked more like a skating rink than anything else.  Hard to imagine that 8 foot waves could very well be rolling through the Bay in less than 24 hours!  Last night I may have seen one wave that reached a maximum height of 1 inch-maybe.

I had the pleasure of fishing with Andy, Mark and Matt-a bunch of nice guys who were looking to catch something other than small stripers, cod and haddock.  We departed the Sandwich Marina at 6pm, headed out onto beautiful Cape Cod Bay, and ran along the beach eastward towards Scorton Creek.

Surprisingly I did not mark a thing in front of Horizons, Old Harbor or East Sandwich Beach.  Nada in close in front of the Creek either.  There was a bunch of bait in 25 feet closer to the Sandy Neck Parking Lot, but no bass on them as of yet.  We turned around and headed for the Ledge.

Not seeing many solid marks at the Ledge either, I was about to have the guys pull the lines in when one of the rods went over.  I could tell right away that this was definitely not a nice bass, and a few minutes later we had a perfect tuna bait-size bluefish in the boat.  How come I can never find these 20 inch bluefish in Cape Cod Bay the day before a tuna trip!?

A friend of mine, Bob T., was on the water last evening and was nice enough to give us a bunch of his leftover sandworms.  As we were making the sandworm exchange, a nice school of stripers swum right under both of our boats off the north edge of Scorton.  What a nice brush of good luck!

It was now almost dark (making navigating through the minefield of Scorton's lobster pots a nightmare) however we put the tube and worm rigs in the water and trolled south.  A minute or two later our lucky old white rod went down and line started screaming from the reel.  Fish on!

Andy stepped up and did a nice job on this bass.  A few minutes later and we had an awesome 27 pounder flopping around on the deck.  The guys couldn't believe it!  It was the biggest striped bass Andy had ever caught, and the biggest striper any of the guys had ever seen.  Great start!

Fishing Cape Cod

Andy with the largest striped bass of his life, taken on a tube and worm.

Once it got too dark to fish amongst the lobster pots I began cruising east down along the beach.  Again nothing in tight, but as soon as I turned out towards deeper water we marked a huge schoool of fish.  I swirled the boat around the had the guys pitch live eels off the port side.

We floated right through the entire school without a bump!  I coudn't believe it.  We cranked the lines back in with hopes that the big school would stay put.

The fish did stay put and we set up another perfect drift right through the middle.  This time Andy had a hard take as well as Mark.  They let the bass run for five seconds, flipped the bails, and we had doubles!

These two fish put up a hard fight on the light spinning reels.  I think I heard the guys grunting a bit as they tried to lift the fish up from under the boat.  Finally, after a great fight, I was able to boat Andy's bass, and then Mark's.  Two very healthy 25-30 pounders.  Nice!

This bass topped Mark's life-time best by quite a few pounds.  These guys are rather photogenic as well-take a look as this pic.  Nice work fellas.

Fishing Cape Cod

Andy and Mark with a pair of big bass taken on live eels last night.

The dogfish quickly moved in with authority so we put out a few dead eels rigged up with stinger hooks and started a troll through the area.  I was marking bass here and there amongst all the doggies, and before we knew it, the starboard side clicker was going off.  Fish on!

It was Matt's turn at a nice bass and he did a good job of getting this fish to the boat.  Once boatside the bass headed straight for the bottom, peeling a few colors of leadcore from the reel.  Matt also began grunting as he tried to lift this fish from the bottom.  Finally we had the bass on the surface and I quickly brought him over the gunnel.  Another cookie cutter 27 pounder on the deck.  His biggest fish ever as well!

The bass then dispersed however we were able to find them again in 58 feet of water.  Andy picked up another 20 plus pound beauty pitching an eel, and Mark landed the final keeper of the trip, taken on the troll.

Matt was rudely awoken from his beauty nap when we had a school of bass that must of numbered in the hundreds under the boat.  This was a seriously enormous school of fish.  Matt pitched an eel, had a take, and set up nicely on the bass.  After a few "tuna-esque" line peeling runs, he had the fish within sight.  The big bass rolled on his side, took one look at us, and spit the hook right in our faces!  Not the ending we had planned but not a bad way to cap the night either.

We then headed back to Sandwich on flat calm seas with a cooler full of bass fillets.  All in all a very fun evening with some good dudes, who all caught the biggest striped bass of the their lives.

Stay safe during the storm.  I'm expecting the bass bite to heat up once Irene blows through!

Tight lines and good luck!

Ryan

Sandwich’s Tidal Pool Stripers

 

Click here for the latest Cape Cod Bay fishing report

Being surrounded by bass while standing in two feet of water is always exciting.  The experience is even cooler when the fish are feeding way back in a tidal creek, in the troughs between sandbars.

At Old Harbor Creek in Sandwich, schoolie stripers, as well as small keepers, have been flooding the tidal pools and shallow water in the mid to upper reaches of the creek on each incoming tide.  On the flood, dozens of fish infiltrate the creek, attracted by the smorgasboard of baitfish, crabs, eels and who knows what else, that call the creek home.

Fishing Cape Cod

This tidal pool had dozens of bass zipping around in it as soon as the tide began to come in.

The creek is chock full of undulations and structure.  Much of the creek is completely exposed at low tide.  Mounds of sand bars can be seen in the distance.  Throughout the estuary, gulls and Blue Herons pick at food hidden under just inches of water.  Old and broken lobster pots, half covered in mud, ironically provide a nice home for green crabs.  Kids and their parents build elaborate sand castles, and float down the creek in inner tubes.

Needless to say there is a lot happening at Old Harbor.  However there is even more life hidden underneath the water's surface.  Mixed in amongst the sand bars and mud flats are the tidal pools.  At low tide, anything that swims is forced into these tidal pools, which are often no more than four feet deep.

Having all this bait jam packed into just a couple pools of water makes hunting much easier for striped bass.  Stripers are very cunning creatures and fully exploit this opportunity.  Some bass will remain in the tidal pool throughout low water, terrorizing the bait that is stuck in the pool.  Most of the fish squeeze into the tidal pool once the tide begins to flood back into the creek.  The bass ride in from Cape Cod Bay on a gushing flow of cool, oxygenated water.

Dozens of stripers entered Old Harbor's tidal pools this past Thursday and Friday within the first few minutes of the flood tide.  I could see the fish zipping by me, chasing mummichogs and other small minnows.  For such skinny water, some of the fish were surprisingly large-pushing the 35 inch mark.

Fishing Cape Cod

A blue heron stakes his claim at one of Old Harbor's many tidal pools.

The baitfish did not stand a chance as the bass began their assault.  Fish began breaking all around me as the current increased.  A few fish were cruising behind my legs in less than a foot of water.  Before I knew it, I was surrounded!

These stripers were fearless, and had no trouble chasing down minnows in just inches of water.  At one point, a cut in the sandbar to my left held around 10 bass in no more than eight inches of water.

I was casting live eels and having no trouble enticing the fish to strike.  Bass after bass would take a swipe at the eel, or chase the eel up to my feet.  Unfortunately none of the fish seemed interested in finishing the job by gulping down Mr. Wiggly.  Before I realized it, I was up to 21 hits without a single hook up!  These bass were terrorizing the eel and teasing me, but did not seem interested in swallowing the eel.

The action lasted until an hour and a half after the tide change.  At this point, enough water had entered the creek to free the bait from the tidal pools.  The bait and bass were now more spread out, thus proving more difficult to locate and entice.

Final tally for the trip was an incredible 0 for 21!  Figuring it had something to do with my choice of live eels, I returned to the creek on Friday with unweighted slug-gos.  Final tally for Friday, 0-11!  The fish were everywhere, but boy were they tough to hook.

I think my hook up ratio will improve dramatically when I return to this spot at the same tide during October, when the bass are bit less fussy.

Fishing Cape Cod

If you forget a dry rag, like I did, use sand to help get a grip on a live eel.

Which brings us to the dilemma of actually getting to the spot in the first place.  Some of the best tidal pools in the creek are only reachable via a short swim or paddle.  This can be a dangerous undertaking when the current is cranking, as it was this past Thursday and Friday.

I planned ahead and brought along a Coast Guard approved Type I PFD (life jacket) as well as flippers.  On top of that I am a relatively strong swimmer.  However even the strongest of swimmers can tire easily in a strong current. I had to enter the creek one hundred yards up-current of my target on the opposite shoreline.  This way I could enter the water while wearing my PFD, kick hard with my flippers, and ride the current to the opposite shore.

The crazy things we do to catch a fish.

It was a lot of fun, however this type of scenario can quickly turn into a nightmare if you do not take the proper precautions, or if you are prone to panicking while swimming in a heavy current etc.  Sadly, people do lose their lives each year fishing in areas with strong tides.

So in conclusion, fishing the tidal pools of Old Harbor Creek was awesome, even though I did not land a fish.  I saw tons of bass in very skinny water, and located a prime spot to try during the fall migration.

Fishing Cape Cod

The necessary tools for fishing the backwaters of tidal creeks-a life jacket, flippers, water proof bag, eel bag, and a fishing rod.

I'm still 0 for 14 on my Cape Cod Surfcasting Challenge.  I think catching a striped bass from shore, from each of the Cape's towns, may prove to be a lot more difficult than I initially imagined.

Do you guys/gals have any spots on the sand you think I should try fishing?  I am definitely going to need some words of wisdom and insight.  Does anybody know any easily accessible, and productive areas in Dennis, Yarmouth or Harwich?

Any help is appreciated!

Ryan

 

 

 Old Harbor's tidal pools

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Cape Cod Fishing Report July 26

This is going to be a quick report, considering I just woke up and am heading back out on the water in 20 minutes!

I had John onboard this past trip.  John's a very talented orthodontist and also a very capable fisherman.  He's been coming out fishing on the Miss Loretta each July for the past three years, and we always seem to put fish in the boat when he comes along.

It wasn't long until John put a bend in one of the spinning rods.  We had a nice quick bite early in the trip, with doubles and even one triple.  The bite slowed down a bit during slack tide, but picked up once the tide got rolling again.

All in all another solid effort.  Total tally was 14 bass between 20 and 35 pounds.  Average fish this trip was 26 pounds.

That a boy John!

Tight lines and good luck,Ryan

John with one of 14 bass caught between 20-35 pounds.

Cape Cod Fishing Report July 19-21

July 19 - Chatham

Chatham is an awesome Cape Cod town.  The place has great bars, phenomenal ice cream, great white sharks and fantastic striper fishing opportunities.

I'm no Chatham fishing expert, however I do know that Monomoy supports acres of fast moving rips, and expansive sand flats-perfect for the light tackle and fly fishing crowd.  The area east of Chatham inlet is also a prime spot that routinely holds big bass.  Big bluefin tuna also roam the area, and I heard that Charlie has made his presence known numerous times this week.

So after hearing the plethora of positive information flowing from Chatham, I couldn't resist trecking down there at 3AM Tuesday morning.

I would soon realize that I still had A LOT of learning left to do when it comes to striped bass fishing.

After making the long run around Monomoy from Harwichport, we immediately settled up on a nice school of busting bass.  Within the first 30 minutes we had caught around 10 fish, 3 of which were keepers.  It was a good start but short lived.

Soon the fleet arrived and the place turned into Disneyland.  I spent the rest of the morning dodging the 200 plus boats, catching bluefish, and landing one more corky 20 pound bass.  Not the best outcome, but a learning experience nonetheless.

Chatham looked like a floating parking lot this past week.

 

July 20 - Cape Cod Bay

The next day I had a trip slated for Cape Cod Bay with Kevin, a recently hired New England Patriots' employee.  Actually, it's been almost a year to the day that Kevin got word that he was hired by the Pats.  Ironically enough he got the phone call while fishing on the Miss Loretta last summer.  I was hoping the good mojo would continue!

Almost as soon as we put our tube and worm rigs in the water, Kevin was on with a monster bluefish.  Not the target species, but at least there was some life in the area.

10 minutes later, the clicker starts screaming, and Kev's on!  This was no bluefish, and after a lengthy battle, I sank the gaff into a beautiful 25 pound line sider-nice!

Kevin and I fell into a nice routine for the remainder of the trip.  Setting lines, pitching eels and boating fish.  When all was said and done, we had 16 keeper bass to our names, all between 20 and 39 pounds.

Kevin with two of 16 keeper bass taken during a trip this past week. Notice the flat calm conditions and pink sky-perfect morning!

Of course the highlight of the trip was tripling up on a lobster pot.  The first time I have ever successfully managed to hook all three tubes on the same pot.  Go me.

I forget what Kevin's personal best is for striped bass, but this 39 pounder must of been pretty close to his biggest.

Kevin with a 39 pound bass caught in Cape Cod Bay using a spinning rod and a live eel.

July 21- Cape Cod Bay

This morning was EXTREMELY windy!  However we still managed to find the bass amidst the white caps.

Tubes were the ticket today.  For some reason the bass ignored the eels-go figure.  Finaly tally was 7 keeper fish between 25 and 35 pounds.  I forgot to take pictures so you'll just have to take my word on it!

There seems to be a nice class of fish moving into the area right now.  I have next Friday night, July 29th available for anyone who would like to get a shot at these beautiful bass.

Good luck and tight lines!

Captain Ryan Collins

 

 

 

Cape Cod Bay Giant Tuna Time

This giant tuna article was published in June of 2011.

With reports of seriously big tuna being spotted by planes flying over Cape Cod Bay, it may be time to start thinking about drifting a bluefish off Sandy Neck.

A plethora of mackerel invaded Cape Cod Bay over the past few days.  Some nice bass and blues have been caught by anglers trolling tube and worm rigs around the mackerel schools.  However you can be sure that stripers and bluefish are not the only predators that have taken notice of the large amount of bait currently present in Cape Cod Bay.

The stickboats have been having good success off the backside of the Cape and around Provincetown.  I would not be surprised if we soon hear of giant tuna being harpooned inside the Bay sometime over the next few days.

Giant Tuna

Beefy tackle in the form of 80 and 130 class reels are a necessity for rod and reel anglers set on catching giant tuna.

The nice weather predicted for this weekend presents a great window of opportunity for small boat tuna fishermen hoping to hook up close to home.

Recently fishermen departing from the East End of the canal have reported bait balls of tinker mackerel extending from the Sandwich shores, well eastward off Barnstable.  Odds are this is not the only area in the Bay holding mackerel.

Areas to Check Out

The Fishing Ledge, which sits almost smack dab in the middle of Cape Cod Bay, could be a prime spot to take a look for Charlie (tuna) this weekend.  If the seas are glass calm, keep your eyes peeled for giant tuna cruising just underneath the surface.

Giant tuna will often create a V-shaped wake as they cruise just inches under the Bay's surface.  If you plan on targeting smaller tuna on spinning gear, it may be smart to gauge the size of the tuna before casting.

Last year, around this time, tuna in the 150 pound range could be found a few miles north of the Fingers outside Barnstable Harbor.  This class of fish would be much better suited for spin fishermen, compared to some of the larger specimens being caught by the stickboats and anglers utilizing heavy conventional tackle.

The area referred to by old timers as the Square off Billingsgate may also be an area worth taking a ride too.  A smart tactic would be to spend the early hours of the morning catching bluefish over the shoal, and then drifting the blues in the deeper water west of Billingsgate in the afternoon.

The bluefish I have seen so far this week in the Bay have all been monstrous.  We had good success on fat, 34+ inch blues on Thursday.  These larger specimens of the bluefish population make prime bait for giant bluefins.

Techniques to Try

Kite fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch a giant tuna.  It's essentially the same thing as topwater bass fishing, except the fish is about 100 times bigger.

Details matter when kite fishing.  Using braided line on Penn 80 or 130 conventional reels can really help a kite to fly high and strong even in a light breeze.  Dropper lines set at intervals from the line running off the kite rod will help to decrease the severity of the angle of the main line running from the reel to the bait.  "Bridling" baits can help to increase the longevity of precious live bluefish, pogies and mackerel.

Check out Kite Fishing for Giant Tuna 101  for more information.

Giant Tuna

Nothing beats seeing a giant tuna at boatside. Photo courtesy of TR Schilb.

Balloon fishing allows a tuna fisherman to strategically place live baits at specific depths.  An appropriate size egg sinker, say 8 ounces, is attached a distance up from the live bait on the main line using an elastic band. If the depth you desire to place your bait at is 80 feet, then 80 feet of main line is paid out.  A balloon is then attached 80 feet up from the live bait.  Float the balloon away from the boat and start the drift.

We'll discuss the finer details of balloon fishing in subsequent articles.  Until then, tight lines and good luck in your pursuit of giant tuna!

July 12 Report

Well the tough streak continues for another day.  I've got to report the good and the bad.

Things started off fantastic.  Marked A LOT of nice fish.  Put the tubes out, and BANG - 30 pounder.

And then the wind started blowing.  The predicted 10-15 out fo the Southwest turned into a howling 20-30mph.  A bit too much for the Miss Loretta.

This pic was taken last fall. It wasn't quite this bad out there last night, but it wasn't all that much better either.

We spent the rest of the night trudging back to the canal.  A long, wet sloppy ride.

The weather for tonight looks better though, and with the amount of fish marked on the sonar last night, it's just a matter of time until it breaks wide open.

It's 7am, time to go to bed!

Catch em up!

Ryan

July 9th and 10th Weekend Report

Friday

Well sometimes it's best to just suck up your pride and throw in the towel.  Problem was that none of us were willing to quit Friday night, and we got absolutely drenched to the bone because of it.

To make a very long, wet, and dry as a desert night story a heck of a lot shorter, we just plain didn't catch anything.

I give Bob, Pat, and Sean Cassidy a lot of credit for sticking it out.  Don't worry fellas I'll make it up to you guys later this summer.  Let me know when you want to go.

Saturday

With clear skies, light winds, and no rain in the forecast, I had a lot more confidence coming into Saturday night.  I had a powerhouse crew from Taunton-Randy, John and Brian.  All three were experienced Capt. John bottom fishermen, and were looking for some corker Cape Cod Bay striped bass.

Right off the bat we began marking bait and the tubes went in the water.  A few hours later we still hadn't hooked up, and I'm starting to think that we may have a repeat of Friday night.  Dreading the rare and infamous "back-to-back skunk" I got us on the move and headed east.

Finally, after a lot of searching, we marked a small pile of bass and dropped the lines back.  A half an hour later and the clicker started going off on John's starboard side rod.  Thank god, I quietly said to myself.!

A few minutes later and we had a nice, fat, 32 pounder flopping on the deck of the Miss Loretta.  It was John's first ever striped bass-what a start!  It took me over a decade of trying before I beat the 30 pound mark.  John broke into the 30 pound club after just a couple hours!

John with his first ever striped bass-a nice 32 pounder.

With tubes back in the water and a sense of renewed energy we trolled onward.  An hour later and the clicker started clicking again.

This time it was Randy's turn, and he battled what would turn into his largest striper of his life-a healthy, sea lice covered 22 pounder.  Nice fish!

Randy with his biggest striper to date-a 22 pounder.

Unfortunately Brian left the party empty handed, however he'll be sure to have the lucky stick next time.

All in all, still a very slow trip, but a heck of a lot more productive than the night prior.

The fishing in the Bay will only get better from here forward.  A year ago this coming week produced two 15 plus keeper striper trips, with the largest topping the scales at just under 40 pounds. Can't wait to see what tomorrow night brings to the table.

Catch 'em up!

Ryan

We'll get you a nice fish next time Brian.

Lot of Bait, Few Nice Bass – July 7 Fishing Report

A report!  Finally!

With all the website work, other shenanigans, and recent Fourth of July activity, it's been a while since I've been on the water-and even longer since publishing a fishing report.  Nevertheless here is the first of what should be many more to come.

After a very slow showing off Barnstable during our previous Cape Cod Bay night trip, things seem to be picking up, at least for the moment.  Waxing moons seem to produce better than waning moons in our neck of the woods, so with flat calm seas and a waxing moon at our backs, my confidence was riding high.

A "just before dark" striper.

Not to mention I had the man, the myth and the legend Jake Collins at my side.

Like previously mentioned, with all the Independence Day nonsense going on it had been a while since I had a trip.  With a full weekend of fishing ahead, I figured a little recon couldn't hurt.

The first surprise of the night was the water temperature.  My Humminbird was reading a balmy 70 degrees, much warmer than the low 60 degree temperatures encountered during my last expedition.  Tons of bait, birds and schoolie bass had infiltrated the East End of the Cape Cod Canal.  It was a welcoming, and encouraging site.

As soon as I had the Miss Loretta clear of the last of the canal's green cans we began marking bait.  Before I knew it, we were pretty much surrounded by bait balls.

A nice Cape Cod Bay 25-30 pound striped bass.

The bait was extremely skittish.  From the looks of it I'd say they were tinker mackerel.  Skittish or not the baitfish were everywhere.  Individual bait balls could be seen across the horizon to the east and to the west.

About a half hour later we had our first definitive marks on the sonar-a school of around a half dozen bass.  Tubes in!

A half hour into the troll and the clicker started clicking.  4 colors and a 24 inch long red tube proved to be the ticket for a nice 25-30 pound striper.  Great start!

Jake with his first bass of the year.

Tubes back in, and twenty minutes later, "click, click, click CLICK!" fish on!  The bass put up a healthy fight, and a few minutes later we had another 25-30 pound bass flopping on the deck.

The stinger hook on the tube was responsible for both hookups.

A few bluefish later and it was time to head for the docks.  Lots to do tomorrow morning.  A few hours of recon is certainly better than none at all.  All in all a beautiful evening on the water, and a lot of life out there on the Bay.

Hopefully the bait, bass, and good weather will stick around.

Check back this weekend for more reports.

Tight lines and catch 'em up!

Ryan

Tube and Worm Advanced Techniques for Big Striped Bass

The tube and worm is one the strangest, yet most effective methods of catching striped bass in the waters surrounding Cape Cod.  Three foot long tubes routinely catch two foot long striped bass.  18 inch tubes often catch bass pushing well into the 40 pound range.

Needless to say there is a lot of mystique surrounding this deadly technique.

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My Fishing Cape Cod Articles

These articles are for your benefit.  I have written them with you in mind.  From the beginner, to the seasoned veteran, I hope you can all take at least one piece of information with when you go.

None of us have all the answers!  I am also continuously learning, and believe me, I have a long way to go.  But learning is what this site is all about.  I wish you the best, and urge you to continue improving, and enjoying your time fishing Cape Cod.

Take care and tight lines,

Captain Ryan Collins

Tube and Worm Trolling for Big Striped Bass

Often time’s anglers become puzzled as to what bait or lure to use in a certain scenario.  There exists today hundreds of different ways to catch a striped bass.

Bass can be caught by fishing with mackerel, pogies, squid and herring.  Stripers are hooked by surface plugs, diving plugs, darters, shad bodies and jigs.  Linesiders are trolled up by bunker spoons, umbrella rigs and swimming plugs. The list goes on and on.

All the above mentioned methods will catch bass.  The problem is that not all of these methods always work.  If an angler is casting a bulky surface plug, but the bass are honed in on small sand eels, he is more than likely out of luck.

The choice is then left to the fisherman to decide what bait or lure will work on a given trip.  But is there one single method that will catch big bass all the time?

If there is, I am yet to discover it.

But by structuring a fishing trip around a single, proven “go-to” presentation, a fisherman can leave the docks with confidence, and easily eliminate half his tackle box.

Like many of you, I rely upon a $2 piece of surgical tubing to consistently put big bass in the boat.

Tube and Worm

Tubes work at night, as well as during the day.

The Tube and Worm

The tube and worm is no secret and for good reason.  Tubes are inexpensive and can be easily made at home.  Tubes catch inactive striped bass and also catch stripers that are actively feeding on baits that the tube does not imitate.

A tube will often work if bass are feeding on mackerel.  A tube will also work if bass are feeding on sand eels.  Obviously a tube will work if bass are feeding on two foot long worms.  Which leads to the debate around what a tube and worm rig actually imitates.

I firmly believe striped bass mistake tube and worm rigs for ribbon worms and large sandworms which reside in our area, and can grow to a length of four feet.  These worms are often reddish-pink or orange in color.  Ribbon worms also swim through the water in a spiraling motion.  Sandworms do more of a wiggle.

A 24 inch long ribbon worm, gyrating through the water, has an eerily similar resemblance to a properly trolled 24 inch long red tube.

If you are a striped bass accustomed to chasing speedy mackerel and ink filled squid, then catching a worm must be about as easy as it gets.  It may be the human equivalent of hitting up the drive-thru over expending the energy necessary to prepare a turkey dinner.

In this sense, I think bass possess a “why not?” attitude towards tube n’ worms.  I believe that even if bass are honed in on different bait, they will still eat a ribbon worm because it is so easy to capture.

Maximizing Time Spent On the Water

Enough time is spent on the water searching for fish, as discussed in Developing a Strategy for Finding Big Striped Bass and Tuna.

The last thing I want to do is waste time experimenting with different techniques and lure options when I finally locate an area holding big bass.  Rare are the days that a tube n’ worm will not catch a fish, when trolled through productive areas.

This makes it easy to feel confident knowing that the tube will more than likely prove interesting to a passing striped bass, no matter the weather conditions or the presence of particular bait.

Trolling three different tube and worm rigs at three different depths through an area holding fish will quickly tell me what length/color tube and what depth will be most productive.  Once a few fish are caught, I will have a pretty good sense as to the most productive tube and depth.  A quick adjustment to the other two tubes is all that is needed.

Thus we have three proven fish producing tube and worm rigs, all fishing at the proven fish producing depth.  It is a lot easier to consistently put big fish in the boat this way.

It is also much more fun experimenting with different methods after a few nice fish have been boated, such as utilizing light tackle.

Catch More Bass by Keeping Things Simple

There are endless theories bouncing around about what striped bass fishing techniques work best under certain conditions.  I understand how easy it can be to get bogged down by the seemingly infinite supply of information on the web, in tackle shops, and in fishing books.

An important thing to remember when heading out on the water is to keep things as simple as possible.

Find the fish and give them something they want to bite.

If a specific technique consistently catches fish under a broad umbrella of variables, then consider making that technique your personal “go-to” presentation.”  You will feel more confident knowing you are at least starting your fishing trip with a proven killer.

This year one of my go-to techniques will most definitely be trolling the tube and worm 

Surfcasting South Cape Beach for Blitzing Bluefish

fishing spots on cape cod

This article was published during the spring of 2011.

This particular afternoon, now a full decade into the past, was unusually warm by Cape Cod standards.  I recall driving into the South Cape Beach parking lot and noticing how the sun reflected nicely off the white caps that were heaving in at the beach from Vineyard Sound.

The weatherman had nailed the forecast on the sunshine, but had dropped the ball on the wind, which was cranking at around 30 knots.  Grains of sand propelled by the strong breeze stung my cheeks as I made my way down to the water’s edge.  It felt good to hear the waves and smell the salt after such a long harsh winter.

There were birds diving about 30 yards offshore down to my right.  After a quick jaunt I was greeted by hordes of squid and some very enthusiastic sea gulls.  The scene was set for my first bluefish blitz of the year.

Within minutes acres of bluefish had invaded the beachfront.  The fish slashed and crashed through squid in water as shallow as six inches.  Each cast provoked a catastrophic top water hit, followed by a lengthy fight on light tackle.  Some casts even produced two bluefish-one fish on the plug’s front hook and one fish on the tail.

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