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My Fishing Cape Cod: Beyond the Website

Dex Chadsey

Even though I have been fishing on the Cape since I was 8 years old, My Fishing Cape Cod has changed my fishing experience dramatically in many different ways.

For example, I can remember being on Cape without a clue of where to fish, at least anywhere beyond my childhood fishing spots in Chatham.

I can still feel the frustration of my first cast at the Canal, as I saw my lure being swept against the rocks down current in a matter of seconds. It left me wondering how I was ever going to have a chance to catch a fish.


I also remember the first time I ever cast a Guppy pencil popper, while fishing with Ryan and a crew from My Fishing Cape Cod at Cuttyhunk Island. After I cast the plug I thought, “what am I supposed to do now?” as I had never fished a pencil before.

I had some success fly fishing before I found MFCC, but mostly my fishing in general was very haphazard.

Humble Beginnings

kid friendly cape cod fishing trips

Ryan Collins of My Fishing Cape Cod (pictured above with his cousin Kyle) got hooked on fishing when his dad Jake brought Ryan to the Scusset Beach fish pier as a young child.

We all start our fishing journey by learning how to fish one technique at a particular spot - like using a bobber and minnow to catch snapper bluefish at the Dowses Beach fish pier.

I bet some of you reading this post may even have started your fishing career at the Bass River Bridge, using baloney for bait and a safety pin for a hook!

For me, I got started by drifting seaworms through the Chatham channel on my Uncle Dave’s boat with a handline. I can still remember that day when a 10 pound bass inhaled my sea worm, and hooked me on fishing forever.

When I first found the MFCC website, I was ecstatic. Finally I had a place where I could connect with other fishermen to learn about other places to fish and how to fish them. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a laundry list of spots by name. While that would have its appeal, mostly I wanted the knowledge I needed to discover "my own" new fishing areas.

Additionally I liked the "flavor" of the website, the appreciation of nature, and the mantra “that catching fish is always just a bonus.”

My Fishing Cape Cod presented me with an amazing opportunity to learn how to become a more successful fisherman. The website also introduced me to other members, who have taught me a tremendous amount during our numerous expeditions.

My New Cast of Fishing Partners

My lovely Betsy tells other people about my obsession with fishing in a sort of bewildered way. “He goes out at night, in the middle of nowhere, all by himself, and he lets all the fish go!”

A major change occurred to that narrative after the first MFCC trip to Cuttyhunk.

I had the opportunity to meet Ryan and other members of My Fishing Cape Cod for the first time. I decided that I really liked being part of such an interesting, knowledgeable, and friendly group of people.

My Fishing Cape Cod members Lori Rizzo, Dex Chadsey (author) and Ned Bean during a 2014 trip to Cuttyhunk Island.

I still go out at night, in the middle of nowhere and I still let all the fish go, but I now often fish with other MFCC members.

In a short period of time, a wonderful camaraderie has developed with many people here on the website - whose contributions and company I truly appreciate.

History of MFCC Group Trips

The first trip to Cuttyhunk was easy. Ryan Collins planned the whole thing, and was there to provide direction and guidance.

Since then myself and other members of the website have put together multi-day trips to Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard, and Block Island.

It’s a bit intimidating being the organizer at first, but you get used to it. 

Last October I took a scouting trip to “The Block” with my good friend and fishing partner Ned Bean. This coming November I am very excited about a weekend surfcasting trip to Block Island with 10 of my MFCC friends.

Organizing Your Own MFCC Group Trips

schoolie striped bass cuttyhunk island

Your plans do not always have to include ferry reservations and house rentals.

I will often send a text message to groups of friends from My Fishing Cape Cod about my plans for the near future and ask if anyone wants to join me.

Your network can build from contacts on the My Fishing Cape Cod forum, from meeting at MFCC events, random introductions at fishing locales, or friends of a friend. 

There is also a sub-forum here on the website titled “Group Trip Forum” where you can connect with other members specifically to organize your own trips. For example, I have made arrangements to meet up with MFCC members at the Canal, and at a multitude of areas from Narragansett to Race Point.

My Latest MFCC Group Trip

When the location is my idea, I always feel some built in pressure for everyone in the group to catch fish. To make sure we have the best shot at fish, I choose a location with regard to several factors.

  • Time of year
  • Stage of tide
  • Wind direction
  • Seasonal history
  • Recent fish movements and reports

I usually fish at night, so the desired tide stage and wind direction need to be during the night time hours.

This is what brought MFCC members Andrew Burke, Tom Simpson, Jane Simpson, Ned Bean, myself, and Tom’s brother Drew to a quiet beach on the lower Cape during a recent late-May night.

A push of big fish had moved through the Canal a few days before. As a result, I believed the bass would move along the shore of Cape Cod Bay before heading to deeper water.

We arrived at 9:00 PM and started to cast and leapfrog past each other along the beach. Not long after, I started to see lights turn on sporadically along the beach as other anglers began to catch fish.

The water was fairly shallow and small swimmers seemed to be what the fish wanted. Small minnow plugs like SP Minnows, Magic Swimmers, 7" Bombers, and Daddy Mac DM Minnows worked very well. On this particular night, blurple was the most effective color.

A slow retrieve seemed to work best with small twitches every once in a while.

After a lot of walking and casting we reached an area where the water was a bit deeper. Quickly thereafter, Andrew Burke and Jane Simpson started to catch fish up to 30”on multiple casts. Andrew had a much larger fish crush the hook on his SP Minnow.

The action was short lived for as soon as the tide stopped moving, so did the bites.

As we returned to our vehicles we could see the light of dawn start to show itself in the sky. Another great night fishing with friends on Cape Cod!

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Great article, Dex, and my first trip to Cuttyhunk with Ryan and you and the rest of the gang has blossomed into one of the reasons I’m still here in MA…hope to fit a few more trips in this summer, for sure. I finally got the kayaks out and got Jane Simpson to go out with me, though she didn’t quite realize once I get in a kayak, it’s an 8 hour trip! A bluefish chomped my brand new Hogy Pro Tail in half, though!

    1. I saw you recently caught your first keeper at the Canal. Congratulations Lori!

  2. Very nice words Dex. I always look forward to visits by MFCC members, and must admit, I haven’t traveled to fish with other members as much as I’d like to. Despite being a primarily online organization, MFCC has great reciprocity with fishing information that allows each of us to improve. The group trips have been an awesome way to learn and examine different styles and techniques. Though each of us may not see each other often, it’s easy to pick up where we left off, and always seems more memorable!

    1. Thanks for your hospitality and guidance during my several visits to the Vineyard, Brian. It’s time for eels!

  3. This article brought back some good memories of our trips last year.

    It also helped me reconnect with my fishing inner self after conflicting thoughts from having to leave the canal today unwillingly in the beginning of a great west tide bite. Indeed, catching is just a bonus. I’ve repeated that to my self 5 times as I lay down on a recliner at this precise moment, glazing at a stary sky from my backyard.
    Great post. Thanks friend.

    1. Thanks Papi,
      Can’t wait for our trip to Block in November!

  4. Good read Dex! I wish I was living closer to take part in some of these night fishing trips!

    1. Thanks Patrick,
      Night time is the right time! Last year one of my goals was to become more comfortable fishing at night. Now that’s when I most often fish.

  5. Great seeing you, Betsy and Gracie yesterday.

    Thank you for all you’ve done for MFCC!

    1. Ryan, it is a pleasure being a small part of this great organization that you have created. We enjoyed seeing you and the electrician yesterday.

      1. Good seeing everybody too Tight Lines

        1. Thanks Steve,
          Hope your season is off to a good start!

  6. Good writing, I enjoyed it. Thanks

    1. Appreciate the comment James. Start your own group on MFCC.

  7. Enjoyed the report -THANKS

    1. You’re welcome Ron,
      MFCC is a great opportunity to meet some very cool people and fishing partners.

  8. My dad took me bottom fishing 1957. Took Ryan when he was six. Thanks Dex for a great report. Give Gracie a cookie for me.

    1. Gracie remembers you sneaking her chicken at the MFCC get together at our house!

  9. You’ve captured the sentiment of the camaraderie beautifully, thanks Dex!

    1. Thanks Jane,
      This post was a collaborative effort between Andrew Burke, Ryan Collins, and myself. Just like a lot of things on MFCC!


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